Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Glass, glass and more glass!

I have been collecting vintage and new tinted glass bottles all summer.
This painting started out as a study of light through glass with only one bottle, and then another and another until it grew into this monster project on a full sheet of paper.

When I was in college one of my favorite teachers was Professor Louise Stahl.
I was lucky enough to get into her Color Theory class Sphomore year.
One assignment was to set up an abstract painting using only the tinted lights crossing 
and overlapping within a light booth.
Since I pretty much just drew my way through college, 
this was very different and challenging for me.
But probably the class I learned the most from that year.

This painting is in homage to a fabulous teacher and a great learning process.

My interests here are reflection, refraction and most of all the light.
I'm a bit obsessed with this idea right now and most mornings can't wait to get back to my table!

I don't know if this will be a keeper but I'll keep plowing through to find out.
I'll be back with more progress.  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Signature Membership!

On Sunday I was honored to receive Signature Membership into
The Philadelphia Watercolor Society.
It is my first Signature Membership and all the more special because it is with my 
hometown organization.
This years show recieved hundreds of entries but selected only 75 pieces.
The gallery was large, open and well lit.

The two last photos are from PWCS

The reception was very well attended and with my family and friends there made for a perfect day.
All the hardworking and dedicated board members of PWCS put together
a lovely event from unpacking and hanging paintings to preparing the appitizer table.
I am so grateful to do this work and honored to be included with this room full of
outstanding artists.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Flowers, Tinted Glass and Pattern on Pattern

By now you know that I love complications.
Pattern on pattern, complementary colors, reflected and refracted surfaces
all make me very happy.  When they all appear in one painting, 
well, I'm over the moon the whole time I'm working.

"Summer Harvest"
Watercolor, 18" x 24"
©Carmella Tuliszewski
I have written in my previous posts about setting up and shooting this still life.
I love overhead viewpoints for a more dramatic effect.
I found this arrangement quite by accident.
I had laid all the elements down and was prepared to put a more organized set up together.
Before I started moving things around I noticed how interesting it was just as is.
A few little tweeks here and there and I was ready.
The whole composition sweeps up to the focal point in the upper right corner.
The lillies on the left could even be mistaken for a part of the fabric while your eye follows the movement to the upper right where the bottle stands up and grabs your full attention.
At least that's the way I hope it works!

But I saved painting the tinted green glass bottle for last because,
honestly, I didn't know what I was doing with that part of the image.
When I finally got to it, all the swirling, bubbling colors and values were a bit dizzying.
So I backed away from it for a day and reacquainted myself with a 
contemporary still life painter that I have admired for decades.

Janet Fish paints sunny jam packed paintings of which glass is a key feature in most of her work.
What I learned is that painting colored glass is less about blending and more about fitting 
separate color shapes together like a jigsaw puzzle.

It took awhile to get started but once I thought of it as putting a puzzle together,
one shape built on another and so on.

I have been collecting tinted bottles all summer.
I've found forgotten ones in the back of my own cuboards and during my many thrift store trips.
All different colors and shapes.
I have an idea brewing for how to put them together.
Until next time, I thank you for stopping by!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Blog Hop Around the World

I am so happy to have been invited to participate in the Blog Hop Around the World!

My friend and fellow watercolorist, Celia Blanco, honors me with this invitation.
Celia's work is a loose, colorful and impressionistic interpretation of everything from inspirational Italian landscapes to what she is having for dinner.
She also keeps a beautiful watercolor sketchbook that you must see.
Her work is fresh and a pleasure to look at again and again to find new shapes 
and beautifully blended colorings.
Please stop by her blog and get to know this talented and generous artist as I have over the past year.

I'll introduce myself by telling you this is my third life as an artist.

After graduating with a BFA in Illustration I was recruited
by Hallmark Cards in Kansas City, MO.
Greeting cards were big business in those days and I learned so much from
my supervisors/teachers while there.

When I returned to the east coast, having been a Hallmark artist opened many doors and
I continued for the next 15 years as a very busy freelancer
 for many card companies and design firms around the U.S.
I designed and illustrated cards, gift wrap, collectibles and display & packaging.

With the arrival of the home computer, the greeting card industry took a dive.
While around the same time people stopped buying collectibles
and packaging became much more graphic.
Many of those wonderful companies I worked for folded or
severely cut back on production.

I took some time off to raise my two young children and regroup.

A few years later I went back to school to do graduate work in
Art Education and earned PA State Certification.
I taught art, grades 1 thru 8, in a small private school in Philadelphia for ten years.
I felt rejuvinated from this experience and began to focus on my own work more and more.

I began watercolor while still teaching and soon it was all I wanted to do.
Now I have the pleasure and privilege of painting full time.
This Sunday I will receive Signature Membership into the
Philadelphia Watercolor Society.  I'm so excited!
                My little corner studio space.  It may not look like much but I love it!
                Notice the black and white drawings above my desk?   A family tradition of mine which you can see HERE 

1.  What am I working on now?
Almost done with this one.
I have just started laying in the color for the blue and white platter.
And I've saved that green bottle for last because I have never painted
colored glass before.  And, well, just working up a little courage to dive in and give it a shot!

Each painting builds on the last one. I always learn something new with every challenge.

"Summer Harvest"
Watercolor, 18" x 24"

2.  Why do I create what I do?
I enjoy most painting as a realist with a twist of bold colors and,
at the moment, still life is my favored genre.
I love painting things I have around my house or have discovered on one of my many thrift store trips.

I seek out ways to go beyond making things look real.
And I try to do this with color, subject and composition.
I keep a bold color palette and look for interesting objects to put in dynamic,
maybe unexpected groupings and view points.

When I see light laying across a colorful object, I can't wait to try and capture
what light does to that color and its shadow.
How light and shadow seem to bring the objects up off the paper
and how a color never stands alone.
It is affected by its surrounding colors and it takes a glazing of various hues to give
color a depth and richness that often doesn't come straight out of a tube.

I enjoy the challenge of bringing all this together to make an image.

"Autumn's Last"
Watercolor, 18" x 24"

"The Catch"
Watercolor, 15" x 28"
"Autumn Suns"
Watercolor, 18" x 24"

3.  How does my creative process work?
I work from photos and compose mainly through the viewfinder of my camera.

I set up my still lives outside on a sunny day and just leave it there all day.
I shoot many pics throughout the day while climbing up ladders, 
crawling under the table and laying on the ground.

I edit in Photoshop, many hours later make a selection that I can't turn away from 

and follow up with any changes while drawing out the composition.
After completing a very detailed drawing I begin painting,
finishing one section at a time as I go.

You can see an example of a work in progress HERE.

I use mostly Winsor & Newton watercolor paints but have recently started using
the Quinacridones by Daniel Smith.  Lovely, lucious color!
For these larger paintings I use Arches 300 lb. cold press.
I love this because I don't have to stretch the paper and 

avoid loosing the sizing which helps so much with the flow of the paints.

"Pink Light"
Watercolor, 9" x 12"

Now I am pleased to introduce to you my two artist choices to continue on the
 Blog Hop Around the World! 

Jo Mackenzie is a watercolorst with a very unique style and approach to her work.
She paints in distinct color values and has even delevoped a three step process 
she shares with other artists.
She paints one and sometime two or more beautiful works a day!
Her pet portraits and series paintings are not to be missed.

Kara K. Bigda, also a watercolorist, shares the beauty in everyday objects through her work.
She is a master at portraying the textures within these objects and the ambiance within her softly lit interior still life scenes.
She is just completing a series of watercolors depicting 16 beautifully glazed pottery jugs.
You will love her work.

Please visit Jo and Kara's work and come back to see their Around the World Blog 
posts on Monday, October 6th!

Well this went on a bit longer than I planned!
 I thank you for staying all the way to the end of this long post!

I hope you will stop by again.


Friday, September 19, 2014

Summer Harvest- Cut Flowers

These were the last of the flowers from my garden.
I had planned to make an arrangement with them inside the bottle
 but as they lay there this way I saw the composition had promise.
So I left evrything as is, pulled out a step ladder, climbed up and started shooting.

"Summer harvest"
Watercolor, 18" x 24"
©Carmella Tuliszewski

I recently watched "Saving Mr. Banks" and was surprisingly charmed by it.
So while I've been working I am listening to the Disney station on Pandora.
Painting, humming, singing along…good times.

Happy weekend!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Summer Harvest Progression

The original cloth I have used here for my background showed a white field.
Since there is much white in the center of the flow blue platter I wanted to be sure that this area remained my focal point.  So I have changed it to this soft yellow.
I am keeping my shadows mainly violet as a complement to the yellow.
It seems to be working so far.

The colors upcoming in the flowers, platter and glass are very rich reds, golds, blues and greens.
I see this as really popping out from the mainly yellow background but we will see!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Summer Harvest

I finally finished the drawing and transferred it to a full sheet of 300 lb. 
Arches Cold press.
Once the drawing is transferred I spend some time tweaking areas by adding more details and definition.  I use a kneaded eraser to pick up any excess graphite and rework again.

All this may sound counter productive.
But to me, all this prep sets up the painting in more ways than one.
I feel the texture of the paper and how my composition lays across the sheet,
 all the while working out color recipes in my head as I go.
By the time I'm ready to bring a brush to the surface I see the finish painting completed 
and work towards that goal.
This does not mean that I don't allow for spontaneity.
That happens just in the nature of the medium of watercolor as washes flow and blend.
No matter how carefully I lay out a work there are always surprises.

"Summer Harvest"

I use an electric eraser to take out small areas of the drawing and for picking out highlights in the painting.  I loved to bring this into my middle school drawing classes.
The kids thought an electric eraser was a strange and weird piece of equipment.
But they always changed their minds once I let them try it.

Also you see my mechanical pencil sharpener on the right.
I've had that same one for almost 40 years.
About 20 years ago I bought the inside sandpaper cups in bulk.
They last forever but when it was time to buy more I discovered this sharpener was considered 
vintage and refills could only be found on Ebay!
So I bought a bunch from the one seller who must have hoarded them back in the 80's.

Also you see a couple of the items in this piece.
The cloth and the green bottle were found during on of my thrift store trips.
I have an idea for a large colored glass painting and thought I'd try just one here and see how it goes.

I don't usually work on the weekends but I'm pretty excited about this one
and may just have to break that rule.

Have a happy weekend!

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