|Favorite sketches of Crazy Ladies (and men) for 2013|
Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Monday, November 18, 2013
Thursday, November 14, 2013
Friday, October 25, 2013
|"Sailing Through Life"|
Thursday, October 17, 2013
Saturday, September 21, 2013
|"The Morning After"|
Friday, September 20, 2013
|"Family and Friends"|
|Step one of painting|
This painting, "Family and Friends", started with free and loose conte crayon markings. Then I applied gesso randomly, using a palette knife. The top photo is the finished painting, and the lower photo is step one. This painting was as much a mystery to me, as to others. Every step of the way, I had no idea how it would evolve, until about half way through, when I could see a mountain side, with rocks and decided to add some people at the top of the mountain. The gesso marks helped me decide where to put them. At this point, I stopped the painting, and got out my pencil, and made a value design sketch, something that I am passionate about. Usually, I start with this, but this time, it was fun to start a painting with no preconceived ideas, and let the painting tell me the direction that it wanted to go. "Family and Friends" just won a merit award at the Minnesota Watercolor Society Fall Exhibition. I am teaching a workshop in my home studio on Oct. 4 - 6th on how to come up with ideas for abstracts. There are still 2 openings, if anyone is interested.
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
This was my demonstration painting for the home studio workshop for the Charcoal Pour technique. This painting is lots more busy than my last one. Which one do you like better? The students did fabulous paintings, and loved the process of the charcoal pour. I'm really excited to paint lots more birds!
Saturday, July 27, 2013
This painting started with a charcoal pour. This process is discussed in the Virginia Cobb book, Discovering the Inner Eye, Experiments in Watermedia. It is available for $150, unframed. Image size: 11" x 11". I love the texture that the charcoal creates. Then I added fun by collaging the feathers, using all kinds of busy collage papers. My home studio workshop went fantastic. By limiting the students to only 10, we all got to know each other so well, and there was lots of individual help. Their paintings were so beautiful! I'm definitely painting lots more birds in the future. They are so fun, when they are whimsical!
"Dressed to the Nines"
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Discovering the Inner Eye, Experiments in Watermedia . I love textures and I find that starting with texture on the paper, leads to inspiration for completing the painting. It was fun to go back to traditional painting for a change. But tomorrow, it's back to abstracts!
Monday, June 17, 2013
"Master of the Day"
I painted this while visiting my parents last week. Mom and I love to paint together, and it's one of the few times that she paints anymore. We had such a great time! I'm teaching in Alexandria, MN tomorrow through Friday, and the workshop is "Starting Traditionally, Moving to Abstraction". One of the first things that I emphasize is to establish the light pathway. There is collage here also, which is my favorite way to paint. The collage inspires me to create similar shapes, and also to continue in that color scheme. Since I was raised on a ranch in Montana, this painting brings back happy memories of my childhood.
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
"At the Beach"
Every now and then, my studio gets so messy that I'm FORCED to stop painting and start cleaning. All my students know that I own 2 of everything, so that I don't have to waste time looking for whatever is missing. But when I can't find either screwdriver, or ruler, or ATG tape, or WHATEVER..... it becomes mandatory that I clean out my studio. I've been working on this for several days now, asking myself every time where would be the perfect spot to store certain things. I moved tables, and sitting areas, and shelving. I'm trying to have stations. For instance, all my card making crafty things would go in one corner, and the acrylics would go in another, the collage papers (wow, do I ever have LOTS of collage papers!!) would go in another! My biggest fear is that I will lose something, because it won't be in it's normal spot. Anyway, this painting, "At the Beach" had been missing for several months, and it is a favorite of mine! And I found it behind lots of mat boards that were in a corner. I'm so happy! It's a little like Christmas, when I keep finding things. This painting is only 6" x 6", but I love the connection of light patterns, and I did it in only 30 minutes, thereby keeping it fresh. I had wanted to do a huge one of this, but wonder if I'll ever do it. I had watched the Don Andrews DVD before doing this. He works on an easel, letting the paint run together, and the colors are kept very fresh in this approach. I recommend him highly as an instructor.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
"Evening at the Mansion"
This was my demonstration for the workshop, held on Kiawah Island, South Carolina. It is size 10" x 10". Based on my color study (see my post from 4/19/2013), this painting was pretty easy to do. Adding the collage made for exciting textures. I'm really tickled with the way that this painting turned out, and it sold at the workshop! Now, my intention is to do another rendition of this that is image size 22" x 30", which will be acrylic and collage or possibly all acrylic. I had such a good time with this group of 15 ladies, who meet each year in April on Kiawah Island. It's absolutely beautiful there! Lots of partying, painting, eating, and laughing! We all really connected!
Friday, April 19, 2013
Only a few days till I teach a design workshop in Kiawah Island, South Carolina. One of the lessons involves the students looking through magazines and cropping the photos down to a 1 inch square. That simplifies the shapes, big time! This color study (size 4" x 4") was done, using Tombow markers. I love that they have two ends; one is fine marker, and the other is a brush. Also, they don't smell, and work very much like watercolors, where I work in layers, etc. This color study started from a photo of a dining room table and chairs. How crazy is that? Below is my 2 value sketch of the photo. My steady rule (that I really believe in) is to connect the light pathway. I can always adjust it later, but in the beginning of every painting, I have a light pathway. I will post the painting that I do from this color study after the workshop.
Friday, April 5, 2013
"Springboard for ideas"
Recently, I gave a demonstration for a local watercolor group; my topic was how I get my ideas for abstract paintings. The idea for this 30 minute sketch actually came from a handmade card that I recently made for a good friend. I've had painting friends sometimes tell me that I shouldn't waste my time making handmade cards. Each one does indeed take about 1 hour and 30 minutes to make, but I always get ideas for paintings or discover interesting new color combinations when I allow myself to "play". It's refreshing to me when I don't have to think about design, color dominance, etc, when I'm making a card. I used scraps from old paintings to start with, and just added black marker and brads. Although, I have to say that when I did this 30 minute sketch, which was based on the card pictured below, I did remember to focus on design, color dominance, zinger colors, and center of interest. Watch future posts, because this 30 minute study will turn in to a real painting very soon!
|Handmade card which folds inward from both directions.|
Thursday, April 4, 2013
"Metallic Leaf"I'm preparing for a workshop that I will be teaching near Charleston, South Carolina, on Kiawah Island. One of the days, we will be doing different metallic effects. I used grommets, embossing powder, rubber stamps, metallic ink pads, and gold liner pens in this painting. I hadn't done one of these for at least a year, so it was fun refreshing my memory as to the many effects of metal. To start with, I used an old painting (see below) and built up a light pathway. Have you heard me say that before? If you've been in my classes, you definitely have heard about the light pathway. It's key to leading the viewer's eye through the painting. This painting is image 6" x 7", and is available for $95, matted.
|Old painting that I started with for this project.|
Thursday, March 21, 2013
Last Thursday, I gave the demonstration for the Minnesota Watercolor Society. My subject was how I get my ideas for abstract designs. This painting, "Which way to the beach?" was derived from a view of Minneapolis buildings from my friend's studio window. I love to use contour drawings, and link my light shapes, thereby simplifying the design. Both of these paintings are about 15" x 15" image size. I'm a big fan of Frank Lloyd Wright, and it's fun watching his influence creeping into my work lately. I also showed the cropping technique of working with a little 1 inch square frame to spot good designs when you hover over a busy photo in a decorating magazine. Below is my other interpretaion, using basically the same light pathway design. I asked the group which one they preferred and the top one got more votes, although it was close. There were about 150 people watching my demo. Really a fun evening!
Monday, March 4, 2013
I again am challenging myself to do a 30 minute study every day for one year! Limiting the time to 30 minutes makes me use bigger shapes, and simplify. These aren't meant to be framed works of art, just studies! I find that my whole life is in better balance when I do these each day. And they often lead to paintings later! Working out the design and colors on a small format is a practice that I really like. So....my one year challenge started on March 2nd. I won't post every one, just my favorites, OK? Unlike last year, I will give myself a little more slack when my schedule is busy, and will allow myself to do extra 30 minute studies before the busy days. But no catch up! Only thinking ahead sketches. This one started as a contour drawing from a flower. I then used Tombow markers to build up the layers of color. I can't wait to turn this into a big acrylic painting!
Sunday, March 3, 2013
Lynne Baur with her demo painting, (not quite finished)
It's been a busy time for me so I'm tardy in posting a review of the dragonfly workshop that Lynne Baur taught in my home studio. (Click on the link, and go to the Dragonfly Gallery to see her incredible dragonfly collection.) It was my first workshop with a guest artist instructing at my home studio. Lynne went above and beyond, and everyone was thrilled with everything that they learned. We learned so many techniques to create texture, and although it was only a 2 day workshop, everyone finished a full sheet watercolor painting in that short time! This was a mixed media workshop, including acrylic inks, acrylics, watercolor, and metallics. I strongly recommend that you take a workshop from Lynne, who gives private lessons also, at a very affordable price. It was so fun for me to be a student again, although I didn't get my painting done, due to being a hostess. I will post it soon!
|Painting on silk by Lynne Baur. I purchased this one!|
Friday, February 15, 2013
"With an Angel's Help"
This morning didn't start out so well. I spotted a cold sore and thought sarcastically, "Oh, that's just great!" But after driving my granddaughter to daycare (her smile that could melt ANY bad mood), I was again off to a good day. I stopped at Caribou Coffee, (my favorite coffee place) and ordered my Northern Light Latte, and headed to the restroom to put on my makeup. Then, I spilled my coffee all over the floor! The girl who had waited on me, came into the restroom just then, and I apologized about the mess that I had made. I told her that I would have cleaned it up, but there weren't any paper towels. "Don't worry, we'll clean it up", she said. I thanked her, and joked, "That was a very expensive sip of coffee this morning, since I spilled most of it". She said, "No problem, we'll get you a new one!" I also had purchased the keurig single serve cup coffees and she had said earlier, "Did you know that there are now dishwasher safe containers where you can put your own coffee in these little containers, and it would be far cheaper for you?" (It reminded me of one more way that I could use less plastic and be more "green", to be nicer to our world. Something, I really need to work on!)
What service, and what a difference she had made to my day! Sometimes, people have no idea what a small gesture can do for someone else who just might be having a bad day. A smile, or a kind deed can really make the difference! I asked for her name, so I could write a letter about her kind deed, and her supervisor overheard me doing it. I gave her the "thumbs up", and told the supervisor about her kindness. I'll follow up with a letter to Caribou Coffee too.
This painting was done last year, using Elegant Writer pens, which I LOVE. (Just click on this link and you can order them from Karlyn Holman.) Karlyn introduced me to Elegant Writer pens some years ago, and I find them so much fun!!! I've done many of these kinds of paintings. I call them Story paintings. They are very simple paintings, and are done totally free and easy with no forethought of what will be done. I do a contour drawing, and then smear the pen marks for shading on the people. A few glazes for depth, and they are done. "With an Angel's Help" is a story about simple good deeds helping others around them. These story paintings are usually 14" x 7" images and are available for $95. "Statuesque" (Day 28 of 30 Paintings in 30 Days) was also done using Elegant Writer pens.
Thursday, February 14, 2013
"Happy Valentine's Day"
For many years, I have hosted a painting group at my home studio, and every Valentine's Day, we would all paint only one handmade card and then, we would draw numbers to see which card we would get. Change is hard for me, but sadly, we finally had to stop meeting every Friday, due to "snow birds", teaching schedules, grandchildren duties, etc. The list goes on forever. We really LOVED painting together and sharing ideas, and critiquing each other's paintings. So, we changed our group to a Critique Group and we will be meeting seasonally, (4 times each year). I just realized this morning that this is the first year in about 15 years, that I didn't paint a Valentine painting. This one was painted several years ago, but I do like the abstract quality of it. Maybe I'll get time yet today, to paint a valentine painting. I love the romance of this holiday, and wish all my blog followers a very Happy Valentines Day!
Sunday, February 3, 2013
Can you believe it???!!! I'm done with the 30 paintings in 30 Day Challenge! This portrays my excitement for reaching that goal, I think. I did a contour drawing of some friends,, and then basically doodled with the Elegant Writer pen. I think this would make a great card! Now, all my friends are going to be wondering, "Is that me?" I'll never tell! What I learned from doing this 30 in 30 challenge:
1. Perserverance pays off!'
2. It is madatory that you have a very understanding family before attempting this.
3. Practice makes perfect! I am a better artist than I was 30 days ago!
4. Doing a series actually increases my imagination and creativity. I have so many more ideas of people to paint!
5. I lost weight during this challenge. Perhaps staying busy keeps me from snacking????
6. Balance is a must in my life from now on. Everything else fell by the way side this past month.
7. It really helps to have friends cheering you on during this huge undertaking. Thank you dear friends!
Now, what am I going to do with my time? Organize..... for one thing! Clean my studio, and I've made a new goal to create a 30 minute daily sketches every single day in the next year, starting now. I love doing those, and we all have 30 minutes every day! Hope you'll all keep checking in to see my blog. I enjoy staying in touch!
Saturday, February 2, 2013
"One of a Kind"
I'm interested in everyone's reaction to this painting. I think this may be my favorite of all 30! (It's either this one, or Day 19, "Girl with a Secret" or Day 16, "Sassy Girl". Maybe it's because I really enjoy the friendship of Carolyn, who approved me doing this painting of her. I love the way she's peering over the top of her glasses. Carolyn was one of the first people who I met when I taught in Springfield, Illinois last year. What a great community; Carolyn and her husband showed me around and hosted my husband and me one night at a local restaurant. I named this "one of a kind", because we artists definitely dance to our own drummer, and I kind of feel sorry for all those who aren't artists, don't you? Carolyn has a real zest for life, and enjoys every minute of painting. And I think she just might crunch in as much fun into one day as I do!!! We artists have the luxury of seeing any object as beautiful, even when someone else might just walk right by it, OR even call it junk. I like that I have influenced my husband to be more aware of things, due to seeing things through my eyes. I love it when we are out for a hike, and he will be the one to mention the color of the sky or pick up a simple little flower and admire it for it's simple beauty. Anyway, this painting is pure watercolor, so I might enter it in the Transparent Watercolor Show next year. How cool would that be if this would get accepted? This painting is 10" x 10" image.
Friday, February 1, 2013
Thursday, January 31, 2013
"A Real Cowboy"
Growing up on a ranch in Montana, I've seen many cowboys, my brother being one of them. He rode bucking broncos in rodeos and still to this day, talks like a cowboy. He has a great sense of humor, and that was one thing that I wanted to portray in this painting.
I used my past painting from Day 23 as my model for the cowboy, just added the holster, hat and spurs. You would think that would have made this an easy painting, but because I didn't have a value study to work from or a color scheme in mind, I really struggled with this one. Thank goodness for a toothbrush to scrub out mistakes. I began with a blue/green color scheme in mind, but half way through, I decided that I wanted the sky to be a dark value, so glazing produced the purple/red color. I like the color scheme now, but it took me 2 full hours longer than it had to, just because I wasn't prepared ahead of time. Lesson learned! My favorite part of this painting is the way I hid the word "cowboys" on the left side, and how it repeats the feeling of the fence.
This painting is 10" x 10" image, and is available for $125.
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
"Climbing to the Top"
I felt like doing an abstract painting today, and I have to confess, there's a national show deadline coming up and I really want to enter an acrylic in it. So, I read the rules, and found out that collage is approved in this show, but it has to be handmade, and it can only be 20% of the painting. I have quite a few collage papers that I made some time ago, after watching the Anne Bagby DVD . It was fun grabbing some of them and adding them to my painting. I really love collage, and I like using magazines and purchased papers too, but couldn't use those this time, due to the rules. If you've been following my blog during this 30 in 30 Challenge, you know that I stated that all of my paintings have to be people paintings. If you look closely at this painting, you'll see the figure at the top right. It is my intention that you won't see the person, till you study the painting for awhile. It reminded me of a person climbing to the top of his career goals, hence the title. This painting is 14" x 14" image, matted to 20" x 20".
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
"First 25 Paintings"
Can you believe it? I'm 25 days into this challenge, heading down the home stretch! I discovered a really cool website, www.picmonkey.com which allows you to drag photos from your picture file and create a collage. However, I can't figure out how to create 30 on one poster, so we'll see if I get that done by day 30! This challenge has taught me so much. Perserverance, need for balance in my life, gratitude, creativity, and every day, I can see improvement in my paintings! My house has suffered, my kids and grandkids haven't seen very much of me, not to mention my husband! We've been eating a lot of restaurant food too. But, all in all, I'm so glad that I did this!!! I'm also very glad to be almost done, and get balance back in my life. Nobody said this was going to be easy! Thanks to all of you who have been following me in this challenge, and who have cheered me on!
Monday, January 28, 2013
My intention was to start a full sheet acrylic painting today, but then decided to do my 10" x 10" painting first, and work out the colors in it. After completing this painting, I'm still undecided about my colors for my big painting. One thing I will change about the full sheet is to eliminate many of the small shapes, and to unify shapes more. Don't get me wrong. I like this painting, it's just not one that I would enter in a national competition. As it was snowing outside... yet again..... I craved Spring flowers, so I decided to paint them. Then I got caught up in watching golf on TV, and so the second painting didn't happen today. This painting is available for $125.
Sunday, January 27, 2013
"Big Shoes to Fill"
Today's painting is to pay tribute to all those husbands and fathers out there. My husband is a real keeper, and this is especially for him. Dick is such a great supporter of my art and even though he is the main bread winner in our family, he always makes me feel so special. When he used to help me out at outdoor art fairs, he even wore the name tag, "Mr. Karen Knutson". Here he is, a very accomplished businessman, and he's making me queen for the day, actually queen EVERY DAY! I like the design in this piece, with an abstract F in the background to symbolize father, and the papers piled on the table, because Dick does so much paper work for everyone in our family. Taxes, bookwork, receipts, banking. I used one of my 30 minute studies for my reference, so this painting was a pretty easy one today. The image size is 10" x 10" and will be a gift for my husband. I will be making cards out of it, though if you would be interested. They will be available for $10 for a package of 4.
Friday, January 25, 2013
"Doing the Happy Dance"
Today's painting was done in honor of my friend, Connie, who had her last chemo treatment today. She's doing the "happy dance", and has visions of long glorious hair growing back in the future. This has been a long difficult journey of many trips to doctors, some good news days, some bad news days, and
many anxious days awaiting news from tests. Connie taught me so much about "taking lemons and making lemonade out of them". I'm going to make cards out of this painting, and she will get the first one. Thank you, God, for protecting my dear friend during this healing time. Connie is a gifted artist and also writes great poetry. Here's a link to her blog: http://conniecuthbertson.blogspot.com/ This watercolor painting is done in the illusionary painting method and is size 10" x 10".
"Girl with Attitude"
Guess I shouldn't be surprised that this isn't one of my favorites. I kind of had a bad attitude today, myself. So, it stands to reason that the girl that I painted would have both hands on her hips, with a real attitude. I'm needing a break today, but did my challenge painting anyway. I so enjoyed doing an abstract yesterday, that I think I'll go back to that tomorrow. I have learned so much during this challenge, and am very thankful that I'm doing it, but I look forward to the finish line!
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
"Girl with a Secret"Nearly 2 years ago, I visited a coffee house in Texas, and saw this girl wearing a fun scarf, and I asked her if I could take her photo so that I could paint her. Wonder what she would think of the way that I abstracted her image? Again, being influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright, this painting was a pleasure to paint from start to finish. However, it took 8 hours to paint! For my reference, I used a color sketch that I had done while I was in Texas. I'm finding that my 30 minute sketches are so valuable as I do this 30 day challenge. This painting is 10" x 10" image.
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
I have several friends who are having health problems right now, so I felt the need to paint a painting that expressed optimism and hope. I think this girl looks so optimistic, with waves of good energy surrounding her. I used a napkin for my color guide, with great greens, turquoise, oranges, and reds. I believe in the power of optimism and that even in times of crisis, things will get better quicker if you keep a positive attitude. My prayers go out to all my friends who are going through a rough time right now. This painting is 10" x 10" image, and is available for $125.
Monday, January 21, 2013
"Distance between Friends"
Again using a design sketch from last year, I found myself recalling wonderful memories between myself and 3 other friends who paint together once per year. The story behind this painting might make you wonder about me, but this is a true story. At that time, I was in the habit of doing 30 minute sketches every day, and even though we were in the Happy Hour of our time together, I grabbed my sketch book and pen and just let myself make up a scene without a plan. As I was sketching the people, I thought how odd that I had sketched 5 people, when there were only 4 of us there at the Paint-in. Then, in studying it further, I saw that the 3 people were separated by a fence from the other 2 people. The truth was that one of my friends sho was at the Paint-in, actually was traveling back and forth every day, visiting her husband in the hospital, and therefore, wasn't able to participate in our Paint-in very much. I truly had nothing in mind when I started this sketch, and look what came out of my subconscious! I'm thinking that the 2 houses in the background must be the fact that Janice was going from our house to the hospital every day. Wow, spooky!!! To see my design sketch, click on this link.http://karenknutson.blogspot.com/2012/01/goals-for-new-year.html This painting is 10" x 10" image, and is available for $125. I intend to paint a huge painting of this image.
Sunday, January 20, 2013
This is my personal favorite of all my people paintings in the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge. I taught an illusionary workshop this weekend, and really loved the class. This was my demo for the group, although I didn't finish the details till tonight, when I got home. Good karma really makes a difference in the outcome of my paintings. Like when I'm up at the North Shore of Lake Superior, I'm at such peace, that my paintings usually turn out. This class created the same inspiration. So many laughs we had and they were all so eager to learn. The only complaint I have is that it was far too short. We neede more time! This painting is image 7" x 11".
Saturday, January 19, 2013
I tried to do an easy painting today, since I am preparing for my illusionary workshop also, which is this weekend. So, I grabbed a design sketch and thought, "this will be easy." 3 hours later, I finally finished! I'm happy with the design in this painting though. Notice how many times I repeated the martini glass shape? Even behind the man I showcased his head by putting a big martini glass shape. I will do this bigger someday in acrylics. This watercolor painting is 10" x 10" and is available for $95.