Thursday, January 31, 2013

Day 27 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"A Real Cowboy"
     Growing up on a ranch in Montana, I've seen many cowboys, my brother being one of them.  He rode bucking broncos in rodeos and still to this day, talks like a cowboy.  He has a great sense of humor, and that was one thing that I wanted to portray in this painting. 
     I used my past painting from Day 23 as my model for the cowboy, just added the holster, hat and spurs.  You would think that would have made this an easy painting, but because I didn't have a value study to work from or a color scheme in mind, I really struggled with this one.  Thank goodness for a toothbrush to scrub out mistakes.  I began with a blue/green color scheme in mind, but half way through, I decided that I wanted the sky to be a dark value, so glazing produced the purple/red color.  I like the color scheme now, but it took me 2 full hours longer than it had to, just because I wasn't prepared ahead of time.  Lesson learned!  My favorite part of this painting is the way I hid the word "cowboys" on the left side, and how it repeats the feeling of the fence. 
     This painting is 10" x 10" image, and is available for $125.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Day 26- 30 Paintings in 30 Days

"Climbing to the Top"
I felt like doing an abstract painting today, and I have to confess, there's a national show deadline coming up and I really want to enter an acrylic in it.  So, I read the rules, and found out that collage is approved in this show, but it has to be handmade, and it can only be 20% of the painting.  I have quite a few collage papers that I made some time ago, after watching the Anne Bagby DVD .  It was fun grabbing some of them and adding them to my painting.  I really love collage, and I like using magazines and purchased papers too, but couldn't use those this time, due to the rules.  If you've been following my blog during this 30 in 30 Challenge, you know that I stated that all of my paintings have to be people paintings.  If you look closely at this painting, you'll see the figure at the top right. It is my intention that you won't see the person, till you study the painting for awhile.  It reminded me of a person climbing to the top of his career goals, hence the title.  This painting is 14" x 14" image, matted to 20" x 20". 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

poster of first 25 days-30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"First 25 Paintings"
Can you believe it?  I'm 25 days into this challenge, heading down the home stretch!  I discovered a really cool website, which allows you to drag photos from your picture file and create a collage.  However, I can't figure out how to create 30 on one poster, so we'll see if I get that done by day 30!  This challenge has taught me so much.  Perserverance, need for balance in my life, gratitude, creativity, and every day, I can see improvement in my paintings! My house has suffered, my kids and grandkids haven't seen very much of me, not to mention my husband!  We've been eating a lot of restaurant food too.  But, all in all, I'm so glad that I did this!!!  I'm also very glad to be almost done, and get balance back in my life.  Nobody said this was going to be easy! Thanks to all of you who have been following me in this challenge, and who have cheered me on! 

Day 25- 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

     Need I say anything more?  At Day 25, I'm running out of energy and feeling totally worn out, totally FRAZZLED!!  This is a self portrait, part of my Crazy Lady series.  I did the 30 minute study of this some time ago, (See below) when I taught back to back workshops.  I like to teach 4 day workshops and then have at least one week to refuel, but this time, I had scheduled these workshops in order to pay for some remodeling that we had done.  Never again!  Although I'm glad that I'm almost done with the challenge, I'll never be sorry that I did it.  Thank you, Leslie Saeta for setting this up. 
     I've got a friend, Karlyn Holman, who teaches many workshops within a year, and I don't know how she does it!  I call her the Energizer Bunny.  You definitely should look into taking a workshop from her.  She's the best!  My paintings are in several of her books.  Click on this link to get to her website.  
     This painting took several hours to complete, but was very fun to paint.  It always works better when I work from a color design sketch.  I use Tombow markers to do these.  That's what I will be doing daily after this challenge is over.  I miss doing them, and I'll pledge to do another year of 30 minute studies.  Did I just say that???!!!!  Below is my study for today. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Day 24- 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Garden Walk"
My intention was to start a full sheet acrylic painting today, but then decided to do my 10" x 10" painting first, and work out the colors in it.  After completing this painting, I'm still undecided about my colors for my big painting.  One thing  I will change about the full sheet is to eliminate many of the small shapes, and to unify shapes more.  Don't get me wrong.  I like this painting, it's just not one that I would enter in a national competition.  As it was snowing outside... yet again..... I craved Spring flowers, so I decided to paint them.  Then I got caught up in watching golf on TV, and so the second painting didn't happen today.  This painting is available for $125. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Day 23: 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Big Shoes to Fill"
Today's painting is to pay tribute to all those husbands and fathers out there.  My husband is a real keeper, and this is especially for him.  Dick is such a great supporter of my art and even though he is the main bread winner in our family, he always makes me feel so special.  When he used to help me out at outdoor art fairs, he even wore the name tag, "Mr. Karen Knutson".  Here he is, a very accomplished businessman, and he's making me queen for the day, actually queen EVERY DAY!  I like the design in this piece, with an abstract F in the background to symbolize father, and the papers piled on the table, because Dick does so much paper work for everyone in our family.  Taxes, bookwork, receipts, banking.  I used one of my 30 minute studies for my reference, so this painting was a pretty easy one today.  The image size is 10" x 10" and will be a gift for my husband.  I will be making cards out of it, though if you would be interested.  They will be available for $10 for a package of 4. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Day 22: 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Doing the Happy Dance"
Today's painting was done in honor of my friend, Connie, who had her last chemo treatment today.  She's doing the "happy dance", and has visions of long glorious hair growing back in the future.  This has been a long difficult journey of many trips to doctors, some good news days, some bad news days, and
many anxious days awaiting news from tests.  Connie taught me so much about "taking lemons and making lemonade out of them".  I'm going to make cards out of this painting, and she will get the first one.  Thank you, God, for protecting my dear friend during this healing time.  Connie is a gifted artist and also writes great poetry.  Here's a link to her blog:  This watercolor painting is done in the illusionary painting method and is size 10" x 10". 

Day Twenty One- 30 Paintings in 30 Days

"Girl with Attitude"
Guess I shouldn't be surprised that this isn't one of my favorites.  I kind of had a bad attitude today, myself.  So, it stands to reason that the girl that I painted would have both hands on her hips, with a real attitude.  I'm needing a break today, but did my challenge painting anyway.  I so enjoyed doing an abstract yesterday, that I think I'll go back to that tomorrow.  I have learned so much during this challenge, and am very thankful that I'm doing it, but I look forward to the finish line!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Day Twenty- 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Hidden Agenda"
Starting this painting as a total abstract, my plan was to include a woman at the last minute.  I had an all day painting day with my friend, Lana Grow and we had a great time trying to make a total collage painting like Carrie Burns Brown does.  Her DVD is one of my favorites.  Below is the painting before the changes.  When I got home, I knew that I would have to get the acrylic paint out and fix the painting.  I like that I have her right in the center of the painting, and yet, I got away with it.  (In my opinion, anyway)  I believe that the dark big shape on the right side of the painting adds more weight to that side of the painting, thereby disguising the fact that she is in the center.  What do you think? I called this painting, "Hidden Agenda", because I like the fact that the viewer doesn't see the woman right away.  This acrylic and collage painting is image 12" x 12" and is available for $295.
Painting BEFORE changes

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Day 19- 30 Paintings in 30 Days

"Girl with a Secret"
Nearly 2 years ago, I visited a coffee house in Texas, and saw this girl wearing a fun scarf, and I asked her if I could take her photo so that I could paint her.  Wonder what she would think of the way that I abstracted her image?  Again, being influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright, this painting was a pleasure to paint from start to finish.  However, it took 8 hours to paint!  For my reference, I used a color sketch that I had done while I was in Texas.  I'm finding that my 30 minute sketches are so valuable as I do this 30 day challenge.  This painting is 10" x 10" image.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Day 18- 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"The Optimist"
I have several friends who are having health problems right now, so I felt the need to paint a painting that expressed optimism and hope.  I think this girl looks so optimistic, with waves of good energy surrounding her.  I used a napkin for my color guide, with great greens, turquoise, oranges, and reds.  I believe in the power of optimism and that even in times of crisis, things will get better quicker if you keep a positive attitude.  My prayers go out to all my friends who are going through a rough time right now.  This painting is 10" x 10" image, and is available for $125.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Day 17- 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Distance between Friends"
Again using a design sketch from last year, I found myself recalling wonderful memories between myself and 3 other friends who paint together once per year.  The story behind this painting might make you wonder about me, but this is a true story.  At that time, I was in the habit of doing 30 minute sketches every day, and even though we were in the Happy Hour of our time together, I grabbed my sketch book and pen and just let myself make up a scene without a plan.  As I was sketching the people, I thought how odd that I had sketched 5 people, when there were only 4 of us there at the Paint-in.  Then, in studying it further, I saw that the 3 people were separated by a fence from the other 2 people. The truth was that one of my friends sho was at the Paint-in, actually was traveling back and forth every day, visiting her husband in the hospital, and therefore, wasn't able to participate in our Paint-in very much.  I truly had nothing in mind when I started this sketch, and look what came out of my subconscious!  I'm thinking that the 2 houses in the background must be the fact that Janice was going from our house to the hospital every day.  Wow, spooky!!! To see my design sketch, click on this link. This painting is 10" x 10" image, and is available for $125.  I intend to paint a huge painting of this image.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Day 16- 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Sassy Girl"
This is my personal favorite of all my people paintings in the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge.  I taught an illusionary workshop this weekend, and really loved the class.  This was my demo for the group, although I didn't finish the details till tonight, when I got home.  Good karma really makes a difference in the outcome of my paintings.  Like when I'm up at the North Shore of Lake Superior, I'm at such peace, that my paintings usually turn out.  This class created the same inspiration.  So many laughs we had and they were all so eager to learn.  The only complaint I have is that it was far too short.  We neede more time!  This painting is image 7" x 11". 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Day 15- 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"The Cosmopolitans"
I tried to do an easy painting today, since I am preparing for my illusionary workshop also, which is this weekend.  So, I grabbed a design sketch and thought, "this will be easy."  3 hours later, I finally finished!  I'm happy with the design in this painting though.  Notice how many times I repeated the martini glass shape?  Even behind the man I showcased his head by putting a big martini glass shape.  I will do this bigger someday in acrylics.  This watercolor painting is 10" x 10" and is available for $95.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Day 14- 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

I have long been influenced by the achictectural style of Frank Lloyd Wright. Last April, I did a value study that is pictured below, and used it for my background of this painting.  Of course, I didn't follow it exactly, but it gave me a good start.  Last year, I did 30 minute studies every day, and now, I can use all of those design studies to incorporate into my current paintings.  I tried to stretch myself to use different colors this time, because so many of my paintings are red and golds.  Only one day till my illusionary workshop, so this was another warm up for that.  This painting is 10" x 10" and is available for $125.

Value study that was used in the background

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Day 13- 30 paintings in 30 Days

"Classy Lady"
Finally, I'm ahead of the game.  I finished my second painting for the day and am so excited about this one.  It's a real stretch for me.  A breakthrough painting.  I love stylized paintings, and keeping it as simple as possible.  This painting took a long time, because I masked out all the lights and then poured on the reds.  I actually painted with masking fluid, which took over an hour to apply.  If you look back to the painting,  "Dreamer", you'll see that this is the same lady, but I wanted to have a more dramatic effect this time.  There are things that I will do differently next time, but overall, I'm happy with the results.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Day 12- 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Happy Hour"
Wow, it feels so good to be done with my challenge painting by 4:30, instead of nearly midnight! 
This painting is a redo of a subject that I painted a couple of years ago.  This time, I used watercolor, whereas I used gouache last time, and the other change that I made was to use a square format this time. 
I really like the simple shapes in this painting, plus I love patterns, so that was really fun to paint.  This brings back such good memories of my time in Rapid City, SD, when the Northern Plains Watercolor Society hosted a wine tasting party on one of the evenings of my workshop.  I loved teaching there, and am going back in August this year to teach "Painting People with Personality"; this includes everything from Crazy Ladies to paintings similar to this one. By the way, I learned how to use simple shapes from Donna Zagotta, an excellent instructor.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Day 11- 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

Today, I had intended to paint one of my Crazy Ladies, but after the first glaze, I started to get excited about the painting, and decided to do it more realistic this time.  If ever you decide to paint a person, be sure to use the book by Jan Kunz for getting the shadows on the face.  Painting Watercolor Portraits that Glow is one of my favorite books!  You can get videos from Creative Catalyst Productions who make superb DVD's.  I'm getting ready for an illusionary workshop that I will teach this weekend, so I used that technique, so that you can see through the girl.  She looks so deep in thought, that I decided to call her "Dreamer".   This painting is 10" x 10" image, and is available for $395.  My intention is to enter this in a national competition.  Wish me luck!  I used the design sketch below for reference. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Day 10- 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"True Love"
This marks 1/3 of my journey in this challenge, started by Leslie Saeta.   I've learned so much in the process, but I have to say that it's the hardest thing that I've ever done!  Because I committed to painting people, it has been so good for me!  I noticed that I have been painting in the same color scheme for quite some time, so I decided to change it up a little today.  I saw a painting on the HGTV channel today, that had purples, oranges, sage green, grays and gold tones, and I thought, "Those are the colors that I will use today!"  Actually HGTV gives me lots of ideas on not only colors, but in designing my paintings.  Designing a room isn't that different than painting a painting.  You need to repeat shapes, have high contrast in some areas, and soft edges in others. Rest areas are important and simple shapes are a must. That's a hard one for me, because I really enjoy negative painting, and sometimes I get carried away!  Because I painted this so late today, I was forced to keep it simple.  A good thing.... This watercolor painting is 10" x 10" image, and is available for $95. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Day 9- 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"Dance like an Angel"
Have you ever had one of those days when you thought you had all the balls up in the air, and then, out of nowhere, the balls come tumbling down?  Today was that day for me!  I had a plan to workout, then go to church and then start my painting for the day.  Everything was going fine till noon when I started my painting.  Our daughter called and asked if she and our two granddaughters could come for a visit.  At first, I thought, "No, I have to finish my painting for the 30 in 30 challenge."  Then, I came to my senses and said,"Sure, come on over".  I love seeing my family, and it had been a couple of weeks, so who cares if I'm up late working on my painting?  Then, after they left, I had one hour to work on it, and then went to babysit my other 2 grandsons.  This was the plan from the beginning.  My whole point in telling this story is that it pays to be ahead in this challenge!  I would have loved to have an extra painting to pull out in this case.  As it was, I worked on it after the babysitting time, and finished it at 10:00 p.m.  I'm really beat!!!  But when it really comes down to it, family is tops with me.  Painting is a close second though!  This painting is 10" x 10" and is available for $125.  It's part of my illusionary series.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Day 8- 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"A Walk with the boys"
This painting was so fun to paint!  First of all, this is my daughter in law, KJ, and my two grandsons, Brady and Austin.  What fun to paint the people that I love!  I worked from a design sketch that I had done almost a year ago.  It only had the girl in it, so I had to work the 2 boys into the composition.  Brady's favorite stuffed animal is "Giraffey", so that had to be added to the composition too.  Tomorrow is KJ's birthday, so I'll make a card out of this for her as a surprise. Her favorite color is blue, so I knew that blue had to be an important part of the color scheme.  This image is: 11" x 11" , matted: 17" x 17", and sells for $150. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Day 7- 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"The Red Dress"
This painting was done in 3 hours!  I babysat my grandson, due to an ear infection and bad cold, so I had to grab moments for this sketch and then, paint like crazy when he was taking his nap.  Actually, I think that may have been good for me, to know that I had only 2 or 3 hours to complete a painting.  I had to keep it simple, and limit the size too.  This watercolor painting is size 9" x 9" and is available for $95. I'm anxious to turn it into a bigger painting when I have a whole day to paint!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Day 6- 30 paintings in 30 Days!

"Hot to Trot"
This was fun to paint from start to finish.  Some days are just like that!  I had a design sketch to work from that I had done in October of 2011.  I've actually got 3 huge sketch books full of design sketches.  My husband asked me last night if I was concerned about running out of ideas for the 30 in 30 challenge, since I committed to having them be people paintings.  OMG, I said, I could paint from now till the end of the year, and still have more ideas!  I think that is because the design sketches stretched my imagination so much.  I can't recommend that any higher!  This painting is image 14" x 14", and will be matted to be size 20" x 20" and is available for $600.  I plan to enter it in the Transparent Watercolor Society Show this year.  Wonder if the judges will like my Crazy Lady?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Day 5- 30 Paintings in 30 Days

"Pretty as a Peacock"
It's been awhile since I've done one of my Crazy Ladies.  These are totally out of my imagination, and they are so fun to do.  I saw a peacock feather recently, and thought, wouldn't it be fun to have the feather as a lady's hair?  So, here it is.  I enjoyed the concept so much, that I plan to do more peacock themed paintings.  I knew what colors that I wanted to use, because I had done a design sketch last night, using my Tombow markers.  So, I got out my Stephen Quiller pallette, knowing that I would be able to get the perfect color of aqua for the background.  That was so fun to use those colors again, I may convert back to them again.  They create such glowing colors.  By the way, Stephen Quiller is a great instructor and one of the nicest artists out there!  I took a workshop from him near his home in Creede, CO, and learned so much, plus he invited the whole class out to his studio at his home.  There are so many good teachers out there! Even though I teach workshops all over the country, I still love to take workshops once in awhile too.  I'm teaching how to do people paintings in Rapid City, SD from August 17 - 19th.  Watch for all my workshops on my website. 
  "Pretty as a Peacock"  is size 10 x 10" (matted to size 17" x 17") and is available for $125 plus shipping.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Day 4- 30 paintings in 30 Days!

"Princess Dreams"
This was the hardest painting so far for this challenge.  I almost gave up half way through, but then kept going, so I wouldn't miss a day in this Leslie Saeta 30 day challenge.  This is my daughter and 2 granddaughters.  We've always called our daughter "our princess", so now there are 3 princesses.  That makes me the queen, you understand!  :)  I used a past design sketch (pictured below) for the background idea and that actually made this painting a lot harder, because my painting got way too busy.  So, I had to scrub out many areas and also do unifying glazes to pull shapes together.  This process of painting is called an illusionary effect.  I'm teaching a workshop through the Minnesota Watercolor Society in Hopkins, MN next weekend about this process.  It took me about 5 years to figure out how to do this.  I remember telling my Senior Center class that I was going to figure out how to make things look ghost-like, and that was my major goal at that time, some 24 years ago.  "Princess Dreams" is watercolor, is 10.5" x 10.5", matted to size 17" x 17",and is available for $300, plus shipping.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Day 3- 30 Paintings in 30 Days!

"A Mother's Love"
Wow, this is getting harder and harder to get the painting done by the deadline.  I'm going to try to start another one today, so that I can be ahead of the game.  This was a pleasure to paint, since I had the design sketch done from a year ago, and had always really liked the design of the piece.  I am trying to limit the shapes in my paintings, and this one accomplishes that, I think.  As I was painting it, I thought how much it reminded me of my 2 grandsons, so I had to add Brady's favorite stuffed animal, "Giraffey".  By the way, being a grandparent is my favorite thing EVER!!!!  Tomorrow, I'll paint a painting of my 2 granddaughters!
This painting is size 10.5" x 10.5" and is available for $125 plus shipping.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Day 2, 30 paintings in 30 Days

"The Swinger"
I was really rushed to do this in time today.  So, I'm sure I will see things that I would change about this once I've had time to view it, but a deadline is a deadline, and I'm done with Day 2 of the Leslie Saeta  challenge. I have really enjoyed painting each day, and I really thank Leslie for the challenge.  Wonder if I'll feel the same way, once I'm at the end of 30 days?  I read this article about a woman really loving her trainer on the first day of her healthy lifestyle change.  She thought he was cute and so helpful and made so much sense.  Then, as days went by, she didn't think he was so cute, and made little sense, and she started disliking the trainer more and more.  Just a word of warning, Leslie! :)  This painting is 10" x 10" and sells for $95, plus shipping.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Day One, 30 paintings in 30 days!

"Hot Mama" is the first of 30 paintings in the "30 paintings in 30 days" challenge.  I'm so grateful that Leslie Saeta created this challenge! It got me back into painting, after having a 6 week break from painting!  Hard to believe for someone who has such a passion for painting!  But with Christmas parties, and such, that's what happens almost every year.  Anyway, I really feel so happy to be back, and can't wait to paint again tomorrow in my funky girl series.  This watercolor painting is available for sale for $95 (plus shipping) and is 9" x 9".

Friday, January 4, 2013

30 paintings in 30 days!

"Twinkle Toes"
I saw a blog called  and Leslie challenged us to paint 30 paintings in 30 days.  I don't know if I'm up to this challenge or not, but I intend to give it my ALL!  I'm officially starting my challenge tomorrow, but the theme of my paintings will be funky people, so I pulled out this painting that I did many months ago to show you the mood that I'd like to establish with my 30 day painting challenge.  I believe in goals, and what better way to start out my New Year?  I need a kick in the butt, since I haven't painted in over a month.  This is not unusual for me in December (lots of parties), but ALWAYS, I struggle in January to remember how to paint again.  Why do I do this to myself???!!!   I did complete doing a 30 minute sketch every day for one full year, with only missing 4 days, when I totally FORGOT to do the sketch those days.  That year, I really improved as an artist, AND also, had better balance in my life with everything else.  I guess that means that I need a little structure to be successful.  Off and running tomorrow morning!  I know I'll be a better artist by the end of January! Hope many of you will join me!


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