Friday, September 27, 2013

Mini Pumpkins

Orange and red have always been difficult for me to use in watercolor.  Not sure why.  They just are never as bright as I'd like them to be or difficult to darken without getting that muddy, grainy look.
So I was determined to get better at it with some extra practice and I figured a few things out.

I never use any browns right out of the tube.  Seems to be the kiss of death to a fresh looking painting.
I make all my browns by combining many variations of the three primary colors.
I also make most of my own greens for the same reason.

An even better way to darken an area is to use the complimentary color.  In this painting I glazed with different blues over the oranges to get the darker areas of the pumbkins and candy corn.

"Blue and Gold", Watercolor, 10" x 15"
©Carmella Tuliszewski 2013

This is another fabric piece from my propt basket.  The lining up of the design so that it looks like it is going back in the distance is a trick of perspective.

Here is a little interactive tutorial on drawing a pattern in 1pt. perspective.

That's what I did here except the design staggers a half step in the repeat on every other row.
After the drawing was done I washed the lighter blue across, let that dry completely and began painting in the design with the darker blue.  Sounds a little crazy but I love doing those kind of details.
With a drink (non-alcholic!) and some good music it goes fast.

When I taught middle school art one of my favorite artists was Matisse.
I became pretty obsessed with him.  Read all the bios and stared for uncomfortably long periods of time at his work in museums.  And ever since I have just loved combining patterned fabric in my still lifes.

Here are some past still lifes of mine which incorporate patterns as a base.
"Cradled Lemons"

"Family Jewels"

"Fabricated Swim"

"Hearts Alight"

"Paisley Pumpkins"

Well I've gone on a lot longer here than I intended!
Thanks for taking the time to view my work.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Paisley Pumpkins Tweeked

When I finish a painting it goes up on my board so that I can check it for possible improvements.
Don't get me wrong I do love this painting but there was something...  Too bright, too high key or maybe the shadows are too strong?  I deceided it was all that so the tweeking began.

Here's the original version.

And here's the revision

See the difference?  A softer, gentler version that's a little easier on the eyes.
What do you think?

Friday, September 20, 2013

"Paisley Pumpkins"

I keep a prop basket filled with interesting fabrics I find in kitchen shops, thrift stores and of course fabric shops.  This paisley pattern has been in that basket for a long time.  I needed a set up that could hold it's own to this complex, insanely colorful pattern.  I found it in the pumpkin.

This still life is set up in the bright afternoon sun because this feels most like Autumn to me.  I painted the pattern first using a concentrated watercolor that is more staining than other paints.  This means, first, I better not make a mistake and secondly the colors will not wash away when the shadow is glazed over it.  The pumpkins are back to my favorite Winsor & Newton watercolors using all from bright yellows to a mix of various oranges and blues for the modeling of the darker areas.

"Paisley Pumpkins"
Watercolor, 9 1/2" x 14"
©Carmella Tuliszewski 2013

So how to start that paisley pattern drawing?
I taught middle school art for ten years and this is what I told my kids when a complex drawing project began.
"Draw what you see not what you assume you see.  Find a starting point and draw that first shape as perfectly as you can.  Now it all builds from this one perfect shape.  It's all about the relationship of one shape to another- how close is the second shape to the first?  Where does it touch the first shape?  Judge your sizing by that first shape, is it smaller or larger."

Practice what you preach, right?  
I kept all this in mind as I started this pattern.
This weekend is the Autumn Equinox.
A favorite time of year for me and I may have one more pumpkin painting in me before it's over.

Thanks for stopping by!

"Paisley Pumpkins" is available for purchase from my website.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Opal is for October

The name Opal derives from the Greek Opallos, meaning "to see a change of color." 
An Opal's beauty is the product of contrast between its color play and its background.
Opal is a formation of non-cryatalline silica gel that seeped into crevices in the sedimentary strata.
Through time and nature's heating and molding processes, the gel hardened into the form of Opals.  The Opal is composed of particles closely packed in spherical arrangements.  When packed together in a regular pattern, a three-dimensional array of spaces are created that give the Opal its radiance

The American Gem Society

The lantana flower.
When I first read the description of the Opal I instantly thought of the Lantana.  I have many growing in my own gardens and love the different colors of small flowers displayed within one blossom.
How perfect this tiny flower is to represent the Opal.  And how perfect that a birth stone whose name means "a change in color" is the stone for the month of October, when the world transforms in front of us all month with the change of seasons.

The symbolic meaning of the Lantana is generally associated with rigor.  
Victorian bouquets often contained Lantana as a secret message of a tryst between lovers.

"Opal"  October
Watercolor, 8" x 10"
©Carmella Tuliszewski 2013

The greens of the leaves set off all the brillant colors really well.  The sun gently shines down on the scene, leaving a softly ethereal shadow on each blossom.
This is a wonderful start to the Autumn season, my all time favorite time of year!

You may purchase "Opal" original painting or a Giclee Print from my website under 
"Portfolio of Works"

Have a happy weekend!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Do Over Day

I worked on a new Gem yesterday but it just wasn't right.  
It may have been that I saturated the color too soon and set the whole thing off to a bad place.
I knew I was in trouble when I started using white qouache in an attempt to rescue it.
Watercolor shines when the white of the paper shows through and the colors feel fresh and real.
And thats just one of the things that make it a difficult medium to work with.
I'm still learning ways, means and a few tricks!

Before I totally gave up on it I did some scrubbing out.

Now this usually works so long as you don't get carried away.
Scrubbing out is tough on even the best of watercolor papers.  It leaves the surface scratched and the fibers broken.  This can drastically change the value of the color as you repaint the area.
So I have a little trick with a spoon that really works.

After the area is totally dry, take the back of a spoon and gently message the area in a circuliar motion.
After a while the surface will feel mended and smooth.  Still a little tricky to paint over but much better.

Well, I am starting over this morning and already think I'm on the right track this time.
I hope your day goes well and happy weekend!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A Diamond for April

As the April birthstone, diamonds are the ideal gift for a loved one. And now you have more choices than ever. Get creative and give the ultimate gift of beauty: a fancy-color diamond. 

Fancy-color diamonds are natural, rare and truly exotic gem of the earth. Diamonds in hues of yellow, red, pink, blue, and green range in intensity from faint to vivid and generally the more saturated the color, the higher the value. In fact, diamonds sparkling with intense color are rare and may be priced higher than a colorless diamond of equal size. 

The American Gem Society

As you may know I am a full on, in your face blast of color kind of watercolorist.
So you can understand why I have left gems like the Diamond and the Pearl for near to last in this series.  

However, i think I found the best solution for this gem in the white chrysanthum.
I choose a straight on composition with strong lighting in hopes of capturing the faceted characteristics of this "girls best friend" gem.  Also, finding this description above from the American Gem Society allowed me a little artistic play in the painting.

Here you see brightness and shadowing in hues of yellow, rose, violet and blues.  So it allows me the color I love but stays true to the gem it represents.  The dark background lets the white of the paper really shine through and gives a glow to the work that I was hoping for.

The original painting and Giclee prints are available only through my website

"Diamond" (April), Watercolor, 8" x 10"
©Carmella Tuliszewski 2013

Monday, September 2, 2013

Packing & Shipping a Large Framed Painting

So you work and study and work again just hoping to get into your first big show.  
The day arrives for the acceptance list to be published.  And there it is, YOUR NAME!  
Happy dance time!  So now what?
Well if the show is many miles away you will have to prep it and ship it.  But how do you do this and just who do you entrust your baby with to get it there safely?

Now I have shipped paintings before, as large as 20" x 20" but they were backed and matted and not so diffilcut to deal with.  But this was my first large fully framed piece.  So I thought I'd share how I managed this brave new world of shipping precious cargo.

Before I left for vacation I shipped off my painting for the Pennsylvania Watercolor Society Show.
Framed it measured 24" x 30".  I order my boards in bulk and cut my own foam board backing and beveled edged mats, saves a ton of money.  Years ago I bought a Logan Compact Mat Cutter.  Super easy to use and worth it's weight in gold.

Here's a short instructional video if you happen to be in the market for one.

I also order pre-made wood frames from Dick Blick but instead of using the clip board backing that comes with it I like to make it more presentable by using a point driver to attach foam board and I then cover up the back with heavy brown kraft paper and double sided tape.
With the eyelets and heavy wire attached I'm ready to ship.

I did a lot of research for containers for my painting and deceided on Master Pack.
visit their website here

The box needed to be reusable for the gallery to send back to me at the end of the show. 
(Unless it sells during the show which would be Happy Dance time again!)

You see here that I have cut out the size of my framed art in the center of the foam so that it is buffered on all sides.  Very Easy.

Here my painting sits cushioned on all sides and in a bed of foam underneath and on top.
I close it up, with clear packing tape, two pieces on each of the three open sides and off to the shipper.

I chose UPS.  They were very helpful and I have already checked tracking and know my painting arrived at the gallery and was signed by Bob at the front desk. (Thanks Bob!)

The Pa Watercolor Society had very specific instructions about framing and what they would not accept in the shipping process (no peanuts! and of course not glass.)

Wondering what all this costs?  Well, it's not cheap. The box was about $80.00 and shipping was $112.00 round trip (you have to include prepaid return postage in your shipment.)
So is it worth it?
Heck Yeah!  
It's an honor to be included with so many fabulous artists from around the world.
It's also great exposure and credentials.
But it's something to think about as you enter these shows.

I hope this is helpful to anyone who needs to ship a large important package.

Now the Philadelphia Watercolor Society Show is nearby so I will be hand delivering that this Saturday.
I'll let you know how that goes also.
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