Ken Karlic, “GAF-On-Ponca,” watercolor, 36 x 72 inches

Prolific artist Ken Karlic recently teamed up with Daniel Smith Watercolors to offer a comprehensive step-by-step look into his creative process. There’s lots to learn here.

“My style of watercolors can best be described as sophisticated chaos, where an accurate drawing gives way to an expressive painting to create a beautiful mess,” writes artist Ken Karlic.

Karlic begins designing and drawing his composition (image via Daniel Smith Watercolors)

The talented, award-winning painter recently got together with his sponsor, Daniel Smith Watercolors, to offer readers a detailed look into the creation of one of his large-scale paintings. “I’ve recently begun painting large-scale works in the studio,” Karlic continued, “which allows me to magnify my style to a whole new level, more like mammoth chaos. I can push everything about my work — more design, drawing, painting, paint, and effects.

Karlic’s first washes (image via Daniel Smith Watercolors)

“In this step-by-step, I’d like to share the process of creating a large-scale work that was inspired by a large-scale site. I focus on design, drawing, and painting — regardless of the scale of the piece. Within the tight structure of the design and drawing, there’s great freedom to expressively apply paint — and lots of it.”

The shimmer effects of iridescent watercolors (image via Daniel Smith Watercolors)

This article was featured in PleinAir Today, a weekly e-newsletter from PleinAir magazine. To start receiving PleinAir Today for free, click here.


  1. Very engaging and informative, this video shows watercolor painters that they need to embrace the enticing, unexpected effects that come with bold, gutsy application of paint based on observation and intuition. Nicely produced!


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