Mary Ellen Schutz Gutknecht
I believe that a piece of the artist exists in everything that they create in a very real way, and I find it very soul-filling when my artwork speaks to–and moves–someone else. Everyone has a touch of artist in them…we can all embellish our own little corner of the world!
I grew up in rural Pennsylvania, surrounded by nature: endless mountains, roaring rivers, and vast tracts of trees. Although I began my college career at Penn State as an Art Education major, I switched to Environmental Education, a fortunate pairing, as nature and art are always intertwined in whatever I do. I currently live in Buffalo, MN, and for the past 23 years, I have been a Teaching Artist in many schools in the District and outstate, teaching drawing to students Preschool through 6th grade. I find that the students are just hungry for art, and it is exceedingly rewarding to see student shine at drawing, both those who have a bit of an artistic eye already, and those who may not have found success academically. I focus not only on the Art, but on the subject matter, making sure sneak in lessons on the nature themes as well.
Outside of the classroom, I explore a variety of mediums…ideas call to me from many places and I don’t focus on one particular expressive area: I love to oil paint (so much potential for putzing with details…), also work with colored pencil, pen and ink, and acrylics. I design and create stained glass panels, draw with graphite and carbon pencils, and paint wooden alphabet blocks for children. My style always gravitates to accurate representation so that my work is realistic and tends to be true-to-life. I have provided illustrations and cover art for several books, and currently have several more in process: one for an author friend, and two children’s books that I have written and am working on illustrating. It is immensely satisfying to see the images develop into what you knew in your vision that they could be! I often have many projects in process at any given time, kind of like a workshop buffet that never seems to end!