Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Before and After! Makeovers are good sometimes!

"Proud in Pink"
 Image:  29"x 21"  Framed:  38" x 30"
Acrylic Painting on Paper        $2000
The painting on the left was painted at the Joyce Ells Paint-in last Fall. I knew that it wasn't done, but decided to set it aside till I knew how to solve it. First of all, paintings at Paint-in's often have problems because you are among 30 other artists with lots of interruptions and gabbing during your creative process. I'm not complaining cuz I love Paint-ins. I am there to reconnect with my art buddies rather than having the goal of creating masterpieces. Anyway, I have had this landscape in my mind for at least 5 years with a dusty pink barn and Holstein cows leading up to the barn. I finally decided to paint that image. But then I lost my nerve to add the cows. No worries, cuz at least I had the pink house and barn. Someone came by and remarked how awful the colors were!😳 Pretty gutsy of her, don't you think? Well, that made me even more determined than ever that the pink barn STAYS!
So, this week, I needed a painting for a national competition and decided that it was time for me to finally do a makeover on this painting.
Things I wanted to change:
1. I didn't like the brown colors.
2.  I felt that the light pathway lacked interest.
3. The painting lacked the "wow" factor, so I decided to add bright colors.
4.  The center of interest needed to be made more clear.

So, I worked out a color triad that went with pink. Yes, the pink has to stay!  I used cobalt blue, Quinacridone magenta, and hansa yellow medium.  I also added a tiny bit of raw umber and Bahama Blue.  I got out my chalk and made a better pathway of light.  Then I wiped out the new pathway, using rubbing alcohol.  If you know me at all, you know that I love the color, red.  I knew that if I showcased the building by red, that I would be a happy camper!  I instantly felt better after the red was added.  I think this is a good lesson for all of us.  Some of my BEST paintings are the ones that I struggle with.  They appear deeper, if I can only make it past the ugly teenage stage!  Now, I love the new colors and I like the new design too.  Fingers crossed that it will get accepted into the show that I entered.  Time will tell..... But the most important critique of your paintings is always YOU, and if you are pleased with the outcome, nothing else matters!  

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Landscape Wire drawing

So, my latest craze is wire drawings. I love drawing birds or other animals, and now have added abstracts to the list. One thing that has been hard for me till now, is drawing landscapes using my wire drawing skills. I'm encouraged by this outcome. I'm hoping to do an acrylic Gustav Klimt beginning and bring this landscape study to life. Wish me luck!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Best soup EVER!!!

"Tortilla Soup"
Tonight, my husband, Dick, and I made homemade soup together. Part of our new lifestyle after Dick retired, is cooking together. Secretly, I'm hoping that he will like it so much that he will take over the cooking chore. 😀  Anyway, I found this recipe in a People Magazine and it's one of the best soups I've ever had. Here's the recipe: Enjoy!!!

Tortilla Soup
From Karen Knutson
(serves 8)

2 ½ lbs. chicken breasts
4 dried ancho chiles OR 4 dried pasilla chiles
4 cup chicken broth (2 cans)
3 fresh tomatoes, chopped
3 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 tsp. Kosher salt, or to taste
¾ large white onion, diced
1 large bunch fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
Tortilla strips (you can buy these at Byerly’s near the fresh soup deli)
Fresh spinach
About 3 or 4 avacados (pitted, peeled and diced)
About 1 cup feta cheese
8-10 fresh mushrooms, sliced in large slices or ¼ cubes

In a large stockpot, bring chicken and broth to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer until the chicken is tender, about 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, place chiles in another medium saucepan, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the chiles are soft, about 10 minutes.  Then, Drain the chile.  Let cool slightly and then, remove the seeds, stems, and veins.  Cut into strips and set aside.
 With a slotted spoon, remove the chicken from pot and, after it cools, cut into cubes (if you plan to freeze this, make the cubes large, if not, make them about 1” cubes).  Set aside the stockpot of broth.
Place the chiles, tomatoes, onion, garlic, and salt in a food processor or blender.  Process until smooth, adding ½ cup of the reserved broth if the mixture is too thick.
Stir the chile puree and half of the cilantro into the broth.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Add salt if needed.  Stir in the chicken and the remaining cilantro.  Cook for 10 minutes.  Add mushrooms the last 5 minutes.  Add remaining cilantro just before serving.

In bowls, place about 4 or 5 spinach leaves in the bottom of the bowl.  Then add soup, and top with avocado, about 1 T. feta cheese, and the tortilla strips.  Serve immediately.  




**This recipe is a revised version, From Eva Longoria (of Desperate Housewives)  from People magazine.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Acrylic Abstract workshop

The first 2 days of The Villages, Florida workshop, we worked on white flowers with an abstract background.  We made our own papers, using deli paper and handmade stamps (made with mat board).  It was a hard first day, with so much to learn, but I knew that we had to start with that one, so that they would be fresh and alert, doing the hardest painting.  One thing that I emphasize in my workshops is having a light pathway.  Squint and you will see it here.  On the next 2 days, we painted dragonflies and that was lots easier.  I used a brayer to start this one, just spreading acrylic paint on Arches watercolor paper, with wild abandon.  Then we drew a wire drawing of a butterfly or a dragonfly on top of the abstract design.
Their paintings are pictured below.  Can you believe how good they are?  I had a great time teaching at The Villages.  I believe that it's my 5th time teaching for them.  If you are ever in that area, check out their workshops.  Beverly Hennessey is the director of workshops there and she does a great job!  

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Acrylic and Collage


Painting on a wrapped canvas is so fun! I usually start by preparing the surface with gesso. Then I made my own collage papers, using a gelli pad. This is so fun!!! I used limited colors, something I learned from Carrie Burns Brown.  Using 2 opposite colors, black and white.  You will be able to achieve at least 20 different colors and your paintings will be unified! Try it! Click on Carrie's name to watch a You tube video. She was a great instructor!!!!
I'm attending a Paint-in now hosted by Karlyn Holman. She is one of my favorite artists! We have so much fun! This painting was completed at the Paint-in, where we all get inspiration from each other. Positive energy floors in the air. This painting, "Shades of Gray" is available for $345.  (12" x12" wrapped canvas)

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

All 30 Paintings at a glance!


"30 Paintings in 30 Days"  January 2017 Challenge

Here is the collection of all 30 Paintings from the January, 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge.   I used the website, www.picmonkey.com to make the collage of them.  I love that website.  It is very easy to use and I use it often after teaching, to make a collection of my student's paintings.  It used to be free, but now there is a small fee.  Totally worth it.  The site works best with square paintings, so you will notice that many of these only have partial images of my paintings, but enough for you to get the idea.  I knew that would be a problem when I decided to paint all quarter sheets, but decided to go ahead with that plan anyway.
Again, I want to thank all of you for being my cheerleaders during this challenge.  It really means a lot to hear your comments or to count up the "likes".  Thanks to Leslie Saeta, who thought up this great challenge for all of us!  Thank you to those who purchased many of my paintings too.  If any of you are interested, just go back to past blogs to see if your favorite is still available.  Great prices! 
Today, I totally relaxed!  Had a pedicure and a manicure.  Not sure that was real wise, since I will be painting in acrylics in only 5 days when I go to a Paint-in!  But it felt good to relax and have a little reward for my hard work.  Stay tuned to my blog.  My goal for 2017 is to post at least every 2 weeks.  I try to share my knowledge as an instructor with my students who stay tuned to my blog. I made many discoveries this month and can't wait to pursue those discoveries and fine tune them.  Check my website for details about future workshops. www.karenknutson.com I'm teaching all across the USA this year, both the East and the West coast.  (Below are available paintings)

2017 Schedule:
January- Cape Coral, FL
February- The Villages, FL
March-  Green Valley, AZ
April- Kanuga Conference Center (near Henderson, NC)
May- Louisville, KY
June- San Diego, CA
July- Alexandria, MN
August- Dickinson, ND
               White Bear Lake, MN
                Watertown, SD
September- Traverse City, MI
October-  Miles City, MT
November-  Home studio possible workshop
Available paintings from the 30 in 30 Challenge    $99 Each



































































































Here are all 30 Paintings that I did in January.  There is a website, www.picmonkey.com that is a great way to make a poster of your paintings.  It used to be free, but now, there is a small fee.  It's easy to use and I use it often, as an instructor to make a collection of my student's paintings.  On this, I had to crop several of the paintings, due to them being rectangular in shape.  The site is meant for square paintings.  But you get the idea anyway.  Many of these paintings are still for sale.  Go back to earlier blogs if interested.  






















Monday, January 30, 2017

Day 30: 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"The Highest Power, #3"    NFS
Image:  11" x 15"    watercolor
     Yes!  I made it!  There were many times, when I wondered if I should quit, just for my health alone.  But I did easy paintings on those days, and then I got better.  For you runners out there, this was my marathon, and it feels really good to have made it across the finish line.
     I've been working on this painting here and there all month.  I needed a pure watercolor for the Transparent Watercolor Exhibition, so this will be one of my entries.  I know it's not a landscape, my original goal for this 30 Day Challenge, but I've already broken that many times with all my bird paintings.  So, why not break it one more time?  Go out with a bang, I say!       The study for this was the wire drawing below (drawings that look like a wire sculpture).   I've done 3 of these so far.  Every one is different, and surprises always arise as I'm painting.  Tomorrow, I will be posting the whole collection of 30 Day Paintings.  That will be your last chance to get in on the January bargain prices.  It's been a great ride, and as always, I learn so much along the way.  I really recommend you trying this.  Thanks for following along and cheering me on!

Wire Drawing of the original "Highest Power" painting

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Day 29: 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Sunrise on the Shore"        $99  SOLD
Image size:  11" x 15"       Watercolor
This painting was painted totally wet into wet.  I wondered why I wanted to paint in yellow today, and then happened to notice that our walls are painted yellow at our rented condo.  Yes, the colors around us do truly affect our color choices.  I've painted lots more yellow paintings since I've been in FL than I ever did in MN. One trick that I do when painting skies is to add the opposite color under the cloud masses.  In this case is was a dusty purple, created by mixing cerulean blue, Davinci Red Rose Deep, and a touch of New gamboge. The muted complimentary color makes the yellow even brighter.  That grey/purple color is in the rocky ground on the left side too.  Tomorrow is the last day of this 30 Day Challenge.  I can't believe it!  Check back at my past blogs to see if you want to purchase any now.  Remember, the prices will change in February. These prices are only good in January.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Day 28: 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Dusk"      $99 SOLD
Image size:  11" x 15"     watercolor
This painting has the appearance of a wood cut.  It's a great technique.  Supposedly, I was going to do an easy painting today.  But that changed!  I learned the process of masking out the sky from Nita Engle, one of the top watercolor artists in the country.  I took a workshop from Nita Engle when I had only been painting for about a year.  She was such a master! AFTER I carefully masked around the trees and the reflections in the water, etc.  I realized that I would have to take all the mask off later on. And one thing that I forgot on this FL trip, was my maskoid remover.  Ugh!  So, after I poured on the colors for the background trees and the grasses, I dried the paper and then used rolled up masking tape to remove the maskoid.  It works great in a pinch.  Below is what my painting looked like with the masking fluid protecting the sky, sky holes in the background trees, and the reflections.  Only 2 more days to get these great deals.  It's been a fun journey.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Day 27: 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Jungle Fever"    $99  (SOLD)
Image:  11" x 15"      Watercolor
Today, I tried something new!  I started the painting by drawing random doodles on the paper using a really wet brush.  Then I floated the color into the wet lines and let the drips happen wherever they broke through.  After that was dry, I drew the bird on the paper, trying to have the line work break across the bird.  I'm excited about this procedure because I now have a new lesson to teach for the next couple of years.  Below is the start of this painting.  To learn more, you will have to take one of my workshops!  (wink, wink) :)  Check my website for future workshops.  I've got a full schedule, traveling to many states on the East and West coast.
Beginning stages of "Jungle Fever"

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