Tuesday, November 12, 2013


From now until December 20, 2013, I will be painting small 8x8 oil on oil paper original works of fresh flowers.  These will generally be much more abstracted and playful than my landscape work, but I'm so excited about this series!  I am preparing to write an article on the advantages of working on the new Arches Oil Paper and what a better way to do this than to commit to a daily painting.  They will be offered at very affordable price options of $150.00 unframed, $200 mounted with presentation and $250 framed.  What a great way to give the gift of flowers that live on forever!  Check back in every day for the newest piece off the easel and call or email quick if there is something you would like to have in your collection!  Cash, check or credit card!  

Shanna Kunz-Hernandez

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Hello all!
For anyone interested in the video that I made with glazing techniques, I can't get it downloaded straight to my blog because the file is much too large.  I'm going to get my son over to help me download it to youtube or change the size or something...My technical skills unfortunately are not quite as experienced as painting :)  Hopefully video to come soon!

I will be blogging about my Sedona Plein Air experience and take you along for the journey if you would like to join me!  I leave on Thursday and will start posting as I go!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Casting Shadows, 36 x 24, oil on canvas

This is a piece that was started last year, but it wasn't until now that I knew how to finish it in the studio and pull it all together in a cohesive way.  It was one of those - destroy to bring back - paintings.  I glazed it all down, painted back into the light, softened edges with the glaze and built up the paint in the lighter areas.  I like it much better now, it still has the feel of a contemporary design, but seems more substantial.  For now!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Centered - framed

After a little glazing and touchups, here is the painting framed and finished!  Now it heads to the Kneeland Gallery in Ketchum, ID for the show :)  I hope you enjoyed watching the process.  Stay tuned for a future video of a demo!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

At the end of the day... Centered

Not quite sure if it is finished, but I need a break from it.  I like the moodiness, I like the abstractness of the paint and layers.  I still want to do some glazing, but I'm not sure what it needs.  Great time for making dinner!  Any thoughts?

Cattail Series, Demo 6

Progress!  I'm really getting into the water reflections, probably to the point of self-indulgence, but hey isn't that why we paint?  I'll problem solve later - kind of like dessert before dinner.  One must have a little fun along the way :)  I'm still having issues with the shapes, but only in as much as how to break them up from roundness without getting too busy.  Marco says he doesn't like my round bushes - too stylized.  I'll save those decisions for a little while.  Sometimes I take a photo, print it out, and then do a little problem solving on paper.  I know people that work the problems out on Mylar paper laid on top of the painting.  This painting is far too wet to do that and I don't have the patience for that much work.  The paper seems to do the trick for me and I can print out five copies and come up with five different solutions, each usually easy fixes.
At this point, I am really liking the texture of the palette knife passages.  I know they will be beautiful under a light transparent glaze.  I think I need a little more pops of color, but I don't want them to be obviously manipulative.  They need to be organically connected to the palette and still provide a punch.  Hmmm.....Too many decisions!

Any feedback?  I think I might be the only one that reads my blog - maybe I should call it a diary instead :)  I guess whatever it takes to work through things!

Cattails Series - Centered Demo pt 5

Well, biggest changes so far!  I changed the shape of the trees on the left to make the best sense of the center bushes and added a horizon line.  Then I added a skyline - well, not much of a line at this point, more like atmosphere.  I'm up at 2:00 am because I can't quit thinking about the piece.  Problem solving while laying in bed doesn't always work - sometimes you just have to get up and jump back in.  I'm excited to get busy in the water, but it needs to be dried so I can apply some glazes.  Here it is up to the point...

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Cattails Series, Demo 4

I have started building the surface a bit and loading on more paint, but I am feeling like the composition needs a little change.  The trees in the back are not working with the shapes up front and I have already gotten rid of the skyline to make the entire background mountain.  A little too much green, but I'll change that with glazing and a little modulated color.  I think it needs a little more room to breathe, so I'm going to destroy that tree line.  More to come....

Cattails - Centered : Demo 3

This is who I am looking at today for inspiration - John Henry Twachtman, Arques-la-Bataille, 1885.   I love how he organizes his masses so simply, just off to the right and how you are quiety guided through the piece.  Values are much stronger up front, contrast is limited everywhere else.  Stunning, quiet piece!

Cattail Series - Centered; demonstration part 2

I am beginning large mass temperature shifts and developing the space. This is where I simplify my value patterns down to the minimum. Can't get stuck in any detail work yet.  I plan on developing texture up front so it can be glazed and be richer.  Paint is very thin at this point.

Cattail Series - Centered - Demonstration of Process

I've been asked for awhile to post a demo.  This started on facebook as I was working, but I think this is a better venue to post it.  Please feel free to post questions or feedback as I post the progress!  I will try to explain what I am thinking of as I go.  This is Oil on Linen panel, 30x40.

This is the initial block-in of the masses.  I like how everything moves just to the right of the center in this composition.  I know that is breaking all the "rules", but hey, I've never been very good at following them anyway.  I may end up having to change it, but I'm sticking with it at this point.  I have large, simple masses in mind with the water and treelines directing the viewer through the painting.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

More experimental paintings....

I'm still very unsure of myself on this surface so I think I will do a few more - five in all.  Here are the next two, one extremely abstract and another not-so-much.  The best part is still the beginning.  The paper absorbs the mineral spirits and paint just like watercolor.  When I start putting thicker paint on, the surface feels a little too smooth for my liking.  I will withhold judgement until the five are done!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Experimental Technique

I've started playing with Arches Oil Paper.  I think it is a great combo of my watercolor/oil experience.  I've been starting with a ground, wiping out, adding, wiping, adding, wiping and playing like a kindergartener!  It feels like a watercolor for 50% of the process and oil for the rest.  I will show you the first piece start and close to finished.  I still need to do a little glazing and find a way to make the surface consistent, probably with a varnish of some sort.  Four more to go for a show in SLC at 15th and 15th Gallery.

Monday, June 24, 2013



Hello art friends!

I will be starting classes in July 9, 2013. 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.

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, June 11, 2013

Rocky Mountain Frames - June Sale

Rocky Mountain Frames sale prices on the Bard for plein air! 8x10 = $66, 9x12 = $75, 11x14 +$83, 12x16 $106. Order online or call him at 801-628-4245. Four different finishes, same price. Great deal for a finished corner frame!

801-628-4245, Tony Schleich


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Demo for the Midway Art Association

I was invited to do a demo/lecture last night at the Midway Art Association's monthly gathering.  I had such a great time, such great people!  I am always quite nervous in the beginning and ramble much, but it usually doesn't take much time for my non-sense makes sense.  In the spirit of "ridding oneself of the tyranny of things as they appear",  I explained my series process of working in value and contrast keys.  We all picked a demo of a high-key, low contrast piece with color temperature shifts as the contrast and development of spacial relationships.  Here is the before and after pics, although I am sure it's not quite finished.  I would like to do a little glazing and defining after it dries and that might take a few days.  As promised, here it is posted on the blog.  Please feel free to add suggestions or make comments.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Starting an advertising identity.....branding

My good friend and artist George Handrahan came over today with all of his design and program knowledge and helped me get an ad together.  I am thinking about doing a campaign with some specialty magazines to get my work out there a little more.  It was a very interesting process!  He used InDesign to get the design started and switched back and forth a little with photoshop.  The first task was the most difficult - finding a font that was a reflection of not only my work, but directly identifying a genre as well.  Then a palette design was chosen, something that would make my work stand out but nothing that overwhelmed.  We went with a pretty straightforward design with a little extra to bring added attention.  Last but not least was adding a couple of images.  The color and design should make it easy to interchange pieces without too much work.  I'm sure we will fine tune a few times before actually putting it out there, but I'm really happy with the results so far!  What do you think?

Thursday, March 21, 2013


Okay, so sometimes (most times) I am very stubborn about a piece and defend my compositional decisions and the idea behind them.  After looking at this piece the entire week and getting some feedback from artists that I respect, along with a few others (LOL), I decided to change a few small things in this painting.  This is the part of me that my mom says I stand and stamp my foot until the very end.  Can you see the changes?    This is After.....


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Endurance, Snowmelt - reworked!

This was one of those painting that still just needed a little tweaking - a hard line here or there, change of color and a little pop in just the right place.  I went back to my original source, my original idea of mood and place so I would not lose the reason for the painting in the first place.  There were just a couple of things to make it better.  Does it really make it better?  Was the message strong enough that I was just nit-picking because it came back?  Who knows the answer, probably never will know the answer.  The painting needs to speak on it's own emotion, and sometimes technical correctness destroys that emotion and sometimes it defines it better.  Like my mom used to say - "we shall see what we shall see"!

This piece was tweaked as well.  I changed the direction of the sun and added some modulation to the sky a bit.  I still really like the shapes of the trees and the square format.  Not quite as "blue" as it once was!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

I'm working on a new series of Montana.  This is called Homage to the Bitterroots, 26x36 oil on linen panel.  More to come!

These next two are of the Chief Joseph River up close to Wisdom, Montana.  They are both 15x16 oil on linen panel.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Another Cattails Series Piece

Back to the board and a little looser....  It seems that if I work things out on board and really do my best at abstracting a piece, the next one on linen goes on a little more contemporary as well, so maybe I'll do a few pieces on board, then finish a series in linen, etc. etc. etc.  Eventually, I'm sure the two styles will merge and it won't look like I'm two personalities!!  You would think after twenty years of doing this, I would not be so afraid to start EVERY piece - you would think!  Just the opposite, I am more afraid than ever and more particular than ever.  Ready, set - JUMP!

Friday, February 8, 2013

And while I'm at it......

My framer and friend Tony Schleich from Rocky Mountain Frames!  Please visit his website and see his mouldings and finishes.  Handcrafted, fine quality and reasonably priced frames!


Making my own Linen Panels!

For the longest time, I would scratch my head when people said they stretched their own canvases - why would one take all that time when you can buy quality ones at really good prices - if I did my research?  Didn't make sense to me, especially when there is such amazing products out there (i.e. New Traditions Panels, Raymar, Sourcetek, Utrecht).  During my trip to Maine, I was introduced to the process of making my own linen panels on gatorboard using a heat activated adhesive instead of messy glue and weighting down the boards.  Using 1/2" foam gatorboard, Laminall, Claessens #66 Linen and my iron (with a sheet), my format sizes are unlimited!  Is it cheap - NO, but it is easy.  
The funny thing that happened was how much I enjoy the process.  I enjoy knowing that I have started my creations from the very beginning.  I like being able to get any size, any composition on a surface that I have chosen with loving care and made with my own hands!  I have also helped my framer design my most recent frames to complete the package.  I love the satisfaction of looking at a studio filled with empty prepared panels waiting to become paintings that I have already chosen the format and done the thumbnails for.  It adds to my excitement to get started!  The day might come where I go back to using prepared products as a time saver, but for now I think I will explore the possibilities....

Here is a link to my friend Lori McNee and her Fine Art Tips video of making the panels.  She has a step by step process to follow and though we differ on preference of gesso and linen texture, it's the same process.  I hope you enjoy and feel free to comment if you have questions or need more info!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Carmel Show

An extremely talented group of women have invited me to join them in a group show of plain air painters in the Mountainsong Gallery in Carmel.  I'm so excited to be part of this and get out and paint the California landscape! Stay tuned for more info.....

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Harvest Moon Progress

Here is the initial block in of another photo I took in Maine.  I had also done a small drawing and field study of a similar landscape in the area, the deciduous trees with pines behind and large grassy field.  This photo was the same evening as "That Time of Day" just down the road from the coastal image.  This is hardly more than a drawing at this stage, but I have keyed it to the darkest value of the mid-value range.  I wanted this to be a higher key painting but still feel the strong sunlight.  Sorry for the phone pics - they are not so great!

My first idea was to bring the shadows from the side of the road back up into the light, but this was coming across as monotonous and boring.  After one look from Marco and "again with the rows??", I decided that the original idea had to go.  After about four more fixes, the final lead in is below....

The field cuts were limited to two that brought one in from left to right and then back again.  A final lifting of the horizon line to clearly give it more depth seemed to finalize the composition and then the work was done keeping the value masses solid and temperature shifts within those masses to give dimension.  I did much more palette knife with this painting than the others as a means to create more texture.  As I sit with it for awhile, that may or may not be tempered a bit.  Here is a better photo of the piece in it's final (?) state :)  I plead the right to change my mind at any time!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

An empty studio....again

This is what my studio looked like at 9:00 am this morning and now it's empty.  It's probably hard to understand why this brings a little heartbreak I'm sure - Marco sure doesn't think so!  I just framed them last night and I am SO happy with the presentation.  Tony did such a fantastic job of designing this new frame.  I didn't get a chance to live with them for very long and I enjoyed painting this series so much.  Each piece was like I was back in Maine again, eager to learn and explore.  I've already got my next series in mind, but not quite ready to move on yet!  Maybe it's time for a little cooking :)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

That Time of Day!

You know what I'm talking about ....  for a fleeting five minutes at best the sun goes down on the landscape and creates a glow from within!  We have it on our mountain behind me every night and each and every night, I stand by my window looking for it.  I come to depend on it - it means a new day starts soon, another day to cherish and at the end of the day I look forward to dessert - like a cherry on top:)  That beautiful glow!  This painting in particular is by Rockport, Maine.  My classes have been asked to do a high key painting, using color as the contrast instead of relying on value.  I don't ask them to do anything I don't make myself do - so here it is.  Much brighter than anything I have done before, but still the values are high and close.  I think I'll start another tonight.  Something has to be part of your experience, part of your tools before it becomes natural for you!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Burning Bush, 28x36 oil on linen panel

Another Maine painting, two more to go!  In this piece, I wanted to express the rough texture of the building, the field and the bushes up front.  I worked with alot of palette knife and dry brush.  Again, as with the other paintings in this series, subtle color temperature shifts were used to unify value patterns and create space.  My next painting will be a little higher key and challenging to makes those shifts successful!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Inland, 22x36

This is perhaps the piece that I was the most excited about painting from the trip to Maine.  I have been afraid of it since doing the original little field study.  It was inland from the coast and it was a very rainy, sodden day.  The colors were so saturated from the moisture and the leaves were just beginning to turn.  My favorite naples color was splashed across the greens, giving it such drama and direction.