Monday, January 30, 2012

"Well Loved Doves" (All Done)

Because of my personal relationship with these two little stuffed doves this was a true labor of love.
Every turn of the ribbon and twist of leaves and twigs was a process I throughly enjoyed.

"Well Loved Doves",  Watercolor,  12" x 18"
© Carmella Tuliszewski  2012

I'm sure I will walk into my studio tomorrow morning with coffee in hand, stare at the painting for awhile and sit to pick at it for another hour or two.  I do have more refining to do on the right side.
The most difficult part of this piece was the jumble of twigs and leaves in the background.  I found that you have to focus on one leaf at a time and not get confused by the whole scene.  Also making it obvious that they are stuffed birds and not real birds drawn badly.

It will go up on my board in wait of a framing sale at Michael's.
I have the next painting ready to go.  It is a composite of several photos taken at the Philadelphia Flower Show a couple of years ago.  Now that we are deep into winter I look forward to some brightly colored flowers to work on.  
It's been a little over a month since I started this blog and I have to say I am really enjoying it.
I am getting 60 to 100 views a day.  Maybe not much by some standards but I started this as a visual journal for myself and am just thrilled to have people from around the world look in once in awhile!

Thanks you for stopping by!

Please scroll down through the next three post to see progressions.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

"Well Loved Doves" (Almost There)

Not far to go now but I wanted to share one last view before the finish.

© Carmella Tuliszewski 2012

The greens are the story this time.  There is still much defining to do between leaf shapes and values.
I mix most of my own greens using varying shades of blues, browns, violets and yellows but the greens I use from the tube most often are Hookers Green Dark and Sap Green.  The reason I mix most of my own greens is because some greens from the tube are highly pigmented.  This means they can actually have a gritty texture and become dirty looking.  Modeling the leaf greens so that they become part of the whole and not a muddled mess is tricky and I move slowing here to refine and define while still trying to keep it natural looking.

My table at this point.  I am a neat, organized painter.  Most of which comes from being on staff as an artist in an open space and attempting to keep my area respectable looking.

I will be back next time with the completed painting.  At this point I am thinking about the next project and ready to move on.  But it is exciting the closer I get to the finish and that keeps me focused.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

"Well Loved Doves" (Almost Halfway Through)

Well I am at that point in a painting which every artist loves.  There's still a long way to go but the composition is set, the colors are worked out and I can see it completed in my head.  Love that!

© Carmella Tuliszewski 2012

The grays are very important here, and as I've mentioned before, no blacks in the grays.  Of course you can use a black or a gray right from the tube, but making your own gray out of a wonderful combination of blues, violets and even greens is much more satisfying.  In this case I have used Permanent Rose, Ultramarine Blue and New Gamgoge.  In spots there is even a little Hookers Green washed in to reflect the leaves.  I can see now that because the red in the ribbon is so strong I will have to darken some of those grays but that will come later.  For now it's onto the many greens and details, details, details!  Have a good weekend everyone!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

"Well Loved Doves" (Just getting started)

These little stuffed doves appeared as the topper on our wedding cake almost 30 years ago.  Every year since they have made an appearance on our Christmas tree.  They are the worse for wear, a little tattered and stained but that's what makes them so wonderful.  As I was putting Christmas away around the house I scooped up my doves and placed them in the holly tree in my yard.

©Carmella Tuliszewski 2012

This first stage is always a little difficult to see.  There is a lot going on in the background with an intertwining of leaves, twigs, berries and light poking through.  And yes, I love that and am anxious to pick out all those details.  The ribbon is a red, green and white stripe which will pop out of the background and give just the kind of contrast I like.

Really looking forward to tomorrow when I have off from school.  I think I'll listen to the new Les Mis and Glee DC's my son gave me for Christmas and paint away.

And here we are.
You can just make out the doves on top of the cake.

Yikes, how young we look!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Garden Exhibit- I'm in!

Well I had some good news yesterday.  I have been selected as one of the city's artist in the
Adirondack Chairs Re-interpreted Exhibit.  The what you say?
This exhibit is curated by the Morris Arboretum, The Woodmere Art Museum and The University of Pennsylvania.  Artists are selected on basis of submission letters and portfolios.  So I have been awarded a slot in this.  It's the first fine art exhibit I've entered so I am very excited.

Adirondack Chair


      It's a good thing I have some moderate carpentry skills becuase what I'm thinking of now will require some nailing and sawing at some point.   I won't be able to post the results until the exhibit is actually up.  I will take pictures of the in-progress stages to post later.

The exhibit will  be displayed all over the grounds of the Morris Arboretum
May through September 2012.

Doing Swimmingly!

I have this great collection of antique copper fish.  So I set them up on top of this blue striped fabric.
As I played around with the composition I noticed that it looked a little like fish swimming upstream.
Ok, maybe that's a stretch but I went with it.  I did this outside on a bright, sunny day.  You know I love those shadows.

First glazes of shadows over the fabric.  

This demonstrates the slow build up of copper with a sample of the color charts I mentioned in a previous post.
I don't make charts for every painting but find them very helpful for surfaces or combinations new to me.  Adding various blues to the warm colors make beautiful darker areas on the fish molds.

"Fabricated Swim",  Watercolor, 12" x 30"
©Carmella Tuliszewski 2011

I just love the way the fabric turned out here but the fish were quite challenging.  I have been keeping this one up on my board to play with later.  I'm pretty satisfied with the one on the far right.  The color is good and if you look closely you will see my house reflected in the fish head.  Love that! The other two were not as "shiny" but still held some nice reflections along the sides.  I do love working with metal surfaces and may try this again.  You may notice fabric in more of my still life set ups because I just love working with the folds.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Adventures of a Tree Frog

Illustrating the adventures of a tree frog was great fun.  Lots of research and sketches here before composing the actual illustrations.

©Carmella Tuliszewski
Colored Pencil & Gouache,  12" x 12"

©Carmella Tuliszewski
Colored Pencil & Gouache,  12" x 16"

Monday, January 9, 2012

Giant Beauty

Last August I took a walk around my neighborhood with my new birthday camera.  As I turned a corner these beautiful hibiscus just flooded a front yard.  They were about 10 inches across and the light shinning on and through the pedals was magical.  I snapped away and then ran and got my sketch pad and made a few drawings, making notes about color.

Watercolor,  16" x 20"
©Carmella Tuliszewski  2011

After redrawing the flower on Arches Cold Press Watercolor Paper, I spend a few hours experimenting with color, making charts as I go and notes about combinations.   Once I start painting it becomes an intuitive process and having the charts and notes by my side gives me an uninterrupted stream of thought as I work.  I also work from the photos on my laptop.   This allows me to see the color of light rather than the color of pigment, a more true reference.  
Once I get it about two-thirds of the way through, I close my laptop and continue to completion.  

Sunday, January 8, 2012


I first learned to paint flowers as an artist on staff for Hallmark Cards in Kansas City, Missouri.
And this skill became my bread and butter for many years as a freelance greeting card artist.  But I actually love the work and they are still my favorite subject to paint.

©Carmella Tuliszewski 2011
Each of the above paintings are watercolor measuring 15" x 30"

When I first interviewed with Hallmark, they offered me a position, which I declined.  I already had a job as staff illustrator with a publishing company in Philadelphia.  
About a year later they contacted me again with a job offer.  By this time, although I loved the people I worked with, the actual job was getting s little boring.  So I accepted.
The chance to paint full color paintings all day and see them published was really exciting.
I learned so much but after awhile missed the east coast and made the difficult decision to go home. When I returned to Philly, having been a Hallmark artist opened a lot of doors for my freelance business.  I am still appreciative to them for that.  

You know the old joke, "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?  Practice, practice, practice."
All artists know this to be true.  You learn from each and every stroke of the pencil and brush and take each lesson learned to your next work.  

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Oldie but Goodie

The figures in this illustration were from sketches made by me at the Pearlman Antique Toy Museum in the Society Hill section of Philadelphia.  A magical place which boasted the largest collection of mechanical banks in the country.  I took my little folded seat and parked myself in front of toy after toy to sketch.  The curator was very nice to me and even directed quests of the museum to stop by and watch me work.

I brought my sketches home and combined them into this illustration.  It is entirely done in colored pencil, except for a little highlighting in the stars with white paint.  Much of the technique used is burnishing, a process of applying pressure as you glaze one color over another.  This has to be approached in gentle layering because the pencil application can reach total absorption before you realize it.  This is a little like drawing on a sheet of ice, you're moving the pencil around but no color is laying down.  With practice the effect is a beautiful shimmery look.

Sadly, the Pearlman is no longer around.  Some years ago two gunmen broke into the museum, tied up and threatened the nice curator and made off with a collection of marbles.  Yeah, you can't make this stuff up can you?  Mr. Pearlman was so distraught by this incident that shortly after he auctioned off this amazing collection and closed the doors.  I wish I had kept all those sketches!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Cradled Lemons

I have the set up for my next painting all ready to start and I hope to have the first stage ready to show next week.  So, with apologies to my FB friends, I will continue to share a recent work.

This was my first still life work in many years.  I've always loved this flowery bowl and on a whim grabbed the tablecloth and lemons, headed out to the driveway, and started taking pictures.
I was so excited to try something different.  But soon wondered what I was thinking with that tablecloth.

Shadows.  I just love'em!  The more dramatic the better.  I've learned so much while teaching color theory to my 8th graders.  My shadows are almost never black or gray.  The Impressionists taught us that the best shadows are made by blending the complimentary color of the object to it's shadow.  These shadows have violets washed in with the blues.  

"Cradled Lemons"  Watercolor
Copyright © Carmella Tuliszewski 2011

This painting really got me hooked on still life set ups.  After I finished this I was all over the house looking for all kinds of objects to put together and photograph.
I have a quote by Henry David Thoreau hanging in my classroom which reads, 
"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see."  
An artist's work is about seeing.  The blemishes on the top lemon, the yellow reflections of the lemons in the bowl and just a hint of highlighting.  It's seeing all the little things that bring it all together.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Just a Little More Christmas

Before we move out of the Christmas holidays, I'd like to show you those pen and ink Christmas cards I mentioned earlier.  They each measure 11" x 17".  There are actually 30 of them, begun the year Larry and I were married in 1982.  Family and friends have watched our family grow every year upon receiving a card.

Each is completed with a Rapidiograph Pen with points 3x0, 00, 1 & 2.
I begin with an idea, work from photos for the faces and make up the rest, including body positions, costumes and surroundings.  As a painter, I observe what's in front of me.  As an illustrator, I take what I see and invent a situation or story.  I love both professions equally and will share both over the course of writing this blog.

All images Copyright © Carmella Tuliszewski

Because our children are grown and out on their own now, I opted to do a different card this year.
But I may return to the "illustrated family" sometime again.  I has been a great chronicle of our family.
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