Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A New Show Piece

Great news! I have just learned that my painting "Autumn Suns" 
has been juried into the 
114th Anniversary International Exhibition of the Philadelphia Watercolor Society! 
This is my second year in the show and I am now eligible for Signature Membership. 
Thank you to the PWCS and juror Linda Baker. I am thrilled!

"Autumn Suns"
Watercolor, 18" x 24"
©Carmella Tuliszewski

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Illustrated Portrait

This is, by far, my most fun painting of the summer.
I dont know if this type of portrait has been done before (but I assume it has since somewhere everything has been done before).

Every part of this portrait means something to my daughter.

"Her Grace"
Watercolor, 18" x 20"
©Carmella Tuliszewski

As a child Christine collected Disney snow globes.  Winnie the Pooh was a favorite.
The Clamatis represents our home since we have always had this flower growing on our lamp post.
Tweety Bird, another favorite!

We vacationed in New Hampshire every summer by the lake.
Represented here by the pine branch and chickadees.
Many rainy afternoons were spent playing Candyland.
And the pieces from the board game, Pretty, Pretty Princess was a fun game she loved playing with her Dad. Yes it was pretty hysterical.

Her stuffed dog Tramp was almost always by her side seeing her through bad dreams, 
tummy aches, and comforting sleepiness.

When I had the idea for this project I asked her what she remembers from this age.
In her last year of preschool her classes were in the afternoon.
One of her favorite memories is sitting in Daddys big chair 
and me bringing her a peanut and jelly sandwich,
with the crust cut off and cut into triangles.  And, oh yeah, watching Barney the Purple Dinasoaur 
(couldn't figure out how to squeeze him in here) before leaving for school.

And lastly, I dug out one of her illustrated stories from kindergarten.
I faithfully copied it just as she left it.

And it reads,
"It is my birthday.  I am happy.
I got a big present.  I was surprised."

Kind of says it all doesn't it?
Yesterday Christine turned 27.
Happy Birthday Christine!

Friday, June 27, 2014

More Portrait Progress

I am always more productive from September to May.
I seem to slow my painting down a bit during the summer (maybe I'm still in teacher mode)
 but I've managed to pop in a few hours here and there to work on my daughters portrait.

I wanted to make it extra special by surrounding her 5 year old self with the things 
she enjoyed most at that age. 
So my illustrated border is filled with 
Candyland and Pretty, Pretty Princess game pieces,
her faithful stuffed friend, Tramp and our yearly vactions to Lake Winnepausaki, NH is represented by the Chickadees and pine branches.

As I finish more of the border I'll explain the other objects.
I want to keep the border richly colored to make that green background sparkle 
and highlight the portrait.

I spent many happy hours drawing out this border.
I choose the variations of bright greens to complement all the pinks in her face and shirt.
It makes her pop and although the border is very detailed and richly colored I'm hoping that green will keep the focus on her.  As it should be :)

Happy Weekend!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Portrait Progress

I made decent progress today. 
Her complextion looks much more lively now.
I added glazes and blots of Vermillion Hue along with more Opera Rose in the cheeks.
Although it took much trial and error to get there.
And I worked on the hair more.

Just starting the wreath and happy to be on to something a little more in my comfort zone.
Not ready to call myself a portrait artist, not by a long shot, 
but feel better about how it's going.

I've included the last progress pic so you can see the difference.
Lots more to come but for now a long holiday weekend, yay!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

A First Portrait in Watercolor

I have always loved this picture of my daughter, Christine, at about age 4.
(She's 27 now)  She had spent the day with her Grandmother while my husband and I were out.
My Mother-in-Law made this crown of dandelions and she looked so adorable I ran for my camera.
I have this photo framed in my house.
I wish I had gotten a picture of the two of them together that day.

Once the drawing is ready it's time to the flesh out the color.
Here I've started with Permanent Rose, Burnt Sienna, Naples Yellow and a tiny spot 
of Cerulean Blue for shadow areas.

I can see that my shadows are too brown 
and the face coloring does not have enough life in it.

Added more color in the cheeks but still need to pick up a little of the shadow coloring.
Just starting the hair and hope to progress to a more subtle blending of the strands.

I have done portraits in the past using acrylic.
I have to say that it was much easier in acrylic.
But I will keep going until I teach myself how to do this.
I have plans for an illustrated border framing out the portrait.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.
First I need to get this right!

Thursday, May 15, 2014


The past three months or so I have been working on four larger Still Lifes.
Now I would really appreciate your opinion.
Which one of the four is your favorite?

Enter your preference and a short reason why you like it.
And, hey, if you prefer to comment on the one you like least and tell me why, I can handle it!
You may write here on my blog on in the comment section of this post on my Facebook Studio Page.

At 12:00 noon EST this Friday, May 16th,  I will randomly pick someone from these comments
to win my first Give Away in over a year.
Scroll down to see the Give Away and the details!

Thank you, I appreciate your time on this so much!

"Autumn Suns",  Watercolor, 18" x 24"

"The Catch", Watercolor, 15" x  28"

"Rose Bounty", Watercolor, 18" x 28"

"Spring Sweets",  Watercolor,  18" x 24"


"Pansy", Watercolor, 8" x 8"
Comes archivally mounted on acid free foam board and 
with a 3" wide white, beveled mat
Overall size is 14" x 14"

Good Luck & Thanks again!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Composition, Color & Clarity

I have had a few questions messaged to me asking about putting together a still life like this.
So read on to see how I approach a complicated set such as this.

"Spring Sweets",  Watercolor,  18" x 24"
©Carmella Tuliszewski 2014

In Still Life composition is especially important.
I do all my composing through the viewfinder of my camera.  
Now that may not sound very creative to most who imagine artists wildly sketching off drawing after drawing to accomplish this.  But, for me, since I set up all my Still Lifes with found objects, 
that puts me in control as to how the objects relate to each other.
I often take many pictures from many points of view.
I then edit through iPhoto by cropping and angling until it just feels right.

The viewer may not even realize it but most artist will devise lead ins and focal points
to bring you into the picture and then keep you interested to look around.

In this piece, the rolls of fabric on the left bring you into the scene, 
following it like a road to the large jelly bean jar. 
You next are drawn to the red birdhouse following through to the brightly 
painted lolly pops.
At least that's the way I hope the viewer sees it :)

I enjoy keeping my hues bright. 
I usually photograph set ups on sunny days because I love playing with the shadow coloring 
and the way they connect the objects to other elements in the scene.
I have made charts of all the paints I currently have, adding more as another purchase is made.
I rarely use color straight from the tube but knowing what I have as 
I work helps me make my choices for glazing and blending.

Watercolor dries lighter.  
So a beautiful, rich color when it's wet and first painted on the paper soon disappears as it dries. 
 I find this one of the most challenging aspects of working in watercolor.
This is where glazing comes in.  By laying in layers of the same color or building up with different colors in the same area, you will eventually reach that point of dark, richness you want.
Reds are particularly difficult.

I take a clue from artists like Van Gogh and other Impressionists and
 Post Impressionts for cast shadows.  
By using a comlpelemtary color to the object for its cast shadow mixed with maybe a Paynes Gray, your shadows will hold a connection to its object and ankor it to the scene.
This is also true for mixing shades.

I do use masking fluid, usually drawn in with a quill pen.
Although I am a pragmatist and will use spots of white paint when necessary,
It's always better to limit this to small accents or missed highlights.

Clarity, or the details, are possibly my favorite part of the process.
I am a realist painter because I really enjoy making it look as if you could imagine 
popping one of those jelly beans in your mouth.
But I still like it to look like a watercolor painting so I stop at some point to let washes show a bit.

The details are about what you see and understanding how to model and form an object.
Pay attention to light sources and reflected and core shadows. 
Again building up layers of "darkness" without going to far.
Good brushes make a world of difference when laying in details such as
the designs on the jars and cloth in this piece.

I work intuitively while handling all the above aspects of a painting.
But I also build these parts while using prior knowledge from years of study, 
teaching and just plain hard work and practice.
I am not always successful but each painting makes the next painting better.

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