Kim Johnson Workshop

Northern Plains Watercolor Society Workshop Attendees!

Our workshop is coming up quickly and I am excited to come to Rapid City. To ensure we make the best use of your time, I’m highly recommending you complete the following items to bring with you to the workshop:

  • I suggest using at least a quarter-sheet, half-sheet is even better, depending on what you can most easily travel with
  • Prepare at least (you may do more) 1-animal/bird and 2-portrait in advance (on 1/8 sheet). We will be focusing on birds and animals the first two days, and portraits and figures on days 3-5.
  • While these are not on the supply list, I wanted to let you know that I am experimenting with these additional colors if you’re interested in adding them to your list:
    • Daniel Smith: Serpentine Genuine, Phthalo Yellow Green
    • Schmincke: Brilliant Purple, Translucent Orange
    • Da Vinci: Manganese Violet
  • Please understand that this is a painting class, not a drawing class. Please do whatever is necessary to get your drawing on the paper in advance of the class — use a light box, use gridlines, trace, or free draw if you’re comfortable. Also, use the paper you are most comfortable with as long as it is not student grade (same with the colors you intend to bring).
    • When looking for your reference, be sure it has a good light source… including light, mid, and dark tones.
    • I prefer to paint from a black and white print that’s as large as my actual painting to best see actual shapes. Again, I recommend you have a good contour drawing already on your paper (see examples)
    • If you don’t know how to make your reference the same size as your finished painting, refer to the instructions at the end of this message.

I’m so looking forward to our time together!

Drawing Example
Drawing Example

Supply List

The following is a complete list of supplies needed for your upcoming class. I encourage you to bring the supplies and colors you are familiar with using.

IMPORTANT: Because our time is limited, please arrive with your contour drawing completed.

Watercolor Paper

140 lbs (I use 300 lbs) Arches or Fabriano, are all good ones. You may want to try both the hot press and the cold press to see which you prefer. I do suggest that you stay away from anything less than 140 lbs and papers that come out of a tablet.


Brushes are an investment! Sable is considered the best quality for watercolor brushes; however, there are good synthetic and synthetic blends. I use a number Silver Black Velvet 6, 8 10 12, and 16 round. Other brushes that are not expensive are the Simple Simons.


I suggest you use professional grade paint. The student grade is less expensive, but the colors can vary too much from professional grade.

Colors I Use

  • French Ultramarine
  • Cobalt Blue
  • Cerulean Blue
  • Carmine or Rose Madder Genuine Cadmium Red Light
  • Quinacridone Violet (optional color)
  • Brilliant Orange or Cadmium Orange
  • Cadmium Yellow (I’ve been experimenting with other yellows) or Azo and Winsor Yellow Deep
  • Raw Sienna and/or Yellow Ochre
  • Raw Umber
  • Burnt Sienna (Winsor Newton)
  • Burnt Umber
  • Hooker’s Green and/or Sap Green
  • Mineral Violet
  • Other colors I like to have handy are manganese and colt violet light.


It is best to paint from your own photos. Please do not work with photos from any publications!! These photos are copyrighted and I would hate for your painting to turn out wonderful but then you unable to show anyone.

I like to use a photo of my own that I have converted to a black and white and I like to make it as large as the painting will be. This is somewhat a substitute for a value study. When your reference is as large as your painting it enables you to see the shapes much better.

Since our time is limited, please have your drawing on your paper ready to be painted!

Miscellaneous Supplies

  • Watercolor palette—John Pike, or a small travel palette is good
  • Large water container
  • Board (one that push pins will stick into)
  • Pushpins
  • A rag or paper towels
  • Spray Bottle