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"

"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.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Living your life with gratitude



I just returned from a trip to Austin, TX, where Creative Catalyst (now called Streamline Production Inc) filmed 2 videos of my painting process. The painting above, “Enduring Love”, is one of the videos.  It’s a story about a couple with the orbits of love coming their way.  And even tho there might be some hard times mixed in with the good, they lived their life with gratitude. I’ve heard several stories lately about friends who are grateful, even in tough times. It truly is a good practice. Finding the good in situations brings more goodness into your life, and makes us healthier and happier.
Check out my website soon (www.karenknutson.com) to get in on the early bird discount for my videos. The first one is a charcoal pour process.  You will love it!

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

30 minute sketches- a good habit


I am so saddened by the fire of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. I decided to do a quick 30 minute sketch of the building. We were there in 2013 and I worked from my photo. Perspective is not one of my strong suits and in doing this, I learned that I need lots more practice. That’s how we learn and that’s how we get better. One habit that I have achieved is doing a 30 minute sketch every day. You might ask “why only 30 minutes”?  It keeps me from getting too detailed and eliminates the excuse that I don’t have time that day. This habit has been the best thing that I do to grow as an artist. I have told many students about this and a few of them have joined me.  We have a private Facebook page and we post every day. Many of them are on Day 300 by now. I’m so proud of them. And I have seen such growth in their artwork. So, now...I challenge you! I really hope you will try this even for a week. You won’t regret it.

My challenge to myself is to work on more buildings where I can improve my perspective skills. I am starting to enjoy painting Plein air and this will come in handy. I shouldn’t be afraid to work with perspective. I’m excited to grow!  Below is my photo reference.





Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Plein Air Painting- A Challenge and a Privilege!

"Beach Fun"  Image: 11" x 15"
Watercolor  $150

I painted with the Peace River Painters yesterday.  I'm enjoying plein air painting (painting outdoors) so much!  What a glorious way to enjoy the warmth of the sunshine and remember the day.  When I look back at my plein air paintings, I always remember the day's events, the sounds around me, and the smells in the air.  Every detail of that day comes back to me!  We were at Blind Pass Beach in Englewood, FL. When I arrived at 9:00 a.m., there were only a few beach people,  but it didn't take long for the beach to become packed!  Quite a change from the time I started to sketch.  One thing that I learned long ago, is to take a photo from my painting view point right away, because things will change.  It's a little like watching an ant farm when I sat there, painting the people at the beach.  Constant movement.  What I'm most excited about, is that my own style is coming out when I paint outdoors.  I used to paint traditionally, but now I start with a paper with an abstract design on it and work the scene into that!  

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Being Prepared- the secret to success!

"Stepping into the Light",    Image 15" x 22"
acrylic on paper.    $1200 framed
I'm the last one to preach about being organized and prepared, but as I continue my journey as a professional artist, I find that my most successful times always are when I'm prepared.  Today, I printed out a calendar of the upcoming months and marked the deadlines of upcoming shows, because I missed a couple of important show that I had wanted to enter!  UGH!!!  So, I keep trying to be more organized.
Today, Dick and I went down to Carney's, an Irish Pub in downtown Venice to properly celebrate St. Patrick's Day.  I told him that I thought we should be early so that we could get a good table and listen to Irish music while having a Reuben and a green margarita.  Good plan, right? Well.....there was a car show in the main parking lot, so we had to park many blocks away.  Then we arrived at 11:10, and they said to eat inside, we would need to pay a $10 per person cover charge.  I thought, no problem, it's worth it.  Got sat down and asked the waiter when the music would start and it was at 2:00!  So, we enjoyed our lunch, without live music, like I'd hoped, and then left knowing we had just paid an extra $20 for nothing!  So, going forward, we will call ahead and find out all the details!  On a good note, we now have 2 plastic green top hats and some green beads for our grandkids to play with.  :)
The painting above was well thought out.  I did 2 different value sketches and worked out the problems on those.  Below is the one that I decided to go with.  These types of paintings develop stories as they go along.  This one is about the challenges in life.  If you are having one of those challenges, get help, but most importantly, do it for YOURSELF.  Until you realize that you matter, no amount of friends or family will make the difference.  You matter and you are loved!



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