Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Stills, Flowers and Shows, oh my!

So far in this new year I have been very productive.

"Stitch in Time"
Watercolor, 18" x 28"
©Carmella Tuliszewski

I decided to take on another large still life.
This time making use of all my stashed away sewing items.
It took about three weeks from drawing to finish and I loved every minute of it.
I am currently planning another on this subject.
My objective here was to gain good practice in painting various textures to include glass (of course!)
but also metals, fabrics, paper and the weaved basket.
having everything sit on actual pattern tissue was a last minute call that I'm very pleased with.
This is a competition piece so I'll let you know how it goes :)

"Caladiums Alight"
Watercolor, 12" x 15"

After a large still I like to turn to florals for a bit to recharge.
This was taken from a trip to Longwood Gardens last Fall.
These beauties were at ground level of a stunning atrium.
They managed to capture a ray of sun, and my attention, 
 through the thick canopy above.

"Golden Trumpets"
Watercolor, 8" x 8"

And another painting from Longwood Gardens.
The backlighting on this was a little difficult for me.
So I plan to go in and fiddle with it some more.
But the light on this was just so spectacular that I had to try.
One of those helpful learning experiences.

Watercolor, 18" x 24"

And I learned this month that I have been accepted into my second show of the year.
"Lemoncello" will exhibit in
The 2018 Georgia Watercolor Society National Exhibition
Saturday, March 17, 2018 - Sunday, April 29, 2018
Oglethorpe University Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia

This painting was in the 2016 Pennsylvania Watercolor Society International Exhibition 
and was awarded the M. Graham Award of Excellence.
It is coming to the end of it's show viability as exhibitions only allow a work to
be two to three years old to enter.
It will then go onto my website for sale.
If you are interested please contact me.
I'd love to see it find a good home:)

I have entered more competitions so far this year.
Here's hoping some of them make it through.
I do love all the opportunities 
watercolorists have to show their work through the various societies
and publications.  Of course, that multiplies the chances of being rejected.
But when you are accepted it's just that much more exciting.

I'll let you know how it goes!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

2017 Round Up

I cannot complain at all about 2017.
Professionally and personally it's been a good year.

My husband retired after over 35 years as an insurance executive.
And although it took some getting used to having him around all the time, it's been great.
We have coffee together every morning, babysit our grandchildren and travel here and there.
Speaking of grandchildren, we now have three with babies Alice and Benjamin born this year.

Larry and I at Niagara Falls in October.

As an artist I did not get as much painting in as I have in the past because of all the above reasons.
But those I did complete were great fun to work on and I am happy with the outcomes of each.

And I was lucky enough to check off a few bucket list events I was hoping to accomplish.

My first time to have a painting of mine appear in
Splash The Best of Watercolor.

 My first time to be accepted into 
The National Watercolor Society International Exhibition.

And, after a review by the signature committee,
to be awarded Signature Status in the NWS.

To be one of the artist highlighted by 
The Art of Watercolor magazine for
their Readers Competition.

And, just recently, my painting "Glimmerglass" was accepted into the 
9th Signature American Watermedia Exhibition.

I have been over the moon with each of these events in my life and feel very fortunate.

So what am I hoping for in the coming year?
I do have one big wish on my Bucket List.
And that is to gain Signature Status in the 
American Watercolor Society.
I have been accepted into one show in 2016 and need one more to apply.
But if it doesnt happen this year I'll just keep trying.

But most of all to just keep painting things that I find exciting and can't
wait to get to every morning.  Isnt that what we all want?
A reason to get up in the morning and make the most of the day.
Sometimes that's painting, sometimes its babysitting my grandchildren and sometimes it's hanging out with my husband Larry.
But whatever that something is for you, I hope you find it in 2018.

Happy New year!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Summer Showers

I thought I'd give the bottles a rest for now and go out of my comfort zone a bit.

I begin with a very detailed drawing from the reference pictured below.
Using 140 lb Arches Cold Press paper that has been soaked and
stapled to gatorboard then left to dry overnight.
I don't tape the edges simply because there is not need.

The next day my paper is stretched tight as a drum
and will not buckle or warp while I work.
I begin applying liquid mask to protect the whites and brighter 
hue reflections.  
A quill pen works well for this if you apply a few drops of water to the mask.

And so the painting begins.
I like to paint in backgrounds first because it affects all the 
subsequent colors. If I cant judge how the final colors will look it creates a lot 
of extra work once the foreground is applied.

Now for the really fun part!
I keep a black and white copy of my reference nearby to help in judging the values.
Many painters will tell you that although color gets all the glory, 
it's the values that make an image work.
There is much glazing, blending and smoothing of edges as I go.

Almost there.
You can see the difference between the upper and lower bubbles.
I tackle the transparencies first and then go in for the reflections.
A tricky mixture.
I could only do this for a couple hours at a time and had to walk away to rest my eyes.
But you just keep going and little by little is gets done!

 "Summer Showers"
Watercolor, 12" x 18"

This just happens to be my little grandson enjoying a suny day playing on his deck.
He runs back and forth through the bubbles giggling and just having a great time with a simple pleasure of summer.
It warms my heart and I hope I captured this special moment in a little kids life.

So this goes up on my board for now while I tweek it here and there for
finishing touches.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Spectral Vessels

I just completed the eighth in my series of glass paintings,
"Spectral Vessels"

Watercolor, 16" x 30"

I found this background fabric at my favorite thrift store.
It's actually a twin bedsheet.
I loved the built in flow and played that up a bit in this composition.
After laying the sheet down in my driveway,
I intentionaly created a soft flowing S curve from top to bottom to mimic the flow of the pattern.
Placing the objects mainly to one side makes for an interesting grouping.
The study of the play of light within each piece of glass still is an 
exciting prospect for me.

So I thought I'd share all eight pieces together in order of completion 
beginning with this most recent painting.

Watercolor, 22" x 30"
Too much color? Maybe to some.
This painting was just rejected by this years juror for The Pennsylvania Watercolor Society International Exhibit.  Not a good debut I guess but I think it's got something so
I'll keep trying.

Watercolor, 20" x 22"
"Sunset" has been juried into
The National Watercolor Society 2017 International Exhibition
San Pedro, California
Opening Reception October 21, 2017

My first time submitting to a NWS exhibit and I was pretty surprised.
Kept checking the list. It's not that I don't think it's a good piece, it's
that you never know how these things are going to go.
I'm always bracing for rejection :)

Watercolor, 18" x 24"
The Pennsylvania Watercolor Society International Exhibition
 Recipient of the M. GRAHAM AWARD

Watercolor, 18" x 28"
The Northwest Watercolor Society International Exhibition 2016
Awarded Signature Status in the NWWS

Runner up for Splash 18 The Best of Watercolor 2017

The Philadelphia Watercolor Society
International Exhibition of Works on Paper. 2016
 Recipient of the Marie L. Hollenbeck Award of Excellence

Watercolor,  22" x 24"

The American Watercolor Society International Exhibition 2016

The Pennsylvania Watercolor Society Members Show 2016
Honorable Mention

Selected for Splash 18 The Best of Watercolor 2017

One of the things I love about this subject is that I am occassionaly surprised by the images reflected back at me that I was not expecting.
For instance, if you look at the green bottom center sphere 
you will see me up on a ladder with my arms outstretched, camera in had, trying to get the perspective I had pictured in my head.

"Light Reigns"
Watercolor, 18" x 24"
Northwest Watercolor Society International Exhibition 2015

"Summer Harvest"
Watercolor, 18" x 24"
The Pennsylvania Watercolor Society International Exhibition 2015
Recipient of The Award of Merit
Awarded Signature Status in the PWS

This was my first ever bottle painted in watercolor.
And honestly I did not know what I was doing
until I figured out how to assemble shapes of color 
side by side like a sort of puzzle.
Add some blending and glazing and it all came together.

The really wonderful things about going to these group watercolor society shows are
getting to meet and chat with some of the painters I have admired and studied
when I first began as a watercolorists.
Ian Steward, Antonio Masi, L. S. Eldridge, Judi Betts,
Chris Krupinski, Marsh Chandler, Ona Kingdom and Carol Pickle
to name a few.  (How's that for name dropping hahah.)
And secondly the 
vast array of subject matter and styles.
Why do artists paint the things they do?
I think you have to be challenged by what you choose to paint and 
above all you have to love it.

The competition in these shows is fierce and there's lots of rejection
but I love that competition and am amazed every single time I get through the judging.
To me the lessons learned and the exposure is worth it.

Thursday, May 11, 2017


It has been busy to say the least.
Some of it good busy and some of it not so good.
But in between I manage to actually sit at my table and focus.

"Encore", Watercolor, 22" x 30"
©Carmella Tuliszewski

A little intense with the color this one is.
That was the plan all along and I loved making all these vibrant hues work together.
When I set my bottles up in bright morning sun everything just sparkles and bounces off one another.  The shadows of violet, fuchsia and lime green enhance the color of the bottles and change the fabric beneath everywhere they land.

I begin in the back and labor over one bottle at a time.
I'm an instant gratification junkie and need to see finished pieces as I go.
The colors need to be layered many times to get the effect of tints and shades.
It usually is a slow go but the process is the thing for me.

Almost there at this point.
I use as little white as possible,
usually just to hit tiny highlights at the very end.
I use Winsor & Newton Colourless Art Masking Fluid.
Always works very well.
This is painted on 300 lb Arches Cold Press 
watercolor paper, which I do not soak and stretch.
I believe the colors stay more true when the sizing is not washed off and
I do not like to be encumbered by a board under the paper.
At least not on these large pieces.

And here is where it began.
A long process indeed but to me so worth it.

So back to my busy life, in the garden, with my grandchildren,
hanging out with my newly retired husband and 
trying to keep the house clean and the food cooked!

Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, April 14, 2017

April Doings

March and April have been about 
house projects, grandmom time, hanging out with my recently retired husband 
and preparing to host my daughter's upcoming baby shower.
You know, life.
But in between I manage to catch time here and there
to work on my watercolor projects.

This large painting, 22" x 30", I began a few weeks ago.
The colors just keep me totally engaged and the magical things the light does 
through the colors keeps me challenged. 

I set this scene up in my driveway and waited for the early morning light to hit it just right.
All my photos then go into iPhoto for cropping, twisting, turning, brightness and saturation adjustments until I "feel" it and can't wait to get it on paper.

It has a ways to go but I'll get there.

"Sweet Treats", Watercolor, 20" x 24"

My Easter painting while in progress and the completed piece.
I love painting a season/holiday scene.
And thats just what it has to be, a labor of love.
Seasonal pieces are almost never juried into exhibitions and 
really don't sell for whatever reason.

Nevertheless, some things you have to do for the sake of doing.

I'll keep going on that bottle painitng and be back with a finish...eventually.

Happy Easter!

Friday, March 10, 2017

February's Flowers and the FAV 15

February turned out to be a floral month for me.
During my many years as a greeting card illustrator flowers were my 
bread and butter as a freelance artist.
I still go back to them now when I need a refresher.

"Sunbathers II", Watercolor, 12" x 14"

The complementary hues of green, yellow-green and red, yellow-orange made this piece
just pop from the paper.  I have always found oranges difficult to work with but I'm getting better at it by slowing down and not building up the darks too quickly.
Vermillion is my go to paint, in combination with various reds, to get the vibrancy needed here.

"Lupine", Watercolor, 7" x 14"

I found this beauty while walking through a garden show in my sister in laws neighborhood last summer.  All flowers seem to be given a meaning and that meaning for the Lupine is loyalty.

"Sunset", Watercolor, 20" x 21"

I am thrilled that "Sunset" was included in the FAV 15 from January's
Bold Brush Painting Contest on FASO.

I will go back into it soon to deepen and brighten in a few spots.
I set this still up in the early morning sunrise in December when 
the light coming up cast long saturated shadows. 

My bottle collection is growing by leaps and bounds.
I find them in a favorite thrift store for $1 or less a piece but I have seen some of them 
on eBay for much more.
(One at $250! Gotta love a good bargain :)
They live in the windows around my house as a source of constant inspiration.

I am working on a new bottle painting now.
Just in the drawing stage, which will take awhile, as the piece measures the size of a full sheet of watercolor paper at 22" x 30".
But I am just mesmerized by it and cant wait to lay a brush to it!
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