Saturday, February 13, 2021

Announcing New Zoom class- Little Abbeys (small abstracts)

Announcing NEW Zoom class!

My Zoom Little Abbey workshop is posted on my home page of my website, with a link to sign up. Only taking 25 students. It is $65 and will be on March 2. (10:00 -4:00 Eastern time) This is filling fast! Be sure to get your place today!

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Gelli Print papers


This is totally collage. I made the collage papers using a Gelli printing plate. It is such fun, but fair warning, it’s very addictive!  Before you know it, a whole day is gone and your studio floor will be filled with papers in process. I usually try to make analogous colored papers with a few complementary colored ones. Then I start by collaging with the mid tones and big shape onto a Strathmore watercolor paper, using acrylic matte medium. The last thing to collage is the whites and black shapes.  Lastly, I use both black and white permanent markers fir adding detail.  There are many tutorage videos on YouTube about Gelli printing. Below are the handmade papers I used in this painting. 

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Simplicity- a great design principle

"Just out of Reach"  Acrylic
Image:  18" x 13 

This painting was finished the first time, (haha) about 2 months ago.  I thought I liked it, but upon judging it more, I realized that it was far too busy, so I simplified it.  The design in this piece was established by drawing a wire drawing in an abstract manner.  
I love to use Iphone apps to check up on my design.  One of them that I love is called PencilSketch and another one that I like is called Notanizer.   The one on the left is from PencilSketch and the one on the right is from Notanizer, using 4 levels (white, light, medium and dark values)  I can see if I need to choose a different color or perhaps add a glaze to unify a section, just by looking at these apps, when I think I'm getting to the last steps of the painting.  

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Plein Air Painting Tips


"Spearfish Creek"   5" x 7" watercolor
Available for $75, matted to 8" x 10".

Lately, I've had many students asking for design help with their paintings.  Especially when I Plein Air paint, the first thing that I do is to find the lights in the scene and then find a way to connect them.  I knew in the above painting that my center of interest was the strong light hitting the lime green tree mass.  I started there with my light pathway.  Then I exaggerated the lights hitting the water, so that those lights would lead up to the trees.  The sky is the other light value. I shortened the background trees so that I could have a light sky showing.   This week, I plan to do many different versions of the below photo and see if I can make the light pathway even more interesting.  I'd love it if you would join me. Just make sure that your lights connect.  Notice the black and white that checks up on my values of my painting.  

Black and white to show my values.                                                       Original photo

Friday, August 7, 2020

Plein Air Painting Tips


"Plein Air in Excelsior"   Watercolor,   11" x 15"   $195

Since the pandemic, I have been embracing Plein Air painting (painting outdoors on location) so that I can meet artist friends at a safe social distance.  Yesterday was a perfect day, and I set up on a corner, ready to tackle perspective!  Here's my tips about Plein Air painting.  Always take a photo from your painting position right away.  That way, if the shadows change, you can refer to it.  Also, when I got home, I printed off the photo, enlarged the house to be the size of my image on the painting, and traced it.  That way, I could "check" on myself to see how well I drew the image.  I actually did pretty good, except the the width of the windows were a little too wide, which doesn't matter in the finished painting.  The angle of the windows was spot on!  Yay! I usually draw the subject with pencil, come back and add my "wire drawing" lines with a permanent marker and then figure out where my light pathway will be.  See below to check out how my lights are connected throughout the painting.  The below image is how far I got on location, and spent about 30 minutes finishing it in my studio.  

(Work in Progress)

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Special surprise recipe! Chicken Piccata

During this pandemic, I've been cooking more than ever before, trying new recipes and actually enjoying cooking!  What???  My friends know that I've never been interested in culinary art, but now, I'm searching for things to fill my days, and since my husband and I used to love going out to eat, this is the next best thing till this pandemic is over!   We often cook together too, which I have to admit, I'm hoping Dick will love it so much that he will take over someday. (wink, wink)  I've decided that from time to time, I will be sharing some of my most favorite recipes.  And as a bonus, I am adding one of my latest paintings, just for kicks.  This painting is available for the first person to text me for only $50, half of my usual price!  This chicken dish is a combination of many different recipes that I found online, and I concocted my own version, based on our own tastes.  Hope you enjoy it! 
"Creative Energy"      7" x 11", watercolor and collage

"Chicken Piccata"

6 chicken thighs 

Flour (optional)

1/2 t. Kosher salt

1/2 t. Black pepper

3 T. Butter

1/2 c. Dry white wine

1/4 cup Capers, drained

3 or 4 t. minced or chopped garlic

1/3 t. thyme 

1 T corn starch

3/4 cup chicken broth

3 T. Fresh lemon juice and sliced lemon

3 Chopped green onions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Optional:  Coat chicken with flour lightly, if preferred.  Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.  Heat a skillet over medium high heat.  Using 3 T butter to pan, fry chicken for 5 minutes.  Turn chicken over. Cook 2 - 3 minutes.  Remove chicken from pan and place them in a 9 x 13 pan.  Baste chicken with some of the butter that is still in the skillet.   Add corn starch, wine, capers, garlic, 2 T. lemon juice, and thyme to skillet.  Cook 2 minutes till slightly thicker.   Add sauce to 9 x 13 pan, but try not to pour over the chicken, so that the chicken will remain crispy on top. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes till internal temp of the chicken should register 190- 200 degrees. (I put loose foil on top of the pan for the first 15 minutes, then removed it for the last 15 minutes to allow the chicken to get crispy.  Sprinkle evenly with green onion, garnish with sliced lemons.  Serve over jasmine rice. 

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Follow your own heart!

"Parley Lake Vineyards".  watercolor
11" x 14" image   $195
I started plein air painting (painting outdoors) 2 years ago, while wintering in Florida.  Last year, when I was painting with friends from Minnesota who were there vacationing, one of them said, "I can't wait to see what you do, Karen, with your abstract mind."  Till then, I had been painting traditional paintings while on location, and it really got me to thinking.  So, instinctively, I slashed a red color across the page, and then had to deal with it.  It gave me permission to be abstract!  From that day on, I've been painting like "myself" while outdoors, allowing myself to paint abstractly, and it opened up a whole new world to me.  This painting was done 2 weeks ago at a really cool vineyard in Excelsior, MN, that has countless possibilities for paintings.  My first obstacle was to try to draw the barn, using my perspective rules.  That was hard for me, but I felt like I did pretty well.  The thing about plein air paintings, is that upon viewing them, years later, you remember the sounds, who you were with, the temperature that day, everything!  You really are "in the moment".  That's one of my favorite things about plein air.  If you haven't tried it, please do consider it!  It truly will make you a better artist, and will get you out in nature too.  A tip from me:  I found out that I had to paint direct painting style.  Wetting the paper first didn't work for me.  Once I started just painting more directly  I liked the results better.  These end up being studies for larger studio paintings.  Below is the beginning stage of my painting.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Keep experimenting!

"Quirky Friends"   Acrylic
Accepted into the San Diego International 2020 Exhibition
This painting started by me doing a blind contour drawing onto tracing paper.  I did each girl separately and then held my finger on the side so that I could maybe position them where I wanted them.  Blind contour means that you do NOT look at your paper, and you don't lift your pencil.  It's a great way to loosen up and get some unusual free paintings.  I had done a really abstract beginning, using acrylic and when I traced my new drawing onto the underpainting,  I loved how the design cut through their faces.  And the outfits just painted themselves, looking like the one on the right had bare shoulder.  This was a total experiment for me, and was so much fun to do.  I definitely plan to do more!  Notice how the light pathway leads the viewer all through the painting.  That's always very important to me.  This painting was accepted into the San Diego International 2020 Exhibition, where there were 874 entries and juror, Michael Reardon, picked 100 paintings to be included in the show.  This is one of the top shows in the USA.  I'm honored to be a part of it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Free preview of my newest acrylic video!

More Exciting news!! Mark your calendar for this Thursday, June 18 , at 3:00 Eastern Time (2:00 Central Time zone) when Streamline Art Videos Facebook page wil be featuring part of my new acrylic video Karen Knutson: Fun with Acrylics!
We'll be broadcasting @ 3pm ET from the Streamline Art Video Facebook
page (
). I will be on hand to answer questions in the chat line. There is a great discount if you order the video on that day!

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:


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