Karlyn Holman

Karlyn Holman

karlynKarlyn Holman is an internationally recognized artist, author and art instructor. She has owned and operated an art gallery since 1968. She is a prolific artist with a busy teaching schedule. Nature is the driving force in her paintings, whether abstract or realistic. Karlyn has a loose, spontaneous painting style and an energetic, encouraging teaching style.

“Watercolor has always intrigued me. I enjoy the challenge of trying to control this elusive medium and I love the luminosity that transparent paint can produce. Watercolor is a balancing act between control and spontaneity. My most successful workshops are those in which I offer guided instruction as a basis for creating a look of spontaneity. Once armed with knowledge and mastery of basic techniques, you will be able to venture into the fascinating world of watercolor and mixed media. If you study and understand color theory, learn what each brush is capable of doing, and most importantly, develop an attitude of taking risks, you will be able to freely explore without boundaries.”

Karlyn Holman has had a studio-gallery for over 41 years and enjoys a full schedule of teaching workshops and painting in her studio. Karlyn’s watercolor paintings reflect a special kind of exuberance for her native area of Lake Superior and her travels around the world. Her paintings could be described as realism based on abstract structure.

She has illustrated five children’s picture books. She has written three books on watercolor techniques, Watercolor- The Spirit of Spontaneity, Watercolor Fun and Free, and Searching for the Artist Within. Karlyn has taught on location in England, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Russian, Guatemala, Greece, France, Portugal, Austria, Yucatan, China, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore, Bulgaria, Switzerland, Croatia, The Czech Republic, New Zealand and on three cruises in the Caribbean.

She has an MA in Art from the University of Wisconsin and has taught at the college level for ten years. She makes her home in Washburn, Wisconsin.

Below is an instructional excerpt on “color sanding” technique from Karlyn’s DVD “The Spirit of Spontaneity” To see more click on the link above “details of this workshop”. All demos used with permission from Karlyn Holman from Karlyns’ books and DVD’s-
“Watercolor Without Boundaries” and “Watercolor, The Spirit of Spontaneity”

Below is an instructional excerpt on plein air painting from Karlyn’s book “Watercolor Without Boundaries”

To see more click on the link above “details of this workshop”
All demos reprinted with permission from Karlyn Holman from Karlyns’ books –
“Watercolor Without Boundaries” and “Watercolor, The Spirit of Spontaneity”

Learning to edit your composition is an essential step for success.
Editing your painting will result in a much stronger composition. Whenever I paint on location, I always begin composing my piece by looking through my camera viewfinder. This step helps me make critical decisions such as wether to use a horizontal versus a vertical format, or a panoramic versus a close-focus view point. By choosing only the elements you like, exaggerating some parts and actually eliminating others, you will make your composition much more interesting.


Editing is such a freeing experience. Use your artistic license and eliminate all the non-essential details. I had no interest in painting all the chairs and tables in the restaurant behind the boats, so I simply took elements from the background and made up some dark shapes to compliment the white boats. The objects on the dock where added to overlap with the background. The size of these objects was exaggerated purely for the entertainment value.


While painting this subject in Crete, Greece at an oceanside retaurant with my students, I accidently dropped my watercolor palette into the ocean. Thanks to our waiter and a tall artist named Connie, the palette was retreived as it was tumbling into the depths. After my palette was rescued, this painting was completed with an alla prima style of direct painting. The light was perfect and the subject so inviting that the traditional approach was a perfect choice for the day. The color of the subject was simply mixed and applied to the composition. The constantly moving boats in the water kept changing the dynamics of my composition and called for an alla prima or “just go for it” approach.

Painting in Plein Air and the Studio with Renown Inspirational Instructor Karlyn Holman
Workshop at the Casa – Date to be Announced
Click to see details of this Workshop
To learn more about Karlyn Holman
Visit www.KarlynsGallery.com