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 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.
November 23, 2012
“Leaves 2″, ©Jill Rosoff 2012, 12″ h x 6″ w
This experimenting I’ve been doing these days with leaves is fun. As much as it is about the shapes of the leaves, negative space and wet-in-wet, it’s also about color combinations. This one started as orange and blue leaves first, and I added the alizarin crimson and yellow ones as I developed it. It’s become about the primaries plus one secondary. Hmmm!
This piece is now for sale via my shop on Etsy. I have a pre-Christmas special on both my Etsy Shops to celebrate Small Business Saturday through Cyber Monday, November 24th – 26th, 20% off everything in my shops. Just use the coupon code Thanksgiving12 during the checkout process. For my paintings, notecards and reproductions, go to RosoffArtworks. My silk scarves are available in BloomingSilks.
Support artists and their handmade work on Small Business Saturday!
October 31, 2012
Its starting to really feel like Fall at last! So it’s perfect to show off some Fall Fruit. I actually did this piece a few years ago, I was playing with the idea of making a pattern for textiles, maybe wrapping paper, or wallpaper. It was an experiment in using different colors than I typically would, especially the wonderful pomegranate red with the greens of the pears, the bay leaves and the tangerine leaves.
Lately I’ve been teaching an introduction to watercolor techniques at the local junior college, which has been great fun, and I’m thrilled that the workshop has been picked up again for February. But between that, preparing for and doing festivals and boutiques with my silk scarves, and my other watercolor workshops, I haven’t had the chance to complete paintings I’ve been working on to show you here. I’ve got a few really fun ones going on though, many were started as demonstrations in the workshops, which I’ve been developing at the painting table later on. So you’ll see those new pieces up here soon.
By the way! For those of you in Southern California, the next festival where I’m showing my hand-painted scarves is on November 11th in Long Beach, at the Patchwork Indie Arts & Crafts Show. I’ll be doing a demonstration on how I paint my designs onto the silk, and also showing some scarf tying and knotting, too. Come find me, I’m in Space #6, just opposite the food trucks! AND I’ll be sharing the space with Susan Haldeman of LadyBIM, with her wonderful hand-embellished sachets, pillows, bamboo baby wear and more. And we’ll be next to our friend Lucky Zelda to boot! Hope we see you there!
October 22, 2012
continued from Part 2, posted October 17
While I was having such a grand time watching the painters as they were in the process of developing their painting, I was also looking around the painting studio. You start noticing interesting things, given the time to sit and take the environment in: the air ducts, the odd shape of the room, where the windows are, the flourescent lights, and how those two sources of light inform the visuals. And some wonderfully mismatched socks.
I took my first break after posing for about an hour. I wanted to hold the pose for a long time, but was also really looking forward to seeing their paintings in progress. After the placement of my limbs were marked so I’d be in the right position when I resumed the pose, I unfolded my tucked-in leg, stood up and stretched. Then I walked around, talked to each painter, heard about what they did, both for a living and with their art, which sometimes dovetailed. It turned out two of them are art teachers in the community college district. And they allowed me to photograph their works too. The versions I’m showing here were taken toward the end of the session, when the pieces were fairly well developed.
So here are the works of the five artists, at least where they got them to at the end of the session. After three hours, it’s a pretty fun collection. Its an experience to see oneself painted or drawn in so many ways. Each person’s individual view is so distinct, their palettes are so unique. I hadn’t realized that I’d hand-painted silk scarves of pink and orange poppies for the sitting.
Such a diverse result! I especially loved how some incorporated my paintings that were hanging on the wall behind me, melding them into their compositions, or in my scarf, picking up the colors from me to the surroundings, five very distinct renditions. I got very nostalgic for painting in a group, it was some of the most fun part of painting in school, seeing everyone’s version of the model and pose. My great thanks to all the artists for having me come and pose, and for letting me show their works.
October 17, 2012
Continued from Part 1, posted on September 25th
One of the first things that occurred to me after I made the commitment to pose for this painting group was, “geez, if I could only lose a few pounds before this!” When I shared this with Connie on the phone a few days later, and she replied, “Oh no! Mom wants you for how you look now!” For a woman of size, that’s some statement, and rarely heard. But I got it, it was actually really sweet. And I remembered from my days as an art undergrad that full-figured women were usually great subjects in my figure drawing and painting classes, their shapes are so, well, round and fleshy. So I put aside my knee-jerk vanity reaction, and got more into the mindset of the Venus of Willendorf.
I was now going to be the figure being drawn or painted, after years of being the artist/observer in a figure drawing class. These artists were going to be looking at me, concentrating my pose. Now, I have a pretty good idea of what to do as a model from all my experience in figure painting classes. And Pat had told me how she wanted me to pose, so there was no guesswork, really.
When I was in those painting classes, working out the my composition, where to place the figure, getting the gesture the model presented onto my canvas or paper, in the back of my mind, I always sort of wondered what the models were doing or thinking about while holding a long pose. Were they planning that night’s dinner? Reflecting on a recent conversation, or a book they’d read? All the while, they’d keep physically still, and hope that their leg or arm didn’t go to sleep. Being zen enough to be able to empty my mind and meditate is certainly a goal, and would’ve been a great thing to have perfected for this workshop. I would do my level best.
So there I was, watching artists paint. I started feeling a little envious, actually, I hadn’t painted the figure in ages, and here I was, in a painting studio, with a model. I suddenly realized I knew exactly what these artists were doing and what they were going through in their minds as they started working out their compositions. They were looking at their subject, then back to their canvases or pieces of paper, then back at the model and gradually forming their composition. Where will I put her on the canvas? How will I incorporate those paintings she did that are up behind her on the wall? Will I keep the scarf she’s wearing on her? I was watching them looking at me, at my pose, and at the whole setting as all this was going on in their minds. I started to really enjoy watching them paint me.
One artist contemplating his painting, stepping back to get a longer view of it…
Another artist concentrating on her drawing. See how she holds herself while she draws.
I realized that I have this sense memory of the postures I saw each artist in. They are suddenly posing for me, in a way. And each pose telegraphs to me ways I’ve felt in their places. I’m sure I’ve sat or stood those ways countless times. I identify with them: the step back to get some perspective on the work in progress, with maybe something to lean back on which temporarily counters the muscle tension of the normal lean-in toward the artwork while working on it. Or the hunch forward in concentration, elbows on the table holding the rest of the body still, toes pointing in. And when working so delicately, that ones body moves into delicate positions, even almost on tip toes. I would sometimes get to the end of a 3 hour session and find that my neck ached, or some part of my body was incredibly tense because I’d been holding myself oddly as I was getting something onto the painting just so. So even though I’m not painting on this day, I’m having a glorious time with these painters. And hopefully they did with me.
Part three coming very soon!
September 25, 2012
The artist, next to my tulips painting (see the clipping of it over in the right-hand column, there). Segment of painting in process, by Janet Logan
A little over a week ago, for my first time ever, I was the model for a small artist’s group. This all came about when 2 friends, mother and daughter, came over for coffee in July. I met Connie while at an former job, where one of my responsibilities was to schedule educational seminars for the members of the professional organization. Connie worked for a company in New England that gave qualified educational seminars, which she brought to us and was the seminar presenter. She came out a total of three times, over the years, but when she came to do the first one, she asked if her mom, who lived nearby, could come to see her give the seminar. Her mom, Pat, turned out to be a painter too, and we immediately hit it off. After I left that job, I lost contact with Connie, sadly. Then a little over a year ago, Pat emailed me that Connie had an artist client for whom she was doing PR who was going to be a group show nearby here, and could I come to the opening? And suddenly, happily, we were back in contact. Thank goodness for the internet!
So Pat and Connie came to visit, we were having a great conversation over cafe’ lattes, when Pat suddenly said she loved the way I was sitting on my couch, under one of my paintings, and would I consider modeling for this group she paints with? Long story short, we scheduled it, and it happened a week ago Thursday.
In the emails confirming the date, Pat was so excited that I was going to pose for them. She wrote, “You were just so elegant sitting in your space with your large painting behind, being so animated about your work. So, if you could bring your couch and that large painting, that would be good.” I howled as I shared this little gem with Connie. Just so you know, the painting she was referring to is a very large piece, the paper is 40″ tall by 60″ wide. Unframed. But her enthusiasm was so fun and so sweet to hear, that I offered to bring one or two of my 22″ x 30″ pieces with me to hang on the wall behind me while I posed, if she wanted. She was thrilled.
So, here is where I was sitting when Pat and Connie came over: my couch and the painting over it. I was sitting on the right side of it, leaning on the arm of the couch, as you can see in the drawing up top, with my legs up on it, out to the side.
And here is the set-up Pat had ready for me at their studio, with a futon approximating my couch, and two of my watercolors (obviously not as large, and much easier to transport) up on the wall behind.
Very similar! And particularly easy, since I don’t have a bevy of nubian slaves that would be able to schlep my couch and painting onto my car, and to this painting studio. Yet.
And here is Pat with her painting of my part-way through the session. And yes, Pat is wearing one of my scarves that her daughter Connie had ordered from me for Pat’s birthday. Doesn’t she look great in it!
More of my experience watching others paint while I model, and their paintings in the next posting.
September 7, 2012
“Flower Fields” pattern, silk scarf ©Jill Rosoff 2011
Each year, the Visionary Women Circle of the Alzheimer’s Association honors Orange County caregivers who display extraordinary compassion in caring for those touched by Alzheimer’s disease and related forms of dementia. At this year’s event, eight artists of different mediums will produce a piece of work on site during the Festival Shopping and Social hour, from 10:00am–11:00am preceding the luncheon. Last month I got an invitation from the Alzheimer’s Association to be a part of this event.
I am extremely pleased that I will be one of the eight artists, where I will demonstrate my silk painting process. Each artisan will also give back to the organization by donating a piece for an opportunity drawing, as well as 20% of any sales. So I will have a full selection of my original scarves available for sale, and will be happy to take orders as well.
Tickets are still available for the luncheon, where actress Shirley Jones will be the guest speaker. To purchase a ticket, buy a table, or sponsor the event, visit the Alzheimer’s Association Visionary Women website.
You can also see more of my scarves in my Etsy Shop BloomingSilks. Thank you!
August 29, 2012
This painting was hanging around for a good part of the spring and summer unfinished. It actually was hiding from me at home because I had it in my supplies basket that I take with me to my watercolor workshops. I had used it, mid-stream, as an example to my students about contrast.
Imagine it with no background. A field of yellow color on a white background just isn’t very contrast-y. So it’s a delicate balance bringing the yellow up enough to work on that white background. For comparison, look at my blog post from April 30, 2009. However, a composition that is built up over the whole piece of paper, instead of focusing on one part of an image, comes together more readily, more often than not. Usually when one of my students brings a painting to me with the problem that a certain area isn’t working, it’s because they are fussing with that area, and the rest of the pice of paper has, for all intents and purposes, been left alone. When they start to focus on the rest of the painting, the problem either resolves, or changes.
So this painting is not only of daffodils, its about the yellow subject on the magenta patterned background. They are two colors that I’ve enjoyed contrasting to one another in the past few years. Its also fun to use a warm and cool version of a color to bring some contrast between them.
A red background is fun to do, and not often done in a still life. There was this story about a painting Matisse did for a Russian client, that I read about somewhere. The painting was one of his depictions of a room, with a woman sitting in a chair, and the background was a wonderful blue patterned oriental rug. The client took it home with him to Russia, very pleased with his purchase. Then awhile later he got a message from Matisse who said there was something about the painting that bothered him, that he wanted to change, just something to make it work better, that would more complete it. The client sent the painting back, Matisse did the work on it he wanted, and returned it to the client. And when the client opened up the packing crate, Matisse had changed the rug color, and so the whole background color, from blue to red. Sometimes its the little things.