Judi Pulaski

Judi lives in Beloit, Wisconsin.    She explains her painting history:

I have been a "painter" since I was 15 years old, mostly in oil painting.  About 12 years ago I decided I loved the looks of painted plates so well that I would take up china painting.  Since that time, I have been painting my heart away. 

I was diagnosed with kidney disease 25 years ago when I was a single parent with a 2 year old boy.  I worked hard and painted to keep my mind busy and started by selling my things in "yard sales" and to friends.  After a while I started doing shows.  After a very difficult time with a kidney transplant, the doctors forced me to give up oil painting and I switched to acrylics.  I had started china painting about 10 years ago and now teach both mediums.  I love the building process with lots of washes that I use for both medias.

Painting has been the thing in my life that has saved my sanity through all the illness.  When the body and mind went due to being so ill, for some reason, I could still paint.  God gives us all a talent and it is up to us to find it and help it grow.  I have no idea how people survive in this life with catastrophic illness without a hobby or art.  I thank God every day for mine.  I now sell my things in three shops as well as my studio, teach (6 classes a week), am the State Editor for the Wisconsin WOCP, incoming President for their local Blackhawk China Painters in Beloit, Wisconsin and I am involved with the Wisconsin Porcelain Teachers Organization. 

My  favorite subject is portraits, but I also do a lot of wildlife and just about everything else too.  Keeping busy is the answer for me and it gives me a reason to get up in the morning.   I do all my painting freehand and pretty much design as I go.  I think it comes from all those years of being an oil painter.  All of my students do freehand work also.  It always amazes them to find out that you really can do things without a pattern!  The most satisfying thing to me is to help someone paint a picture that they never really dreamed that they could.

If you would like to email Judi to let her know how you like her paintings, her email address is raccoonridge@hotmail.com.   You can click on the hyperlink below to send her email now.

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Judi Pulaski's Paintings

Angel/Children Plate

Angels have always been near and dear to my heart, so of course, I love to paint them. I think we have all seen old cards with pictures like this one on them. I always like to change things and make it my own. This is painted with layers of paint like I like to paint everything. The first thing I like to do is to put in the main subjects. I freehand my subjects, but you can trace if needed, then apply flat washes and pull out highlights where needed. The background was put in with soft blue and wiped out for the snow highlights and the wings wiped out into the background. Be sure to wipe out the snow wherever it will lay on the trees, etc.  Fire at 016

On the next fires (as many as you feel you need) I start detailing everything and applying washes of color. To warm a snow scene I like to apply a lavender to the snow and sky. Apply the snow, then pull out the hightlights and the snow will look like real snow. I love to put life in my paintings and think we should all stretch our abilities and find out that when we paint, it is all the same if you think values and light playing against darks.

Iris Necklace & Rose Necklace

Jewelry is fun to paint and take a break after a large project.  It can usually get done to my satisfaction in just a few fires.  I like a lot of color so I use many colors even if I am doing a small piece like these.  Little touches here and there and a wash over petals make the difference in a piece having life to it.  These are both porcelain pieces, so were fired at 017 to 018 cones.

Victorian Lady with Big Hat

This piece was done on opaque glass.   I really like painting on glass, and since I do stained glass also, I purchased a sheet of glass and cut it into the shapes I needed for many pieces to paint. This piece was done on a 9” x 12” piece of glass. It was eventually finished with stained glass around it in the antique mauve and framed with an antique gold frame.

When I started her, I just painted the form of the face free hand on the glass using my portrait flesh tones being sure to keep everything as smooth as possible.  I don’t like to trace or draw things out, because it doesn’t always fire out on glass and I have always done my work freehand.  After I was satisfied with the shape of the face, I put a flat wash of hair brown on the the hair, then painted in the eyes being careful to keep all the highlights.  On the first fire I usually put the eyes in with yellow brown and dark brown around the iris.  On the second fire I wash the eye with the brown of choice and wipe out highlights.

The hat and dress were painted with raspberry glass paint.  After the first fire I use washes of color to keep things soft.  I wanted the band around the dress top to look like fluff, so I stippled that in, then softened.  The background has a soft wash of Old Masters Green. It took about 6 fires at 022 to complete this painting.

I like to use the Jane Marcks portrait painting method.  I have been lucky enough to attend two schools with her and also have her videos.  She has inspired me to paint whatever I want.

Lady with Baby Medallion

While going through a magazine one day, I came across a picture of a lady and baby in an ad for bathroom fixtures.  I thought they would make good subjects to paint from.   I had a 3” porcelain medallion and decided to do it on that.  For the first fire I just painted in the forms with a portrait flesh tone (blonde flesh), wiped out the area for the eyes nose and mouth, (because this was so small, I chose to do the fine features after the first fire so I could keep from getting in my work). I then put in a flat wash of transparency for the hair of the baby, being sure to wipe out strong highlights, then hair brown for the mother.  The same color was used for the towel around the mom.  Fired at 016.

2nd fire: Put on a soft coat of light red for the skin and wiped out the highlights. Used reflected light and warm shadow where needed for shading. Now I went to work on the eyes and features. The mothers eyes were done in yellow brown and the baby in baby blue. Another wash of hair brown for the hair on the mom and mixing yellow on the baby. Black green was put on the background. Fired at 016.

3rd fire: At this time I would darken the hair of the mother using rich brown and Mahogony with black green for the intense dark areas. To do the hair, I prefer using a “rake” brush and a liner to get the soft hair effect.

This procedure was repeated many times with the cone changing to 017 and the final fire at 018.  I did this until I was satisfied with the results. Each time I paint a subject, I must make a decision as to how much highlight should be taken out and how much shadow must be put in. We are always working light against dark in any painting we do.

Pompii My Pomeranian

This painting of my little dog was done on a paper weight with a malechite border that I painted on first. Whenever I do an animal with lots of fluff, I just pounce in the shape and start wiping out the area to be lightened. I always do the eyes first, then line up the ears from there. The way I feel is, no matter how good your painting is, if you don’t capture the animal looking at you, you don’t get the animal at all. I use a mid-value for the first fire, pulling out highlight hairs with a “rake” brush. Then add yellow brown and pull in the areas where needed. Fire at 016.

On the second fire, I wash the whole dog with black/brown and start pulling hairs out with the rake brush. Now using black and a liner, go in and put all the detail lines for black hairs and around the eyes, nose, etc. When satisfied, fire at 017 cone. It generally takes me a good 4-6 fires for me to be satisfied that I get the softness that I want. The hairs of soft animals must be very fine.

Window Tile

Our Wisconsin Chapter of the WOCP and the Wisconsin Porcelain Teachers Organization is currently printing a cookbook as a fundraiser to defray the costs of our big upcoming convention in September of 1999 at Monona Terrace in Madison, Wisconsin. I was asked to design the cover of the book.

I wanted the cover to portray the rural life in Wisconsin.  I painted this on an 8” tile. I first painted the whole design using a wash coat of chestnut brown and fired it at 017.  After I had the initial design fired in, it was easier to decorate each plate separately and the scene in the window.  I used emerald green and blue together to paint the curtains and chair pad.  I then used the pen to do the wall design just to break up the color a little bit. This tile was done in 4 firings at 017.   On the tile I actually put gold around the plates and on the handle of the pitcher as well, so the last fire was at 018.

Our book should be ready for sale in late Spring.  If anyone is interested in buying one, I would be happy to get the information out as soon as it is known and we can mail them.

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