Monday, September 29, 2014

Blog Hop Around the World

I am so happy to have been invited to participate in the Blog Hop Around the World!

My friend and fellow watercolorist, Celia Blanco, honors me with this invitation.
Celia's work is a loose, colorful and impressionistic interpretation of everything from inspirational Italian landscapes to what she is having for dinner.
She also keeps a beautiful watercolor sketchbook that you must see.
Her work is fresh and a pleasure to look at again and again to find new shapes 
and beautifully blended colorings.
Please stop by her blog and get to know this talented and generous artist as I have over the past year.

I'll introduce myself by telling you this is my third life as an artist.

After graduating with a BFA in Illustration I was recruited
by Hallmark Cards in Kansas City, MO.
Greeting cards were big business in those days and I learned so much from
my supervisors/teachers while there.

When I returned to the east coast, having been a Hallmark artist opened many doors and
I continued for the next 15 years as a very busy freelancer
 for many card companies and design firms around the U.S.
I designed and illustrated cards, gift wrap, collectibles and display & packaging.

With the arrival of the home computer, the greeting card industry took a dive.
While around the same time people stopped buying collectibles
and packaging became much more graphic.
Many of those wonderful companies I worked for folded or
severely cut back on production.

I took some time off to raise my two young children and regroup.

A few years later I went back to school to do graduate work in
Art Education and earned PA State Certification.
I taught art, grades 1 thru 8, in a small private school in Philadelphia for ten years.
I felt rejuvinated from this experience and began to focus on my own work more and more.

I began watercolor while still teaching and soon it was all I wanted to do.
Now I have the pleasure and privilege of painting full time.
This Sunday I will receive Signature Membership into the
Philadelphia Watercolor Society.  I'm so excited!
                My little corner studio space.  It may not look like much but I love it!
                Notice the black and white drawings above my desk?   A family tradition of mine which you can see HERE 

1.  What am I working on now?
Almost done with this one.
I have just started laying in the color for the blue and white platter.
And I've saved that green bottle for last because I have never painted
colored glass before.  And, well, just working up a little courage to dive in and give it a shot!

Each painting builds on the last one. I always learn something new with every challenge.

"Summer Harvest"
Watercolor, 18" x 24"

2.  Why do I create what I do?
I enjoy most painting as a realist with a twist of bold colors and,
at the moment, still life is my favored genre.
I love painting things I have around my house or have discovered on one of my many thrift store trips.

I seek out ways to go beyond making things look real.
And I try to do this with color, subject and composition.
I keep a bold color palette and look for interesting objects to put in dynamic,
maybe unexpected groupings and view points.

When I see light laying across a colorful object, I can't wait to try and capture
what light does to that color and its shadow.
How light and shadow seem to bring the objects up off the paper
and how a color never stands alone.
It is affected by its surrounding colors and it takes a glazing of various hues to give
color a depth and richness that often doesn't come straight out of a tube.

I enjoy the challenge of bringing all this together to make an image.

"Autumn's Last"
Watercolor, 18" x 24"

"The Catch"
Watercolor, 15" x 28"
"Autumn Suns"
Watercolor, 18" x 24"

3.  How does my creative process work?
I work from photos and compose mainly through the viewfinder of my camera.

I set up my still lives outside on a sunny day and just leave it there all day.
I shoot many pics throughout the day while climbing up ladders, 
crawling under the table and laying on the ground.

I edit in Photoshop, many hours later make a selection that I can't turn away from 

and follow up with any changes while drawing out the composition.
After completing a very detailed drawing I begin painting,
finishing one section at a time as I go.

You can see an example of a work in progress HERE.

I use mostly Winsor & Newton watercolor paints but have recently started using
the Quinacridones by Daniel Smith.  Lovely, lucious color!
For these larger paintings I use Arches 300 lb. cold press.
I love this because I don't have to stretch the paper and 

avoid loosing the sizing which helps so much with the flow of the paints.

"Pink Light"
Watercolor, 9" x 12"

Now I am pleased to introduce to you my two artist choices to continue on the
 Blog Hop Around the World! 

Jo Mackenzie is a watercolorst with a very unique style and approach to her work.
She paints in distinct color values and has even delevoped a three step process 
she shares with other artists.
She paints one and sometime two or more beautiful works a day!
Her pet portraits and series paintings are not to be missed.

Kara K. Bigda, also a watercolorist, shares the beauty in everyday objects through her work.
She is a master at portraying the textures within these objects and the ambiance within her softly lit interior still life scenes.
She is just completing a series of watercolors depicting 16 beautifully glazed pottery jugs.
You will love her work.

Please visit Jo and Kara's work and come back to see their Around the World Blog 
posts on Monday, October 6th!

Well this went on a bit longer than I planned!
 I thank you for staying all the way to the end of this long post!

I hope you will stop by again.



  1. You did a beautiful job, Carmella! I love hearing about your process, seeing your photos (you have a great studio space!), reading about your artistic journey! You are an amazing artist and an inspiration! Thank you for participating my friend!


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