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Helen Knuapp


My medium for the past 20 years has been watercolors. I primarily work with a handmade watercolor paper called Twinrocker and I paint with watercolors in a very nontraditional manner. I like to scrub the surface, layer the paint and use white as well as metallic gouaches.

I consider myself a colorist and I like to tell stories with my paintings.

My work has been heavily influenced by my childhood. I grew up in a family that encouraged exploration of the natural world and exposed me to many cultures.

Regarding the little red man that appears in so many of my paintings - it is a Knaupp family story that involved my father and three of my aunts when they were small children growing up on an Iowa farm. As the story goes, their job was to bring in the cows every day. On one particular day, they found a small brown-skinned man in a maroon red suit, asleep on the cow path. They were all frightened to pick it up, as they thought it was alive. They ran back to get their older siblings, and when they returned, the little red man was gone! As I grew up, bedtime stories always included the Little Red Man Story, and we as children had to guess - was it a doll? Was it an elf? Was it really alive? So the little red man lives on in my paintings!





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