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).
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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.
February 27, 2013
Whenever I want browns or greys in a painting, I mix them. I do not use brown, black or grey paint in my palette. I’ve just started a new workshop, and realized this is something I tell all my students. When new students sign up for the workshops I send them a supplies list so they’ll be prepared on day one. I don’t include white, either. I like my colors bright, clear, and initially un-muddied. When black, browns and white are included in a pre-fab set of paints, so be it, but they are never included on my list of colors for a new student to buy.
Why do I believe this? Because its easier than pie to mix your own greys and browns, and when you do, the colors are much more interesting. Browns and greys can be mixed using different combinations of the primary color triad, or secondary or tertiary triads for that matter.
Various warm browns mixed by using violet and yellow or orange (above and below)
Want a nice chocolaty-brown? Use Alizarin, a bit of cobalt blue or even purple, and a nice cadmium orange. Change the amounts of each color you add to get the tint you want.
red and green to make a cool brown, using drop-in and mixed methods
How about a nice warm payne’s grey? Start with Permanent Blue or French Ultramarine, add a little yellow, and then if needed, a touch of red. Or pink. Again, play around with the amounts you add to change the tint.
a Payne’s grey, mixed from primaries: blue and yellow
a whole different grey using three versions of primary colors
So my thought has been: why buy them, unless of course you use a lot of them? I don’t use them much. But also I think that when you mix them either in the palette or on the paper, they’re so much more intriguing. Shadows and dark areas are much more luscious using darker values of colors, or putting in a layer of an opposing color on the area you want the shadow to be. There’s so much more to discover in the painting.
Here’s a question: how often does brown occur in nature? Yes, the ground is brown. A lot of animals are. Tree trunks, generally, are brown, but there’s so many different colors. If you look at a eucalyptus tree, is the trunk the same color, as, say, a redwood? I find it so much more fun to see what I can come up with.
Detail, “Cherry Blossoms”, ©Jill Rosoff 2012
I did a painting last year of Cherry Blossoms. Have you ever noticed that the branches on fruit trees are sometimes more of a rich burgundy color, not at all brown? If you look closely at this painting, you may notice that the branches here are indeed a deep, reddish burgundy. What may not be so obvious is that I painted each branch first with a layer of Alizarin Crimson, a great, rich, deep, cool red. And while the strokes of color were still wet, I dropped in some Viridian green. This is a color you just can’t get out of a tube of raw sienna, or burnt umber. It’s a very complex burgundy. That’s right, its in the purplish range, and oh so very interesting! See the full painting here: Cherry Blossoms.
And by the way, do you know where the two browns’ names, sienna and umber, come from? Go to northern Italy. The earth in Sienna, in Tuscany, and in Umbria, which is next to Tuscany, are just about those colors. And the difference in raw and burnt? The raw versions are straight from the ground. The burnt, or warmer, versions, have literally been burned, where the fire brings out the warmer tones. Don’t you just love knowing that?
February 3, 2013
This weekend starts a small avalanche of small celebrations: Ground Hog’s Day, Super Bowl, Chinese New Year, Mardi Gras, Valentine’s Day. Busy busy busy. The realization of this came to me in the form of a small gift ofa great treasury on Etsy entitled “February“, which includes three of these events, and which featured of my “Valentine 1” small painting. I thought it was so cool to combine the three holidays in the collection, it was the first time I’d seen them put together in any sort of way. Many thanks to Cindi Ressler for including me in her very fun treasury.
That painting of hearts that she included, along with the other ones I’ve done recently have ended up being really fun explorations in the quality of transparency (and not) that watercolors can produce. So I decided to try another simply shape, for fun, one of my favorite shapes, the star.
“Stars 1″ ©Jill Rosoff 2013, 6″ x 11 3/4″
What I’m enjoying in this piece is that the two white stars, and the background as well, are not painted in. In watercolors, generally any white in a painting is the paper that’s been left untouched. Its one of the great, fun, confusing conundrums of this medium. Since the paints are intrinsically transparent, there’s no white paint to use to cover something up. Because white when it is transparent, is, well, transparent. So there’s a bit of trompe l’oeil going on, where the white areas are negative space, created by the colored paint that surrounds them. And they look solid! These paintings are little celebrations of the transparency of watercolors. I like it. Let me know what you think.
You can find all the paintings posted in this blog available to purchase via my shop on Etsy. Have you looked there yet?
January 27, 2013
“Three-plus Poppies”, ©Jill Rosoff 2013, 4″ x 6″
I have these small pads of watercolor paper that I keep around for quick “jots” of ideas like this one. In watercolors, any whites in a painting are the paper left untouched, since watercolor is a transparent medium, and the transparent version of white is, well, nothing. Transparent. It’s a fun conundrum to play around with.
In this piece, I wanted to leave no blank paper, no white areas, but instead to paint the whole piece of paper, and to let the shapes of the flowers do most of the talking. Getting the colors this rich and intense is a fun challenge in watercolors. And there’s still good contrast between the brightness of the yellow centers, and the dark lines where the green paint overlapped the red. Unintended, and perfect.
One other thing: I love rich, vibrant and maintaining a sense of the transparency in the paint. In watercolors it is possible to use too much paint, which when it dries, looks dry, dusty and opaque, qualities that you just don’t strive for in watercolors. I like striving for the saturation and the transparency, especially since they are paradoxical. Fun!
It’s now available on Esty here.
January 18, 2013
Valentine’s Day is that day when if you’re in love you hope to goodness that you figure out something great to do for your partner, or your partner does something lovely for you. If you are single, the commercials for jewelry, flower deliveries and certain card companies are annoying reminders that you’re not contributing to the economy like everyone else is.
For me this year, I have decided to make Valentine’s Day about exploring layering and the wonderful transparent characteristic that watercolors have. OK, yes, you can get them with acrylics too, but watercolors’ textures, I think, are much more lively. And watercolors came first (so there! I say in my best Edith Ann voice). This was another experiment I did for my workshops, where we took the oh-so recognizable image of the heart, and layered on colors, holding onto the transparency, and enjoying the new colors created as one layer overlapped another. Not to mention the great textures in the blooms!
This along with a few new paintings just in time for Valentines Day can be purchased in my Etsy Store.
January 11, 2013
I started this piece in the fall, as a demonstration piece once again in one of my workshops. This piece actually started me on the intention of loosening up on color ‘rules’ I have consciously and unconsciously obeyed. Since I often use a subject I know when I’m playing around with ideas, and I have been painting Iceland poppies forever, so shape, color and composition are like second nature to me, I find it really easy to go for changes and experimentation with them as my subject.
There is no such thing as a lavender Iceland poppy. Yellow, orange, reds, pink, and white yes, but nothing in the blue spectrum. And I’ve always wanted them. So ‘tada!’ I made them. In the grand scheme of things its really not much of a huge plunge, but then again, baby steps are just fine to start out on new paths. I also broke another covenant I heard early on in my painting education, that paintings with red backgrounds can be difficult to make work, let alone sell. Thank goodness Henri Matisse didn’t believe that! There are essentially four different reds used in the background, but with layers and some mixing, it looks like more. I am really enjoying how this piece turned out. You?
This piece is now available through my Etsy shop.