Keeping Up with Karlyn

Lessons 1-12

Lesson # 1 Still Life

Still Life Lesson

Lesson Description:

This lesson starts with a still life of red roses in three glass containers. Karlyn will draw the composition with a Kimberly watercolor pencil and share some techniques for free hand drawing.
1. She will use a different watercolor pencil drawing for her painting. The painting starts by wetting both sides of the paper with a hake brush. Slowly pull water over the watercolor pencil lines to activate the black color.
2. Color is then charged onto the wet surface. A sprayer is essential to keep the paper wet and the colors moving. Color sanding may take place while the paper is wet.
3. After the under-painting dries, colors may be enriched and adjusted. Be careful to not lose the loose wet into wet look.

Materials List
  • Karlyn Holman Signature Series Brush Set (or brushes of your choosing)

  • Palette – Round, Filled

  • Kimberly black pencil

  • 100-grit sandpaper

  • Hake brush

  • Half sheet of Arches cold press 140# paper

  • Spray bottle filled with water

  • Tissue to lift dark areas that may get too dark

  • Watercolor Pencils

Bonus Lessons


Lesson # 2 Make Your Own Collage Papers

Make Your Own Collage Papers

Lesson Description:

We are going to make collage papers to use in creating an abstract painting on canvas.  Making your own collage papers is fun and if you want to enter shows, it is now necessary.  A bonus lesson shows you how to prepare your canvas for this lesson. We are going to use acrylic paint to make our collage paper and watercolor to finish our painting.

Many art shows do not allow “store bought” collage papers so this technique is invaluable for making your own papers.  Finding the right paper was my first goal.  Most deli papers are waxed and not suitable for use with watercolor.  After a lot of trial and error, I found unwaxed deli paper  through Amazon Prime.  These papers are fantastic.  They are transparent and glue layer over layer with YES Paste.  You can use any acrylic paint.   You will find 50 sheets of these special papers in your gift box so you can try this wonderful approach to start an abstract painting.  We are going to start by making our own stamps and stencils using a glue gun and glue sticks. Gelli printing is a very popular way to make mono-prints too.   Many quilters use Gelli printing as a way to print unique designs on their fabric.

Materials List
  • Gelli plate either purchased or homemade
  • 4″ brayer
  • Unwaxed Gelli Tissue
  • Gloves in a Bottle
  • Plastic gloves (optional)
  • Fine Mister 
  • Stencils
  • Stamps
  • Parchment Paper
  • Baby wipes
  • Fluid acrylic paint
  • Bubble wrap, cardboard opened up to expose the textures, leaves found in nature, grapefruit bags, anything that creates a texture

Bonus Lessons


Tip: How to Prepare YES Paste

To use Yes! Paste effectively, you need to prepare the glue so the consistency will accommodate the thickness of the paper you are using.  Right out of the jar, Yes! Paste is very thick and can be used to adhere very heavy paper.  However, with a little patience and a small amount of water added to the surface of the paste in the jar, you can slowly thin down the top layer of the paste to a smooth, creamy solution.
I use a one-inch flat brush and slowly rub the surface of the paste until the water blends with the paste to become  slurry.  Do not rush this step and do not dig into the paste; just activate to top layer.  If you have any excess mixed glue in the jar, simply allow it to soak into the rest of the glue.  The next time you need thinned glue, the glue will activate in a short time.


Lesson # 3 Semi-Abstract with Rocks on Canvas

Semi-Abstract on Canvas

Lesson Description:

Semi-abstract rocks on canvas. This lesson shows the versatility of using textural devises on canvas.  For example, wax paper makes “rock-like” textures when placed on the color and allowed to dry.  Using small pieces of ogura and pieces of unryu, you can easily create darks.  Using a 100-grit sandpaper and sanding watercolor pencils over a stencil will create a beautiful texture.   Dry thoroughly and wax surface with Dorland’s Wax.

Materials List
  • Canvas
  • Palette Knife
  • Ogura Paper
  • 1/2″ Flat Brush
  • Wax Paper
  • Dorland’s Wax
  • QOR Cold Press Ground
  • Scissors
  • Medical Gauze
  • Stencil
  • Stamps
  • 100 Grit Sandpaper
  • Watercolor Pencils
  • Yes! Paste
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Old Bristle Brush

Karlyn’s Caper – Venice, Florida 2017 with Rose Edin. Find more of Rose’s work at

Lesson # 4 Pen Drawing and Focus of Light

Pen Drawing and Focus of Light

Lesson Description:

How to draw with a pen and how to create a focus of light using a triad of primary colors.
This lesson shows the entire drawing of this dilapidated old barn in pen and demonstrates several useful pen techniques.  Karlyn also demonstrates several primary color triads.

Materials List
  • Black archival permanent pen
  • Fine mister

Bonus Lessons

Lesson # 5 Negative Painting - Morning Glories

Negative Painting

Negative painting of Morning Glories. The intertwining leaves make this flower perfect for learning negative painting.

This painting starts with a drawing on Arches 140# paper using an HB pencil, (in your gift bag).  The paper is then wet on both sides and colors are selected that do not move in water.  I used  Aureolin yellow, Permanent rose and manganese blue.

When dry, draw in more shapes and paint around your drawn foliage with a mid tone green color, I used quinacridone gold and Antwerp blue.

When dry, draw in more foliage shapes and paint around these shapes with a darker value green using Quinacridone burnt orange and Antwerp blue.

Paint flowers by wetting half of the flower and adding quinacridone rose and French Ultramarine  blue.  Move the color so it mimics the shape of the flower.  When dry do the other side.

At the very end, paint in some positive shapes.

The entire focus of this lesson is negative painting by layering transparent watercolor.

Materials List
  • HB Pencil
  • Arches Cold Press
  • Oops Eraser
  • 1″ Flat Brush
  • Stencil
  • 100 grit sandpaper
  • Watercolor Pencils
  • Fine Mister
  • Table Salt
  • #8 Round Brush
  • Script Brush

Lesson # 6 Joye Moon

Joye is from the Fox Valley Wisconsin area.  She teaches around the USA, conducts International trips, has earned her National Watercolor Society signature membership  and has written a full length art book with North Light Publishers titled “Exploring Textures in Watercolor”. Joye shares with us a unique approach of pouring three primary colors to create an amazing still life painting of caramelized apples.  She has a sense of adventure and exploration that has lead to this exciting approach that she is sharing with us.

Materials List
  • Mascoid
  • – *Jack Richeson Liquid Masque
    – Winsor Newton Masking Fluid
    – Incredible White Mask

  • * Plastic wrap
  • * Palette knife
  • * Bottles of primary color
  • Maskoid lifter
  • Tool that sucks up liquid
  • * Paper Towel (Joye recommends Viva)
  • * Tape
  • * Arches Watercolor Board (or 140# Cold Press)
  • * Board
  • * Pencil
  • * Kneaded Eraser
  • * 3″ Wash Bush (or Hake Brush)
  • * Eye Dropper
  • * Fine Mister

    (* Supplies that Joye uses in the lesson)

    Paint Colors that Joye Uses

  • Transparent Mars Brown
  • Quinacridone Gold
  • Naples Yellow
  • Faience Blue
  • Avignon Orange
  • Permanent Violet Bluish

Lesson # 7 Abstract & Wine Party

Abstract and Wine Party

This is an “Arty Party of painting an abstract painting while sipping wine”.  The focus of the lesson is to create a “Path of Light” in your focal area using negative painting skills and gelli collage papers. This lesson  was recorded live and included a four course dinner party.

A group of artists who have painted together for 34 years gather every year in February in the cold north woods and paint together.    Over the years, an amazing bond of friendship has developed.

My lesson is a new variation of an abstract style of painting. Sit back and enjoy our enthusiasm for art, our love for each other and hopefully some ideas that you can turn into a beautiful painting.

Materials List
  • Stencils
  • Watercolor pencils
  • 100-grit Sand paper
  • Gelli papers
  • YES! Paste
  • Flat one inch brush
  • Unryu Paper 

Karlyn’s Caper

Lesson # 8 Atmospheric Perspective

Atmospheric Perspective

This lesson begins by looking at a selection of atmospheric paintings by professional artists.  Learning the concepts of atmospheric perspective is a very important concept to embrace if you like to paint landscapes.  We will paint foggy layers of atmosphere and reflections in water.  To add to the fun, we will also use landscape stamps to form the trees.  (I have four of my favorite landscape stamps packaged up for $20.00)

Each successive layer of land is a different color.  The distant layers are  grayed down blues, then reds and purples appear and finally close to the foreground are the yellows.  These colors illustrate the way atmospheric tempering causes some colors to disappear from our vision.

Materials List
  • HB Pencil
  • Wax Paper
  • 1 1/2 ” Brush
  • Fine Mister (gift bag)
  • Non-lotion Tissue
  • Tree Stamp
  • Arches Watercolor Paper
  • 1/2 ” Kalish Brush
  • Clear Acetate Paper
  • Plastic Razor Blade

Karlyn’s Caper with David Smith

Lesson #9 Portraits


One of my favorite painting subjects has been painting portraits in watercolor. I have especially enjoyed painting my grand daughter Rachael over the years.

Portraits are not that difficult. I have formalized a simple process for painting a successful portrait. In your gift bag is a plastic that defines the facial features. This is one approach to drawing your own portrait. I have also enclosed a step by step listing of how to paint a portrait.

Please follow along with this hand out as I paint Fritz. As you paint your own portrait, reread each step before you proceed. There are proportions that are similar in every person. For example, this scale is great. I included a sheet of lined acetate for you to follow along. There are certain relationships in portraits that are almost the same in every person. The eyes are in the center of the head/. The eyes are one eye apart. The ears start at the eye line and nose line. The lips are as wide as the center of the eyes, etc. Put the clear plastic over Rachael’s face and show proportions.

I learned a different way to proportion a head. I divide the head in half and divide the lower half into thirds. This is the proportions I used to draw my friend Mary Beth. I place the eyes in the center of the head and then divide the lower half into thirds. The center of the nose is one third below the eyes. The center of the mouth is two-thirds below the eyes. This has worked for me forever.

Materials List
  • Karlyn Holman Signature Series Brush Set
  • Script Brush
  • 1/2″ Kalish Brush
  • HB Pencil
  • Palette – Round, Filled
  • Half sheet of Arches cold press 140# paper
  • Spray bottle filled with water 
  • Kneaded Eraser
  • Masking
  •  Q-Tips
  • Tissue to lift dark areas that may get too dark

Bonus Lessons

Lesson #10 Watercolor Portraits & Mixed Media with Tonja Sell

Guest Artist Tonja Sell 

Untraditional watercolor portrait with added pastel touches

Tonja is a gifted artist who can draw or paint anything. She also makes pots, blows glass and works in pastels, oil, watercolor and just about all media.

Tonja will demonstrate one of her unique techniques that she uses when painting a portrait in watercolor.  She will start with demonstrating drawing the shapes of the face and then paint several features such as lips and eyes. She then makes a hot glue mask to fit over the portrait. She draws her portrait with a Derwent Inktense black watercolor pencil. This pencil activates when she wets it and becomes stable when it dries.

Tonja starts painting large shapes of intense color and activates the pencil drawing. She then places the hot glue mask over the wet paper. She adds more color and makes sure the color is wet under the mask.  Allow this to dry

Tonja removed the mask and starts to add dark colors. . Tonja works dark to light which is different from most watercolor artists. She continues to add skin tones and shapes the face.

The special techniques continue to be shared and Tonja ends up with a beautiful, yet untraditional portrait. She adds final touches with powdered pastels and pastel pencils.

Check out Tonja’s website at  Tonja teaches classes and leads International trips. She has studied fine art and is represented by galleries across the country.

She has a fifty-two session self-paced online art instruction course titled “Merging Watercolor and pastel”. Contact Tonja at

Materials List
  • Saran Wrap
  • Gauze
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Wax Paper
  • Pan Pastels
  • 300# Arches Hot Press Paper
  • Pastel Pencils
  • Magic Eraser
  • Stencils
  • InkTense
  • HB Pencil
  • Mister

Lesson #11 Waterlilies


Draw subject with HB pencil.  Mask the water droplets.   Paint the flowers, reflections, lily pads and the frog.  When completely dry mask everything but the reflections of the buds.

Clip or tape your painting onto a board.  Wet only the front of the paper.  Paint in a ladder of primary colours, leaving a white space between the triad of color.  I used Windsor yellow in the middle, Quinacridone rose on each side and cobalt blue out to the edge if the paper.  Spray a light mist starting at the yellow and moving that color to the edge of your paper.  Then spray the blue and have that move towards the centre of the paper.   Keep tipping and balancing out the movement of the colours.  Add darks under the lily pads but not the buds.  Best of all, draw some connecting darks horizontally through the composition to tie the shapes together.

When dry, remove the masking.   Wet the scrubby brush and gently soften any areas missed by the masking.   To make the water droplets, wet the shape and drop in color similar to the area surrounding the droplet.  When the droplet dries, paint in a very dark elliptical shadow under the droplet.  Use a razor blade to pop out a white highlight.

Materials List
  • #11 Water Lilies Lesson Kit
  • Saran Wrap
  • Incredible Liquid Masking
  • Palette Knife
  • Watercolor Palette
  • Clear Acetate Paper
  • Mr Clean Magic Eraser
  • #1 Brush
  • #8 Brush
  • 1 1/2″ Brush
  • Fine Mister
  • Scissors
  • Half sheet Arches 140# Cold Press
  • Salt
  • Scrubby brush

Karlyn’s Caper with Jonathan Walburg

Lesson #12 Fall Landscape "Finger of God"

Fall Landscape

Draw your composition using an HB pencil.  Wet both sides of the paper and apply a non-staining triad of primaries.  Start at the light source with Aurelian yellow and circle Quinacridone rose and lastly cobalt blue in a circular movement to the edges of the paper.  Spray a light mist starting at the source of light and move the color to the edges of the paper.  Splash some fall colours unto the wet surface to start painting the fall foliage.

On dry paper, drop a pattern of a primary yellow and quinacridone gold to form patterns of yellow foliage. Be sure to zig and zag the shapes.  Try not to go in a straight line.  Then drop another pattern of scarlet lake orange and quinacridone burnt orange.  Add Antwerp blue to create dark greens.  Be sure to drop some collage onto the ground area to become fallen leaves.

When this dries, paint in the tree trunks between the foliage patterns.  I used quinacridone burnt orange and French Ultramarine blue for the dark brown.

Paint the foreground foliage in shadow colours, such as cobalt blue mixed with Windsor orange..  This provides the contrast for the “finger of God” light coming through the trees.

Be sure your painting is bone dry when you attempt to create the “finger of God” with a toothbrush.  Place your painting under slowly running water and scrub the light out with a soft toothbrush.  Slowly allow the color to exit your painting.  Use restraint when lifting the shapes coming through the trees so it does not become a perfect pinwheel.

Materials List
  • Materials List
    • #12 Fall Landscape Lesson Kit
    • Fine Mister
    • Hauke Brush
    • Palette Knife
    • Wax Paper
    • 1 inch Flat Brush
    • HB Pencil
    • Table Salt
    • #6 Brush
    • #8 Brush
    • Toothbrush
    • Oriental brush

    Colors Used

    • Winsor Yellow
    • Cobalt Blue
    • Permanent Alizarin Crimson
    • Scarlet Lake
    • Quinacridone Coral
    • Quinacridone Burnt Orange