Sunday, November 22, 2015

Calendars and DVD's

I finally got a chance to see my instructional DVD that Bella Muse Productions - Elizabeth Robbins, produced!  I am so happy with the final results.  Liz and Darin did such a great job editing it and assembling the clips.  There is so much information about composition and design, sometimes I didn't even remember saying it!  The DVD takes you from the very beginning, the concept and tools through to the final signature and frame.  I've already got ideas for the second one!
Also, the calendars for 2016 have been ordered.  For a limited time they are $15.95 each and after December they will be $19.95.  I think this is my favorite group of paintings so far.  This last year has really been about drama, contrast and emotion.  The paintings are highly saturated with tons of color, most of them low key and bold.  This coming year will be more high key and delicate work - I think :)!
Let me know if you would like either the DVD or the calendar!  Call me at 801-389-2369 or go on my website to the paypal button and order.  Thank you for all of your support this year!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

First Instructional DVD - Sublime

I've finally done it!  I was filmed for an instruction DVD showing my process of composing a landscape.  The painting is called Sublime.  The DVD is two hours and will be ready for Thanksgiving.  There will be a special pre-order price advertised soon and I will post the link to purchase it as soon as possible!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Business Classes - The Next Level!

Every once in awhile, I offer a business class to my students.  This class involves making their art statements and resume, putting a portfolio together with a cohesive body of work, discussing every avenue of art sales and career direction I have in my knowledge bank of 26 years of painting, marketing and social media plus all the insider info from frames to panels and tools of the trade.  I have done this workshop about three times and every time I hear that it was the most useful and informational class they have taken so far to get going in the (their) right direction!  It is individually geared to each person according to their style, their needs and what they truly want to get out of it.  I put my heart and soul into each person and do my very best to meet their unique needs.  The last time I posted the workshop, I had plenty of people that wanted to take the class but their schedules were full and we could not come up with dates that worked for all (including me).  Instead, I committed to a few personal sessions either in the office or via skype.  I do believe my consulting business has begun!

I am going to offer 2 one hour sessions, plus a portfolio review for an introductory kick-off price of $150 - PLUS $25 off if you sign up for my email newsletter!  If two or more schedule for the same session, the price will be adjusted accordingly.

Covered in the class:

Artist Statement/Resume - How to get the attention of your audience
Portfolios - How to put together a cohesive body of work
Marketing - Website, social media, advertising, client development, printing options
Invited Shows, Juried Shows - The best shows and the best way to get in
Which path should I choose - shows, galleries, self promotion?  All of the above?
Photography and software choices
Critiques if requested
Any other information stored in this brain of mine over the last 26 years!  I am an open book.  I have been down almost every imaginable path to build my career.  I would LOVE to share with like-minded people that are passionate about their art and want the world to see it, and be able to continue to do it at the next level!

Call or email me at, 801-389-2369 if you are interested or want to know more information.  Please leave a message if I can't answer and I will get back with you as quickly as possible.  And check out my website at if you get a minute to see where my heart is.  If you like it and you like the idea, let's get started!


By the way, I love love love fall and fall colors!  Check out my newest piece - I have a crush on it (for now) and hope to do many more in this series.  I hope you LOVE to do what you do as much as I do!


Shanna has been my mentor since I first had the notion, “I think I want to paint”.  At that time, I had no idea that, under her tutelage, I would develop a hidden talent and ultimately take on an entirely new career.   That career is developing now, but the business of art is much more than hoping someone will magically show up and fall in love with your work.  Shanna has worked and succeeded as a professional artist during economic ups and downs over decades.  Her knowledge and experience are formidable, but like her landscapes, her nature is generous and her sensibilities down-to-earth.   Yes, she will instruct, and encourage, and occasionally critique, but equally important, model what it means to be a professional artist.  

Collin Noortmann Chandler
Fine Art

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Finally finished???

Sometimes it just takes awhile....

A Walking Path, 12x16 oil on linen

Sunday, August 23, 2015

A Lazy Day

It's Sunday, August something..., my brain is so worn out I can't remember the date.  I think it is time to slow it down a bit.  Since my last post in February I have had a show in Great Falls in March, one in St. George in April, one in Maynard Dixon Campout in May, one in Bozeman in July, one in Sun Valley in August, one in Eden in August and three more to come before the end of the year.  Add to that the running a gallery, planning shows, playing with grandkids, the roller coaster of life and you probably can imagine why my brain is worn out.  And yes, I still LOVE what I do!

My favorite cap these days is that of Grandma.  Aspen and Jack are my youngest babies.  Seems like they might be the only thing that stops me from working these days, a time to stop and smell the roses.  I love my babies SO much!  You know, I really always imagined I would be more "settled" by the time I had grandkids.  I thought life would be slower, more predictable.  I think I am working harder than ever before, doing my best to balance life and art, when actually there is no balance between the two.  They are both full time, entwined together with experiences of joy and sadness, optimism and disappointments, abundance and financial stresses all together.  Life is how you look at it, a choice of interpretation.  And no matter what your successes, there is always more to do.  The better artist one becomes, the harder it is to achieve those successes.  Naivete propels us to the place we need to be to truly understand what comes next.  Have you ever wondered what it would be like to not think and feel so much?  To be pleased with all you do?  To take life's gifts for granted and not ask why or how?  Yeah, me neither!

Back to paintings....  Here are my favorite pieces from the show at the Kneeland Gallery.  I think one might understand my introspection of late by looking at this latest work.  A little dark,  a lot moody and always looking for more.  Maybe my next series will be that of "lightening up a bit"!  Drop me your thoughts if you have a few extra minutes in your day.  I would love some feedback as I have lost some of my objectivity with this series.  The forest from the trees kind of thing :)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Harmony of Light and Shadow, oil on linen panel

I've been working on some "study to studio" pieces of late.  Sometimes the studies are finished works and sometimes they are just that - studies.  The larger formats can be the same or different.  I try to take the things that work in the smaller work and make them work in the larger piece.  There are times it works and times it doesn't.  Scale is a strange thing.  A composition on a smaller scale might be predictable and ordinary on a larger scale.  Often the feeling of a larger piece must accompany a different size format.  Here is one I just finished:

This is a 14x18.  I very much consider it a finished piece.  I love it's freshness.  It has a rougher, less finished look, but the light and contrast really felt honest to me.  Sometimes that unfinished more spontaneous look works better than the more finished look and sometimes vice versa.  I like to think they each have their own distinct personalities and one is not better than the other - just different - kind of like our kids :) 

This is 22x40, a commissioned work for a great client.   I've used the same lighting in this piece, but it is all a little more honed in and more polished because of it's size.  I like the different format to extend the water, making it a little more dramatic.  There was certainly more space to develop the land masses more and the sky drama more effectively.  

Stay tuned for another example from my demo last weekend.  I'm working on it right now.....

Saturday, February 14, 2015

I LOVE Winter Work!

I do, I really do.  I love the Twachtman winter pieces, Whistler pieces, Willard Metcalf, etc. etc.  They are so difficult, so subtle, so thoughtout.  I am drawn to the high key work of winter time after time and I absolutely love to paint it.  The rest of the world liking it - not so much.  I can't tell you how many times I have been told that "winter doesn't sell", it's too cold, noone wants to look at snow year round.  Am I just strange?  I love it for art's sake, not for weather's sake, though I really don't mind it then either.  The funny thing is - it always sells for me.  Maybe it takes a little longer than Autumn pieces but generally not.  So I will paint them anyway just for me and maybe someone with a strange sense of beautiful like me!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Working habits

I have noticed a pattern after all these years (yes, I'm slow at picking these things up) of deadlines and downtimes.  I have a really important show or shows, I work for a few months committed, putting in tons of time, energy, research, work, etc.  The work is finally delivered, the reception has passed and I'm back in the studio.  For almost two weeks I go to the easel and I simply cannot paint.  CANNOT PAINT - WILL NOT paint LOL!  I get sick to my stomach when I think about it.  I have to take time off.  I have to get in my left brain and catch up or do absolutely nothing.  It's a very physical thing.  I just can't do it.  I have tried so many times to work through this to no avail.  Then slowly, I start mentally creating my next body of work.  I draw some thumbnails, make some new compositions out of my photography and studies, start to prepare.  I always have a new piece in mind with a freshly mounted linen panel staring at me.  Here I go, 1, 2, 3 GO....  No, really, here we go....   New piece coming.....really.....
Not so fast.  Panel comes off the easel.  Every time!  I look around and some other piece of older work is screaming at me "pick me, pick me".  Ok, just one more thing to change.  I'll just rework a part of it.  Before you know it, I have completely reworked an older painting.  Never fails, I do this every single time I start a new session.  I have no idea what this is about.  I'm sure there is some psychological reason why I can't begin a new painting after a break, but I can't for the life of me figure it out.  I have to do a search and destroy piece first.  I think this has been going on for ten years now.  And every time it is not intentional.  It just happens.  Well, here it is, happened again and I might not even be ready for a new piece today.  When the mood strikes.....
This is a piece from the Bitterroot Valley, done two years ago.  I always like the painting but I didn't love the painting.  I loved the high key, I loved the peacefulness, but the composition always felt off.  Out goes the right group of trees, create a few more paths through the piece, a little of this and a little less of that.... I think I'm happy now :)  I think....  



Monday, January 5, 2015

Good Monday Morning!

Tonight I start a six week series of watercolor classes.  It's been awhile since I've pulled out the Arches and I really do miss it.  I always have the intentions of doing a series, but for some very unknown reason, I end up with a large oil on the easel instead.  I have always noticed that my watercolors improve my oils, simply by the reason of a more intentional composition.  The composition in a watercolor must be thought out ahead of time, the palette choices, spacial relationships.  Yes, you can lift color back out, but painting back over for a light value plane isn't an option so you slow down and think.  And plan.  And think.  And draw.  And then let the spontaneous quality of the watercolor happen.  I'm always excited to see a group of new students fall in love - just like I did 23 years ago.  And I still fall in love when I pull them out again!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year! Welcome 2015!

I have had my blog quite messed up, so I'm kind of starting over.  I'm going to use my blog this year as more of a journal of an artists life, rather than a promotional tool.  I will post new paintings, but hopefully it will be more personal - the where and the why's - than it has been.  There are always trials and tribulations in this world of art.  We put on our best face and show the world the positive and confident side, but there are tough times as well as the amazing ones.  We are sensitive beings, we are for the most part quite spiritual in our own individual ways, and our outside life gives meaning to our artistic life.  Maybe this is more for me to get that out than to have an audience, but if another artist can relate to my story and feel a greater sense of community, then all the better for it!  Please feel free to add comments or share your ideas!  And here we go, my favorite painting of last year...

The reason this was my favorite painting of the year was a few different ones.  First and foremost, Marco and I took a trip to Bozeman, MT and it was a very special trip.  It has been a long time since we have been on the road together.  Marco has been sick a lot lately and struggling a bit.  This was the two of us together, looking at the beautiful world again and enjoying our private time together.  I truly didn't know what the next day or days would bring so I was living in the moment in every sense.  This is also such a beautiful place, the headwaters of the Gallatin River, just outside of Yellowstone National Park, one of the most beautiful places in the West, and we arrived just as the moon was rising and the light was racing across the distant valley just about to disappear.  It was just an amazing moment!  The last reason for this being a favorite was I believe it was a turning point in my abilities and vision, exceeding my expectations and surprising me with the results.  And of course, it found a home the first night it was presented and that is always a good thing!  

Monday, June 9, 2014

Bella Muse Studios and Gallery

A Lyrical Line, 18x24 oil on panel
Elizabeth Robbins

Red River Brush, 27x30 oil on panel
Shanna Kunz

We accept all major credit cards, layaways and payment plans!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Lakeside Mist, 24x30

This painting was started during the time I was rebuilding my new life. I went thru a single tree period, one strong single tree standing as strong as possible. I also felt separated from the world a bit but I knew I would be ok. It was from a lake north of Durango and the morning mist was so incredible and actually a surprise as I found camp in the dark and awoke to this. Artistically, I am in love with high key paintings like Monet, Twachtman and Whistler and was being as daring with the value range as I could possibly muster.  I recently got the painting back after a long absence and realized I could do more to push the theme and technicalities so back on the easel! More paint and more heart later, coming from a place of much more stability, the piece is finally finished!  Here is the before and the after.  The changes are more on the surface than in the composition.



Saturday, March 1, 2014

Latest work!

This little piece is called appropriately "Minuet", a small dance between two people.  It is done on Oil on paper, my newest fascination.  This new surface combines all of my years of experience in watercolors with the viscosity of oils - the best of both world brought together!  I start the work in the same manner I would a watercolor, mineral spirits being the water, and finish as an oil with more depth in the brushwork.  I will be doing a series of at least 8 of these small little gems to take to Great Falls, Montana in three weeks.  Here is the first....

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!