Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Let's Begin! Chapter 1: Why Study Birds?

Earlier this year, I wrote a grant proposal through the Indiana Arts Commission to take the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's online Ornithology: Comprehensive Bird Biology course and document my studies with sketches and paintings to record the visual process of my learning and share (at the end) via exhibition. I'm happy to announce that I did receive the grant, and am currently starting my course online and quickly finished Chapter 1 (it was a short chapter to be fair).


For the next several weeks, be prepared to get a little nerdy with me as I share my drawings, doodles, paintings, and random murmurings on my blog of each chapter of this course. First Chapter: Why Study Birds? That's easy!

Chapter 1: Why Study Birds?
The first chapter was short and sweet. It definitely felt it was trying to get me amped up for the rest of the book, which I assume can become a bit dry for some. However, I think this course is going to me more exciting for someone who is already interested in birds and/ or is a birder, as this information becomes more relevant and easy to digest. I'll do my best to share my enthusiasm with you as I'm learning, and while I hope you enjoy the drawings and paintings that are sure to come, I hope that you discover something new along the way too

Alongside the textbook for the online course came a series of videos and online quizzes that I'll be taking as I progress. No quiz this chapter, but there were some great videos on some really neat birds. My favorite was learning about a South American bird called the Club-winged Manakin. This bird uses its secondary flight feathers to produce a sound similar to how cricket makes a "chirping" noise. I'll definitively be making some more sketches of this bird.

More to come soon. I got a late start on this and with the holidays coming up I have a few commissions to wrap before I can justify moving forward with Chapter 2. I'll make a few more sketches and post them here within the next few weeks and hopefully get a handful of quizzes done before the end of December. More images to follow!

Take the course with me:

Monday, March 2, 2015

Endangered Coastal California Gnatcatcher diptych

2015: Time to get back on track. Life in general is starting to slow down and my time for painting opening up more and more. I'm excited to start working more diligently and attack new projects. My most recently finished painting was a commission I worked on for a collector who was looking for paintings of endangered bird species of North America. This diptych features a female and male California Coastal Gnatcatcher:

Coastal California Gnatcatcher diptych (female left, male right).
Watercolor on paper adhered to canvas.
Two panels 8 X 10 in each. Copyright Kristina Knowski 2015.

I have another opportunity to design and create a mural for this client as well for her bathroom. I'm working on sketches now, but will have some ideas posted soon.

P. S. Be prepared for some amazing photos from my new camera/ scope adapter!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Long, long time

It's been a long time but better late than never, I guess. I've been working on projects off and on but here's something in the meantime at least. I haven't had the opportunity to paint a lot unicorns lately, but I am trying out a new series of some of my smallest work. Watercolor paper adhered to 8 X 8 inch canvas panel. For the time being, I'm calling it simply, eyes, inspired by the beauty of the giraffe's facial structure. I hope to make at least ten, maybe more if I can. I did try out using graphite mixed in with the watercolor, layering it like a wash. A wash of white gesso might look nice for a finishing touch....

a rough sketch for eyes 3

eyes 1

eyes 2

Saturday, March 15, 2014

"The Dreams of Martha" exhibit blog post

Here's a link to the Peggy Notebaert's Blog featuring my work in the Dreams of Martha exhibit currently up until November 2014:

More news to follow!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Studying birds...more than flight and feathers

Lately, I have been becoming more interested in learning the various symbols of the birds I love and paint. Not surprisingly, each species has their own unique symbolisms that sometimes mean the opposite of another culture. One of the most fascinating myths I have found recently is of herons. This graceful water bird is generally a good omen and can be the representation of souls. In the Christian faith, it can stand as the symbol of Christ in the garden of Gethsemane. They signify independent individuals and a deep awareness of self and as well as others. It's classical pose often defines contemplation, vigilance, and a spiritual inner quiet. If you are familiar with the sight of herons, it is easy to understand why these birds reflect such wisdom and attentiveness.   

Last fall, I was riding my bike home late at night and had stopped to look at the pond near my house. I love the way light hits the water at night. While staring into the darkness, I thought my eyes were making up images in the water. Was that a ghost or a heron on the water? This Great Blue Heron had blended in so well to the water that the whole atmosphere became surreal. It seemed to be one with the darkness, standing a silent guard to something precious. I had to paint it:

Night Sentry, watercolor on paper

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Extinction and Existence: Watercolors by Kristina Knowski

Extinction and Existence
Watercolors by Kristina Knowski

The Health in the Arts Gallery is presenting an exhibit by artist Kristina Knowski “Extinction and existence.” The artist explores the relationship between birds and the ethereal and mythical unicorn. It presents images of an antediluvian world where real creatures and mythical ones contemplate their separate reality.  Knowski explores the exchange between creatures who confront one another in kind of spiritual dialogue, trying to to understand their similarities and differences. Her paintings and drawings, some of which are composed on an epic scale, seem to touch mythic chords involving the overlap of dreams and reality.

Robert Kameczura, Health in the Art Curator comments. “Kristina Knowski is an superb talent. She combines amazing technical skill with a refined and poetic sensibility. Her creatures inhabit desolate landscapes, often painted over softly atmospheric watercolor grounds. She has a great sympathy and identity with animals and has spent long hours at the Field Museum collections studying a wide range of birds, their various anatomies and characters. The exhibit will also contain paintings and drawings of animals done is an exquisitely refined style. She is the winner of several prizes. We are proud to showcase her extraordinary talent.”

Kristina Knowski is a recent graduate of fine art at the American Academy of Art. Working primarily in watercolor, Kristina has been a part of numerous group shows in the Chicago area. She was recently a part of Animalier: The Animal in Contemporary Art in North Western University in Oklahoma and Apocalypse 2012: Genesis 2013 at the Jackson Junge Gallery in Chicago. This is her first solo show.

The Health in the Arts Gallery is located at 835 S.Wolcott, Rm. E144, Hours are 10 til 4 weekdays only (Wednesdays 10 til 3).

Dates: Friday, January 18th – Friday, March 29th 2013

Artist’s Reception: Friday, March 22nd, 2013 from 5-8pm, the public is invited.
Light refreshments will be served.

For Further information: 815.546.0856
Robert Kameczura, Health in the Arts Gallery Curator, at (773) 205-1128

The Health in the Arts Gallery is art of the  part of the Occupational Health Clinic of UIC Public Health Program which has a comprehensive program for diagnosing, treating and preventing injuries and illnesses that are related to work in the arts. Directors: Dr. David Hinkamp and Dr. Katherine DuVall

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Sparrows, herons, and cranes....oh my!

I can't help it, I love birds. Do not tell me not to paint birds because all I will do is paint more birds! I've been trying to expand my subject matter this past month and have come up with a new Great Blue Heron painting, a Whooping Crane sketch, and an illustration of the head of a White-Throated Sparrow. Not exactly great strides in the right direction. How do I feel about it? Maybe I'll start a Eurasian Collared Dove next....
Whooping Crane sketch from journal

Head pattern illustration featuring a White-Throated Sparrow