Monday, December 26, 2016

Upcoming Workshops in Florida!

I'm excited to announce that I will be teaching in Cape Coral, FL on January 12- 14th, 2017.  This is the second time that I've taught in this location.  I love escaping the MN winters, so timing is everything!  Charcoal pour birds is one of the subjects.  This procedure is so fun.  We actually pour a big bucket of water on a watercolor surface that is sprinkled with charcoal powder.  The effect is so fun!  Also, I will be teaching how to paint like Gustav Klimt.  That technique involves scraping dots of acrylic, using a credit card.  The colors are so beautiful!  These two techniques are my most popular workshops.  Both paintings below started using the acrylic scraping technique!  Students send me paintings for months after each workshop.  Pretty fun! For information on the workshop, please contact  Marjorie Ewell   Phone:  239-945-3158   Email:

Monday, November 28, 2016

Save old brushes!

Murphy's Oil Soap with stiff brushes soaking in it
I know we've all done it....Left our acrylic brushes with paint on them, and then come back the next day only to discover them totally brittle and hard!  Did you know that you can still revive them?  Yes, you can!  Just stand them in a bottle of Murphy's Oil Soap for about a week.  Then, rinse them off, and it's a miracle!  They are soft as a baby's bottom once again!  Yes, it's magic!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Baking Bread, a lost art!

Hamburger buns, Caramel Rolls, Cinnamon Rolls, Swedish Tea Ring, and Cinnamon Leaf Ring
One of our favorite traditions is to eat left over Thanksgiving turkey with fresh homemade buns.  It had been several years since I'd made bread from scratch, but when my husband hinted this morning that he used to love it when we had fresh rolls, I decided to pamper him a little.  I triple the bread recipe, so that I can make breakfast rolls as well as hamburger buns.  And YES, I do spend all day doing this....Letting the yeast rise and waiting for the dough to double, and kneading it till it is the perfect elasticity.  Below is my Cinnamon Leaf Ring recipe.  It's delicious. Melts in your mouth!
Cinnamon Leaf Ring
Cinnamon Leaf Ring
From Karen Knutson (who got this recipe from the Farm Journal’s Country Cookbook)
350 degree oven

2 pkgs. active dry yeast
2 cups milk, scalded and cooled to warm
¾ cup shortening
¼ cup butter
½ cup sugar
2 t. salt
2 eggs, beaten
6 cups sifted flour
1 cup melted butter
2 Tablespoons cinnamon
2 cups sugar

Cream shortening and ¼ cup butter.  Add ½ cup sugar and salt. Cream until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, yeast, and enough flour to make a soft dough that leaves the side of the bowl.  Knead on floured surface until smooth and elastic.  Place in a greased bowl.  Cover and let rise until doubled (about 1 ½ hours).  Turn dough onto board.  Roll about ¼” thick.  Cut into rounds with a 2” biscuit cutter.  Dip in melted butter and dip in cinnamon and sugar mixture.  Place breads in a fan fashion in a buttered round pan.  Cover and let rise about 30 minutes.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes.  Makes 2 rings.  

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Being Thankful- Living in the Moment

My new favorite show is "This is Us", a show about diversity and acceptance of everyone's separate challenges.  It is heartwarming and sincere, and always teaches a life lesson in every episode. Not since "Downton Abbey", has a show captivated my attention like "This is Us". So, I replayed the speech of Randall's father, who is dying, so that we all can hold onto his words at this time of Thanksgiving.  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and friends and enjoy every minute!

Young beautiful Olivia asked her boyfriend's dying father, "How does it feel to be dying?"
The grandfather said, " It feels like all these beautiful pieces of life are flying around me and I'm trying to catch them.  And when my granddaughter falls asleep on my lap, I try to catch the feeling of her breathing against me.  And when I make my son laugh,  I try to catch the sound of him it rolls up from his chest....... But the pieces are moving faster now, and I can't catch them all.  I can feel them slip into my fingertips and soon what they used to granddaughter breathing and my son laughing....there will be ......NOTHING.  I know it feels like you have all the time in the world, but you don't. So stop playing it so cool.  Catch the Moments of your Life, and catch em while you're young and quick, because sooner than you know it, you'll be old and slow.  And there will be no more of them to catch.  And when I nice boy, who adores you, offers you pie, say Thank You."
I did this painting while in France many years ago, but thought that it fit Thanksgiving with the couple sitting at a table, sharing friendship. Available for  $245 matted only. 16" x 20". 

Saturday, October 29, 2016

"Every Trick in the Book" by Karen Knutson

"Every Trick in the Book"  $395
Original watercolor and collage,  Image:  15" x 21"
This painting was inspired from the little abbey (my nickname for small abstracts) below.  I talked about it in my last blog.  To enlarge the little abbies, you must think about big shapes and also be willing to do multiple glazes to make the values darker.  Otherwise, the process is very much the same as the little abbies.  We start by mimicking the little abbey, but then, we let the painting talk to us, and put the little abbey away.  There are collage papers in this painting that I made by creating a charcoal pour.  I know that the students are going to LOVE this process.  We actually throw a big bucket of water on the paper that has charcoal powder on it.  I named it "Every Trick in the Book", because it has lessons on the drip process, collage, masking, making a charcoal pour, glazing, unifying color, and ending with Tulip black outliner paint.  I'm teaching an abstract watercolor/ collage workshop on November 1-3 at the Lakeville Center for the Arts.  It's one of the few local workshops that I teach anymore.  To sign up, contact Suzi McArdle
612-281-6781.  There are only 2 spots remaining, so act quickly! 
Little abbey (5" x 7")

Monday, October 24, 2016

"Little abbies"- a great way to get back into good painting habits!"

"Pulling at my Heart Strings"
Image:  5" x 7"  Original watercolor and collage
     I first have to apologize to you for being absent so long from my blog.  It's been a busy summer, and that's a good thing.  However, I need to balance my life so I can keep up on my blog and website.  We'll see how well I do in the future.  I will TRY!
     I'm preparing for a workshop that I will be teaching in Lakeville, MN on Nov. 1 - 3rd.  It's abstract watercolor and collage.  It's been 2 years since I've painted a little abbey (my nickname for small abstracts),  but I remembered the process, just like getting back on a bike after a long hiatus.
The thing that is so neat about "little abbies" is that it teaches you such good painting habits!  And when you're done, you have a study that can be used as a warm up for a larger painting!  If you'd like to learn how to paint these AND how to turn these gems into larger paintings, learning lots of design tips along the way, sign up by contacting Suzi McArdle
612-281-6781.  This is put on through the Minnesota Watercolor Society.  There are still a few openings.  Guaranteed to loosen you up and learn how to be a better painter, in whatever style or subjects you do!
     I will be posting the bigger painting (that was inspired by this little abbey) in the next few days. 
Below are the steps.
1. Dry brush analogous colors in a cruciform pattern.
2. Add collage pieces.
3. Paint a unifying color.
4. Add black.
5. Add embellishments.
step 1 and 2


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Sketch of Farm Site

"Lead Me Home"         $125
Image:  11" x 13"    Watercolor and gel medium
Today, I experimented with acrylic gel medium to prepare the surface before starting my watercolor.  I love to try new things to keep my mind fresh and learn new things.  It was fun to see the resist and it added a painterly quality to my painting that I've been striving for lately.  I really like the design of this painting, but can't wait to try more, using this technique and see if the process is easier the second time around.  I'm getting ready for a workshop at Dillman's Resort (in northern WI) and I was trying to keep this painting very simple; a beginning painting for the first day of the workshop.  It was hard for me not to keep going to weave some intricate designs into this, but I slapped my hand and called it a day.  Dillman's Resort is a very picturesque resort tucked into a forest of evergreen trees, located on a beautiful lake- a great place to unwind and totally immerse yourself into your art.  To read more about my workshop, follow this link.   I will be teaching abstract landscapes done with charcoal pours, acrylic layering, and lots of exciting textures.  This will definitely open up your imagination to all of your other artwork as well!  Hope you can join us!!!!  It runs from June 20 - 23rd, with the welcome on June 19th.  There's a concert there on the opening night;  a nice bonus for us!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Funky Lady Workshop in Gladstone, MI

Paintings by the students in Gladstone, MI
I just returned from teaching a fun filled workshop in Gladstone, MI where we painted funky ladies on the first day, charcoal pour birds on the second day, AND people done in the Gustav Klimt manner on the third day.  They did terrific; so eager to learn anything that I threw at them.  When I teach the funky lady workshops, I love the giggling that goes on in the room.  Students throw out their fears and just go at it.  I always tell them that it doesn't matter if you get the features correct, that in fact, it makes them better if they are not perfect.  So, their imaginations go wild and they have a ball! I will also be teaching this process in Cross Lake, MN on September 26-28. Contact me if you are interested in getting more information.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

"One of those Days"

"One of those Days"  $75
6.5" x 9.5"  Watercolor 
Sometimes, it's fun to escape the usual routine and just paint for fun!  This is one of my funky ladies.  I named it "One of those Days", because her crown is falling, her hair is messy and she's just feeling not quite like herself.  We've all been there, right?  I'm teaching in Kiawah Island, SC next week, and we are painting funky ladies one day.  Can't wait to see what they all come up with.  It's always a blast with lots of giggling.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

"Where the Heart is"  11" x 15"
$295    watercolor and charcoal
My heart tugs toward for country life, since I was raised on a ranch in Montana.  Whenever I paint a country scene, I want to go home to my family ranch.  This painting started as a charcoal pour.  This is a fun process where you prepare the paper using charcoal powder, and you actually throw a big bucket of water on the paper to make the charcoal powder do it's magic.  Below is the beginning of this painting.  I'm teaching Abstract Landscapes at Dillman's Resort(4 day workshop in June 20 -- 23, 2016.) I will be demonstrating abstract landscapes on this Sunday, April 17th, at 3:30 at the Hopkins Center for the Arts, 1111 Mainstreet, Hopkins, MN 55343 (Suburb of Minneapolis). There will be many other demonstrations starting at 1:00. Come early and spend the day! This is a FREE event! 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

"Tell me no LIes"- Wire Drawing #20!

"Tell me no Lies"  10" x 7" image,  $50
Ink on Paper,
It's the last day in March, and finally, I have completed 20 wire drawings, so I'm ready to make them into an adult coloring book!  Yippee! I did this one last night, as a redo of an earlier painting that I did a couple of years ago.  It is pictured below.
 It always amazes me when I do funky ladies, how they develop their own personalities in their eyes and seem to be speaking to me.  This one is a shy girl who has had some hard times, and therefore has lost trust.  She looks hopeful though, for the future.
"The Morning After"   SOLD
Watercolor on paper

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

From Wire Drawing to Colored Painting

Wire Drawing (sold)
"The Highest Power I"  18" x 14"
$795,   Acrylic on Paper

What an adventure this has been for me.  I absolutely LOVE doing wire drawings.  And they serve as great value studies so that I can go on to painting colored paintings.  "The Highest Power" has been accepted into the Minnesota Watercolor Society Exhibition, which will be featured at the Arboretum,  3675 Arboretum Drive, Chaska, MN 55318.  The show runs from April 7th till June 30th.  I did this colored version, using acrylics in the same manner as I described in my blog from January 26, 2015.  It's so fun to squirt paint on the surface of the paper, and then scrape those colors, using a credit card.  I will be teaching this procedure at the White Bear Center for the Arts on August 16-18, 2016.  To register, call White Bear Center for the Arts, Center for the Arts •  Phone 651.407.0597.  It is located at 4971 Long Avenue, White Bear Lake, MN 55110 • Tuition: $360 Member/$450 Non-Member. Hope to see you there! The art center is lovely!  One of my favorite places to teach!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Wire Drawing #17: Eyes that can Melt you

"Eyes that Can Melt You"  7" x 10"   $50
Ink on Paper
In a time when stress has been high in my life, this drawing made me feel hopeful and cheered me up!  I asked permission of the owner if I could draw her dog.  I don't think it looks quite like the model, but I still like the results.  Wire drawing has become my passion and my saving grace in times of sadness or in times of procrastination.  My husband lost his brother this week after a 30 year battle with multiple sclerosis, so it's been a hard week for us.  I remember back when I had a dog, that no matter how bad things got, my dog always made things better.  Now that I travel so much with my teaching workshops, I just have fun with everyone else's dogs.  Hope this will bring a smile to your face.  Below is my model.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Wire Drawing #11, "Highest Power"

"Highest Power"  7" x 10" ink drawing on paper, $75
I'm still catching up after a whirlwind of trips that were back to back. I did this wire drawing while I was on the plane to Florida.  It grabbed the attention of the lady next to me on the plane.  She was asking me all kinds of questions about the process.  I used Faber Castell permanent markers, because they are archival AND they don't smell.  I could never use anything that smelled on a plane.  Just another example of time on a plane that is not wasted.  I used to do collages, using a glue stick and magazines for collage.  That worked really well too, but this is so much easier!  I also painted an acrylic painting using this as my study, and I'll post that one tomorrow.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Workshop at The Villages, FL

Students with their paintings
The Villages "Paint like Gustav Klimt" workshop
What a wonderful week I had teaching in The Villages! The workshop students were so understanding about my recovering from pneumonia, and instead of me coming around to help them, we had them come up to my desk instead, so I could remain sitting.  It worked like a charm!  This class was such a joy for me to teach.  Positive attitudes and wonderful discoveries during the week.  They were so excited to learn the scraping with a credit card technique, and they even conned me into teaching them "wire drawings".  Loved my time there with these beautiful ladies, and Beverly Hennessey as our host.  She really knows how to make everyone comfortable.

Monday, January 25, 2016

"Cupid", #10 Wire Drawing of the 30 Day Challenge

"Cupid"    7" x 10"
Price:  $50        Ink on Paper
The past weekend, I got to stay with a good friend who lives in Orlando area, and Karlyn Holman stayed there too, in between her teaching gigs.  We all painted together and shared our new painting tricks with each other.  We've done this for the past 3 years and it's so fun!  Karlyn wanted to learn my wire drawing, so I demonstrated this.  You wouldn't have believed what this subject was to start with.  I told them that it doesn't matter to me whether the finished wire drawing looks like the reference or not.  These are meant to be fun!  Here was the surprise for me.  A wing appeared from the initial pencil drawing!  So, I  went with it, and later, when I added the darks, I even saw bow and arrows near the edge.  See if you can find I can spot 3 of them!  We even noticed that Cupid is wearing a Fit bit watch!  How about that? 
My workshop in The Villages got off to a great start today, but I have to say, I was absolutely wiped out, after the first day.  I will have to protect myself by not standing as much.  Still recovering from the pneumonia and I thought I had my energy back, but evidently NOT!  Dang! I loved my class though.  Very nice group!

Friday, January 22, 2016

"Mermaid Madness", # 9 Wire Drawing of the 30 Day Challenge

"Mermaid Madness"        7" x 10"
Sold            Ink on Paper
I'm staying with a good friend in Florida right now, and she collects mermaids, so I gave this one to her for a hostess gift. This one was especially fun to do, and I love the shapes that appeared in the lower left corner that almost look like musical notes.  That was unintentional, but I like it! Right now, I'm painting with Tammy and Karlyn for 3 days before I start my workshop at The Villages on Monday.  We are doing all kinds of new techniques.  It's so fun to share with other artists and try new things!  I am blessed!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

"Read my Mind", #8 Wire Drawing (30 Day Challenge)

"Read my Mind"  Price:  $50
7" x 10"    Ink on Paper
Yesterday, I spent most of the day creating starts for my demo paintings for The Villages workshop that I'll be teaching in FL next week.  I have to do that, because I'm basically a slow painter, and my rule is to only demo for one hour in the morning, and 30minutes in the afternoon.  I like to make my workshops fun and easy, and I know that most people tire of watching someone paint after about an hour.  It's a lot of work, but sure makes it easier for me once I get there!
So, finally, at the end of the day, I decided to sketch a bit in front of the TV.  This one was a real stretch for me, because it is more realistic than many of my paintings. I named it "Read my Mind" because I can't tell what she is thinking.  It feels so good to be feeling good enough to paint and sketch again. I am very thankful!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

"The Church Lady", #7 Wire Drawing of 30 Day Challenge

"The Church Lady", 7" x 10"
Price:  $50, Ink on Paper
Remember the good ole days when everyone dressed up to go to church?  The ladies even wore hats!  I have fond memories of my mom dressing up for church and playing the piano for the congregation.  I can't wait to turn this drawing into an acrylic painting!  Maybe soon.  Look closely for all of the hearts that showed up when I was doing the initial pencil sketch for the wire drawing!  My friend, Connie, must have been looking over me.  She passed on last year in November, but she used to collect rocks that were heart shaped.  I miss her lots!

Monday, January 18, 2016

"The Chaperone", #6 wire drawing of 30 Day Challenge

"The Chaperone"  7" x 10"
$50   pen and ink on paper
This is the 6th wire drawing done in the January challenge. It dawned on me today that I am the type of person who requires goals in order to get things done. I've done the "30 paintings in 30 days" challenge for the past 3 years. It is a really tough challenge, but I always grew as an artist and felt such a feeling of accomplishment when I finished that 30th painting! So, this year, due to recovering from a bad bout with pneumonia in November and December, I decided to just try to do as many wire drawings as I could. Here it is, Day 18, and I've only done 6 wire drawings! My lesson learned is that I need to have specific goals in order to get more done.  That goes for everything in my life. When I diet, if I just tell myself that I will do my best, it comes off really slow. But if I have a deadline to lose a certain amount, I usually meet that goal. So.... Going forward, I commit to complete 9 more wire drawings, making a total of 15 wire drawings within the 30 day period. That's a good goal!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

"Chicken Little", #5 Wire Drawing of 30 Day Challenge

"Chicken Little"  7" x 10"
Ink on Paper,  Price:  $50
I started this wire drawing yesterday, and worked 2 more hours on it this morning.  These drawings have been selling really fast!  So, if you are interested, contact me right away.  It was fun to be inventive with the detail, making checks in the feathers, etc.  I may need to space these wire drawings out though, because they are really hard on my eyes right now.  I need to see an eye doctor.  I'm so excited to turn these drawings into an adult coloring book.  I can just picture these with many different colors!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

"Love Conquers All", Wire Drawing #4 ,within 30 Day Challenge

"Love Conquers All"    7" x 10"
Ink on Paper,  Price:  $50
This is the 4th Wire Drawing that I've done in January.  The last few days have been spent painting in prep for national show competitions.  There are many deadlines that fall in January.  Today, I took a past painting, pictured below and did a wire drawing of it, hoping that it would have a different outcome.  I'm anxious to use this wire drawing as a start for another painting, where I will be using gelli printed papers for collage.  Stay tuned for this!  If interested in this sketch, it is only $50, my January special price!

Monday, January 11, 2016

"The Diva"

"The Diva",  Acrylic on paper, 14" x 20" image
Price:  $850

I painted this artwork yesterday, starting at 8:00 a.m. and finishing at 5:00 p.m.  I had to meet a deadline for the Northwest Watercolor Society.  I entered with one hour to spare!  Several times, I almost quit in the midst of this painting, but my granddaughter, said, "No, grandma, you can do it!", so I continued.  Constantly, I tell students that very thing.  If we just keep going past the "ugly teenage" stage, lots of times, these can be your best paintings.  I really listened to the painting as I worked.  For instance, the blue streak coming from the left side was in the underpainting, and I liked how it connected the background to her dress, so I left it in.  Also the abstract shapes behind her head were formed in the first layer also, so when I negative painted around them, the shapes were very interesting. 
This painting started with squirting several colors on prepared paper, and then scraping it with a credit card.  It's a great way to get exciting colors in the underpainting.  I'm teaching in The Villages, FL from January 25 - 29th, and this is one of the subjects, "Painting like Gustav Klimt".  It's really a fun technique!  If interested in coming, contact Beverly Hennessy at  352-572-5317

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Woman of Mystery, (#3 Wire Drawing of 30 Day Challenge)

"Woman of Mystery"
 6" x 8", ink on paper, $100
I have to admit, I was procrastinating this morning, perched in front of the TV, scared to go down to my studio and face the watercolor painting that I'm doing for the TWSA show.  So, instead of wasting time, I grabbed my sketch book, and drew another wire drawing. I love this, because her hair is so long, that you have to imagine:  is she naked or is she wearing an evening gown with a low back?  Most of my paintings in this January challenge will be marked for $50, but I fell in love with this one so much, that I decided to mark it higher.  If interested, contact me.

Monday, January 4, 2016

"Cardinal Calling", Wire Drawing #2, Within 30 Days

"Cardinal Calling", 7" x 10", $50
Here I am again, making these drawings more difficult that they have to be!  These are supposed to be little sketches, and so far, both of my wire drawings have taken 4 hours or more to complete!  Oh, well, I love to doodle, what can I say?  This was started with a pencil drawing, and then I switched to felt markers to complete it and turn it into a wire drawing.  Check out my website, to see my teaching schedule, if you are interested in learning this procedure.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

"Peaceful Farm Site"- (Wire Drawing #1within 30 Days!)

"Farm Site, Wire Drawing #1"
7" x 10", Ink on Paper, $50
This is a farm site near my friend, Jennifer Stone's family lodge near Watertown, SD.  I've had a dream of painting farm scenes with Holstein cows in the foreground for about 7 or 8 years.  I decided to build up to adding the cows and start with a farm site alone to start with.  My plan is to complete a painting of this scene to enter in the Transparent Watercolor Society of America Show.  The hard part for me is that is has to be totally watercolor, and I've become a mixed media artist these past few years.  This drawing took about 4 hours, so the idea of doing quick wire drawings is a far fetched idea, at best! Stay tuned to see the finished painting! Remember, if interested in buying this, contact me right away. 


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