Karen Knutson paints in mixed media, trying to make her paintings fun and easy. A wide range of subjects, including landscapes, figures, collage, abstracts, florals, and birds. Many lessons are included on this blog to encourage her art students. Teaching across the country makes her life a great journey.
I’ve been painting figures lately that are
neither male nor female.They symbolize
hope and triumph of the human soul.This
painting evolved into very tall figures, so I named it“Standing Tall”.If you know my family, we
are all tall, so I was probably influenced by genetics here. It had been awhile since I had painted in acrylics. I always go back to my notes from the workshop that I took from Carol Barnes, and love to start my acrylic paintings with wild abandon. I took a workshop from Carol Barnes at Springmaid Beach in Myrtle Beach, SC many years ago, and she really taught me a lot about acrylics. I had done many 30 minute sketches of these 2 figures, and after picking one of them, I drew my design on the wild background, using chalk. This painting turned out to be one of my favorites. I have several friends who are facing health challenges, and so I was thinking of them when I did this painting. I believe anything is possible with the help our faith and our friends. Hope is such an important feeling to hold close to our hearts! I entered this painting into the AWS (American Watercolor Society) Exhibition which is held in New York. Wish me luck!
I just realized that I forgot to post that I had won second place award at the Northstar Watercolor Society Fall Show, for my painting, "Sailing Through Life". I truly believe that if I hadn't taken the time for a value and color sketch, this painting would not have turned out as well. I'd like to talk a little bit about the importance of a plan as we paint. Whether you're the type of artist who flies by the seat of their pants, or one who likes a plan beforehand, SOMETIME during that painting, you need to stop and make a plan! I'm the type who likes to have the plan to start with; but I have been known to start very free and wild, and then, 3/4 of the way through the painting, I will make a value sketch where either my medium or light values connect. Plus I try to combine shapes, so that I have as few shapes as possible, making for a stronger painting. I really LOVE making color sketches, using Tombow markers in my little 6" x 6" sketchbook. Another trick that I use is to take a photo of my painting, then copy and paste it into Microsoft Word. Then click in the middle of the photo, and pick Format. Then pick the black and white version of that photo. This isn't a gray scale. It's where the values below a value 4 become white and those above a value 6 become black. This truly shows where you might need to combine shapes, or simplify busy shapes. It also spells out whether your painting is balanced. I love using the computer as a "spell check" for values. What ever did I do before all the wonderful technology?