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

Prolific artist Ken Karlic teamed up with Daniel Smith Watercolors to offer a comprehensive  look into his creative process, a process he then applies to other media.

“I refer to my work as Sophisticated Chaos, where an accurate drawing gives way to an expressive painting to create a beautiful mess,” says artist Ken Karlic.

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

The talented, award-winning painter got together with his sponsor, Daniel Smith Watercolors, to offer readers a detailed look into the creation of one of his large-scale watercolor paintings: “Painting large-scale allows me to magnify my style to a whole new level—more is more.”

Karlic’s first washes (image via Daniel Smith Watercolors)
The shimmer effects of iridescent watercolors (image via Daniel Smith Watercolors)

“Within a tight structure of the design and drawing, I find great freedom to expressively apply paint. I use lots of paint and lots of water, seeking to achieve as much action on the page. I build, create, define, modify, destroy, add, and subtract. I don’t paint in a traditional sense of light to dark, but rather light AND dark.”

In addition to watercolors, Karlic has been experimenting with other media, including oil and acrylic, seeking to find parallel pathways emanating from his artistic prism of sophisticated chaos.

Landscape Paintings by Ken Karlic:

Acrylic landscape painting
Ken Karlic, “Abridged,” acrylic on board, 6 x 8 in.
Acrylic landscape painting
Ken Karlic, “Tilt Shift,” acrylic, 9 x 12 in.
Acrylic landscape painting
Ken Karlic, “Four of a Kind,” acrylic on board, 6 x 8 in.
Oil landscape paintings
Ken Karlic, “Chicago Blues,” oil, 24 x 24 in.
Oil landscape paintings
Ken Karlic, “Triple Trussle,” oil on board, 12 x 24 in.
Oil landscape paintings
Ken Karlic, “Silo Rooftops,” oil on canvas, 30 x 40 in.
Oil landscape paintings
Ken Karlic, “Water Wharfed,” oil, 36 x 72 in.
Eiffel tower paintings
Ken Karlic, “Eiffel,” watercolor, 22 x 22 in.
Mixed media landscape paintings
Ken Karlic, “Skyfall,” watercolor and gouache, 30 x 22 in.

“I consider my acrylics, in particular, to be similar to my watercolors—only on steroids,” he said. “Watercolor typically comes with a certain level of planning. But with oil and acrylic, I enjoy approaching a work with far less premeditation—I love the feeling of flying fast and low.

“Regardless of the media and scale, I’m still driven by the underlying premise of solid design, suggestive drawing, and expressive painting—in other words, Sophisticated Chaos.”

Connect with Ken Karlic:
Website | Instagram

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  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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