Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Lady's Slippers and the Bumble Bee

I am in between projects right now.  
After completing the hydrangeas I am in the beginning stages of my next big still life.  
I have set my propts in place and am now working out a composition that really catches my eye.  I have another intense drawing to do for this one and thought I needed a little side piece to work on as a break.

Enter Lady's Slippers and the Bumble Bee
Something a little different from me.

I have been really interested in the botanical illustration look of a detailed painting on a clean white background.  That idea became, "What if I added a border design?", and then "What if that design became a stylized little illustration at the top?"and "What if I gave it a title space?"
It's more a sytlized illustration that may or may not become, dare I say, a series.

The bumble bees have been added because in my research I learned that the bumble bee is the only insect that can pollinate this lovely orchid.

WIP.  I got to take out some toys and gagets for this one.

Just in case you're interested here is some interesting info on the Lady's Slipper orchid.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Hydrangeas Complete!

The build up on this was slow for a couple of reasons.
It's a rather large piece at 18" x 24" and of course the fine details.
It was important to bring in all the colors that characterize the Hydrangea blossom in late Autum.
This meant adding touches of magenta, pinks, violets, blues, greens and golds.
The branches are bare in spots and the leaves are beginning to fade.

Beginning with a carefully detailed drawing is something I always enjoy.
For this piece it was especially important as a map of sorts to follow through to completion.

This painting came from photos I took while walking around Cooperstown, NY 
on a bright and brisk morning in October.

Onto a new project!
Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, January 9, 2015

This Weeks Progress on Hydrangeas

I have been painting everyday on this large, fairly intricate piece.

Hydrangeas, 18" x 24" Watercolor
Keeping all the little pedals organized takes a lot of patience.
I could have switched to a more loose approach, which is a lovely way to go, 
but not what I had in mind for this piece.
This is a challenge for me and that's what I wanted.

So after blocking in the shade areas and preserving the whites, 
I'd like to tell you that I plunged ahead, but no.
I went for a cup of tea and to watch the new episode of Downton Abbey I missed this week.

I made much better progress today.
The center blossom still needs some color strengthening.
The subtleties required to paint such a soft, complicated flower is another thing that is a challenge for me on this piece.
Go bold or go home is my usual motto but that's why I wanted to try this,
to see if I could have a lighter control in my palette.

Still much work to do but I'm fine with that because I'm throughly enjoying the process!

Moving along a bit slower today.
Must be a Friday thing.
I will continue to fill in the entire area and then go back for color and details.
This is usually the time in a painting in which I have to push through because I'm already thinking about the next painting!

Friday, January 2, 2015


After a very busy Christmas week it was such a pleasure to sit quietly and sink into this drawing.
Once I get going on a very detailed drawing it takes on a rythmn of line and shapes.
You get into the zone of placing one shape next to another.
Each pedal has something which distinquishes it from the next and the longer you concentrate on this aspect, the easier it is to find those characteristics.

Hydrangeas, 18" x 24"

This reference is one of many photos I took while walking around Cooperstown, NY
the morning of my son's wedding.
It was very early and the light was beautiful.
These hydrangeas were past their peak so the color was a bit faded in areas with pops of sap green, ochres and browns creeping into the pedals and leaves.  This made the scene even more special.
I hope I can do it all justice.

There's much to do before painting can begin, picking up excess graphite, 
stretching the paper and painting in resist in spots.

All to be continued next week!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas Card

Happy Christmas week!

This card is part of an annual tradition I started way back with our first married Christmas.
Back then it was just the two of us and I think I drew our fish tank in there somewhere.
Look how we have grown!

We have a new member of the family with the adoption of the puppy Indiana by my son and his wife.
We have a baby on the way in 2015. Our first grandchild!
And an exciting wedding to plan with the engagement of our daughter.

This is the only cartoon/illustration type of work I do these days.
And it's a really nice way to end a year full of making art.

This is how it begins with a rough sketch.
I then place a sheet of heavy vellum over the sketch and with fine line markers begin
the big doodle project.  
I doodle on it in front of the tv, on the kitchen table while making dinner, 
pretty much anywhere I can grab a few minutes.

The nice thing about working on this vellum is that if I make a mistake instead of white out 
I can just scratch the surface off with an exacto knife.
I also use this as a technique as in scratching away some area to make the smoke from the fire.

If you have not seen my illustrated family cards from years past,
please visit this page and take a look.

I have a very busy week ahead as I'm sure you do also.
A very happy Christmas and holiday to you all and thank you so much for the time you 
take throughout the year to visit my work.

See you in 2015!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Knight Star, The Amaryllis

"Knight Star"
Watercolor, 9" x 12"
©Carmella Tuliszewski

Many festive varieties of amaryllis pop up this time of year, some with stories that can be associated with Christmas themes. 
A hybrid amaryllis, 'St. Joseph's Staff,' was introduced in the 16th century, according to an online resource, The African Garden. 
St. Joseph's Staff is a reference to the legend that St. Joseph was chosen to become husband to the Virgin Mary after his staff sprouted amaryllis flowers during the selection process conducted by a high priest. 
The name, amaryllis, is derived from the Greek word that means "to sparkle," and its botanical name, Hippeastrum, is Greek for "knight star."

Flowers are my go to subject for truly relaxing painting.
And the vibrant coloring is always an added bonus.
In this case the delicate fine lines were completed by first wetting a single pedal, giving it a few seconds to try a bit and then dragging a very thin, loaded brush across the surface.
This creates a beautiful modeled first glaze.

I rarely leave a white background but thought I would try to se how I like it.
I do love the botanical paintings I see at the flower show every year.
And it is a simple, clean look.
The verdict is out however because I'm finding it difficult not to brush in a luscious rich background!

I would love to paint another one but I have to start 
my family Christmas card this week.

Here's a look at last years card.
This year I have the happy task of adding a mother to be daughter-in-law
(Our first grandchild!), a future son-in-law and a new
little adopted puppy.

Yikes, I better get started :)

Friday, November 21, 2014

Spectrum Lights

I had the image of this painting in my head for quite a while before I ever put pencil to paper.
I collected tinted bottles all summer and just squirreled them away.

On a bright, sunny day I brought my carefully hoarded collection to my patio table.
To capture more elongated shadows,  I set up on a large board and inclined it as far as I dared with some close, everything fall to the ground and crash, calls.

The brillant light was my main interest in this painting.
Everything from the tinted shadows it cast onto the fabric, the areas of fabric disappearing
under the glare and the reflections from one surface to another.
This is a large piece so all that was a bit daunting
but it helped to keep a "one thing at a time" attitude.

"Light Reigns"
Watercolor, 15" x 25"
©Carmella Tuliszewski

The title comes from, the power of the light cast throughout the scene
but also, the feeling of the bottles cascading down through the picture plane.
The vertical stripes, I hope, add to the pouring, raining effect of color and light.

 I generally work from light to dark.
But when painting glass I first cover a few select spots with resist to preserve the whites.
Next I lay in the lightest wash of color visible on the glass.
Then I go straight to the darkest color value.

 Once that is in place, I begin to work in all the
middle values with interlocking shapes of color.

Some of these bottles will appear again in future still lives.
And I have some crazy shaped clear bottles and vases I'd like to try.
But for now I have a yen for flowers, maybe some Christmas flowers!

Thank you so much for stopping by :)

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