Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Exciting news! Artist of the Day on Streamline Productions Facebook!


On this Thursday, May 21st at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time Zone, I am the featured Artist of the Day on Streamline Productions Facebook page.  Be sure to mark your calendar and tune in!  I will be there to answer any of your questions as the video progresses.  This video explains the charcoal pour process and then how to collage and paint a bird in watercolor.  Lots of design tips as well.  Hope you will be enticed to buy the video!
Here's the link to watch it:

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Good Design is the blueprint for success!

Lately, I've had lots of emails and requests from students needing help with good design. They say that they have a good handle on texture and color, but they don't know how to finish their paintings.  I believe that good design has to be established BEFORE starting a painting.  It's like the foundation of a house.  A strong structure to support the house. 

Here's a great Design Exercise that will help you get started:  Using mat corners, crop into a photograph to about 2" x 2", until you like the abstract shapes.  (You can also cut out L shaped papers and use them for the mat corners.). The thing that you look for is high contrast and big simple shapes, in looking for the cropped room photo.  Below is the line drawing I did based on the cropped photo.   I like either the lights or darks to connect.  Turn your sketch all 4 ways to make sure that it is balanced.  Do a value study, using only a mid tone and the white of the paper.  This will force you to simplify the study.  I add the darkest darks within the shaded mid tone later on. 

I like to use a continuous line that is the shapes of the dark shapes in this photo.  Now that you have the line drawing, try coloring in the center section as pictured below on the left.  OR.... you could shade in the corners, leaving a light shape that connects the viewer to all 4 sides. (See on the lower right.)   Notice that this practice gives you limited shapes. I count 6 in all!  You will know that you have a good design if all the corners are different sizes and there is good repetition and variation.  I hope this clears up some of the design questions.  I find it so different that the left and the right ones are from the same drawing shown above.

Monday, May 4, 2020

Deep Thoughts

"Deep Thoughts"        Image:  8" x 10"

This painting is pretty deep.  The figures in the center are my husband and I, holding my broken heart.  The dark figures on the left are my mom and the other residents in the memory care unit where she is residing now, (a 10 hour drive away) with no visitors allowed.  The figure on the right depicts the Corona Virus and how it is stealing our time with our loved ones.  Much love to all of you as we all struggle with this horrible time in our lives.  I'm very thankful to have a patient husband, loving friends and family, and my artwork to help work out my frustrations. Stay safe....

So, below are the steps to this painting, that I used only 3 colors:  New Gamboge, Winsor green (blue shade), and alizarin crimson.  Very unusual colors for me.  I scrubbed out some lights at the end, using masking tape to block it off.  I also cropped so that it would be better design.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Good Days Ahead!

Our Easter Sunday was cold and snowing all day.  We ended up getting about 5 inches of snow.  But today, we woke up to sunny skies, and it honestly was a beautiful scene.  Our lake is the most beautiful shade of Antwerp blue with the sky being cerulean blue, and the shadows on the snow are so striking!   The moral of this story is-  sometimes, we have to have some gloomy days, so we will appreciate the beautiful ones!  It got me to thinking about our present situation and how dismal it seems, but we have to hold onto hope that tomorrow will be a better day!  So, here's hoping you are having a great day, and maybe I can give you some inspiration to keep painting!
Easter weather on the left.    One day later, on the right!

I thought I would take photos as I progressed through an illusionary painting.  Hope it will inspire you to give this process a try.  I only used 3 colors throughout this painting.   I used quinacridone gold (DS),  Red Rose Deep (DaVinci) and Antwerp Blue (WN).  Watch for future workshops if you want more instruction.  This process is called Illusionary Painting and it is pure watercolor.  This image is 7.5" x 7.5".

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Using your Camera as a Tool

Bay Preserve, Osprey, FL      Plein air painting
11" x 15"  Watercolor on paper
This is a painting that I did while in Florida, plein air painting.  That means that I painted it on location.  It was a beautiful sunny day.  I have grown to LOVE plein air painting.  I remember smells, sounds, everything about that day, just by looking at the painting, after much time has passed.  At this time of the Covid 19, I'm especially thankful for those times and look forward to good times ahead when I get to be with my artist friends again.  This painting is not actually done yet.  I need to increase the values  of the mid tones and put the darkest darks where I want the viewer to look.  Do you know how I discovered that?  I use a camera app called PencilSketch, when I am 3/4 finished with my paintings.  Then I turn it to "sketch" to see if I have a connection of my values, and a clear light pathway.  Below is the picture from PencilSketch. I like the grouping of values, but there should be darker darks to really add "Wow" to your painting.  Check out this app.  I LOVE it!

Monday, March 30, 2020

New painting, "Hope"

10" x 10" watercolor   $125
In this time of social distancing, I think we all need hope.  I've really had to dig deep to get myself out of the blues, and I know many of you might be in the same boat.  Thankfully, I'm back to feeling good again, mentally.  If you still are struggling, my advice is to reach out to friends doing FaceTime calls or I discovered a Zoom app that is fantastic for big groups of people.  The other thing that I'm doing is taking one or 2 walks per day, trying to schedule them when the sun is the brightest. Vitamin D is so healthy for us!  But I really believe that the thing that made the difference for me, was exercising to a Facebook site, Planet Fitness, with the trainer, Erica.  I can't keep up with her at this time, but I'm hopeful that each time, I will get better and stronger.  It's free, and has a connection with TV show, The Biggest Loser.  Who knows?  Maybe I will lose a few pounds too, but the main reason I'm committing to this is that it helps my mental health.
Now, let's talk about my painting.  This is a watercolor color study , using only 3 colors: WN raw umber, Hobein Pyrole Orange, and WN Antwerp.   The process is shown if you look back at my blog on Sept. 1, 2018.  Or you can type in "color studies" in the search box at the top of my blog and that will bring you to all posts that involve color studies.  Adding words makes it really difficult and I fly by the seat of my pants for that.  Have a great week everyone, and be safe; stay home!

Friday, March 27, 2020

There IS HOPE!

Little Landscapes (5 minute paintings)

I promised myself that during this “Social Distancing”, that I would get my blog going again, maybe offering inspiration to those of you out there that might need a little art hug!  The truth is that I, myself have been going through a deep depression.  Not just from this, but because of so many things leading up to this. I had 3 flights back and forth our rental house in Florida, to Spearfish, SD to help my parents move into 2 different care centers.  And then on Feb. 24th, with my sister and I holding his hand by his bedside, Dad passed on to heaven.  He was such a kind, gentle soul, and I miss him so much.  My mom had been moved into a Memory Care Unit a few days before that.  We also lost Dick’s uncle and went to his funeral in early March.  It’s especially hard right now, because the nursing home, where my mom resides now, is under quarantine. I really would love to hug her lots right now.  So…. You can see it’s been a LOT to handle.  We left Florida and drove home to Minneapolis in only 2 days, driving 14 hours each day.  We arrived home on March 18th.  We actually had rented a home in Florida till mid April, but decided we’d rather be home in MN, if they didn’t allow travel. 
In this present Corona Virus time, I did all the normal things that others were doing.  Trying to stay busy, but I really couldn’t bring myself out of the blues until yesterday.  I went for walks once or twice each day and made myself paint, but only could do little 5” x 7” paintings.  So, I only lasted about 30 minutes each day in my studio. And the rest of the time, was vegging on the couch in front of the Hallmark channel.  If you are in my boat, all I can say, is keep in touch with your friends and family.  There are many FaceTime apps that make it so fun to see your family.  We used Zoom the other night and it really brightened my day.  I also have added doing exercises along with Erica on Planet Fitness Facebook page.  That is a good one!  I actually had wet hair and a very red face when I was done.  And it truly helped me feel better.  So, I can honestly say that I am digging myself out of this deep black hole.
All I want to say is, keep making yourself paint.  Find something that you did years ago that you really loved and you were successful with.  I’m posting my little 5” x 7” paintings today, so you can see those.  If you do a search on my blog, for Little Landscapes, you should find instructions for them.  It's on December 18, 2018.  I plan to send my little paintings to the residents at my mom’s nursing home.  I hope it brightens their day.  We will get through this, with all of us helping one another.  It's a great time to send cards to friends going through hard times.  Just an idea.  Love and Art Hug to you all! 

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just a quick note to wish all my blog followers a Happy Thanksgiving!! I’m so thankful for all my artist friends. Without your support and encouragement, I would be a lost soul. You all add so much joy to my life!

I'm offering a 2 Day Abstract Acrylic workshop on December 10 and 11th (Tuesday and Wednesday), in my home studio, Eden Prairie, MN, with the main feature being Wire Drawing.  The proceeds of this workshop will go to the Holman family, in memory of my dear friend, Karlyn Holman, who passed away recently.  We will start by learning wire drawing, then how to apply it to abstract drawings, and lastly how to use it in our acrylic paintings.  If interested, please contact me at:  karen@karenknutson.com
This is bound to fill very fast.  The price is $240.  I already have 3 spots spoken for.  Don't delay.

There was a follower who contacted me to ask if she could come to my studio during Thanksgiving. I lost that request, so if it’s you, please contact me again. I’m open to visitors.  Happy Thanksgiving to you all!!

Saturday, September 21, 2019

30 minute daily sketches, AGAIN!

"A Guiding Force"

I just finished teaching at Autumn Art Workshops in Aurora, NE.  They have 4 instructors there at the same time, so Soon Warren, David Lobenberg https://lobenbergart.comDavid Mensing, and myself were the instructors for this year.  It's great fun to see what the other classrooms are up to!  I was honored to be chosen by Autumn Art Workshops and be among such great artists as David L., Soon, and David M.  I had a fabulous time!  Great friendships were made!  Look them up Autumn Art Workshops and consider going next year!
I told the class how important 30 minute daily sketches are!  So, I'm taking my own advice and starting up again.  Odd to be starting on Sept. 19th, on a Thursday, but that's how I roll.  No Monday or 1st of the month for me!  :)  This time, I'm going to write a couple of sentences about the day by each sketch so that I will have a diary of sorts.  I'm committing to 3 months, but I wouldn't be surprised if I keep it up longer than that.  This truly does make me a better artist!  I can see the growth after only one month in my sketchbooks of the past.  I keep my sketches to 30 minutes for 2 reasons:  1. I don't have any excuse about not having enough time that day and 2. It will make me get the simple shapes in there.  Since I tend to do so much detail, this is a protective measure for myself.  Hope you all will decide to join me!  I use these as studies for bigger paintings.  Can't wait to paint this one!

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Living your Best Life- Finding Balance!

Little Abbeys  (5" x 7" small abstracts)
Full disclosure:  I've started a new diet and welcome you to join me if you feel so inclined.  I've let myself go due to stress, poor management of time, and disorganization.  So, I'm eating mainly protein and green vegetables now.  Hoping to get the sugar cravings out of my head!  This is DAY 2 and I'm feeling empowered!  So far, so good!  It just feels so good to have a plan.  The other promise I've made to myself is to take a 30 minute walk EVERY DAY.  No excuses.  Just do it.  I always feel better afterwards, and we have so many beautiful places here in Minneapolis to walk.  Yesterday, I walked in Excelsior, along Lake Minnetonka and it felt so good to be outdoors in the open air, watching a guy throw a frisbee for his dog to retrieve, seeing young families at the beach....and even getting a little out of breath felt good! By the way, have I mentioned that our daughter is getting married in a month, so that deadline is a great motivator for me too!  :)  My master plan includes staying busy and trying to organize and think ahead.   Many new paintings will be done, I'm sure!  I make a menu for the following day, so I'm one day ahead.

My studio is being prepared for 2 upcoming home studio workshops that I will be teaching next week.  Little abbeys are so fun to paint and they really teach me to think of the important design principles of a painting.  They are my warm-ups when I haven't been painting for awhile.  If you'd like to get on my student list, send me your email, and I will inform you of future workshops.


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