Tuesday, December 18, 2018

5 Minute Landscapes

"Golden Sunset"   5" x 7" image.
Matted:  8" x 10"   $45
Every now and then, it's just fun to do really quick paintings.  These little gems will test your skills at timing in watercolor.  I start with a 5" x 7" watercolor paper.  Then I wet both sides of the paper several times, so it is very wet.  Then lightly sponge off the right side and begin.   Using a bright color (red/orange), I paint the sky and the water, leaving a big white shape.  Then I pick it's complementary color and smear that into the first color to create a grey color and then have the complementary color (green) on the upper left and lower left corners.  Switching to a 1/2 " flat brush, I double load the two complementary colors in a dry brush mixture to make the tree masses.  I do NOT mix the color on the palette or it would be too wet.  Pull down the colors to create the reflections.  Use a thirsty brush to wipe out the water line.  Then wipe out a ripple in the water.  You can put more detail on the trees, using a small round brush that is double loaded with the 2 colors.  That's how I was able to get the points on the top of the trees.  You do all this is only 5 minutes!  It's fun to do color studies using this process.  Odd colors are usually my favorites.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Always Be Yourself!

"Yacht Club"
original acrylic on paper
Image:  14 x 21"
Do you catch yourself saying something negative about your artwork over and over?  The same statement?  I used to say that I didn't like making so many itty bitty shapes.  Virginia Cobb straightened me out in a workshop when I told her that.  She asked me if I liked making little tiny shapes, and I said that I must, because they keep showing up.  She said to honor that unique quality of my work and then just unify them with a glaze to make fewer "grouped" shapes when I was done. I LOVE that advice.  So, now when I teach a workshop, I tell everyone that the very thing that they think might be their worst thing about their artwork, actually is the very thing that they should keep!  We all need to be ourselves!
This painting, "Yacht Club" is part of a local show called Bonnie and Friends.  Bonnie Featherstone asked about 30 artists, from the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, to bring 2 paintings each.  It's at the Ames Center in Burnsville, MN for the month of December, if you get the chance to see it.  I'm so honored to be a part of such a grand show.  You won't believe all the different styles.  I was talking with one of the artists and he said that he wishes he could be a little looser.  His paintings are so good, that they are almost photographic!  I told him my story about excelling at what you consider your worst feature.  He agreed with me, and we both appreciate our differences.
By the way, one of my favorite painters is Gustav Klimt.  Check out how many tiny shapes he has in his paintings!!!! www.klimt.com But they are beautifully combined into big shapes and so well designed.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Try Something New!

Wire Drawing, "Three's a Crowd"
I just realized that I had been ignoring my blog, and I'm sure you all wonder what has happened to me.  It's hard to keep all the balls up in the air sometimes!  I apologize for my absence and will try to be better at keeping in touch in the New Year ahead.
This is one of my wire drawings.  It is called that due to the fact that it looks like a wire sculpture when completed.  They are done using permanent markers.  I absolutely LOVE doing them!  I learned the beginning steps of this process from my friend, Mary Beth Downs, a Duluth, MN artist.  I will always be thankful to her for sharing how to do this!  It has changed my life!  Always fun to see what appears out of the contour abstract start!  I'm teaching this process in Clearwater, FL on January 21 - 23rd, 2019.  Contact workshops@arttrysts.com if you are interested in information on that!  We will learn how to make a wire drawing and then progressively learn how to turn them into semi-abstract or completely abstract.  It's called, Painting with Wild Abandon, mainly an acrylic workshop with the emphasis on wire drawing and how it will make your imagination go wild!
My challenge to all of you is to do something artistically that is out of your comfort zone.  I'm doing Life Drawing every Wednesday, and I'm pretty inexperienced, to say the least, but I'm loving it!  I'm finding that it's stirring up my imagination in all of my other paintings too.  It's great to try something new!

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Color Studies- great warm-ups!

Pick ONLY 3 colors and write them on the back of your 5" x 7" watercolor paper.  This Color Study started by making 3 shapes and painting each shape a different color.

Draw 3 shapes that don’t overlap.  You should have 4 areas now.  Choose 3 colors.  Leave one of the shapes white and color each of the others a separate color. Leave a tiny border between the colors so they won’t bleed into each other.  Repeat this process until you get lots of different layers and colors created by overlapping colors.  I add black at the very end to "lace" the viewer's eye through the painting.  I do these instead of color graphs.  So much more fun!  

Sunday, March 11, 2018

30 Paintings in 30 Days Collage

30 Paintings in 30 Days!  Images:  7" x 10"

Well I made it!   But I have to say this was my hardest 30 in 30 that I've ever done!  So many things on my calendar during February and my pride got in the way, so I really tried my best.  No 5 minute paintings here!  Most of these took 4 - 6 hours to complete. This was supposed to be abstract collage, but I diverted from that style as the 30 days progressed.   Below are the only ones that are not sold.  If you are interested, be sure to contact me BEFORE March 15th,  when the 30 Day Sale will be over.  Right now, these are available for $75 each, but after March 15th, they will go back to regular prices. 

Friday, March 2, 2018

Day 30! 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Life of the Party"     Sold
Acrylic          7" x 10"  

“Life of the Party” is my exclamation on the end of this 30 Day Challenge. I just wanted to do something wild and free. The under-painting had pink, yellow, and orange. I really liked the pop of pink, so I tried to save that color vibration. See below:
Step One
As the painting progressed, I decided to outline some of the details within the sunflower, kind of like Gustav Klimt. This 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge has been the hardest one that I’ve done. This was my 5th time that I’ve done this challenge. I’m always amazed how many new ideas come to me because of painting every day. I thank Leslie Saeta for offering this challenge. It always pushes me to new levels and it gives me a chance to offer my paintings at this discount sale for my longtime supporters.   Thanks to you all for reading my blog and liking my work!  

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Day 29 or 30 Days in 30 Days!

"Love is in the Air"     $75
Acrylic         7" x 10"
Second day of Karlyn's Paint-in and when I looked at what I had started yesterday, I just wasn't ready to tackle that large painting.  So I grabbed a small 7" x 10" that I had the first layer already on.  It was so fun to paint with pinks, greens and oranges.  A fun color scheme!   Below is the first layer, done by dropping acrylic on the surface and scraping it with a credit card.
I used a wire drawing that was in my sketch book and drew the figures on the under-painting. I'm having so much fun reconnecting with other artists and truly basking in the fact that I'm sitting next to Karlyn Holman for 5 full days.  We have so many laughs together and share lots of tricks with one another.  So, this is all I accomplished in one full day, but I'm not sorry.  Enjoying the moment!  And enjoying the process! 

Wire Drawing that I used for a value study

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Day 28 of 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Sunflower Power"          $75
Watercolor        7" x 10"
I did this painting at Karlyn Holman's Paint-in, and showed everyone how to start with the toilet paper roll to get the curved lines.  I'm so enjoying painting sunflowers, and although they are pretty fast paintings, the timing has to be perfect, so it takes a few tries to get it right.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Day 27 of 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Dragonfly in Gold"     $75
Acrylic, permanent markers, gold foil        7" x 10"
I have to admit that I grabbed this from my stash of finished paintings  Confession: I didn't do this within the 30 Days.  But I'm attending a Paint-in and I want to paint large paintings and try new things.  That's what I love about Paint-ins.  We exchange ideas, and have critiques at the end of each day.  For many of us, its a reunion, only seeing the other artists once per year. There are usually 40 of us attending.  So much fun!!!!  This painting was originally $155, so this price is a steal, specially for this 30 Day Challenge.  I use gold foil paper instead of gold leaf.  It's so much easier.  This process will be shown at my workshop in Bradenton, FL on March 8 and 9th.  It's called, "Painting like Gustav Klimt".  Here's the link:  http://keetonsonline.com/GImages/180308KK.PDF

Monday, February 26, 2018

Day 26 of 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Overhead View"      $75
Watercolor and permanent marker         7" x 10"
I began this painting thinking it was going to be an abstract.  Then as it developed, I knew that it needed something recognizable in it, so I added the dragonfly.  I used a design study for the initial abstract design. (see below) It was a square format, so I stretched it lengthwise to fit my 7" x 10" size.  I'm so excited to be going to Karlyn Holman's Paint-in tomorrow, so I'm going to keep this short today.  This is an example of part of my workshop for Dillman's Resort.  Use this link to find out more!  http://www.dillmans.com/dcaf/2018/karen-knutson.html
Design study for "Overhead View"

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Day 25 of 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Clara, the Chicken"    $75
Watercolor and permanent marker        7"x 10"
I have been drawing chickens for the past year.  The wire drawing technique works so well for this subject.  Every time I teach this workshop, the students are amazed how much fun it is, AND how it leads to them to develop better drawing skills.  I'm teaching Wire Drawing at 2 future workshops.  The first one is in Bradenton, FL on April 10th.  It is a one day workshop.  Click on this link to sign up. http://keetonsonline.com/theartistscorner.html  I'm also teaching this process at Dillman's Resort in northern WI, at a beautiful location, nestled in the pine trees and a gorgeous view of a lake.  This workshop starts with the process of the wire drawing and then each day, teaches the students how to develop their own designs into an abstract painting by the end of the 4 days!
Click on this link:  http://www.dillmans.com/dcaf/2018/karen-knutson.html
Students can choose to use mixed media or stick with watercolor or acrylic.  It's a great workshop that I'm really proud of!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Day 24 of 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Roots of Love"       $75
Watercolor and Acrylic        7" x 10"
Trying new colors today.  This painting started with  my new technique of the toilet paper roll, (See blog from February 14th, 2018)  and then I added a "dry brush drag" as I call it.  Analogous colors with a tiny bit of an opposite color. 
Steps one and 2
I then drew in the figures and worked from a previous value study weaving the colors in and out of the colors and lines from the under-painting.  As the painting developed, I saw lots of root shapes, so that brought me to the title, "Roots of Love".  I struggled with my old nemesis, tiny busy shapes, and I actually wonder if the painting is better as a cropped version.  But then, I would lose the meaning of the painting.  These are questions that an artist faces as they are 3/4 of the way through a painting. You decide.  I'd love to hear your comments.  Below is the cropped version.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Day 23 of 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Florida Palms"     $75
Transparent Watercolor        7" x 10"

Today, I went to another plein air event held by the Plein Air Posse group on Manisota Beach.  It was a really great location, and I quickly found a picnic table in the shade where I had a view of the beach and several palms that intersected the gulf view beautifully.  My new friend, Linda Banas, and I painted side by side and several people stopped to admire our work. :)  I am truly LOVING painting outside and have met so many really nice artists during the process.  I came prepared today with an under-painting done.  (I forgot to take a photo of it before I added the first layer of the palm drawn in.)  The cruciform shape was there, when I arrived at the outdoor site and then my first step was to draw the palm and negative paint around it.  This painting is an illusionary painting, where it's a little ghostly.  I used to teach this process but it was a hard workshop, and so I've taken it off my workshop list.  The one thing that I can say about plein air painting.  You remember sounds, smells, and even conversations so much when you paint on location.  I'm still struggling with the outcome, but I'm loving the process.  Yes!  I found out that if I work on 2 paintings, I can keep switching when the one needs to dry. 
Step one and 2

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Day 22 of 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Summer Day"      $75
Waterccolor        7" x 10"
I'm really enjoying painting sunflowers.  This one makes me think that there is a gentle breeze on a summer day.  I can almost feel the wind blowing by the flowers.  The process of this painting is to wet the entire sheet of paper, then work as fast as you can to paint the petals, leaving a little bit at the tip in white.  Remember, you are working on a WET sheet of paper, so the color "Spreads" really fast.  Then, I negative paint, using a dark thicker mixture of paint.  to carve out the edge of the flowers.  This usually takes at least 3 coats to get dark enough, with rewetting, etc.  I enjoyed the looseness of these sunflowers.  Fun to paint, but the timing had to be perfect. 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Day 21 of 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Imagine Butterflies"      $75
Watercolor and Collage      7" x 10"
I started this painting several days ago, and then didn't quite know what to do with it.  Sometimes, paintings need to brew awhile to tell you what they will become.  I had tried a new technique when I started, and it really had me scratching my head on where to go.  I had collaged 1/2 of a butterfly, and decided to wire draw some more butterflies to accompany the first one.  Whenever I teach, I tell the students not to use the whole image that is on napkins.  Only use a part of the napkin image and then add your own touch to it.  Make it your own.   Once I added the red unifying color to weave around the butterflies, it all came together.  Just goes to show that if you try new things once in awhile, you might make a breakthrough.  Below is my beginning. 
Step One

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

#20 of 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Sunny Side Up"      $75
Watercolor      7" x 10"
These wet into wet watercolors are much faster to do than the watercolor collages and figurative paintings, so you might be seeing a few more of these, cuz I'm running out of steam for this challenge.  This painting started like the other ones, using a toilet paper roll for the underpainting.  I love the random line work in the finished piece. I forgot to take a picture of that beginning, but if you go back to my blog from February 14th , you will see how this discovery was made!  The main thing I have to remember as I'm doing this painting is to keep layering with the darks.  Look at the photo below when the painting was in the middle stage.  Quite a difference when the dark values are painted and then the sunflowers start to pop!

Monday, February 19, 2018

Day 19 of 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Meant to Fly"     $75
Original Watercolor and permanent marker      7" x 10"
This started as a wire drawing, and then I decided to add color.  Because I'm surrounded by lots of lime green here in Florida, I decided to start with lime green.  I mixed aureolin yellow and antwerp blue to get a really bright lime color. Below is the first step.  After that first layer, in order to make the wings look a little more transparent, I negative painted leaves, going right through the wings.  I will be teaching "wire drawing" in Bradenton, FL on April 10th and will feature "wire drawing" every day of my Dillman's Resort 4 Day workshop in Lac Du Flambeau, WI in mid June.  For me, Wire Drawing has been life changing!
Step One

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Day 18 of 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Walking Through Time"       $75
Watercolor         10" x 7"
I decided to do a pure watercolor today.  I started this using the dry-brush technique that I've used on 75% of my paintings during his challenge. The first step is shown below.  I again tried my hand at plein aire painting today.  We met at the Farmer's  Market  in downtown Venice  I was concerned that it might be too public for me to feel comfortable, but it turned out to be great since I just sketched and took LOTS of people photos for possible painting in the the future.  I guess that's why when I got home that I wanted to paint people.  I again met many new artist friends and reconfirmed that this area is definitely a great place for us to spend our winter months!  Very grateful!
Step One:  Dry Brush 

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Day 17 of 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Dragonfly Love"     $75
Acrylic      7" x 10"
I'm finding it harder and harder to get my painting done daily.  Today, I actually cheated and picked out one of my half done paintings and completed it.  This process is what I call, "Painting like Gustav Klimt", one of my most popular workshops, where we actually drop paint on the surface and then spread it out, using a credit card.  It's really fun! This painting also has 3D Gold outliner on it for an extra dimensional look.  This also has the Wire Drawing in it, that I love doing so much!  Check my website to see where I will be teaching both of these different workshops next. www.karenknutson.com

Friday, February 16, 2018

Day 16 of 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Lone Sunflower"    $75
Watercolor      10" x 7" image
Today was such a special day, where I again tried my hand at plein air painting with another group near Venice, FL.  This time, we were on a private farm where there were countless opportunities for great painting ideas.   I really enjoyed myself and again met many new artist friends.  So, the day went by without time to paint my challenge painting for the day.
Before I knew it, the time was 7:00 p.m., so I took the easy way out and painted another loose sunflower.  These paintings only take about 1 1/2 hours to paint, but the timing is such that it can fail really quickly if you're not careful.  This painting again started with my new special technique, where I used a toilet paper roll to get special effects  Read how this happened on Day 14's blog post.  Then I worked wet into wet and painted really fast to keep the loose fuzzy edges.
Step One

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Day 15 of 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Heart on a Stick"      $75
Watercolor and Collage      7" x 10"
"Heart on a Stick" started out as a scavenger hunt.  I cut out words from a magazine and even though I cut off the top and the bottom of the word, "Scavenger", I could still read it.  So, my first title for this was was to be, "Scavenger Hunt".  Then as the painting progressed, I saw this heart shape at the top of the long vertical white strip, so I went with it!  I love the color combination of this one.  My colors were Holbein opera pink, Winsor Newton cad yellow, scarlet lake, permanent rose, Holbein cobalt turquoise light. I love the vibration of the turquoise against the red and orange colors.  Below is the first stage of this painting.  If you look closely behind the heart area on the finished painting, you might even imagine the word, Love.  Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!
Step 1- Watercolor and Collage

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Day 14 of 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

I've been painting side by side with my friends, Karlyn Holman and Tammy Kennen for the past couple of days.  Karlyn paints much more loosely than I do, and so I decided to do a "loosey goosey" painting.  I asked if anyone had a brayer so I could so some fun linework.  No one did, so I got inventive and decided to use the side of a toilet paper roll!  The marks that it made were so fun.  I think I will teach a class with this technique!  (The picture is below)  Look closely at the painting above and you will see the linework that was in the first layer.  I painted mostly in the "wet in wet "technique.  Fun to do!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Day 13 of 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"You Never Walk Alone"     $75
Watercolor and Collage      (7" x 10")
I painted this while visiting a good friend who lives in Sanibel Island, FL.  Every year, Karlyn Holman, Tammy, and I do this.  I started with a watercolor collage just like the other paintings.  (See below)
Then, it's a matter of lots of layering and watching for the bounce of color vibrations.  I had so much fun painting next to friends, lots of laughs, and lots of stories.  This is such a fun workshop to teach.  Check out my website to see a location near you!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Day 12 of 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Bird on a Branch"      $75
Watercolor and Collage     7" x 10" image
Wow!  I'm over 1/3 done with this challenge.  It has been a tough time crunch for me, as usual.  Right now, I'm visiting a friend who lives in Sanibel Island, FL.  We are painting together during the day and taking a boat ride at sundown.  Yes, it's a tough life.  But, my point is that life does get in the way of these challenges, and you just have to get ahead if you know that busy times are ahead.  For the collage of this one, I used a copy of an earlier wire drawing.  This is part of my workshop for Dillman's Resort, where we use earlier drawings to enhance new paintings.  I'm hoping to do an abstract person in one of the new few paintings.  Time will tell if that happens.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

S=Day 11 of 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Wine with Friends"      $75
Watercolor, Collage, Acrylic painting       7" x 10"
I had started this several days ago, and just didn't quite know what to do with the beginning, so I thought, why not add a couple of wine glasses, since I had collaged the word, "Wine", in the painting.  That's when my problems started.  It's really hard to add something "real" in these abstract paintings without a "plan" beforehand.  But, I stuck it out and kept layering till I got a painting that I was happy with. I actually had to get out my acrylics though and my Molotow markers (acrylic markers) for details.  This is what I call an illusionary painting.  My goal was to have the viewer search a little bit for the wine glasses, so they are partially transparent and ghostly.  Here are my steps, for you to see the progression of this painting. 

Step 1- first wash and adding collage
Step 2- Negative painting around wine glasses
and making a dark pathway to the edges.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Day 10 of 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Valentine Wishes"         $75
Watercolor and Collage          7" x 10"
Happy Valentines Day a few days early.  I wanted to post this one now, in case anyone wants to purchase this for their sweetheart or possibly for themselves.  The hearts in this painting truly just showed up!  I love the way the big heart seems to be breaking up into little hearts and then they are blown in the wind, as if you were blowing a kiss.  May you all have a special Valentine's Day!  Love yourselves and be happy! 

Friday, February 9, 2018

Day 9 of 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Looped on Life"       $75
Watercolor and Collage      7" x 10"   

 This is one of  my favorites of this challenge.  I started like usual, and the collage pieces that had loops.  So in the finishing touches, I added line-work, using my wire drawing technique, to repeat the loops from the collage.  I'm teaching this technique at several workshops coming up.  Bradenton, FL on April 10th and at Dillman's Resort in northern WI on June 18 - 21.  It's my new favorite thing to do!  It has helped ALL of my artwork AND I'm a better drawer now too.   Check out my website, www.karenknutson.com  to see my schedule.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Day 8 of 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Size 10 Dreams"     Watercolor and Collage
7" x 10"           $75
In this painting, I used pattern pieces for the collage, and there it was, "Size 10".  Look in the bottom middle to find it.  Yes, I used to be a size 10, and I used to sew a lot of my own clothing.  Those days are over, but I can dream about again getting back to that size.  We are taking daily walks now that we are in sunny Florida.  Maybe that will help.  Below is the first step to this painting, dry brush watercolor and adding collage.  I used the butterfly napkin as my color inspiration for this one.
First step of this painting

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Day 7 of 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"New World"    7" x 10"
Watercolor, collage, metallics       $75
This painting was the hardest one that I've done so far in this challenge.  I used a wire drawing sketch that I'd done in early December.  I absolutely LOVE doing wire drawings.  The abstract patterns that evolve always surprise me.  Below is the value study. 

I will be teaching a 4 day workshop at Dillman's Resort in northern WI on June 18 - 21st with this process and how I use it in most of my paintings now.  By the end of the week, everyone will be doing a large abstract painting that they attained due to the wire drawing exercises earlier.  I can't decide which direction that I like this best.  My other choice is as a vertical.  Try turning the image to the right, and see which way you like it.  I decided to add gold foil paper as an extra bling. It's so shiny and inviting.  The painting is called "New World" because I think it looks like a magic is happening with the circle and our new world is beyond.  


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