Author Archives: cmitzuk

Attend Our Atelier Instructor Art Show
and Fundraising Sale 2017

Friday, May 19, 2:00-9:00pm
Saturday, May 20, 12:00-8:00pm
Sunday, May 21, 12:00-5:00pm
(This is also the weekend of the 2017 Full Time Student Show).

Enjoy and purchase prints, drawings, watercolors, oils, and sculptures of figurative, still life, landscape, and imaginative artwork created by Artists and Instructors of The Atelier. A portion of the sales will be donated to The Atelier.

The Atelier is also having a raffle for a masterfully executed still life painting created by Dale Redpath, co-director of The Atelier. Cost of one ticket is $10, or 3 tickets for $25, and may be purchased until the time of the drawing. Find out more here

I plan to be there all three days and will have a lot of my imaginative art on display and for sale, both prints and originals. My metalpoint drawings on shells will be available, as well as many other works.

metalpoint drawing of a seamare unicorn on the inside of a seashell framed
Metalpoint on prepared shell, framed. Shell is approximately 1"x1", frame is 6"x6".
digital painting of blue and purple water elemental with female head and torso and fish serpent tail playing a shell lyre with orange and red flames coming out of it by christine mitzuk
Water Elemental

For more information about the show visit

The Atelier is located at
1681 East Hennepin Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55414

What's in the box?

a box coverend in blue velvet, with gold colored metal framework and closure

Does anyone own the box? Where did it come from? Where was it found? Who made it?

Now go play. Give yourself 10-15 minutes. Write or doodle whatever comes to mind. It does not need to be "finished" or "perfect", just get the ideas out and play.

What is this? I'd like to offer up an opportunity to play and just let your mind wander.
Please enjoy.

Come join the fun!

Enrich your summer with art. I will be offering 3 classes and one workshop for the 2017 summer session. All classes are held at The Atelier Studio Program of Fine Art in Minneapolis, MN. It is located in the Fisk Building on the corner of East Hennepin Ave. and Stinson. Free off street parking is currently available.

Registration information is at the bottom of this blog post.
The 10 weeks will have a break for Independence Day.

Gesture Class is Back!

gesture drawingGestural Figure Study
Gain a better understanding of gesture of the figure. This class will mesh The Atelier and Studio Arts figure study methods. We will be drawing from a nude model. Students will explore what gesture is and ways to capture it through quick poses, progressively longer poses, and experimentation. Materials list will be supplied upon registration. Beginners welcome.

Starting TUESDAY, May 23, 4:15 - 6:45 PM
$200, 10 weeks

Illustration Class

digital painting of earth elemental man with antlers surrounded by green flame playing the drum by christine mitzuk
Earth Elemental

Let your imagination fly! Explore the creative process in this imaginative art class. Students will develop imaginative pieces based upon a story or individual ideas. We will move from idea generation to preparatory work and on to final art. Emphasis will be placed on composition, and storytelling. Students may choose to work in the medium with which they are comfortable. Christine has experience to support watercolor, colored pencil, pen and ink, oil paint, or digital painting. Feel free to contact me with questions.

Starting THURSDAY, May 25, 7:00- 9:30
$170, 10 weeks
Edit 05/22/2017: As of last Friday, there is a wait list for the Illustration Class so if you haven't already signed up, email me or call the school. There is the possibility that a 2nd class might be formed.

Portrait and Interior Class

Christine Mitzuk Portrait Class

Make your own magic! Learn to create portraits from Atelier trained artist Christine Mitzuk. Beginner and intermediate students welcome.

Students draw in charcoal and may progress to oil or pastels. Capturing the likeness is emphasized. Depending on what each student works on, color and techniques in oil and pastel are covered.

Starting TUESDAY, May 23, 7:00 - 9:30 PM
$200, 10 weeks

A Thursday class is also available, taught by Laura Tundel.
Starting THURSDAY, May 25, 7:00 - 9:30 PM
You are welcome to sign up for both (for $400) if you'd like more time to develop your portrait.

Illustration Workshop (1 week)

watercolor of hummingbirds singing in a barbershop quartet by Christine MitzukLet your imagination fly! Get a taste of illustration during this week long, half-day workshop.

We’ll work to develop a strong drawing for an imaginative piece based upon an existing story or your own idea.

Topics covered will include composition, brainstorming, thumbnails, research, sketch development, and studies for value and color. Emphasis will be placed on composition, and storytelling.

For the first class please bring a sketchbook, and your preferred drawing tools. If you have a laptop or other device with internet access, you are welcome to bring that too for reference research. If you have a specific project in mind, please contact me.

June 26 - 30, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
$200, 1 week

Register for classes one of three ways:

Option 1: Call The Atelier at 612-362-8421. Main hours are 9am - 4pm Central Time or during evening classes. Please leave a message if you don't get a live person.
Option 2: Print out the registration form from the course catalog PDF.
Option 3:  Contact me and I'll help you out,


In my efforts to loosen up and trust my imagination more, I decided I need to strengthen my creative intuition, trusting my gut and follow where my imagination takes me instead of putting on the brakes too soon and following the "rules". I think it's important for me to have a blend of the judge and the playful art monkey. A blend of rule following and exploration.

random oil paint textures on prepared birch plywood
The random textures I started with. Oil paint on prepared birch plywood.

Inspired by a landscape I saw at the Minneapolis Institute of Art by Max Ernst titled "Landscape with Lake and Chimeras" c1940 (I think it was this one). The description next to the painting pointed out that it was "created by putting paint down, sticking a sheet of glass or paper to it and then removing the sheet to make 'unexpected textures' ". Surrealism and Dadaism were two of my first artistic loves so rediscovering an artist from that era feels lovely. Being at MiniCon this weekend and seeing Jon Arfstrom's work again, I realize that some of his imaginative works also had a hand in inspiring me to do this. Hopefully I'll have more on Jon Artstrom at a later date. If you haven't seen his work you're in for a real treat.

A few weeks back I had leftover paint on my palette and was feeling adventurous so I put some paint on some prepared boards, added a little solvent, and then stuck a sheet of glass on top. I decided to make them color themes (reds, yellow+green, and blue+black+white). I smushed, tipped, and twisted the glass-board-paint stack. What I ended up with were some very interesting textures.

This week I took some time to explore and follow my intuition instead of going through the planning phases. Here's what happened. I'm calling them Foundlings. These three will be with me for sale at Spectrum Live next weekend in Kansas City, MO (hopefully dry). I will be set up at Artist Table #14. Stop by and meet the Foundlings.

oil painting of a blue and black winged lynx-like beastoil painting of a strange caterpillar monster belching flamesoil painting of a smoke puffing red demon dragon monster watching and waiting





Imaginative Art Inspiration Space
Our Stress-Free Adult Creativity Class

digital painting of blue and purple water elemental with female head and torso and fish serpent tail playing a shell lyre with orange and red flames coming out of it by christine mitzuk
Water Elemental

Let’s face it; you probably became an artist because you have visual ideas bursting inside you:  Why wait to share them with the world?  What you really need most is a nurturing mentor with a track record of realized, enchanting images, who creates a safe, judgment-free workspace where you can loosen up, have fun and play.  Award-winning artist and illustrator Christine Mitzuk builds such a positive, relaxed environment whenever she teaches a class.  Her warm spirit will help you bring your most precious and inspired thoughts to artistic fruition.

Explore your creativity by developing an imaginative picture based upon an existing story that you select, or an idea that you originate. Work at your own pace to learn the time-honored steps of the creative, visual process – from idea generation, through preparatory work, to completed project. Emphasis will be placed on storytelling through composition and character development, as well as how color theory enhances visual communication. Students choose to work in the medium with which they are comfortable. Christine has experience to support watercolor, colored pencil, pen and ink, or oils.

This class is held at The Art Academy, LLC in St. Paul, MN. It's conveniently located on Snelling Avenue.

Starting WEDNESDAY April 5,  8-9:30 PM, 8 weeks
To register for class at The Art Academy, LLC, visit the registration page.

unicorn show 2017 banner

Only two weeks away! The third Unicorn Art Show will magically appear in Northeast Minneapolis. I will have three pieces in the show this year. My art will be there but I have another commitment so won't make it to the show. I'm bummed about this because I've been able to get sneak peeks at what some of the other artists have created and WOW I wish I could see the work in person.

metalpoint drawing in a shellHere's a peek at one of the pieces I've made. It's a tiny silverpoint drawing done in a shell. For this one I brushed onto the shell a little Silverpoint Drawing Ground. Each piece is framed with frames that have a hint of weathered beach cottage about them.

Side note: I purchased the frames from Hang It (I don't get anything from Hang It for mentioning them here, I just think they have great customer service so want to share).

Opening night is Saturday, April 8
7:00 - 11:00 PM CDT
at Artspace Jackson Flats
901 18 1/2 Ave NE
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55418

For more information, visit the show's Facebook event page

Follow on Instagram! If you missed the show last year, you can see some of the work on Instagram as well as some sneak peeks of some new work


Art Academy Artists Talk: Christine Mitzuk on the Creative Process

digital painting of the morrigu as she realizes her potential as a goddess by Christine Mitzuk
The Morrigu

On Friday March 24 I'll be giving a free artist talk at Wet Paint over in St. Paul. I'll be speaking the creative process as it pertains to image making and show the various steps I took to create some of my pictures. These same steps are what I coach people through in our Wednesday evening class at The Art Academy.

Free Event!
March 24, 2017 @ 6:00 - 7:30 pm
Wet Paint Artists' Materials & Framing
1684 Grand Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55105

Event Description:

Creative play time included!

Learn about Christine’s upcoming class at The Art Academy  “Imaginative Art Inspiration Space” Christine will talk about the class, present some of her work, and the creative process she uses which she also teaches in her class. We’ll also spend some time playing in the creative sandbox.

The Art Academy class description:

Wednesdays 8-9:30pm
“Explore your creativity by developing an imaginative picture based upon an existing story that you select, or an idea that you originate. Work at your own pace to learn the time-honored steps of the creative, visual process – from idea generation, through preparatory work, to completed project. Emphasis will be placed on storytelling through composition and character development, as well as how color theory enhances visual communication. Students choose to work in the medium with which they are comfortable. Christine has experience to support watercolor, colored pencil, pen and ink, or oils.”

12"x16" prints of the four elementals matted and framed and hanging on a wall at lodestone coffee and gamesGaming + Coffee + Art!

Starting this week some of my art will be on display at Lodestone Coffee and Games in Minnetonka, MN. Currently NEW large versions of the four elementals are available for viewing and purchase.

For this new limited edition print run of the elementals, I've made them about 12"x16". There will be 5 artist proofs, and 10 prints in the run for a total of 15 prints at this size. Each is printed on archival paper with archival inks. For the show the pieces are matted and framed to fit 16"x20" frames (outer dimensions are slightly larger). These pieces at this 12"x16" size will only be available at select shows, not online. Fear not, the 8"x10" limited edition prints are currently still available.

Lodestone Coffee and Games is a fun shop with a variety of games to purchase or try out. Plus they host gaming events. Check them out here


A few of my bristle brushes have splayed out so I experimented on how to reshape them.

On most bristle brushes, the hairs have a slight natural curve to them. But with use they get out of shape. In "Painter's Handbook: Revised and Expanded" by Mark David Gottsegen, he suggests wrapping the bristles in a wax paper sleeve (after cleaning the brushes of course). I couldn't get the paper to stay put so I taped the wrapped brushes to a piece of old mat board. Then I smushed the brushes with another piece of mat board and clipped the edges. Brushes Wrapped with Wax Paper

Lightly Pressed Brushes

This did reshape some of them, a few didn't seem affected, and one is just too far gone. It was nicely reshaped the next day, but as soon as I got a bit of paint and OMS on it the bristles splayed out again (too much dried paint up in the ferrule probably from a rushed day). If I try this again, maybe I'll tape the wax paper sleeve to the ferrules so the brushes doesn't slip out.

Next I'll probably try what The Master's Brush Cleaner company recommends with their product (leaving a clean lather in the bristles to reshape it, let it dry, and then shake the powder off when you're ready to paint). This would be fore bristle brushes. I have no idea how or if this would work with sable brushes. (This isn't the only cleaner out there, do some research and see what you like).

Side note: If you do an internet search you can easily find many ideas for how to care for natural hair oil painting brushes. They all involve these general steps: wiping excess paint off the brush onto a rag and getting the paint out of the bristles using some sort of solvent (getting pretty much all the paint out of the brush before you lather it up so you're not sending paint down the drain or washing your brush with paint and soap), then cleaning and reshaping the brush with some sort of soap/brush cleaner.

cover of book titled hawthorne on painting
A collection of notes from students of Charles Hawthorne from critiques he gave of their work.

I read art books in the hope that I'll learn something new, or find a new-to-me way of looking at an old tool or idea. I seek out information in an effort to grow as an artist and try to be a more effective instructor. I consider a book good if it gets me thinking about how or why I do things and gives me a different way to look at the fundamentals of picture making.

This is one of those books.

It's only about 1/4" thick but it's chock full of ideas to think about. It's a collection of notes from Hawthorne's students, collected by Mrs. Charles W. Hawthorne. The chapters are broken into outdoor model, still life, landscape, the indoor model, and watercolor.

I'm about 3/4 through the book and I'm liking it quite a bit. As someone who has been painting and studying this stuff for a while, I'm recognizing many of the learning opportunities that the students refer to in their notes (painting light and shadow instead of things, painting too much detail and losing form, etc.) For someone new to painting, I think it would be best read in conjunction with working on pictures. I would think this would create opportunities for someone to better understand the ideas presented in the book in practical application.

I'm finding many of the concepts are ones I learned during my training at The Atelier but Hawthorne came at them from a different angle. In several of the notes he tells the students not to draw and instead focus on making one correct color next to the other and from there the form will come, not to draw with line and fill it in. So his approach, first and foremost, seems to have been mass oriented rather than defining the shapes first.

The other idea I see repeated a lot is getting one color note correct next to another color note. At The Atelier I learned about this idea as setting up relationships between the values and colors. It's not so much about copying exactly the color or value you see in nature but how the value and color looks in relation to the other values and colors within your composition.

I also really like Hawthorne's insistence on students painting objects that by themselves might be considered boring or ugly (for example, a white plate). Instead of setting up a beautiful still life, and I'm paraphrasing here, he encourages the students to use their artist's eye to translate how the light and color describe the boring object in a beautiful way. I remember falling into this trap as a student. Instead of practicing how to see and translate what I was seeing with paint, I tried to make beautiful pictures with the objects themselves. My instructors tried to get this through to me. I caught on eventually. Composition, light, value, color, all of this can be practiced with objects that we aren't so precious about and are therefore more willing to take chances on and experiment, perhaps fail. Within that, learning happens. I get tripped up by this at times and need a reminder. Time to paint my ugly gardening shoes.

I think I will end up re-reading it several times. It seems to me that I'm mostly recognizing things I already know so I'd like to go through it again with an eye open for unfamiliar ideas. When it comes down to it, I think the book is worth the price (especially if you can get it used).