NCSFA Workshop #7

Liz Walker - NWS

Tuesday, May 25, 2021
12:30 Zoom set up

1:00 - 3:00 Workshop

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Creating Fanciful Figures In Acrylics (From Old Paintings)

Who says figures have to be anatomically accurate or realistic? Discover simple techniques for creating fanciful figures in your painting that will enliven your work and delight your viewers. These figures can be superimposed onto old (failed or unfinished) paintings and brought to life with new colors, patterns, and linework. Liz will show you how to repurpose and revitalize your paintings in this lively 2-hour acrylic painting workshop (via ZOOM) where she will demo as you paint along. Liz will provide ideas on placement and scale of the figure, as well as how to resolve color, shape and value issues as we rework our paintings. 

Liz Walker is a marbling/acrylic painter in Portland, Oregon, who has achieved national recognition in publications and exhibits throughout the U.S. She began painting in watercolor in 1991 but in 2006, switched to acrylics, collage, and marbling to create her imaginative works. No matter what the medium, Liz’s favorite subject matter is fanciful people (mostly women) painted with bright colors and patterns, but she also paints pears, birds, and florals.

Topics covered include:

     • How to prepare your paper for acrylic painting

     • Retaining the “good parts”, while obscuring areas that don’t quite work

     • Using collage and/or opaque pigments to change your painting

     • Subtle use of stencils/stamping to create unique patterns

     • The impact of adding line (either drawn, or scratched into paint)


Supply List - Liz Walker acrylic workshop (rev 3/14/21)


140 lb. Watercolor paper: 2 quarter sheets – approx. 11 x 15” (any brand—even Canson) 


2-3 Old failed watermedia (watercolor or acrylic) paintings on watercolor paper (140# or 300#)—quarter or half sheet preferred (approx. 11 x 15” or 15 x 22”); we will be painting OVER it so it doesn’t matter what state it’s in. (Small failed paintings on canvas are ok but should be no larger than 12 x 16”).


Paints: Your choice of artist quality acrylics: Golden fluid, or tube acrylic paints (suggested colors: pthalo blue, green, ultramarine, hansa yellow, pyrrol red, quin red, and burnt sienna, but use what you’ve got); I use white gesso and black gesso (less expensive).


white gesso (get a good thick professional grade, like Ultrect, which is sold at Blick, not student quality)


black gesso (if you already have carbon black acrylic, black gesso isn’t necessary).


8 oz Liquitex (or other brand) fluid matte medium—needs to be pourable (spout lid)


Plastic or metal palette knife (1” flat); old credit cards for moving through wet paint


Rubbing alcohol


Brushes: use what you have-- flat and round, also 2” flat brush for applying matte medium; Liz uses old watercolor brushes (1.5” flat, #16 round) to paint with. Blick makes inexpensive SNAP brand watercolor brushes which work great.


Masking tape




a few cosmetic sponge wedges (can be bought in a bag in health/beauty section of stores)


Disposable palette paper pad or, my favorite: freezer paper wrapped around a stiff board approx. 12 x 16” 


an assortment of geometric patterned mylar stencils (6x6” or 12 x 12”); these can be bought online or at Michael’s or JoAnn Fabric stores. Alternatively, rubber stamps or hand carved stamps can be used to create patterning. If you don’t have those, any household items with texture (netting, sponges, wax paper, saran wrap, piece of corrugated cardboard etc) are also useful and inexpensive tools for creating texture/pattern.


sketch book, pencil for taking notes


reference photos of your choice (fashion magazines with figures in them work well)


Other supplies: shop paper towels or rags, two 32 oz water containers, spray bottle, apron, nitrile gloves to protect hands


Caran D’Ache water soluable crayons (broken halves are fine—brown and black preferred)

Tracing paper sheets or pad—approximately 12x16” or thereabouts to plan drawings, and cut into shapes to mask out areas of the painting. 

Black sharpie marker

Wax paper (the type you use in the kitchen)

OPTIONAL for those who want to draw their own freehand images, but helpful if you want to make your own paper “stencil” ahead of time: Print out images of the bird and figure stencils I’ve emailed to you. If you are able to enlarge these to about 180% on your printer and print them out in sections and tape them together, it makes an excellent stencil for a quarter sheet size paper. When you cut out the stencil, save the outer part of the shape and the inner part because both are useful!

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Cost is $25 for members and $30 for non-members 

Not a Member? You are invited to join the NCSFA, 
Our annual dues are very low--only $30 and you will have access to many fantastic programs through the NCSFA as well as support the arts in San Diego


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