Thursday, March 5, 2015

Thrift Trip

Wether or not you are an artist, if you have not discovered the joys of a good 
bargain at your local thrift store, you are missing a lot.
As a still life painter, I am always looking for unusual props for my set ups.
I mostly have an idea of what I want to put together and go on a hunt.
But sometimes I get completely side tracked by what I stumble upon.

Before we got socked with yet another snowstorm, 
I took a trip to my favorite thrift store looking for inspiration.



I'm still holding onto my glass fascination and I spy a beauty on that top shelve I did go back for.
(Fair warning, if you see something you really like pick it up and carry it around while you think about it.  I have walked away and gone back many times to have my object gone)



Frames everywhere for really, really cheap.
I try to complete my paintings in a standard size to make it more affordable for 
myself and my buyers to frame.  Now the art in most of these thrift store frames are usually not anything you or I would hang in out homes but the frames are a gold mind.
Check that they are real wood and have good corners.
The rest like backing, wiring, scratches you can easily mend to be just a good as a new frame.
Add a new backing with heavy brown kraft paper and double sided tape around 
the back edges of the frame.
And did I mention they are really cheap!

Here I have to confess a rookie mistake of mine.
The first time I did this I bought a beautiful frame with a broken glass.
So, I thought, I'll go to my hardware store and buy a piece of glass for just a few dollars.
Very wrong!  Window glass is much heavier and thicker than picture glass.
The whole thing was ridiculously heavy and I have to redo it.




Fabrics!  As you may know I love pattern and prints in my set ups.
And most of the ones you have seen in my paintings were thrift store finds.
And don't forget ties and scarves.



How fun these would be to paint.

My take of the day for a whopping $8.00!
I have been looking for unusual bottles for an upcoming painting, 
the glass platter is perfect for my next painting (and as a serving tray for company)
and the scraf is for me.  I think it will be fun with a tee and jeans.

Btw, here's the view from my front porch this morning.
We are in the middle of what we all hope is the last of winter snow storm.
There's a street and other houses out there somewhere.
Very pretty as long as I dont have to drive in it!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

"Daydreamer" finished

I was just putting the finishing touches on this when I learned 
another painting of mine had been accepted into the LWS show in New Orleans.
So yesterday was a great day.
There are so few days like that in this work that you just have to soak it up 
and store it for those slow days ahead.

You may notice that I cropped this in a bit from the right side and more from the bottom.
As I got into the work more something felt off.  
I realized that all that greenery at the bottom was distracting 
from my focal point of the girls face and the flowers.  
So if it doesn't contribute it has to go!

This was a different subject for me but a pleasure to work on.
I don't paint figures often and when I do they are usually of some random person out in public just minding their own business.
Interesting to think of how they will never know the many countless hours
I spent over my work table painting their likeness.
Well, where ever my daydreamer is I hope she found her dream.

"Daydreamer"
Watercolor, 17" x 21"
©Carmella Tuliszewski

Laying in the first washes and setting the warm color palette to come.

Focusing on the girl because if I cant make her work, there's no need to continue.
The mask over the flowers has been peeled off.
I absolutely love Winsor and Newton's Art Masking Fluid.
I add a few drops of water to it for an easier flow and it works like a charm every time!

What I enjoy about watercolors, even though it is one of the most difficult media to work in,
is that it takes only a few simple supplies to get you going.
Here I am working on Arches 300 lb cold press.
On paintings this large its nice to not be encumbered by a large board under the paper.
Also I prefer not to strip away the sizing that soaking will do.
And I love my butcher trays.
I usually keep two or more going while working.

What's next?  I have an idea brewing.
But first I might take you with me as I shop my favorite thrift store in search of propts.

As always, I appreciate you stopping by!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Juried In!

I am so happy to share that my painting "The Catch" has been juried into the 
Louisiana Watercolor Society 45th International Exhibition!

"The Catch"
Watercolor, 15" x 28"
©Carmella Tuliszewski

The exhibition will be first held in the 
New Orleans Academy of Fine Art
and then in the Atrium on Charles Avenue in New Orleans.

April 18 to June 12, 2015

Pleae revisit my blog post in "The Catch"
for background on this piece.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

It's Not Easy Being Green

Kermit had it right.  Greens are not easy.

So while I am immersed in my own little jungle in "Daydreamer", 
I thought I'd share some of my experiments and processes with the color green.

I make color charts for all my colors.
I have warm /cool charts.
I have charts to keep an inventory of the tube colors I have
and I have charts for color mixes.
Charts for the discoveries I've found in painting metal objects, wood, glass and so on.
But green has a chart all its own.

It's a bit messy but you get the idea.
I rarely use a tube green on its own but will mix with either another green
or whatever it takes to get the hue or shade I need.
Above you can see some of these combinations.
Also I show my favorite watercolor paint brands.
Winsor Newton (of course) but I love the performances of
l'Aquarelle and DaVinci as well.
And I cannot say enough about the Quinacridones by Daniel Smith!

How I store and use all my watercolor tubes.
Nothing fancy, doesn't need to be, a silverware drawer works just fine.
This is all on top of a little rolling cart that scoots under my table when cleaning up.
Notice the Quinacridones have their own special compartment because, well, they're special.

Sap Green is my go to green for foliage.
I have found it to be the most natural green.
Here on the right bottom corner are all Sap Green mixes with various other hues.
And there is a difference between Sap Green (slightly warmer)
and Permanent Sap Green (slightly cooler).
Both are great, it just depends on your needs.

Forest Green is my favorite of the darker blue greens.
And if you add a dark violet it becomes a beautiful silky almost black green.

The streaks you see thru the colors are testing how the color picks up or scrubs out.
Important to know because some pigments stain more than others.

Detail from "Summer Harvest"

You will notice that some of the greens on my chart are not very natural looking.
But this is not all for foliage.
You will need the occassional random green for odd still life or other objects.

"Peridot"
Yellow greens can go brassier than you may like.
But the tiniest touch of its complement, orange, will keep it calm.

Datail from "Spring Sweets"
A good example of cools receding and warms coming forward.

Deatail from "Rose Bounty"

Detail from "Bountiful Graces"
Sap Green was my base here with various yellows and blues mixed or glazed in.

Things to keep in mind while painting greens.

In color theory, warm colors appear to come forward while cool colors appear to recede.
So if you need to depict under greens deep in shadow
using a bluish green will set that section back.

Using reds and oranges will neutralized a too bright green.

Avoid mixing more than three colors to creat or enhance your green.
It will become muddy quickly.


Do use Sap Green with Quinacridone Rose to gray down a foliage.

Do use Sap Green with Colbalt Blue and Quinacridone Gold for grass in sunlight.

Don't use Yellow Ochre in a green mixture.  It is too opaque.

I hope this helps. It's helpful to me too as a reminder.
Now back to my "Daydreamer"!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Flower Girl - First Color Washes

Well so far so good.
The first color washes are in and some hues are established in the flowers.
You can see now in which direction the painting is going.
There are some glorious colors and details hidden in both the flowers and the leaves.
Now to pick out those details and bring in the darkest darks which will make the foreground pop.

This is a large piece so it will take a while.
I'm excited about the look so far and think it will be worth the time.
I will be back as it progresses.

"Daydreamer"
Watercolor, 18" x 30"
©Carmella Tuliszewski

Monday, February 9, 2015

Flower Girl

This reference is from my trip through the flower show last year.
The funny thing is I was so focused on capturing these georgous flowers that I did not notice the background figure until I began to study the photo for a possible painting.

I do remember the red aprons of the assistants scattered around the show.
They were there to help with directions or any questions guests may have.
Once I did see her I couldnt look away.
There she was surrounded by so much beauty and she could not have looked more uninterested.  
I realized that she wasn't actually there.
She was daydreaming.

"Daydreamer"
Watercolor, 18" x 30"
©Carmella Tuliszewski

Behind her is the unfocused effect of her being engulfed in blooms.
The foreground flowers are a riot of yellows, oranges and fuscias.
I am hoping the overall effect will be, just as it was when I first passed by this photo,
that the girl must be seen pass the command of the flowers, as part of the background wanting nothing more than to be left alone.

Figure painting is not my strong suit but, with practice, I am getting better at it.
For pale skin as seen here, I use a combination of 
Permanent Rose
Burnt Sienna
Naples Yellow
and just a touch of Cerulean Blue for shadow areas.

A soft touch is required during a wet into wet application.
After wetting an area, allow the shine to disperse from the paper before blending.
  I am very eager to paint these flowers!

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.
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