Tuesday, November 24, 2015


After finishing my last painting it took me a long time to clean up my area.
I  realized that I just wasn't done with these objects and this color palette.

So I happily begin another set up using this georgous fabric with a few
 new objects from my prop collection.

WIP (section)
Watercolor, 18" x 24"

I'll pop back every once in a while with more progress.

I hope you enjoy the true spirit of Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Bottle Light

All done!
I learn so much from every painting.
The more bottles I do the more confident I feel with the subject.
And that's good because I am slightly obsessed with them right now.

©Carmella Tuliszewski
Watercolor, 15" x 30"

No title yet.  This will go up on my board to study and deciede if I need to play with it more.
It looks more rich in person.  I need to play with my camera as well to get the best photograph.

Here is where it began with a detailed drawing.
That is after the scene lived in my head for a few days.
I took my objects out on the driveway early one sunny morning to get the best warm elongated shadows.  And to get the best sparkle from the glass.

You can see here that I saturated the color somewhat from my reference.
I found this vintage Laura Ashely cloth in a little shop while on vacation this summer.

Laying in a shadow over a complex background works as long as you have a light touch with that first pass over.  Also I've found that watercolor becomes more set in the paper the longer it is there.
So I wait a day or two to work on the shadows.
My shadow colors here are Shadow Violet and Colbalt Violet.
Since the scene is overall a warm color scheme, adding a violet shadow as a complement to the yellows sets off the sun exposed areas even more.

This gives you a better idea of scale.

There is much to consider when painting tinted glass as in value shapes, reflections both inside and outside of the bottles, reflections the bottles gives to each other and the lighted cast shadows.
Careful planning and working one area at a time works well for me.
I need that instant gratification of seeing each completed area as I go.

We are having amazing and beautiful weather here!
I need a few days off to run errands and clean out my gardens for winter.
But the whole time I'll be thinking about the next painting.
Like I said, an obsession!

Have a good week.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Back at the bottles

I have a new piece in the works.
Exploring more tinted glass bottles but now with a few new ones added to my collection.
During my vacation in New Hampshire this summer my sister in law and I
 haunted a few old and new antique stores.  
I found so many beautiful objects to place around my house and to use in painting set ups for my stills.

The vintage Laura Ashley cloth and a cobalt violet bottle flask are my new treasured finds.

 WIP, Watercolor, 15" x 30"
©Carmella Tuliszewski

My drawing on 300 lb. cold press Arches is ready to go.
My line drawing is a map of shapes which help to make the painting part more spontaneous
and give confidence when I lay that first color glaze in.
No amount of glorious color will fix a bad drawing.
For me it's worth the time to get the foundation as best I can.
Before I begin I will use a kneaded eraser to pick up any excess graphite to ensure
clean, crisp color application.

I like to keep a high key photo copy to refer to as I go just to keep those dark areas correct.

Don't you love this part!?
All the happy hours of painting ahead.
I'm very excited to get started!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015


I actually got it finished for the 30/30 challenge deadline of today, September 30th.
A real change of subject for me and I think not the last.
I had thought these guys would be a one time appearance but they may be back.

Watercolor, 14" x 22"

Each character has a memory for me either of my own as a child or may children.
This made the piece a pleasure from beginning to end.
My attraction to this particular set up is the reflections in both the tray and the bowl.
They gave me the chance to exaggerate the already ridiculous subject.
The fabric under the set up is actually an old bed sheet from my then little children's rooms.
(Formally dug out of a drawer where it was saved as a drop sheet for house painting projects.)

This style is also a bit different for me as I have outlined each object with a very thin application of 
Paynes Gray and Shadow Violet.
My hope was to give it a comic book/ cartoon look to add to the theme.
The shadows and highlights are also exaggerated for the same reason.

Thank you again for following along this month for the challenge.
The basic idea for this challenge is to paint every day and to try new things.
So I come out of this with at least one new way of working and a finished painting.
A good months work.

On to other things!

Monday, September 28, 2015

I am so honored to have been awarded both 
Signature Status and The Award of Merit
by The Pennsylvania Watercolor Society
at the opening reception of the 
2015 International Exhibit.

2015 Juried Show
The Pennsylvania Watercolor Society’s
36th Annual International Juried Exhibition 
 Carlisle Arts Learning Center,
38 W. Pomfret St, Carlisle, PA 17013
September 25 – November 13, 2015 

"Summer Harvest",  Watercolor, 18" x 24"
Recipient of

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Treasures Still

I'm back to my "Treasures".
My weekend and early part of next week look very busy with non painting things.
I am hoping to finish out the challenge on the 30th with the completed painting.
But at the very least I will have it done by the end of next week.

"Treasures" (section)

The last peek before the finish of my "Big Kid September".
This fun comic book styling may never get juried into a show or hang on a collectors wall 
but I enjoyed the process and the recording of my little collection.

I am anxious to get back to my regular schedule.
I have commissions and a new large still life in the works that I am very excited to begin!

Thanks so much for following along this month.
Have a great weekend.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Daisy Doings - Pouring

I have been wanting to try Pouring Watercolor for quite a while now.
I've watched many demos and gathered my supplies.

So here goes!

First, you need a simple "cartoon" drawing outlining
shapes where values change.

This is my second pour. The first was using only yellow and red.with no mask.
I use a Windsor & Newtown masking fluid to cover shapes I want to keep at a desired value.
With each pour a new mask is applied.
I am using a soft wide brush to rewet the paper before each pour.
If you don't the pour does not move around well on the surface.

So after remasking, pouring and drying five times
(which took three days)
 this is what I am left with before removing the mask.
Promising, or so I thought.

Mask removed and YIKES!  What happened to all my bright, georgous color?
The mask has picked up the color as it was pulled away from the paper.
I don't use mask over color on my paintings so didn't realize it would take away so much paint.

The only thing I can think of is the quality of paint.
I did not want to "waste" my good WN or Daniel Smiths on this so went with the Grumbacher.
Maybe the better quality paints stain the paper better with less lift?
Lesson learned.

So I went back into it very carefully in an attempt to bring back the original color.
Much better.

I do love the look of poured paintings.
They have a beautiful old time reproduction quality.

As a detailed, realistic painter, this process forces me to simplify shape and color.
This always helps in composing any picture I may choose to work on.

I am not a fan of the process.
I do not shy away from complicated details but at the end of the day I can
step back and examine what I've done with my time.  Pouring goes on for days.
Pour artists usually keep two or more paintings going at a time because
there is so much down time in between pours.

 I missed using my brushes.

I followed the purest route on this using only the three primary colors.
I think I might like a more free flow pour with less masking and using colors of my choice.

But I won't totally abandon the process.
I foresee incorporating this into my regular painting for backgrounds and under paintings.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Daisy Doings - Pointilism

There is much to learn in the art room with a lesson featuring Pointilism.
Optical color mixing, Seurat, color value and patience.
 It is beyond tedious except for a few students 
who revel in just this sort of work. 
As do I.

There is something incredibly relaxing about it like needlepoint, or mosaic work.

Daisy Doings

Georges Seurat was one of the Post-Impressionist.
His work of optical mixing was an important precursor to the Op Art Movements
of the mid 20th century.

This big kid version would have been loathed by middle schoolers so I always
modified this for their lessons.
By keeping the image small and manageable, the dots applied a little larger than
you see here and using it as an activity center
which students go to in between projects, it was fresh every time they went to work on it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Daisy Doings- Acrylic Transfer with Mixed Media

This technique is not for the perfectionist.  You just have to roll with the punches.
Sometimes it transfers great and sometimes it doesn't.
But those imperfections are a characteristic of this medium.

Daisy Doings 
Acrylic Transfer with Mixed Media

Below are the steps to making a transfer.
It works better with black and white than color.

You must use a xerox copy of your piece for an effective transfer.

For this particuliar method a printer copy just doesn't work.
Paint the face up side of your xerox liberally but not saturated 
with Acrylic Gel Medium.

Quickly lay the paper, face down, on your chosen surface and roll over with a brayer.

Just a couple of minutes with good pressure will do it.

No need to let dry.
Immediately lift the paper off your surface.
(I used 140 lb watercolor paper here, but extra mat board from your framing activites would work too.)
You will see a thin film of paper covering the image.

Begin to gently rub off the film with wet fingertips.
You will see your transfer appear.

My original on the right and transfer on the left.

Now the real fun begins.

Paint, stencil, collage, pour, drip, whatever gets you going.

You Tube will have plenty of demos for your viewing.

There are many mixed media artists who do this much better than me.
But I'm glad I tried because it took me way out of my comfort zone!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Daisy Doings - Pen & Ink with Gouache

I have taken yesterday's pen & ink drawing and worked in various tints of Gouache.
I used Gouache all through college and into my time as a greeting card illustrator.
It's very versatile when used opaquely or watered down to thin washes.

In the classroom, Gouache of course is cost prohibited.
Enter the much used Tempera.
I used a student grade Tempera by Dick Blick and I have to say it always 
worked well for my and the students needs in the art room.

Tempera was my favorite medium for color value lessons 
experimenting with
tints and shades usually within the frame of an Impressionist lesson.

Daisy Doings 
Pen & Ink with Gouache
©Carmella Tuliszewski

I love the rich opaques allowing just enough line work to show thru.
I will have to do more of these!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Daisy Doings - Pen & Ink

While I continue to work behind the scenes on "Treasures",
I'd like to switch gears for the last week of the challenge.

Every year or so I wrote and presented a lesson to all grades titled, "Dragonology".

Students designed a dragon using reference to lizards, snakes and even up close views of insects,
just to get them started.
Some designs were very dramatic and scary, some were sweet,
and some were graphic/cartoony looking.
But whatever their imagination came up with the main objective was to illustrate it with fine line marker exhibiting three line techniques: hatch, crosshatch and stipple.

It was a project based on Albrecht Durer's "Rhinoceros".

Daisy Doings #1
Pen & Ink Drawing.
©Carmella Tuliszewski

I will take a Sunflower photo of mine from the Philadelphia Flower Show 
and transform the image into art using a different medium each day.

First up, a pen & ink drawing.
Time does not allow for a dragon design but the technique is the same.
Drawing to resemble an etching was my first love in making art.
Long before I learned how to mix colors and blend on paper, I was drawing with pen and ink.
The depth created using hatch and cross hatch marks is just a pleasure to create.

This first transformation will be my base for other transformations to come.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Treasures 4

"Treasures" (section)

Are you seeing any of your favorites yet?

Barney Rubble and Sylvester the cat bring back fond 
memories for we baby boomers.

I remember The Flintstones aired Friday nights.
And I had to rush to finish the dinner dishes before I could watch it.
(Yes, back when kids had chores, right?)
Not to mention all the time suck hours spent with Looney Tunes.
And my son as a little boy was crazy about the Ninja Turtles, 
playing for hours with his toys inventing all kinds of adventures.
Each character painted sends me off to a fond memory.

This is a bit tedious but its moving along nicely.
I think because there is not as much delicate color mixing as usual.
Many of the colors are right from the tube with a bit of tweaking for lights and shadows.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Treasures 3

"Treasures" (section)

I set this scene up outside, as I usually do, so the reflections you see in the silver tray are 
of the back of my house and the blue sky.
The tray I have used has a wonky surface.
This reflects in a type of fun house manner.
And thats great for the dispensers but a little weird for the surroundings.
For instance I'm getting that squiggly gray line for the roof and the tan for my garage wall.
Parts of the tray are looking more like a design than a reflection.

I'll have to play with that a bit to figure out a solution.

Coffee is on, Pandora station picked and fresh water out.
Another happy painting day about to begin!

Treasures 2

"Treasures" (section)

Giving poor loved starved Miss Piggy the Dark Knight to oogle
is just part of the fun with the personas of these characters.
This is a slightly different style for me but I like it for this particular piece.

Moving along.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Treasures 1

I am handling this work a little differently than previous paintings.
I have outlined each candy container very thinly with a Paynes Gray,
and exaggerated the highlights and shadows.
My hope is to create a comic book or cartoon feel to the overall scene
while keeping it a realistic painting.

You can see now that some of the containers lay on a reflective surface.
So fun to paint and adds a little complexity to the set up.

Another sneak peek tomorrow!

"Treasures" (section)
©Carmella Tuliszewski

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Big Kid Painting of Little Kid Things

While working on this challenge for the month of September I have
also started a new painting.
And in keeping with my theme I am working on an iconic
kid object, the Pez dispenser.

I have been hoarding…err collecting these little guys for a while now 
just because they make me smile.
Some are vintage finds at garage sales and thrift stores and some I have found in novelty stores.
I always think of that Sienfeld episode where just seeing one during
a very serious performance Elaine looses it with the giggles.
And after staring at these little guys for sometimes hours at a time, I get that.

"Treasures" (section)
©Carmella Tuliszewski

The overall size of this piece is 18" x 24".
Instead of sharing the WIP in my usual way I will only reveal a small section at a time.

Hope it gives you the giggles! :)

Monday, September 14, 2015

A Dry Van Gogh

Any art teacher worth his or her salt has taught at least a couple dozen
 lessons spot lighting Vincent van Gogh.
Many of these involve painting of some sort.
But sometimes painting just doesn't work when classes are on a shortened
schedule or supplies are limited.

Enter a dry van Gogh.

For this challenge I am interpreting a van Gogh original in oil pastels.
I begin with a colored pencil line drawing on a chosen colored background.
Then break out the oil pastels and lay in my slashes of color.

van Gogh was a Post Impressionist. 
It always makes me a bit crazy to see him referred to as an Impressionist.
Am I being picky? Maybe.
Although all the Post Impressionist, 
van Gogh, Gauguin, Seurat, Cezanne,
to name a few, began as Impressionists, 
they purposefully set out to differentiate themselves from the movement.

For the most part they did not choose to blend their colors but to make 
separate marks on the canvas, side by side, to compose the image.
As in van Gogh with his slashes, Seurat with dots, 
Gauguin with bold fields of color and Cezanne with side by side small blocks of color.

Using oil pastels is an interesting way of getting this point across to the young student.
It is not for the faint of heart.
It takes lots of time and patience.
So for the middle schooler it is a good activity kept ongoing to take out for those odd class times.
By the end of the semester they were pretty proud of themeselves and their finished pieces.

I have cut out my finish in the shape of a vase just for fun.
Taking this to a big kid level has given me some ideas for future projects.
How beautiful as a graphic floral or still life? A portrait?

Something new, for me at least, to try someday.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

More Colored Pencil Rescue

I'm moving into the heart of the matter now, my focal point.

I have brightened the pinks but most of my attention has been paid to the leaves.
The texture and pattern is a bit surreal looking but I like it so far.

By using the colored pencil to emphasis the texture in the leaves it
gives the whole piece a fresh graphic look.

Tommorrow the final product reveal.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Colored Pencil Rescue

Colored pencils over watercolor.
A study in color value and textures that is a bit less intimidating 
to the young student than paint.

I loved using colored pencils in middle school projects.
With so little time in between classes, they were quick set up and clean up.
But beyond my prepped example, I never gave myself the time I needed to try them myself.

Enter a thought to be previously lost painting.

"Rhodedendron" (section)
Colored Pencil over Watercolor
14" x 20" 

I have not used colored pencil in a very long time.
In this case I am sketching over an old watercolor painting that just wasn't working for me,
spending time emphasising textures and pumping up color.
You can see I am also hatching over a section with a lighter value.
I was not sure how this would look but I'm liking it so far.

This is only part of the entire painting which measures 14" x 18".

I'll reveal the rest over the next two days as I finish each section.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Suminagashi Paintings

This style of painting has been a good exercise for me.
These are painted with no drawing underneath.
And as an artist who always begins a piece with a very detailed drawing as my understructure this approach strengthened my perceptions of space and form.

The shapes are loosely painted in first followed by the quick brush pen work.

I'm not crazy about the composition on this one, especially in the top center.
But if I'm going to do this I should show you the good with the not so good.
I do like the color and overall feel of it, so that's something.

A fun little series!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Suminagashi Paintings

So some time ago I used my Suminagashi Papers as a back board to 
mount printed postcards of a few of my flower paintings.  I hand trimed in 
gold metallic paint and sold them as a set on ETSY.

I have just put them up on my website to be sold in a group of four in my MUSINGS section.
They each measure 8" x 10" and are ready for your standard size frame.

And now to present time.
 Here's my first try.
Nice enough little drawing but just didnt feel right for this project.

In a teacher reflective moment I thought if I were guiding my students in this what would I tell them?
I would want to support the Objectives in the lesson.
Japanese paper marbling should continue with an oriental style painting.

This is what I came up with and I think I like it.
A loose, quick brush application followed by equally quick
brush pen work.  

Not my style for sure but fun.

I'll be back with a few more of these.
I think I need more practice.

Have a great holiday weekend!

Thursday, September 3, 2015


Suminagashi, meaning floating ink, is the Japanese art of paper marbling.
I always held this project out as the last of the year to offer my middle schoolers for good behavior.

Here is my set up.
The box of inks can be purchased from Dick Blick.
You cannot use just any paper. 
This is printmaking paper called Copperplate, that is made without sizing.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term Sizing.
It is a coating agent applied to papers and fabrics to make the fibers stronger and less absorbent.
Unsized papers allow the surface to quickly take in the liquid applied to them.
These papers can also can be found at Dick Blick, 
but any printmaking papers that have not been sized will work.

A shallow, clean tub of water.
A small amount of inks to start off.
Great colors and of course you can mix for more variety.

Begin with two small brushes, one in each hand, 
dab point of brushes in your color and just kiss the surface of the water with the point of the brush.
Alternate to create concentric circles, then dab around as your little heart desires.

Your picture painted on water.

At this point, experiment away by slowly blowing on the water surface or draging the end of your brush through the shapes. whatever you do, slow and easy is the way to go.

Drop your paper in. 
You will begin to see your design through the paper.

Pull out and lay on a clean surface to dry.
I like to pack them between the sheets of a newsprint pad as I work.

You may use newsprint to clean the surface from one design to another.
Here I cut up an old, already read paperback.

And that's it! You will get better as you continue and experiment.
I have done this with papers up to 18" x 24" ( tricky on large sheets so practice a smaller size first)
to create beautiful abstract prints.
They are instantly permanent, brillant color and easy clean up.

So two hours and tons of paper and fun later,
these are my favorites.  
there are so many things you can do with these papers,
make cards, calligraphy quotes over the pattern, cover small sketch books…
How about using some beautiful reds and greens to make 
3D cut paper Christmas ornaments? 
It goes on and on.

But for now I've mounted them on foam core board and 
tommorrow I will see where it takes me.

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