Denise Johnson

Letís Paint With Magic: Alcohol Inks!

May 18-23, 2019 (Four Teaching Days)

Come join Denise and experience the magic of painting with alcohol-based inks (AI)! This is a very new medium that was first used by card makers for stamping. It has since evolved into a medium for fine art. Alcohol ink artists have only just begun to scratch the surface of what is possible with this captivating medium. Watercolorists, oil and acrylic painters are now discovering the possibilities of combining AI into their works. Alcohol inks possess an incredible array of talents and are unlike any other medium. My style is very loose and free. I paint by the seat of my pants at times! Not knowing where the inks will lead has led to my 8-year AI addiction.

During this 4-day workshop, I will be doing many quick demonstrations throughout the day, talking as I go, explaining the how and why as I know it. I’ll show you what I can do with my current favorite tool, the aqua brush used by watercolorists. I use mine filled with 91% rubbing alcohol rather than water. This brush moves and blends the inks beautifully. We’ll be exploring many other fascinating techniques and tools to use with the inks as well; straws, sponges, wax paper, spritzing, dripping, dropping, dabbing, doodling just to name a very few

The primary substrate that I paint on is known as Corian. It is a material invented 40+ years ago by DuPont®. It’s usually used in the manufacture of high-end countertops among other things. Corian provides a perfect painting surface for the inks as it is non- porous and the inks play very well with it. They don’t soak in but rather stay on the surface. A spray varnish is applied to seal your paintings. You’ll be taking home your Corian creations ready to hang. They will be sealed, drilled and wired. I will also be bringing tiles, glass, photo paper and other assorted painting surfaces to play with. The inks are beautiful on many different substrates. I’m certain you’ll go home happy and you may come to find you’ve developed a real addiction for alcohol ink painting. You’ve been warned!

I’ll be providing all the supplies needed for the workshop. There will be alcohol inks in a dazzling array of colors as well as many weird tools and other fun paraphernalia. If you’d like to bring any stamps, stencils, or any favorite thing you might want to use, do it! I’ll also be bringing those items as well. If you want to bring your oil, acrylic or watercolor paints to incorporate with the inks, feel free. Would love to see what you create with these.

My workshop is suited to all levels and no levels. If you’ve painted with watercolors, oil or acrylics, this workshop is for you. If you’ve never painted at all or don’t consider yourself “artistic” (whatever that means) this workshop is most definitely for you. Come with a spirit of adventure to explore and experiment and just let yourself feel the flow of the inks. Sometimes they’ll lead and you’ll follow, just go with it. Such a liberating feeling! When least expected, flowers, animals, trees, birds and all sorts of other cool things will, at times, magically appear in your paintings. Count on many ‘happy accidents”. You’ll work at your own pace, stress free, no pressure and you’ll be having fun. Make no mistake though, it does get intense as the inks grab you and draw you into their world. Be prepared to hear a lot of ooo’ing and ahhh’ing. That’s the sound of people creating something incredibly beautiful.

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Denise Johnson is a recently retired accountant and a lifelong self-taught artist. Having worked 30 years with clay and a several year stint with photography using a flatbed scanner as her camera, she now finds herself as a confirmed alcohol ink addict. Married 34 years to her best friend, Coby, they travel together doing art shows and workshops in the Midwest. Coby handcrafts and sells Corian cutting boards and that is Denise’s chosen substrate to paint on. A match made in heaven.

Denise lives in the beautiful inspirational boonies of northern Wisconsin with her horses, cats, chickens and assorted cranes, loons, eagles and wild birds. She feels very grateful to be living where she does and doing what she loves. She has met many people along her life journey and now finds this amazing medium is introducing her to many, many more. Her passion for alcohol ink painting has led her down such a wonderful, unexpected path at this time in her life.

Denise first met alcohol inks when she was making beautiful pendants painted with acrylics and alcohol ink about 8 years ago. So began her alcohol ink addiction. Fast forward to the here and now and she finds herself teaching workshops, selling her paintings on Corian at art shows and pretty much doing whatever she wants at this stage in her life. “If it ain’t fun, I’m done” is her motto these days. Denise has written an eBook titled “Selling Your Art At Shows” based on her 40 years of doing just that! She wants to help and encourage artists to take that step and avoid the pitfalls and mistakes she’s made along the way. An avid reader, she’s always learning something new. Denise likes to say that she’s getting older but she’ll never be old.

Active on social media, Denise is one of the original co-contributing founders of the Facebook group Alcohol Ink Art Community. The group has a following of over 35,000 members and still continues to grows. The AI Art Community group offers paid online workshops to hundreds of participants that feature an array of classes taught by many talented alcohol ink artists. Denise also created a sister Facebook Marketplace group where ink artists can sell their creations. She offers her original paintings for sale exclusively at shows. She sells signed reproductions on her website and wholesale at The Minneapolis Gift Mart.

Denise feels strongly her calling in life is to now introduce and encourage as many people as she can to the wonder and magic of this new medium. She is so very pleased to see that alcohol ink paintings appeal to literally everyone. Whether painting with the inks or admiring the art that’s being created…the young, the old, men, women, toddlers to teens find it very compelling. She says it may sound dramatic but truly, this medium has changed her life. It might just change yours too.

This is a Studio Only Workshop.
Something for All Levels.

Workshop Fee plus tax per student:
If 12 or more students attend class (all teaching days): $400
If 11-10 students attend class (all teaching days): $410
If 9-8 students attend class (all teaching days): $425


Room & One Dinner Fee plus tax: $400
(There are 5 nights' accommodations included in the "Room & One Dinner Fee" listed above.)
Cancellation Policy, Class Fees and Tiered Pricing Explained
A partial tuition scholarship is offered
Workshop Itinerary


REGISTER NOW for Denise Johnson


Workshop Itinerary

For this week, the arrival date is Saturday, not our normal Sunday.

Saturday, 5/18
Check-In to your unit at Dillman’s (check-in time is 3:00)
5:00 Welcome Reception (included in package)
6:00 Dinner at Dillman's (included in package)

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, & Wednesday 5/19-5/22
Breakfast On Own
9:00 a.m. - Noon Class in Session
Lunch On Own

Meals are on your own. All accommodations have cooking facilities. You may preorder box lunches and dinners for meals to be taken alone or with your group in: your studio, the lodge deck, cafe, or your accommodation. (Pre-ordering for lunches and dinners is required.)

1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Class in Session

Wednesday, 5/22
NOON Farewell Champagne Toast (included in package)

Thursday, 5/23
Depart - check-out time is 10:00

Optional Events - Sign Up Required / Subject to Change:
    Sunday 5:00 p.m. Dine-Around Dinner (Depart from Lodge Lobby)

    Monday 5:00 p.m. Dine-Around Dinner (Depart from Lodge Lobby)
    Monday 7:00 p.m. S'more Roast (no charge)

    Tuesday 8:00 a.m. Yoga
    Tuesday Noon & 4:00 p.m. Pontoon Ride on White Sand Lake (no charge)
    Tuesday 5:00 p.m. Dine-Around Dinner (Depart from Lodge Lobby)

    Wednesday 5:00 p.m. Moondeer & Friends Gallery Tour (no charge)
    Wednesday 6:00 p.m. Dine-Around Dinner

Dine-Around Dinners: Registration required at the front desk, meet at 5:00pm in the main lobby for carpooling.

Day students are welcome to attend the Welcome Reception and Farewell Reception (included in your package). You are also invited to join the class dinners (additional fee). PAL’s (Participants at large) can vacation at Dillman’s for $45 per night for accommodations. Costs for box lunches and dinners are additional.