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.
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!
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.
May 14, 2012
“Red Tulips”, ©Jill Rosoff 2012, 15″ x 11″
I’ve had bouquets of daffodils, tulips and sweet peas in the house a lot lately. Its spring! and they’re really affordable now at Trader Joe’s. And REALLY affordable from my sister’s garden–she has a wonderful huge crop of sweet peas along the fence in her yard. The flowers have been my live ‘models’ for both for my paintings and my scarves, and I take them to my workshops for my students to use as subject matter for their paintings. I’ve while I’ve got a couple of paintings of daffodils nearing completion, but here’s my most recent watercolor of red tulips. I love these pieces, just the red of the flowers, on the white background, punctuated by the black stamens in the centers of the blossoms.
Tulips were some of my ‘teachers’ in watercolors. On a trip in Europe toward the end of college, I bought some bulbs in Amsterdam which were sent to me when it was time to plant them. In the spring, voila, I had some lovely tulips in my garden, and sat outside trying to get them down in watercolor. I was painting exclusively with oils at the time, and watercolors are nothing like oils to paint with. So I practiced with the watercolors, trying to figure out how to use them, as often as I could as long as those tulips were blooming in my garden, just about 2 weeks. I tried to get those watercolor paints to behave. Ultimately I learned to surrender to them, which is usually the case, isn’t it? So this painting is my most recent visit to an old friend and teacher.
The other fun things? I’m getting ready to show this coming Sunday, May 20th at the 18th Annual Balboa Island Art Walk. I really enjoy this show, partly because its on the bayfront of Newport Harbor, which is beautiful, but also because at this show is along a walkway thats about 8′ wide, so our displays are flat along the walkway. You can walk right up to the artwork, there’s no intimidation factor of having to enter into a 10′ tent. Click here for more information about the Artwalk. I’ll be between Coral and Apolena streets, just look for my apple-green umbrellas!
And I’ve got all sorts of new scarves! I’ll have them at the Artwalk, and they are also available through my new Etsy Shop, “Blooming Silks”. Please visit soon!
April 11, 2012
I’m showing my scarves at an event at the Environmental Nature Center in Newport Beach next month, its their Spring Faire celebrating the annual opening of their Butterfly House. Of course the scarves that feature flower designs are wonderfully Spring-y, just right for the show. Then I started thinking about making some scarves to celebrate the reason for the event, and started trying out some designs. These are shots of some of these new pieces as they’re drying.
Pink butterflies, silk scarf design, ©Jill Rosoff 2012
Now, I like butterflies as much as anyone. I really have a proclivity to dragonflies and damselflies, those lovely double winged, long-bodied, brightly-colored mosquito eaters, which were always around in the spring and summer, flying around our pool while we swam the days away. Even my doorbell plate is an Arts and Crafts-style dragonfly design.
Dragonflies in orange, purple and red, silk scarf design ©Jill Rosoff 2012
And here’s some orange butterfies too (taken with a flash, so these look yellower than they really are).
Orange butterflies silk scarf design, ©Jill Rosoff 2012
So if you’re near Newport Beach, CA on May 5th, come on by the Environmental Nature Center from 10 am to 3 pm and try on my scarves, along with all the other artisans work that will be showing that day, and visit the butterflies too!
The ENC is located at 1601 • 16th St. in Newport Beach, just off Dover Dr., next to the sports fields of Newport Harbor High School.
March 2, 2012
Pink poppies on habotai, Flower Fields on crepe de chine, Yellow Poppies on chiffon, Large Orange poppies on habotai, and Blue Poppies on crepe square.
Here’s a selection of the new scarves I’ve been making. The theme is poppies, and I’m playing around with the sizes of the blossom and also the colors. I also have them in red, tangerine, lavender, purple, and combinations of red and orange, yellow and orange, and red and pink. So far, that is. I’m painting these on three different silk fabrics: habotai, crepe de chine, and chiffon. The oblong scarves come in three sizes, and I have 44″ square scarves too. The procion dyes are set so that they bond with the silk fibers, so the color is permanent. If you see a color you like but want a different size or material than what is currently available, contact me to order the scarf you want.
I’ll be showing them this weekend and next at the Art in the Park section of the 41st annual Festival of the Whales, in Dana Point, California. Dates are March 3, 4, 10 and 11, from 9:30 am to 5 pm. Art in the Park will be on the grass areas at the corner of Dana Point Harbor Drive and Island Drive. A shuttle bus that will be running, and Art in the Park is at stop #E12 on the attached map. I’ll have my notecards, reproductions and small, matted watercolors with me too! We’ll be having a whale of a time!
Can’t make it this weekend or next? You can order the scarves through my shop on Etsy: Rosoff Artworks. And of course if you have questions, use the comment button below (all inquiries remain private), or convo me from my Etsy shop.
February 15, 2012
“Field of Poppies”, ©Jill Rosoff 2010
“Swing by the ENC’s gift shop, Natures Gifts, for unique, environmentally friendly gifts. Orange County watercolorist Jill Rosoff is well known for her sumptuous paintings of nature. They will be on display and available for sale in Nature’s Gifts through February 29th.”
1601 16th St.
Newport Beach, CA 92663
Hours: 8 am to 5 pm, M-F, 9 am to 5 pm Saturday
November 8, 2011
Off tonight to do a presentation/demonstration to the Saddleback Art League in Mission Viejo, CA. For this presentation I’ve deconstructed a painting that will be a part of my Tapestri Collection, showing the process I go through to make one of these paintings in four stages. Using four different versions of a painting, I show the layering of content and composition, and how the transparent quality of the watercolors themselves build the intricacies and richness into completing a painting.
This little watercolor was completed yesterday, a small garden of Iceland Poppies and buds, cranberry red impatiens, coral bells, and lavendar star-shaped flowers. It will go up for auction tonight at the Saddleback Art League, after my demonstration.
In the meantime I’ve got reproductions of the four images you all chose last week going to print, look for them to be available soon. These limited edition prints will be printed on 12″ x 18″ paper, and will each cost $35.00 apiece. They’ll be available through my Etsy shop.
August 31, 2011
While reviewing the inventory chosen by curator Lynle Ellis for my upcoming show at her gallery Glimpse in San Diego, I found some pieces I’d not yet shown here, so they’ll be showing up here now and again.
I try to paint flowers when they come in season, and sometimes the window of time is so short, I get maybe one done and poof! they’re gone. So it is with callas. I found these lavender callas at Trader Joe’s one day. I couldn’t believe the color. As much as I love the creamy white ones my neighbor grows and I enjoy as I pass by them, these were pretty smashing, and I love lavender. The issue became how best to articulate that gorgeous single spiral of the one glorious petal as it opens up and unveil the stamen inside. When I finished this one I realized how much it felt like an ode to Georgia O’Keefe’s work, looking so monumental in this small format.
June 24, 2011
This painting came about during a demonstration I did in one of my workshops. I have a bouquet of dried poppy pods that I got when the pods were still green, from my sister Jenny’s garden, where they grow each spring I take the bouquet to my Watercolor Workshops now and then if someone needs a subject to paint. This demonstration was about getting the shape of an object onto the paper without overworking it. And then about using paints that have a sedimentary quality to them for the shadows, how the texture of the sediment brings a whole new quality to the painting.
At the end of the workshop I had the three pods on the paper, nothing in the background. So I brought them back to the studio, and layered in the background, one layer of magenta, another of more sedimentary colors, primarily terre verte, with a little cobalt green and some turquoise in for flavor. It was just a little dull with just those two layers, so I added one more thin layer of magenta with a little quinacidrone pink thrown in. And voila.
So, the question I have now is whether to leave it like this, or add my fan/wave pattern to the background? Don’t know. Hmmm. What do you think?