Monday, October 6, 2014

Around The World Blog Hop!

Fasten your seat belts and grab a cup of tea because today's post is a novel.  :)

My post today is in response to an email I received from Carmella Tuliszewski, inviting me to participate in the "Around The World Blog Hop!"  Thank you, Carmella.  :)  So I'll be responding to a few questions regarding my paintings and will be sharing with you links to 3 people I've invited to participate in this online event.

First off . . . if you are not familiar with Carmella's work, you should be.  :)  I've been a long time fan.  She paints skillfully designed vibrant watercolors, that are full of detail.  I particularly love her use of fabric with repeating motifs in her still life paintings, however she also has a wonderful collection of florals that mustn't be overlooked.  Carmella's experience in the arts is vast, varied and interesting.  (How's that for a teaser?) . . . To read more about Carmella and view more of her work, be sure to visit Carmella's blog and website.  I find her work and personal story most inspiring and I'm sure you will too.

Onto the questions:

1.  What am I working on?

Nothing.  I am taking a vacation this week - ha!  Last month I participated in Leslie Saeta's 30 Day Painting Challenge and completed 15 paintings for a series I'm calling "Vessels."  I have more planned out, so most likely I will start working on completing a few more of those.  My 30-Day collage is below, so you can see what the heck I'm talking about!  :)

15 paintings
6" x 6" - watercolor on aquabord

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Good question . . . If we're speaking in terms of "watercolor or style" as a genre, I think when most people think of watercolor, they generally think of loose, washy paintings. Mine are very different from that.  While I love and appreciate that looser approach, it's just not my style.  I tend to start loose and tighten up as I layer and apply detail.  Of course as I write this I realize I have mentioned in this blog, 3 watercolorists who paint less loose and more like me -- maybe I'm not as different as I think!  Ha!  :)

"Morning Sun"

However, if we're speaking of "genre" in terms of subject matter I may have two that are a little different from the norm.  I am most naturally drawn to New England and early American subjects (all mainly still life with the exception of a few architectural/landscape paintings) -- simple, quiet images that (hopefully) evoke feelings of warmth, serenity and a peaceful sense of place.  The colors in these, tend to be more subdued and generally capture some kind of light.  (That's my goal anyway.)  :)  I don't know that I see many paintings out there, with this kind of subject matter, so I think that makes my paintings a little different. (below l to r:  "Parlor Afternoon" and "Late Afternoon")

"Knight's Store"

Another genre that I think is a little more unique to me, is my Little People series of still lifes.  I tend to switch gears after my "quiet" paintings and need more color . . . excuse me . . . not just color, but COLOR!!!  I like these paintings to be full of happy energy.  I loved Fisher Price Little People as a youth, and have recaptured some of my childlike joy by purchasing these old playthings on eBay and painting them in goofy and colorful still lifes.  They make me smile.

"Like Farmer, Like Son

"Number, Please"

"The Parking Ticket"

3.  How does my creating process work?

I would consider myself mostly a still life painter.  So basically, I set up my subjects -- I take LOTS OF photos, always arranging and re-arranging the items while I shoot.  Then I edit my photos in Photoshop, cropping them into the best compositions, tossing out lousy images, fiddling with value and color, etc.  I then size my image.  I print out an outline, sometimes draw into it and transfer this onto my watercolor paper, this way I don't have to worry about the placement of basic or tricky shapes.  Next I draw back into my drawing, working on details and such while examining my reference.  This is a vital part of the process, because photos don't always provide you what you need.  At this point, I am also beginning to plan out my "attack:"  my painting sequence and colors.  Sometimes I do some small sketches and swatches in a notebook before I start the "real" painting.

When I begin painting, I like to first fill it in with washes. This helps me envision the relationships between the different colors and values. Then I work around the painting, laying down more washes, and more washes until I'm ready for detail.  My brushes start large and get smaller as I progress.  I just keep doing this until I'm done.  :)

"Berries & Cherries" - progress shots

A couple other notes about my work process are:  I like using Fabriano brand papers -- I find them very forgiving as I like to put down pigment and lift it out as I go, figuring out the various value relationships while I work.  I also use a pretty limited palette of colors -- usually only about 4 or 5 colors - a variation of primaries and burnt sienna.  If I need a unique local color, I'll add a tube to my limited palette.

To view more of my work you can visit my online gallery.

And now for my invitees who will be blogging next Monday - October 13th.

Arena Shawn - is an amazing watercolorists who specializes in mainly floral paintings.  Although she has some incredible landscapes that are full of rich, luscious washes, applied with minimal, but deliberate strokes, demonstrating her mastery of medium.  Arena is enrolled in an atelier and is also concentrating on classical drawing methods beginning with the figure and has won awards for both her paintings and drawings.  Be sure to visit her blog to read more about her and view her work.

Carrie Waller - is also an award-winning watercolorists.  I was immediately drawn to Carrie's paintings years ago, as I think we share a similar sensibility in our work.  She paints mainly rich, detailed still lifes filled with meaningful objects, textures, reflections and pattern.  Her designs and approach are deliberate and skillful, without being overworked, and every painting draws you in.  I get lost in Carrie's paintings, am in awe of her skill and look forward to the day when I can see them in person.  You shouldn't miss Carrie's interview next week on her blog.

Nora Bergman -- I've always said that if I painted in oil, I'd want to paint like Nora.  Nora is also an award-winning painter.  I think what immediately drew me to Nora's work is its clarity of design.  There is something crisp, exact and graphic I think, about Nora's paintings.  Her still life work is clear, thoughtfully composed and often playful; her landscapes make me feel as if I've visited that place before and there's never a question as to what time of day her painting reflects . . . she's that good.  You must check out Nora's work as well.

Whew!  Well this was quite the long post!  If you're still with me by now . . . thanks for stopping by!  :)


  1. Great post Kara! Now I need to get my invitations out...

    1. Thanks, Arena. :) Good luck! I'm looking forward to reading your post.


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