Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Putting it all together!

The last day before the road trip! I'm framing and wiring all day today - putting my babies all around me so I can "feel" them before loading them into the truck! Such anticipation (and anxiety) - just about kills me. I do enjoy putting them all around and sitting in the middle of them. I get a good feel about where I'm at in this present moment. I can see where I have grown, which direction I feel is working and what maybe wasn't quite what I expected it to be. I look for consistency in mood, quality, framing.....does it all fit together as a body of work? Is there variety as well? I know I have done my best and given it everything I have! Once they are loaded and we are off, I will quit analyzing and just enjoy the ride :)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Last but not least! - I think

Two days to go before we leave for Tulsa. Just finished up this little 16x20 called Crimson Chorus. I've been working in winter palette's for the last few paintings and it felt good to get the reds out!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving Friends!

I'm wishing you all a beautiful day! I hope you all have great food, great family and great memories to share. I miss you Grandma!

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Definition of a Successful Art Career

A familiar acquaintance spots you across the room at an event and three minutes into a conversation, has told you of every dollar, every contract, every achievement made since the last time you chatted? This person has been there, done that with a mention of another friend’s accomplishments. I am always very happy for this person’s success - I honestly am - but I always seem to walk away questioning my own success, comparing apples to apples and dollars to dollars and not quite measuring up. Another art friend approaches you at an event - an artist that is successful on every level. This artist has been invited to the finest galleries, the best shows, his work is impeccable and you would never hear about a single achievement unless he was prodded into telling. The first thing out of his mouth is “How are YOU doing?”. I realize that these are both extreme hypothetical examples of a successful artist and most of us fall into a middle ground somewhere - confident and enthusiastic about what we do, yet maybe looking for a bit of validation and/or approval to guide us on our path to a successful art career and making our mark!

How does one define a successful art career? Can we simply break it down to a few black and white areas - the quality of our work and respect of our peers, the financial success attained or lack of, and the quality of our whole life. The grey areas are much larger though, and a combination of all the above.

No doubt, everyone has heard the admonishment that an artist should NEVER paint for money, that financial gain corrupts the integrity of the art. While I have a personal list of things that I have vowed I won’t do with my art, I also have the harsh reality that if I want to keep doing what I love to do, I have to pay a few bills (a mortgage) along the way or get a job that takes me away from painting and I get less and less time to pursue my creative passion. How can I truly achieve my potential as an artist without devoting myself to painting? And if I’m making buckets of money (I remain optimistic ☺ LOL) selling my art, does that mean my work is “there” and the struggle goes away? Which brings me to the next grey area - how do I attain my potential and quality in art and what/who defines that quality?

I think we all have a distinguishable innate sense of quality and we have certainly all seen that great art does not always mean great money and vice-versa and all of the combinations. The art world is made of so many genres and it seems divisive at times - contemporary vs traditional, cerebral vs beautiful, self taught vs academically trained, etc. How do we define our personal vision of quality and who are our peers for that particular arena- who we listen to and accept critique from? Is it in awards, shows, articles, recognition from artists we admire? Then what happens when we don’t get in the shows, a critic disses our work, we don’t sell a painting? Does that mean our quality has diminished or suddenly isn’t there after it already was before? If we are staying in our artistic integrity, but the rewards aren’t coming - do we give it all up as a failure? Which again, brings me to the final grey area of living a whole life and finding perspective with our art and career.

How does our art career fit in perspective with our lives? Does it define us as a person? Is it what we do and how well we do it that defines us or is it our spirit, who we are, who we love, how we combine our passion with our relationships that truly make us successful? We are so fortunate to be doing what we love to do, but if the money isn’t flowing or the rewards aren’t coming as quickly as we want, how do we come to terms with these disappointments without allowing them to jeopardize our ‘whole’ life?

Our families, our friendships, our spirituality, our experiences all contribute to the breadth of our art. It is crucial that we balance all of these things in order to attain success. It is equally important that we have our own very individual barometer to gauge what that success is, not based on someone else’s idea. We have no idea of another’s needs, situations, difficulties, talents and strengths. Happiness is not over-rated, it is the goal! Living every day in the moment and being fully present with whatever we do! It is only our job to show up at that easel and do the best work we can do at the time that we do it. Embrace the rest of your life, your “whole” life and define success as all of it’s parts. Its a day to day thing, always learning, re-evaluating, and growing, and best of all - enjoying the journey along the way!

May we all have success in whatever that definition might be!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Winter's Silence

Another piece for Tulsa! This one is 24x48. I simply LOVE winter scenes! I know they are just not for everyone, but I think anyone can pick up that I love snow - I LOVE SNOW! The insulation of the snow quiets everything around it. The contrast and subtle temperature changes in the snow, the contrast of the dark pines - everything about it I just love! I hope you enjoy as well :)

Monday, November 7, 2011


Hello art friends!

I will be starting classes in January 4, 2012. I will be teaching beginning, intermediate and advanced watercolor and an intermediate and advanced oil painting class. The classes will be held on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, morning 10-12 am and evening 7-9 pm. If you are interested, please call me for information and supply lists (801) 389-2369 or (801) 621-0114.

Class size will be held to eight students in each class and cost $60.00 per month. Students will work in class on watercolor painting, demo and lecture on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Due to ventilation and health issues of oil painting, the advanced classes on Thursday will be limited to demo, lecture, art history, critique, business issues and homework. You will have a great time creating beautiful art and pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone and on to the next level of progression!

For my full bio, resume and qualifications, please go to my website shannakunz.com or request via email. I can forward articles about my work from Southwest Art Magazine, American Artist, Western Art Collector and Fine Art Connoisseur as well as shows and awards. Referrals and recommendations upon request.
Hope to hear from you soon!


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Chasing Shadows

This piece is a 36x24 vertical called "Chasing Shadows" - a piece in the same series as Sunlit Pines. It's all about exploring strong light and cast shadows on a steep hillside dotted with light dancing off the trunks of the pines creating rhythm and movement through strong contrast. This piece is much darker and more dramatic than it's counterpart and I think I still have a very delicate high-key piece in mind as a trio. If you have ever been to Flagstaff in the evening, you might recognize the feel of that unique light. The densely populated Ponderosa Pines just glow as the sun starts it descent into evening!