July 19, 2013
Homemade color wheel, approximately 3″ x 3″
I made this color “wheel” a few years ago during a one-on-one lesson with a new student from my Watercolor Workshops. We were going through the primaries and how the other colors were made from them. I found this little scrap of watercolor paper and painted the colors and numbered them. The primaries I numbered with “1″, the secondaries “2″, the tertiaries “3″. This was all new information to my student, an adult, who hadn’t learned it in grade school. She had gone through her whole life until then not knowing something that is an elemental building block of information, not only to making art, but I think to life.
This happens more frequently than I had ever thought. I have been teaching more frequently lately, in the local Jr. College’s community education, to teens at a local library in an after school program, and in my Every Other Saturday Watercolor Workshops. I’m amazed and sad that art is less and less a part of primary and secondary education. So soapbox time!
Kids need to be introduced to art early, so they have the experience of being artistic, creative, think inductively. And because its documented that art especially helps young brains think more creatively. There’s so much information available about this, about how art helps people to think in alternative pathways. Art was a regular part of my primary education, regularly in elementary school, and then I took ceramics for all but one semester of my four years of high school. I ended up a painter, but though I don’t work in clay any longer, there are things I know from those hours of potting that still inform my art.
So now I have my students paint their own color wheels using their own watercolors. Yes, you can buy very functional color wheels in an art store, but there’s nothing like the experience of creating a new color by mixing two others, or layering one transparent color over another one, to make a third color. And it lets them know what colors the paints in their palettes will be able to make. Oh the discoveries they’ll make!
I kept the color wheel I painted, its pinned to the wall next to where I paint. Not because I need it, but to remind me of the basics, and how fun it is to open others’ horizons about color.
June 16, 2013
This past Friday I participated in the local chapter of the Orange County Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association‘s Visionary Women’s Luncheon. Each year they honor caregivers of those touched by Alzheimer’s and related forms of dementia. I was one of the artisan vendors in the Artists’ Gift Faire that was one of the features of the luncheon. This was my second year in a row participating, and I was pleased to be asked to join them again to support this organization and all the great work they do. The luncheon also features presentations, awards and a keynote speaker. This year it was to be Rita Moreno, last year it was Shirley Jones. Stars of some of my favorite musicals!
When I can, I take my ‘traveling’ silk painting equipment when I know I’ll have the space to demonstrate how the scarves are painted, alongside displaying and selling them. Its a great attention-getter in the mix of other vendors of artwork, jewelry, and other artisan/hand-made goods. And its fun to talk to people while I’m demonstrating, get their questions, and show them my process.
Detail of one of the 2 scarves I worked on that day.
This woman, in the photo below, came up to my display, and asked, “Will you help me pick out the best scarf for what I’m wearing?” After ascertaining that she likes longer scarves, I selected the four I thought would look good on her, with her lavender dress and white jacket. This is the one she decided she couldn’t live without.
As I mentioned, there’s a keynote speaker at this Luncheon, usually a star who supports the organization. Rarely do they venture out into the crowds–they usually enter and leave by a private entrance. So I don’t expect to see them, even from a distance. Well, as I was painting along, I saw suddenly someone watching me. I looked up, and it was Rita Moreno. I like to be in America! I whipped off the latex glove I that wear when I dye, and reached to shake her hand, to thank her for stopping by. She smiled, looked at all my scarves and said, “You’re very talented!”. So sweet! So what did I reply? “Thank you so much, thats so nice of you to say, and so are you!” Made my day. Songs from West Side Story ran through my head for the rest of the day. OK by me in America!
Rita and me. Ay ay ay!
June 4, 2013
Two weeks ago, for my fifth time, I was one of the artists selected to show my work at the annual Balboa Island Art Walk. This is an annual show in its 19th year. I’d say it was five years in a row, it’s actually six, I skipped one because I was traveling in Europe (whee!) two years ago–I decided that year to forgo it for Barcelona.
This show is one of my favorites I’ve ever done. The set-up is lovely for people to easily view the art and artisan craftwork that is shown there, along the bayfront walkway. And the view over Newport Harbor is pretty great, too. And the audience is for the most part interested in buying, and can easily see the work as they walk by–the bayfront walk is a a very wide sidewalk, and the artists’ display spaces are just 3′ deep, and 20′ long, so people can amble by and not have to commit to walking into a 10′ x 10′ space, as most other outdoor art shows are set up. So it’s easy to interact with people. And for me, lots of fun. This year was just the same, people got up close to the artwork, and got to really enjoy it. There’s not much better comment when someone walks by, stops and then says to me, “You’re the artist? You’re work is wonderful. It makes me feel so happy”.
My scarves are a fun new addition to the display. As people walked by they would look at the paintings, and then the women would suddenly notice the scarves, feel the silk, and try them on.
One husband watched his wife as she started looking through the scarves, oohing and aahing. If I’d only taken a video! He sat down, and his smile slowly grew. And then he said, “Pick the one you love best, honey”. A man after my own heart! She was delighted. She ended up getting one of the purple background scarves–you can see it in the photo above, just left of the center of the scarves.
Another woman was so happy with her scarf, she simply put it on, and I loved how it looked so much I asked her if I could photograph her.
My favorite moment of the day, though, was a woman who walked up and started looking through the scarves while her husband leaned on the wall across the way. She found a scarf design of red five-legged ‘stars’ with blue centers. I had another one in sap green I pulled out to show her. And then she told me she’d bought one of my scarves the year before. Which one I asked? One like the red stars, but in blue.
Now, this was my all-time favorite sale from the year before. This woman walked up to my display, pointed at the blue star scarf, and said “I want that one”. Boom. Done. She just simply wanted it. Its an amazing feeling having someone do that about something you’ve made. So when she said that was the one she’d bought, I was thrilled. She ended up buying the sap green one, and one in my dragonfly design too. It made my day! And by the way, I take orders! (Please know that when you use this form, all your information remains confidential! )
May 29, 2013
In the “this moment just gets better” column!
I just received this photo via email. In my last posting about the Unique LA Show I talked about my fellow vendor who was talking on Facetime with her mum in London so Mum could choose the scarf she was going to receive for Mother’s day. Well, here she is, wearing the one she chose! From London! Via Facetime!
Doesn’t she look great!
I may be just a little goofy about this whole thing, but it was just so much fun, and startlingly cool, realizing what was happening when Lisa, the other vendor, asked if she could show the scarves on Facetime to her mum. In London. As my family would say, “Who’d've thunk it?”
Thanks to Lisa Bennett of Cards by Li Be for sharing her mum’s photo with me, and now you too.
I sell my scarves online in my Etsy shop Blooming Silks. And I’m happy to take orders! Delivery time is 2-3 weeks. Questions? Contact me here:
And please know that your contact information remains confidential!
May 26, 2013
Happy Memorial Day Weekend. I get to relax a little this weekend. I spent the last two weekends doing two art shows, one showing just the scarves, one for both the art and the scarves. I’m pooped! The first was Unique LA in downtown Los Angeles on May 11 & 12, and then on Sunday May 19th I showed for the 5th time at the Balboa Island Art Walk. I’ve showed at the Balboa Art Walk five years, now, this was my first experience with Unique LA.
The fun thing about Unique LA is that its all local, hand-crafted work. And it was held in the penthouse of the California Market Center, where clothing wholesalers are located. I had a table location to show my hand painted scarves.
My immediate fellow vendors included: on the tables on either side of me were lovely women that made jewelry, across from me was a soap maker, a woman who made letterpress cards next to her, another table of necklaces on her other side. Oh, and the place a few spaces down that made, I kid you not, both salted caramel donuts and bacon/maple donuts. Which were both over-the-top delicious, by the way. And I’ve now had my donut ration for the next five years.
This woman was my first sale Saturday morning. She must have tried on a dozen of the scarves, and each one looked better on her than the last. Here she’s in the one she ended up getting: Lavender Poppies with sap green buds.
She bought it and put it on for the rest of her day. Makes the artist’s heart go pitter pat!
Later on my friend Rheena Mae came by, and modeled this one of the Poppies design in yellow, again with sap green stems and buds. I think she needs to buy this one, don’t you?? Especially to wear with that sap green dress!
Rheena makes a line of necklaces and bracelets called Mae Mae.
The second day was Mother’s Day. I’d been talking with all my neighbors, especially the card maker, who was English, and had told her mum in London about my scarves. When she decided to get her one, she came over with her iPhone while she was Face-timing with Mum so she could show her all the scarves, and Mum could choose the one she wanted. It was so very cool! and my longest-distance ever real time sale! There we were in LA, she was in London, and we were having this conversation so she could pick what she wanted. From thousands of miles away! My grandparents would be flabbergasted. I’m still getting a thrill out of it!
The purple scarf in the middle is a new style, and it’s on a color field. I’ve started experimenting with dying the scarves a background color first, then painting the pattern on the colored background. The other styles featured are (left to right, top to bottom): Fall leaves, Flower Fields, Farfalle (in turpuoise and green), Lines & Dots, Leaves (in grass and chartreuse), Farfalle (in light orange and deep pink), and Stars (in pink with lavender centers).
I only wish I’d had another pair of hands at the show, if only to document all the fascinating things people were wearing. I could’ve done a series just of all the shoes! But I did get this on, one customer had this small purse, fabricated from soda can pop tops. Fun, isn’t it!
And finally, here’s another new design, a development of the “Poppies” design. This one features a wave pattern in the background. If you have seen my paintings, you’ll know that this wave pattern is one of my signature patterns. I am tickled how I worked out a way to include this pattern onto the scarf designs–using foam brushes and a pair of scissors. I’ve made this design so far with these hot pink poppies, as well as with orange and yellow poppies so far. Next experiment is with a different color of wave! Maybe magenta waves behind the lavender poppies? Any ideas? Leave me a comment!
Next time I’ll show you the Balboa Island Art Walk.
May 1, 2013
I’m getting ready for shows and events in May and June here in Southern California.
Next weekend, May 11th and 12th, I’ll be showing my hand-painted silk scarves at Unique LA. This local artisan made show will be at the California Market Center in their Penthouse. The show is open from 11-6 both days, my location is T106, not far from the coffee bar (you’d think they’ve met me!).
Bring your Moms for Mother’s Day! AND, if you print out and bring this blog post you’ll receive 10% off the price of any scarf (retail sales only).
* * * * *
The following weekend, on May 19th, I’ll be showing for my 5th time at the terrific Balboa Island Art Walk.
This is the Art Walk’s 19th year, and there are more artists than ever showing their work. I will once again be located between Coral and Apolena Streets, just look for my apple-green umbrellas. The show is strung all along Balboa Island’s bayfront walk, overlooking lovely Newport Harbor, from Marine Avenue past the Ferry Landing. The Art Walk lasts from 9 am to 5 pm.
I hope to see you at one or both events! Thanks!
April 18, 2013
“Tuscan Hillside” ©Jill Rosoff 2012, 9″ x 12″
Imagine how funny it was that this question came up in two different workshops, two completely different groups of people. We were working on how to paint landscapes in each session, so it’s not a complete surprise. I love that it did, and it also made me a little curious. Is painting a tree a paint-by-numbers proposition? Nope. The starting point is: lets take a look at the kind of tree you want to paint.
“Trees have a spirit and personality; none of them are the same.” Trees come in all shapes, sizes and colors. The trunks of trees can be all ranges of browns, greys, even green, blue or, as in fruit trees, burgundy. The leaves are any and all shades of green, with touches of all the other colors used to create contrasts. The fun here is the learning, observing: first figuring out what the tree’s shape is, and then deciding how to put it down on the paper. Is the trunk the more visually interesting element? Or the way the crown of the tree is shaped? In watercolor, you put down the lighter elements, then build in the darker, more richly colored ones. Because, as always, in watercolor you paint light to dark. The other trees also punctuate, more because they are a textural contrast to the stripes I used in the patchwork of fields.
In the painting above, the trees, especially the pencil cypresses, act like punctuation marks, creating small points of contrast, which keeps the rest of the rich colors from sort of going flat. Put a finger up and block out the cypress trees and you’ll see what I mean.
Or look at this painting done by a fellow watercolorist/shopowner on Etsy, JC Strong. You know its a tree, but it’s a deftly shaped tree silhouette of lovely combinations of purples and greens.
I read this quote the other day on Facebook: ”The best teachers are those who show you where to look, but don’t tell you what to see.” When I teach my job is to lead people down the path to explore, look and learn by observation. There’s no one formula.