April 20, 2014
In my workshops, especially the newer students often use the word “dark” when talking about colors that are the opposite of pale. So I like to ask them, “What do you mean by dark?” This question usually gets a lot of stumped looks.
The word ‘dark’ means having little or no light, when you look it up. So it’s really not a very accurate word to use for a descriptor of deep or rich color values. So I’ve developed a list of contrasting words that I encourage my students to consider instead of the words light and dark. It opens them up a new way of thinking about how to describe colors, hopefully.
These comparisons produce a lot of different ideas about colors. Can you think of any more?
March 20, 2014
I have a workshop of new watercolor painters that just started last night. For new painters, I give out a list of supplies they’ll need to have, including a list of paint colors they need to get. This list includes a breadth of reds, blues, yellows and greens, mostly, noting that they can choose to add any colors they want, that a combination of those colors might not create…usually for me this means pinks, purples, turquoises, and some greens. Black and white are not on my list, neither are the umbers or siennas. I talked about this in a posting a year ago: http://jillpaints.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/about-using-of-brown-and-grey-in-watercolor/
In getting ready for a set of workshops, this one is all about still lifes, I do some research online about the genre, refresh my memory, and find known and unknown painters’ work to show my students. And you know how when you go online that the thread of what you look at can look like a ball of string your cat unravelled? This time I stumbled upon pictures of a eucalyptus tree I’d never seen before: a rainbow eucalyptus.
One sample of a rainbow eucalyptus
A quote from Love These Pics, where I found the above picture (and many others) notes: “The landscaping article Under the Rainbow explained, “As the newly exposed bark slowly ages, it changes from bright green to a darker green, then bluish to purplish, and then pink-orange. Finally, the color becomes a brownish maroon right before exfoliation occurs. Since this process is happening in different zones of the trunk and in different stages, simultaneously, the colors are varied and almost constantly changing. As a result, the tree will never have the same color pattern twice, making it like a work of living art.”
Now, I get to have some fun explaining to my students how all tree trunks are not brown. Happy First Day of Spring!
January 19, 2014
“Tulips (Bonanza)” ©Jill Rosoff 1992 40″ x 60″
I love painting spring flowers. I paint them in watercolor, I paint them on my silk scarves. Is it the colors? The shapes? That they make me happy? Yes, yes and yes. I just can’t get enough. I walked into my local Trader Joe’s the other day, and saw the first spring tulips in the flower bins. So I bought a bunch. No hesitation, just leaned down and picked the color that was hollering “pick me!” at me. They were orange with dark orange infusing from the lower part of the petals to the tips.
Now, it’s been hot in Southern California the past few days, and those buds drank a lot of water. So they were buds on day 1, fully developed flowers on day 2, and wild things on day 3. They were starting to droop because of the heat. I refilled the vase, and on day 4, they were upright again. I know they only last a week, but oh how I enjoy them.
My watercolor workshops are starting up again in 2 weeks. My Saturday morning workshops start on Feb. 1st. I also have two 6-session workshops scheduled at Orange Coast College Community Education, “Flowers in Watercolors” starts February 5th, and “Watercolor Still Lifes” starts March 19th. As much as we’ll concentrate on watercolor technique, we’ll also focus on how to analyze the subject to be able to build a composition using the watercolors to their best effect.
The painting above was painted in 1992. It lived in a restaurant in St. Helena, CA for 8 years, and now hangs in my living room. The size noted above is the paper size, it’s framed in a simple dark wood frame, and floats on a linen background, so it’s even larger. A wonderful large art presence in the room.
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!