Keeping Up with Karlyn

E-Course Lessons

#1 Still Life

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
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 underpainting dries, colors may be enriched and adjusted.
Be careful to not lose the loose wet into wet look.

Included in: 6 Month Membership + 12 Month Membership

Still Life by Karlyn Holman


#2 Making Your Own Collage

Gelli papers.  We are going to make collage papers[1]  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 monoprints too.   Many quilters use Gelli printing as a way to print unique designs on their fabric.

Included in: 6 Month Membership + 12 Month Membership

Materials List
Gelli Paper by Karlyn Holman


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. 

Included in: 6 Month Membership + 12 Month Membership

Materials List
Semi- Abstract Rocks on Canvas by Karlyn Holman


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.

Included in: 6 Month Membership 12 Month Membership

#4 Pen Drawing Primary forms of Light Materials List
Pen Drawing- Primary forms of light by Karlyn Holman


#5 Negative Painting

Negative painting of Morning Glories.  (Available on a quarter sheet  140# Arches cold press paper in a kit for $4.25).  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.

Included in: 6 Month Membership 12 Month Membership

Negative Painting by Karlyn Holman


#6  Pouring a triad of primary colors to create a still life painting.

Guest Artist 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.
Included in: 6 Month Membership + 12 Month Membership

Materials List

– *Jack Richeson Liquid Masque
– Winsor Newton Masking Fluid
Incredible White Mask

(* Supplies that Joye uses in the lesson)

Paint Colors that Joye Uses

Caramel Apples by Joye Moon


#7 Abstract & 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.

Included in: 6 Month Membership + 12 Month Membership

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.

Included in: 6 Month Membership + 12 Month Membership

Atmospheric Perspective by Karlyn Holman


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.

Included in: 6 Month Membership + 12 Month Membership

Atmospheric Perspective by Karlyn Holman

#10 Watercolor Portraits & mixed media

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

Included in: 6 Month Membership + 12 Month Membership

Materials List
Portrait by Tonja Sell

#11 Water Lilies

Water lilies. (Kit available for a half sheet size drawing for 4.25)

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 colour 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.

Included in: 6 Month Membership + 12 Month Membership

Water Lilies by Karlyn Holman

# 12 Fall Landscape

Fall backlight Landscape. (This lesson is available on lightweight paper in a half-sheet drawing with a reference for $3.25)

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.

Included in: 6 Month Membership + 12 Month Membership

Fall Landscape by Karlyn Holman

#13 One Point Perspective

One point perspective drawing.  (available in a kit on quarter sheet  Arches 140# cold press paper for $4.25).

Karlyn will draw the white houses of Frigiliani, Spain and explain one-point perspective. The shadows of the white houses were painted with a gray tone made by using cobalt blue and Winsor orange. The grays were varied by the amount of water used to dilute this mixture.

Included in: 12 Month Membership

Materials List
One Point Perspective by Karlyn Holman

#14 Two Point Perspective

Karlyn draws this scene from the Placa in Athens, Greece to demonstrate two-point perspective. This is when parallel lines along the width and depth of an object meet at two points on the horizon.  Establishing the horizon line or eye level is the first thing that you must determine.  After you have figured out the horizon line, grab your HB pencil and begin your drawing.    To create the shadows, mix together cobalt blue and Windsor orange to make a gray.  Use more orange in the sunny areas and more blue in the shadow areas.  Use more water for a lighter gray and less water for a darker value.

The foliage has more vibrancy if you apply the yellows and blues and allow them to mix on the paper.  Place primary yellow first, then Quinacridone gold and finally the Antwerp blue.  Mixing Quinacridone Burnt Orange and Antwerp blue will make that dark green needed for the final details.  The sky area was wet first and then French Ultramarine blue was applied next to the buildings.

Included in: 12 Month Membership

Two Point Perspective by Karlyn Holman

#15 Color Temperature

A subtle but very enriching understanding of controlling the warm and cool color temperatures found in our composition. The subject stairs at a 17th century convent in Frayssinet, France. This new lesson focuses on capturing the gray shadows, using a mixture of cobalt blue and Windsor orange. While this mixture is still wet, charge in pure warm and cool colors. This added enhancement is so exciting. Areas in the sun should have a warm temperature and colors in the shade should have a cool temperature.

Included in: 12 Month Membership

Two Point Perspective by Karlyn Holman

#16 Waterfalls

Painting waterfalls is a very exciting and actually a really fun subject. After much trial and error, I decided that painting everything that frames in the waterfalls is the best way to approach this subject. This lesson is about values and keeping the initial framing in very dark makes the waterfalls look light.
Draw your subject with an HB pencil on Arches 140# cold press paper. Using a palette knife, flick a fine spray where the water hits the base of the falls. Be very generous, these fine particles of mist and spray really make the finished painting sparkle. There are two ways to paint the rocks. The foreground rocks should be very precise. Wet the rocks in the foreground very carefully with water. Add a warm color, and then add a cool color in the bottom two thirds of the rock and let the colors mingle on the paper. I used Quinacridone burnt orange, followed by cobalt blue.
Place wax paper over the wet surface and let it remain until almost dry. When you remove the wax paper, adjust the textures and values so that the darkest value is on the bottom third of the rock. The middle of the rock should be mid tone and the top of the rock is the lightest area. Add more darks on the bottom of the rocks if necessary.
The rocks in the background should be misty and atmospheric looking. I wet the rock area in the background rocks beyond the actual rock area. Place a warm color down, followed by a cool color. Place a cut out wax paper shape of your rocks over this wet area. The area beyond the wax paper will just dry as a soft wet area. This will create rocks that look like they are in the atmospheric mist from the falls. Continue painting all the rocks that frame the falls. Remove the wax paper when dry.
Paint the background trees very soft and atmospheric. Mist the surface with water before you start painting the trees. Continue to soften the colors, leaving a few white dry shapes. Painting the trees frames in the water. You need the trees so you know where to paint the reflections in the water.
Paint the water on dry paper. This way, when you throw or dry brush the paint onto the surface, you will leave little white, random shapes that look like surf. The horizontal water is much darker than the falling water. The dark values in the water are created by the surrounding rocks and trees reflecting in the water. The falls are the lightest value, going all the way to the white of the paper.
When painting the falls, start with a mid- tone value at the top of the falls using a mixture of Quinacridone burnt orange and cobalt orange. Add pure water and tip the paper so gravity forces the water to fall downward. When the water reaches the bottom of the falls, lay the painting flat and immediately lift away the color with a tissue to create the misty part. Also add table salt to this misty area. When the painting dries, remove the masking and salt.
(My demo starts out on 140# cold press half sheet paper. The water part is done on a full sheet stretched over a wooden frame. The stretched paper will require a finish of either Dorlan’s wax medium or four coats of Acrylic spray with UV protection.)

Included in: 12 Month Membership

Materials List

Wax paper
Clear masking
Palette knife
Table salt
HB pencil
140# Arches cold press paper

Sunflowers by Karlyn Holman

#17 Dried Sunflowers

Dried sunflowers.  This drawing available in a half-sheet drawing with reference photo for $3.25)

Karlyn draws this composition from life on 140# cold press Arches paper.  This tutorial takes liberties with randomly adding QOR Cold Press gesso for texture.  This ground also functions as a glue when adding the Unryu and Ogura papers. After this surface dries, watercolor paint was added.

Included in: 12 Month Membership

Sunflowers by Karlyn Holman

# 18 Creating collage paper and applying Caran D’Ache Crayons

Guest Artist Barbara McFarland

Barbara is a wonderful artist that prepares her own colorful collage papers.  She combines these lovely papers with Caran d Ache watercolor crayons. Barbara will take us through her process to create these colorful papers and then apply crayon lines to her image of a bear.  We will also tour her lovely studio on a sunny winter’s day.

Included in: 12 Month Membership

Rainbow Bear by Barbara McFarland

#19 Grapes (A Double Feature!)

Painting grapes is a fantastic lesson to share with a friend or grandchild. You should pick the grape leaves and freeze them until just before you need them. This makes the leaves more relaxed and they make betterstamps. These leaves can remain frozen for a long time and still be effective.
Grape Lesson 1
Fold wax paper like paper dolls and cut out many round or oval shapes of grapes at a time. Start by wetting the paper on both sides.
Design soft warm colors in a path onto the wet surface. Using a flat brush, apply Windsor yellow, quinacridone gold to the veins on the
back of the leaf. Press the leaves firmly onto
the wet surface with a tissue paper. Continue until you have placed all the leaves onto the wet surface. Place a few grape shapes over the wet surface. Paint a circle of your desired grape color and place the wax paper circle on top of this color. Continue until the grapes are designed into hanging grapes. Stretch gauze over the leaves and the grapes to form branch-like shapes in the background. Paint in a path of dark through out the painting. The addition of ultramarine blue around the leaves creates a lovely dark outline. Add salt near the white areas. Spray metallic gold into the gauze lines if desired.

Grape Lesson 2
Using a HB pencil, draw some vines for the leaves and grapes to form an attachment. Using thinned YES Paste for glue, I designed in
some light-toned collage papers. Be sure to overlap some of the papers and to keep the papers close to the vines. Cut out some round or oval shaped grape circles to use for the grapes. Leave the paper dry and apply quinacridone gold and Windsor yellow on the veins on the back of a dry leaf. Place on the paper and press with a dry tissue. After you have completed stamping the leaves on the dry paper, wet the entire rest of the paper and apply some pure warm or cool color ( I used quinacridone burnt orange) in a path to start your painting
Add additional pure complementary color (I used Antwerp blue) next to your first application of color. Be sure to use a fine mister to keep the paper wet or touch the edges of the color with a wet brush to keep the edges soft. Stretch the gauze behind the leaves and through the grapes to suggest branches and vines in the background. Place the cut circles of wax paper onto the wet paper. Add additional color if desired before applying the grape circles. Add salt if desired. Place a stencil over the wet surface and sand watercolor pencils into the stencil using a 100 grit sandpaper. Spray with a fine mister to be sure that those watercolor particles really melt onto the surface. When completely dry, remove the grape circles, gauze and leaves. With a HB pencil, draw in shapes to enhance the composition. On dry paper, paint in the shapes and negatively paint around other shapes. To complete the painting, I lifted out the grape shapes with a stencil of the grape shape cut out of acetate and a damp Mr. Clean magic eraser. Lastly, I added green Caron D”Ache crayon over some leaves and on parts of the background. I also added more collage paper using thinned down YES Paste. I also sprayed gold marbleizing spray.

Included in: 12 Month Membership

Materials List

Lesson 2

Lesson 2

Grapes by Karlyn Holman
Grapes by Karlyn Holman

#20 Mat Board Street Scene

This underpainting was prepared by gluing down pieces of newspaper with YES Paste.  White gesso was applied with a small piece of mat board or an old credit card over the newspapers and in selected areas on the surface and allowed to dry.

Mix a sepia tone color using Quinacridone burnt orange and French Ultramarine blue.  Using a piece of mat board, add shapes of paint to form the windows and the large shapes.  Keep cutting the end of the mat board off so you always have a clean surface to work with.  Whenever you want a soft edge, spray water onto the surface and work over it with the mat board to soften the colors. Use the tip to make more precise shapes.  Last minute, I decided to add a red color accent to the umbrellas.

This scene was drawn on location in San Gimignano, Italy.  It took over an hour to draw but only a few minutes to scrape the color over the surface.  This “alla prima” approach adds a lot of life to the subject and does not look overworked.  Any combination of compliments would create a lovely gray to scratch over the linear shapes.

Included in: 12 Month Membership

Materials List
Mat Board Street Scene by Karlyn Holman

#21 Split Compliment- Italy

Choosing color compliments and color accents.  These two images are available in quarter size images on Arches 140# cold press paper for $4.25).

Limiting your colors to compliments can add more impact to your paintings.  This subject was drawn with my black Stadler pen in a small village in Tuscany.  Limiting the shadows to a green tone helped to simplify the already very gray subject.  Adding the red Vespa was an idea suggested to me by my co-teacher Pauline Hailwood from New Zealand.  I love motorcycles so adding this red Vespa really put the finishing color accent that this painting needed.

This motorcycle subject was drawn in a small village on a Northern Greek Island.  Pauline also told me about the black stabilo watercolor pencil.  This small tool is always with me when I travel and paint.  You can paint in the gray shadows in minutes and then add the color over these shadows anytime.  The motorcycle had to be red for that added color accent.

Included in: 12 Month Membership

Color Compliments by Karlyn Holman

#22 Northern Lights

Northern lights   THis tutorial shows two different approaches to painting wet into wet, saturated night scenes of the Northern Lights.

The first approach uses non-staining colors and that will lift out the movement of the shapes on the wet surface.  Check out the color chart included with your free gift box and you will notice that all my colors indicate which colors are staining and non-staining.  Choose only non-straining  colors for this lesson.  Use a one half inch flat brush to lift the color.

The second approach can be painted with any color.  This lesson depends on saving the shite shapes by painting around them.

Included in: 12 Month Membership

Materials List

Supply list:

Wax paper


Caron d”Ache crayons

Watercolor pencils

100 grit sandpaper


Northern Lights by Karlyn Holman

#23 Cave Painting (A Double Feature!)

This lesson is a fun and free interpretation of the work created by our ancestors. My first introduction entering a prehistoric cave was an unforgettable experience. I hope to visit many more caves and keep inspired to paint interpretations of this subject.

Start your interpretation by wetting the paper on both sides. Paint the darkest colors mainly on the top and bottom of the picture plane and save the center for lighter colors. Tip the paper a lot to suggest the wet walls of the cave. Draw in the symbols for your composition with a watercolor pencil, a watercolor crayon or a small brush. Add wax paper, salt, stamping and color sanding.

Included in: 12 Month Membership

Materials List
Cave Painting by Karlyn Holman
Cave Painting by Karlyn Holman

#24 Alcohol Inks

Guest Artist Wei Lan Lorber

Wei Lan lives near the gallery and has been part of my summer watercolor workshops since 2005. She now teaches her own classes at the gallery and in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. She has an enthusiastic group of followers. She loves nature, flowers, landscapes and abstracts. We have co-hosted an International art trip to France together. Wei Lan is retired from a busy career as a chemistry teacher in the public schools. She has designed a fantastic range of unique techniques. You are going to love watching her approach to painting realistically using alcohol inks on Yupo paper.

Included in: 12 Month Membership

Material List

Yupo paper (heavy weight preferred)
Alcohol ink, blending solution
91% isopropyl ink
Blending solution, ethanol
Sprayer with 91% alcohol
Gloves (optional)
Credit card
Q tips

Butterfly by Wei Lan Lorber
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