Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Day 20 of 30 Paintings in 30 Days!"


"Letter of Love"  $75  (6.5" x 7" image)

I’m back from my trip to Spokane to visit my mom, who was very sick.  I left off at Day 19, so here we go. 10 more paintings after this one.  I will finish on Feb. 10th, instead of in January.  Family comes first.  But when I start something, I finish it. 

“Letter of Love” is a painting that evolved all by itself.  The hearts kept showing up.  I always think of my deceased friend, Connie, when a heart appears in my paintings.  In this one, hearts just kept appearing over and over.  I’m wondering if it has to do with my visit to see my mom and my sister. Lots of love. 

Tip #20:  Start with one color only.  Then glaze with its opposite.  I used permanent magenta with a glaze of quinacridone gold.  I love the neutrals that are produced. Below are the steps of this painting.  I actually started this as a horizontal, but when I saw the hearts, I decided to rotate it 90 degrees.  

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Day 19: 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Going Through Hoops"     $45,    5 x 7" image

"Going Through Hoops" is a little 5” x 7” watercolor collage.  I call these Little Abbeys (nickname for small abstracts).  If interested in this, go to karenknutson.com 

Tip of the Day:  Adding gold lines, using Pebeo glass outliner.  You can find this in most art supply stores.  It's actually for painting on glass, but I use it for my paintings.  Do NOT bake it as the directions say.  That's just for glass. BTW, there are TWO things to do before using.  You must unscrew the tip and puncture the silver film that is holding the paint inside, screw the tip back on, and then barely cut off the end of the tip, before using.  I love the 3 dimensional look that this adds to many of my little abbeys.  It’s the finishing touch.  


Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Day 18: 30 Plantings in 30 Days!"D


"Doodle Mania"  5" x  7" image,  $45

Day 18:  30 Paintings in 30 Days!

“Doodle Mania” is one of those paintings where everyone will see something different.  For me, I just had fun doodling.  I wanted to keep it simple since I had been working on another painting that I intend to enter in a national show, and I only had a short time to work on today’s challenge painting.  This painting is only 5” x 7” image.  It is mixed media on paper.  If interested, go to:  karenknutson.com 

Tip of the day:  Use disposable palette for a center of interest!  When painting an acrylic painting,  I use a disposable palette.  When I’m done with the painting, I fold the palette paper onto itself, so that it makes a mono print.  This makes unusual colors and shapes.  I like to tear out a small portion and then adhere it to a blank paper, using matte medium.  I use that as my center of interest and let my imagination complete the painting. 

Here is the palette piece that I used as a start for another painting.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Day 17: 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

 Today, I got to go plein air paint.  We discovered a new park reserve in our area.  We hiked about 20 minutes to get to the river, but it was so beautiful, it was worth the hike.  Perfect temperature, no wind, and a fellow artist for good conversation.  What more can I ask for?  One lesson that I keep having to learn over and over is to pack lightly for outdoor painting!!!!  When you walk for 20 minutes to get to your painting site, it’s important to pack just the essential items. Here is the scene and my painting that is in a sketchbook. 

Painting in my sketchbook (8" x 8")                               photo of scene

Tip for the Day:  Try combining areas to make as few shapes as possible, when outdoor painting.  I got the sketch done pretty quickly (about 10 minutes) due to combining shapes.  My plein air is not supposed to be framable work.  I do it to work out the value patterns, observe nature to learn new things, and try to get the feeling of that moment in time. I LOVE painting outdoors.   Life is good!  (I circled the shapes so you can see how I simplify)

Circled areas are simple shapes.  

Monday, January 16, 2023

Day 16: 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Love They Neighbor"  8" x 8" image,  $65

I'm working on a painting for an upcoming national show, and I want a variety of grey tones.  I had started with the colors, Antwerp blue, Quinacridone gold, and Red Rose Deep.  So I decided to do a small color study to see if I could get the greys that I had in my mind.  This is what I ended up with.  "Love thy Neighbor" is 8" x 8".  If interested in purchasing, go to:   karenknutson.com  

 Tip of the Day:   Recovering whites:  The best way is to completely surround the shape with masking tape, making an island.  Then press the tape down securely.  Then scrub in little circles, using a wet toothbrush, and clean it often. Be gentle as you scrub.  Gently blot the surface when it's back to white, and then gently remove the masking tape.  Make sure you remove the tape, by pulling it off onto itself, so that you won't tear the paper.  This really works, and whites are magical to make other colors sing!   
Steps 1 - 3, recovering whites

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Day 15: 30 Paintings in 30 Days!


"Best Dressed Award"  11" x 15" image,  $195

“Best Dressed Award” was half done, so I decided to finish it up. I love painting crows! They are such smart birds.  If interested in purchasing,  go to karenknutson.com

  This started as a charcoal pour, which is explained on my video. Here’s a link:  https://painttube.tv/products/karen-knutson-fun-with-mixed-media?_pos=2&_sid=5eca397e7&_ss=r

Tip #15:  adding charcoal powder is a great texture.  It involves adding water to the surface where you want to save whites, then sprinkling charcoal powder, then throwing a big bucket of water on top of the whole paper to get the explosion look.  I do this outdoors!  Haha. Let dry, then spray it with a workable fixative.  Then paint whatever subject you want on top.  Below is an example of how these look.  

Beginning stage of a charcoal pour painting.  

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Day 14: 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

 “Changed my Mind”  started as a blind contour drawing.  I had so many directions I wanted to take this.  First, I wanted it to be like a sketch, maybe with painting some grays.  I knew I wanted to doodle, so I stayed true to that wish.  I’m including the original drawing so you can see how much these change. If interested in this painting, it can be found on my website, karenknutson.com 

Tip of the day:  Adding texture.  I like to make diagonal lines at an angle like the left side of a roof.  Then I add opposite diagonal lines, like the right side of the roof.  Then I add straight up lines, and then start over.

Close up view of my favorite doodle


Friday, January 13, 2023

Day 13: 30 Paintings in 30 Days!Eac

Each of these are 5" x 7" images, $35 each

Day 13: 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

 I kind of needed an easy painting today, so I worked on little 5” x 7” image Little Landscapes. They are 5 minute paintings! I kid you not!! I wet both sides of the paper, and am done in 5 minutes. I charge only $35 each for these, and they come with a white mat, measuring 8” x 10" for easy framing. They are listed on my website,  karenknutson.com  and at the top of the Home page, go to Shop, then click Small Originals, then click on the one you want, and then use PayPal to purchase.   

 Tip 13: Here’s my magical formula for good colors in my paintings. Pick 3 analogous colors, and then pick an opposite color. In these little ones, I put the opposite color right on top of the lower color in the sky, making it a greyed color. That shows off the luminous colors better! BTW,  these little landscapes start out by wetting both sides of the paper.  Then I work with a 1" flat brush and stroke on the 3 analogous colors.  The complementary color is used over part of that mixture to create a grey.  Then it's just a matter of timing and thickness of paint.  They truly do turn out better when you limit yourself to 5 minutes.  

My favorite color wheel is by Jill Ridder.  I take it with me everywhere I paint.  It costs about $18.00.  Here is the link:   https://www.colorharmonywheel.com/products/color-harmony-wheel 

Color Wheel by Jill Ridder 

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Day 12 of 30 Paintings in 30 Days!


"Proud Heron"  $115  (7" x 11" image)

"Proud Heron"  was so much fun to paint.  I feel so fortunate to be in Florida during the winter months and the colors, blue and green are influencing me greatly.  If interested in this painting, go to karenknutson.com 

I started this painting just like Day 5, where I used the beginning of a Little Abbey (small abstract watercolor collage) as an underpainting.  You can look back to that day on this blog to see directions.

Tip 12:  When drawing a difficult subject, draw 90 degree horizontal or vertical lines near the edge of the subject.  I can see the angle so much easier when I have a 90 degree angle nearby.  Try it!  Below is my lines that help me draw the accurate angle. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Day 11: 30 Paintings in 30 Days!


"City Life"  $245  (11" x 15" image)

“City Life”  turned out to be a giant color study.  I didn’t mean to do that, but as I layered, I made all kinds of discoveries about colors.  It’s watercolor on paper.  (11” x 15 Image).  If interested in this painting, it can be found on my website, karenknutson.com 
I am charging special prices just during this challenge.  Afterwards, they will go back up to my normal prices.  

Tip 11:  Prepare the figures using masking fluid.  Let dry completely.  Run your fingers through it to create little holes and texture marks.  I created this process many years ago and when students wanted to do figures in Watercolor like mine that are in acrylic, I made this work.  

Close up of holes made in figures by running your fingers through it.

When you paint over the masked figures, you will want to dig your brush down into the holes, so it will cover.  Be sure to dry thoroughly before removing masking.  Then add more bright colors in the outfits.  I add wire drawing, and trace most of the shapes using an ultra fine tipped permanent marker.  

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Day 10: 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Everlasting Love"  SOLD  (11" x 15") Acrylic

  “Everlasting Love” is a commission painting that was long OVERDUE.  Now that I’m done, I don’t know why I took so long to get started with it.  It is 11” x 15”, and acrylic on paper.  The process of this painting can be found on my video, that is available through this link.  https://painttube.tv/collections/acrylic/products/karen-knutson-fun-with-acrylics  They have a nice preview if you'd like to think about purchasing it.  They did a nice job with the filming.  I've had great feedback about it.  

Tip #10:  When painting in acrylic, starting with black in the areas that will later be light in value, leaves such a cool effect.  And you can add small dots of water while the second layer is wet, wait 5 minutes, and blot with a paper towel to get the effect below.  Then it's up to you whether you like that, OR if you want to add another layer for depth.  I LOVE acrylics! 

Monday, January 9, 2023

Day 9: 30 paintings in 30 Days!

"Zig While Others Zag"  $85. (7" x 10" image)  

  “Zig while others Zag”  looks like a quilt in many ways.  It’s 7" x 10” and is acrylic.  If interested, it’s available on my website, karenknutson.com 

Tip # 9:  Don’t be afraid to take a risk. Add sewing to your painting! It’s exciting and if it does go bad, you can always paint over it with acrylics.  Whenever I try something new, I always get so excited.  Today, I had 2 pieces of paper that were prepared with matte medium, but they were too small.  So, I decided to sew them together and treat this painting like the quilting I’ve been doing lately. I LOVED sewing into this painting.  After I patched the 2 pieces together, I knew that I needed to repeat the zigzag in a vertical manner too.  This lead me to more ideas for future paintings.  Below is how I started this painting by zigzagging the 2 pieces together. 

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Day 8: 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Deep Entanglement” is an acrylic, size 11" x 14” image.  I think of it as the thick brush below your feet when you take a walk in the woods.  I did the design sketch for this many years ago, while I taught at Kanuga Workshops.  I had never brought it to completion as a painting till now.  If interested in this painting, go to my website, karenknutson.com 

Tip #8:  To soften edges where there is strong contrast, I paint with a stick that is dipped in black paint.  (The best sticks are oak trees from MN.  Haha)  I tap the end of the stick in the liquid acrylic paint to load up it’s end, then I tap most of it off on a paper towel.  Then it is ready for you to make linework on your painting that is more sketchy and subtle.  Here is a close up of the line made with a stick.  

Close-up view of middle area, so you can see the effect of painting with a stick.

Saturday, January 7, 2023

Day 7: 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"I've had Better Days"  $75  (8" x 8" image)

I think I’m finally over the hump.  I’m in a routine of being one day ahead for this challenge, and trying to get a few more ahead, in case of busy days ahead.  I do feel that the practice of painting every day sure makes you better faster. 

Today’s painting, "Looking ahead to Better Days” is a blind contour drawing on top of a 3 color design. I love doing blind contour drawings. If interested, it's available on my website, karenknutson.com 

Tip #7:  Look at a magazine photo or maybe even one of your photos, and do a very fast, blind contour drawing.  Do NOT look at the paper, till you are done.  I don't lift my pencil.  You can always make changes at that time if things don’t match up, but the fact that you don’t look at the paper gives your people such character.  

Then I like to close all the shapes, meaning there are no lines just hanging out.  Every shape has to be closed, like pieces to a puzzle.  I then trace that drawing onto tracing paper, and use graphite paper to transfer it to whatever surface you want to paint on.  I like to start an abstract and before I get too far into it, I add the blind contour drawing.  To see more abstract beginnings, just do a search for color studies on the opening page of my blog.  At the end of the painting, I use a permanent marker to trace the drawing again.  

Friday, January 6, 2023

Day 6: 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"The Green Apple"  $65  (8" x 8" image)

"The Green Apple” is a watercolor and collage abstract.  I call these little paintings, “Little Abbeys”. (Small abstracts)  I love doing these as warmups.  They teach me good painting habits.  I start out colorful and add collage for special effects, then tie it together with a unifying color.  This painting is available on my website, karenknutson.com  if you are interested.  I’m offering these paintings at lower prices than normal, just during this month.  

Tip of the day:  How to add metallics for that finishing touch.  Using double stick tape, ( I use an ATG gun, with 1/2 " double stick tape)  apply gold foil paper, (or gold reactive foil).  It’s so much easier than gold leaf.  Available at joggles.com It comes in many different colors too!  Fun, fun!  I have a video on my Facebook page, but can't figure out how to put it on this blog, so you will have to look that up there. 

Thursday, January 5, 2023

Day 5: 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Fowl Play"  $125  (7.5" x11") 

 “Fowl Play” was created by using a half done watercolor collage.  I have a pile of what I call, “U-Turn” paintings, that really need to take a U-Turn to be successful.  I really enjoy bringing them back to life, with the use of acrylics. 

Tip #5:  Using "U-Turn Paintings" as an underpainting, and reviving them with acrylic.

Below is the finished painting and the underpainting that I started with. The most important thing to do is to make sure you have a light pathway in the original painting.  Then you draw whatever subject you want on a piece of tracing paper, so you can move it around till it works.  Look for a quiet white spot for positioning the eye and most of the head.  Then you transfer the image onto the collaged underpainting, using Carbon Paper.  (Available at most office supply stores.)  Paint around whatever animal or subject that you drew, using black acrylic, and saving a few abstract lines that will direct the viewer into the animal.  Then, it’s up to you how many layers you add around the subject.  I find thee so fun to do!  I also add lots of wire drawing within it.  (Do a search on my blog for wire drawing to see more examples of it.)

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Day 4: 30 Paintings in 30 Days!


"Day at the Beach"  $85  (7" x 12" image)

“Day at the Beach” is a plein air painting. That means it was painted on location outdoors.  This scene is from Casperson Beach, in Venice, FL, which is a great to look for shark's teeth If interested in purchasing it, go to my website, karenknutson.com  I absolutely LOVE plein air, although I’m still working on mastering the many variables of painting outdoors.  If interested in this painting, go to my website.  

Day 4 Tip:  Try plein air painting!  It will teach you how to really SEE, and get fresh air at the same time.  The first time you attempt plein air painting, bring just a sketch pad, pencil and a marker.  That way, you can learn early not to bring too much.  I always go with friends, so we can visit while we draw and paint. You will need a lightweight chair and a water bottle.  The first thing I do when painting on location, is to pick a spot in the shade. You will usually have about 2 hours to complete your drawing, so it’s important to be comfortable and out of the sun.  I do gestural drawing at first just to get loosened up and trying to place the subject in the correct place on the paper.  Then, I pretend that there is a 90 degree box around my subject so I can see the angles better.  If time permits, I use the marker to go over the pencil lines.  I don’t bother erasing as I draw.  When you add the marker the wrong lines will get smeared anyway, so no need.  After a few times, you may want to try watercolor outdoors.  Remember, the colors will look different when you get inside.  Usually I don’t paint dark enough outside.  Things will dry differently outdoors too, but that’s part of the learning curve.  You really learn how to SEE better by plein air painting and you will see your drawing skills improve tenfold.

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Day 3: 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Put it in Reverse"  $65   (8" x 8" image)

“Put it in Reverse" developed using the same design as yesterday’s painting. It’s 8” x 8” image and can be purchased through my website, www.karenknutson.com   These are listed at a special price during the month of January.  
  Today’s Tip: Do another painting using reverse values. I discovered my favorite app many years ago. It’s called PencilSketch. One of the choices on it is a blackboard. That reverses the values of your painting. I like it because I can check out my light pathway and see if my design is simplified enough. Here is the reverse of yesterday’s painting: 

Blackboard version of yesterday's painting.  It reverses the values.  

 Today’s painting, “Put it in Reverse”, was done using this value study. I traced the main pathway of light from Day 2, so that I could at least start with the same design. This painting used the same colors as yesterday’s painting, believe it or not. (Lemon yellow, red rose deep, and Antwerp blue.). Below are both versions.  A fun challenge for myself.  Hope you will try this!

Monday, January 2, 2023

Day 2: 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Chartreuse Color Study"  $65  (8" x 8" image)

This painting I did just for me.  I totally love doing these color studies.  “Chartreuse Color Study” is image 8” x 8” and is available on my website, www.karenknutson.com Every day of January, I will be sharing with you a tip about painting. 

Tip 2: Try using only 3 colors.  You will make great color discoveries and see a glow because the glazes are applied in wet washes where you follow the drip. 
I love these exercises so much and always learn something new. I used lemon yellow, red rose deep, and Antwerp blue.  I loved the chartreuse colors that appeared after a few glazes.  If you want to try some easy 3 color studies, check out my blog. https://karenknutson.blogspot.com/2018/09/color-studies-great-warm-ups.html?m=1 It was posted on Sept 1, 2018.  Below is my first step of this painting. 


Sunday, January 1, 2023

Day One: 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

 30 paintings in 30 Days!   2023- Happy New Year!

I've decided to start the new Year off with a bang and challenge myself to do a new painting every day in January. My intention is to give a daily tip.  Feel free to share these posts with your friends. Happy New Year!

Day 1: 30 Paintings in 30 Days!
Tip 1: How to make an abstract beginning using acrylic and a brayer.
Pick 2 acrylic colors, making sure one is light and one is a medium value. I picked
1) Golden Hansa Yellow, medium, mixed with titanium white and
2)Craftsmart ocean breeze
Use a brayer to load up the lighter color. Swoop the brayer lightly over the paper so it hits and misses. Do the same with the medium color. Use the edge of the brayer to make lines. Complete as you wish. I like to draw a wire drawing on top and then develop the design with darker watercolor glazes. All of these paintings are available on my website ( go to: Gallery, 30 Paintings in 30 Days) at special prices.


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