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Illuminations: Ones to watch

Spotlighting the works of painter Ben Steele

"Glistening" | Oil on Linen | 15 x 24 inches

Illuminations: Ones to watch

Spotlighting the works of painter Shanna Kunz

Written by Michele Corriel  

Michele Corriel

Other Contributions

Synchronicity A Voice in Stone Equus The Archie Bray Foundation Ones to Watch: Artist Jinni Thomas Ones to Watch: Artist Karen Bezuidenhout Ones to Watch: Rory Egelus Ones to Watch: Ceramic Artist George McCauley Ones to Watch: Painter Rick Stevens Ones to Watch: Jon Dick Ones to Watch: Mixed-media Artist Christopher Owen Nelson Ones to Watch: Diana Tremaine Ones to Watch: Josh Elliot Ones to Watch: Doug Smith Ones to Watch: David Barrett Ones to Watch: Howard Knight Ones to Watch: Silas Thompson Ones to Watch: Kristine Allphin Ones to Watch: Chris Morel Ones to Watch: Sherry Salari Sander Ones to Watch: Alan Carr Ones to Watch: Robert Royhl Ones to Watch: Robert Seliger Ones to Watch: Karen Woods Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Ones to Watch: Artist Glendon Good Ones to Watch: Painter Deladier Almeida Ones to Watch: Sculptor Stephanie Revennaugh Ones to Watch: Painter Gregory Packard Ones to Watch: Randy Stromsoe Ones to Watch: Beth Loftin Ones to Watch: Dyani White Hawk Ones to Watch: David Bardwick Ones to Watch: Donna Gans Ones to Watch: Susan Jarecky Ones to Watch: Carrie Fell Ones to Watch: Rose Masterpol Ones to Watch: Bryan Peterson Ones to Watch: Terry Karson Ones to Watch: Lisa Ronay Ones to Watch: Tracy Leagjeld Perspective: Gennie DeWeese [1921-2007] Ones to Watch: Andrew Mann Ones to Watch: Bonnie Teitelbaum Illuminations: Ones to watch Perspective: Frances Senska [1914–2009] Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Ones to Watch: Artist Ralph Wiegmann Ones to Watch: Artchitect Candace Miller Ones to Watch: Architect George Gibson Ones to Watch: Architect Nick Deaver Ones to Watch: Sculptor Bale Creek Allen Ones to Watch: Painter Brianne Janes Ones to Watch: Danae Bennett Miller Ones to Watch: Mark Edward Adams Ones to Watch: Josh Chandler Ones to Watch: Tony Abeyta Ones to Watch: Robert Spooner Marcus Ones to Watch: Ken Andrews Ones to Watch: Michael Kessler Ones to Watch: Jim Dayton Ones to Watch: Rahnee Gladwin Ones to Watch: Geoffrey Warner Ones to Watch: Gwen Samuels Ones to Watch: Kensuke Yamada Ones to Watch: Michael Greenspan Ones to Watch: Chuck Middlekauff Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Ones to Watch: Sculptor Carol Alleman Ones to Watch: Artist Kathleen Dunphy Ones to Watch: Jeweler Jesse Monongye Ones to Watch: Michael Ross Ones to Watch: Furniture maker Charise Buckley Ones to Watch: Sculptor Charles Ringer Ones to Watch: David Slonim Ones to Watch: Catherine Courtenaye Ones to Watch: Ironworker Ted Docteur Ones to Watch: Evert Sodergren Ones to Watch: Jacquelyn Bischak Ones to Watch: Guilloume Ones to Watch: David Coffin Ones to Watch: Francis Di Fronzo Ones to Watch: Jeff Pugh Ones to Watch: Geoff Parker Ones to Watch: Troy Collins Ones to Watch: Dean Mabe Ones to Watch: Shelley Muzylowski Allen Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Ones to Watch: Architect Tim Belton Ones to Watch: Anne Moore Ones to Watch: Painter Flavia Eckholm Ones to Watch: Clive Tyler Ones to Watch: Weaver Cheryl Samuel Ones to Watch: Painter Gavin Brooks Ones to Watch: Tracy Leagjeld Ones to Watch: Jared Sanders Ones to Watch: Shawna Moore Ones to Watch: Aleta Pippin Ones to Watch: Rene Gibson Ones to Wacth Ones to Watch: Mike Krupnick Ones to Watch: Matt Smith Ones to Watch: Stacy Robinson Ones to Watch: Dean L. Mitchell Ones to Watch: Kirsten Kainz Ones to Watch: Susan von Borstel Ones to Watch: Craig Bergsgaard Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Ones to Watch: La Puerta Originals Ones to Watch: Artist David Patchen Ones to Watch: Architect Aaron Kang-Crosby of Spore Architecture Ones to Watch: Frank Marquette Ones to Watch: Architect Susan Desko Ones to Watch: Sculptor Tammy Bality Ones to Watch: Suzanne Wallace Mears Ones to Watch: Clare Walton Ones to Watch: Mike Medow Ones to Watch: Leon Loughridge Ones to Watch: Eric Cobb Ones to Watch: Greg Madeen Ones to Watch: Mary Baxter Ones to Watch: Julia Lucich Ones to Watch: Kevin and Val Pourier Ones to Watch: Marc Hanson Ones to Watch: Preston Singletary Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Ones to Watch: Artist Allen Garns Ones to Watch: Jill Zeidler Ones to Watch: Painter Luke Stavrowsky Ones to Watch: Bill Poss Ones to Watch: Britt Freda Ones to Watch: Painter Cesar Santos Ones to Watch: Troy Collins Ones to Watch: Bryan Christiansen Ones to Watch: Henry Jackson Ones to Watch: Simon Gudgeon Ones to Watch: Gordon McConnell Ones to Watch: Hadley Rampton Ones to Watch: Olivia Pendergast Ones to Watch: Kevin DesPlanques Ones to Watch: Jamie Kirkland Ones to Watch: Brian Scott Ones to Watch: Kyle Polzin Ones to Watch: Ben Pease Ones to Watch: Julie Gustafson Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Ones to Watch: Artist Linda Elliott Ones to Watch: Deborah Berniklau Ones to Watch: Painter Denise Lemaster Ones to Watch: Architect Erik Peterson Ones to Watch: D. LaRue Mahlke Ones to Watch: Artist Crista Ann Ames Ones to Watch: Christopher Ries Ones to Watch: Mary Bechtol In the Studio: Richard Parish Ones to Watch: Florian Roeper Ones to Watch: Greg Kelsey Ones to Watch: Andrew Denman Ones to Watch: Sandra Pratt Ones to Watch: Jeff Williams Ones to Watch: Josh Clare Ones to Watch: Daniel Weaver Ones to Watch: Nora Naranjo-Morse Ones to Watch: Marela Zacarías Ones to Watch: Glenn Dean Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Collector’s Eye: Native American folk art collector Bruce VanLandingham
October | November 2017


Landscape painters carry with them the history of place as well as their own connection to the land. Although artist Shanna Kunz studied figure painting, it is the landscape that calls to her again and again. It is her legacy to explore a specific tree, valley and oxbow stream and find her own voice, her own story.

“I started in watercolors before I ever picked up oils,” Kunz says. This explains why her painting process begins with applying thin layers of washes which are lifted out to organize the composition. After that, she delves into value patterns, simplifying her statement. “Then I finish up with lots of glazes to temper and soften my edges and values, as well as give it atmosphere.”

Using both her plein air field studies and her own photography, Kunz allows each piece to express itself through her palette knife and brushwork. Although she works from images, she prefers to use thumbnail photographs so she is not tempted by what she sees; instead, she aims to paint what she feels — to allow a genuineness of a location to shine through, as though heard through the landscape.

“I want each piece to have its own voice — an authentic voice is the most important thing an artist can do,” she says. “The less I work from the photo references and the plein air study, the more I feel like the painting has the chance to evolve as its own piece.”

Once she gets the basic composition down, she allows the painting to tell her what it needs, which allows her work to veer toward a more contemporary and evocative style, without being weighed down in details. Exploring an object or a place through a series allows Kunz to reimagine a scene in different values — dark or light colors, or even with a tonal palette. She also looks for ways to increase the texture of a piece, using her palette knife to draw into the paint.

“I love taking my palette knife and making a line,” she says. “I love to draw and it abstracts it down to the most essential elements. I’m looking for new ways to express spatial relationships and distance with layers of paint, brushwork, gradations and diffusions of light. As I push color and values, I’m trying to reach an emotional connection with the land around me.”

For Kunz, her research into paint and landscape is leading her into abstraction. But she’s not quite there yet. As her work leaves more detail for the viewer to fill in, Kunz’s paintings seem to open up to the quiet of being in the forest or in the mountains. Instead of depicting the morning light and moving water, she relates the absence of noise, concentrating on the natural solitude.

“Eventually, I’ll be a non-objective painter,” she says. “Eventually, they’ll be more like color fields. It’s harder than you think, but that’s where I see myself going — using less detail instead of more. It’s a process and it has to happen organically. If it doesn’t happen organically, it’s not authentic. And right now, I still love those trees.”

Kunz will be showing her work at the Zion National Park Plein Air Invitational, November 6 through 12. Her work is represented by the Kneeland Gallery in Sun Valley, Idaho; Mountain Trails Gallery in Jackson Hole, Wyoming; A. Banks Gallery in Bozeman, Montana; Dick Idol Gallery in Whitefish, Montana; Mockingbird Gallery in Bend, Oregon; The Mission Gallery in St. George, Utah; The Legacy Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona; and Bella Muse Gallery in Ogden, Utah. 

"High Country Graze" | Oil on Linen | 36 x 36 inches

"Ambiance of Two" | Oil on Linen | 30 x 40 inches