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.
January 29, 2012
This painting is done in the same vein as some watercolor monoprints I did in the late ’80′s and early ’90′s. I fell for the Tuscan countryside when I was first saw in it ’78, and when I get to go back, most recently last May, I get that same sort of ‘love-at-first-sight’ thrill of seeing that countryside that simply resonates in my soul.
I use color and pattern layered on to the composition, always aiming to infuse more color to an image. I always want more color! This piece turns out is about color and texture helping defining an almost surreal composition. Except for the pencil cypress and one small structure that lyrically punctuate the landscape, this could almost be a patchwork quilt.
December 11, 2011
TA DA! The reproductions you all selected are now available on my Etsy shop. These signed and numbered, limited edition prints are $35.00 each, or $125.00 for a set of four.
But! just for the next two weeks, they are specially priced at $30.00 each, $110.oo for a set. And when you buy the set, all of the prints will be the same number in the edition. Order by December 17th for standard delivery before Christmas! Overnight is available for orders made up until the 22nd for an additional cost.
And by the way, I want to thank all of my blog readers, for reading my blog and especially to those who have subscribed, I appreciate it. And to all who participated in the selection of these reproductions, I appreciate your responding!
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.
July 8, 2011
This painting started out with my just wanting to get the image of the pear down on paper, explore it’s shape, color and texture as best as I could using the unique qualities of watercolor. Besides this pear was starting to spoil, so I wanted to quickly start the painting of it before I ate it, or let it rot. A multi-tasking fruit!
It turns out that this painting of the pear also became a study in primary colors. And interestingly, the only place in the whole painting where those three colors interact is within the actual shape of the pear. Intended? not initially, but as the painting developed, that’s what came out. You just never know!
And the pear was delicious to boot.
June 18, 2010
“New Mown Field” ©Jill Rosoff 2010, 5 1/2 ” x 8 1/2 “, $65.00
This piece is the first in a series of small paintings I have coming from my trip with my mother up the Elbe River in Germany in April this year. After a few days in Berlin, then were transferred to Magdeburg where we boarded our river ship, and spent 7 days cruising the Elbe up to Melnick in the Czech Republic. And then we were in delicious Prague for a few days before coming home. I’d been to both these cities in ’78, before the fall of the Iron Curtain and the Berlin Wall. So it was wonderful seeing them now, out from under the thumb of the Soviet regime and in full bloom.
In between Berlin and Prague we discovered the landscape of the Elbe River. This painting is of the flatlands south of Wittenburg. I was drawn to the striping in the field—the hay had just been mowed.
The unexpected and wonderful realization I had on this trip was the peace of being on the river, this natural, pre-automotive highway. We were away from asphalt, traffic, gas stations, billboards, and noise, and saw the countryside from the water’s point of view. It was great! It took us seven days to cruise what would typically have been a four hour drive. It was peaceful, quiet, and calming, and lovely just to watch the fields and towns and bridges and ferries and castles and animals as we floated by. More soon.
December 4, 2009
“Plantation Cottage” ©Jill Rosoff 2007, 5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″, $75.00
While I was in Hawaii last month with friends we went to visit friends of theirs on the windward side of Oahu near Kailua. We drove over the old Pali Highway, stopping briefly at the Pali lookout to look at the Pali’s steep cliffs and see how lush green the rainy side of the island is, so remarkably different from the dry side and in such close proximity.
After meeting for lunch at Buzz’s Steakhouse, we all went back to their lovely little bungalow, a sweet illustration of local island Plantation architecture, simple and straight-forward in the Hawaiian/Victorian way. The interior had lauhala matts on the vertical grain fir floors, and the windows and doors are screened so the trades breeze through keeping the interior tropically cool. She was born and raised in Hawaii so knows the old Hawaiian ways, the ones my mother taught me and my sibs when we were growing up, and which are still a part of the way I experience Hawaii when I’m there. So it was nice to see this traditional home, and to learn that this cottage has been in their family for generations.there’s a kind of permanence out there.
Standing in the front yard with the southern side of the Pali mountains in the background, it was too good a sight to pass up. And even though I’d gone without my camera or drawing pad (egad!) I took some shots with my cell phone’s camera, which were the source photos for this piece.
November 5, 2009
“A Pretty Great View” ©Jill Rosoff 2009, 5″ x 8″, SOLD
I just went on my first away-from-it-all vacation in 5 years, back to Hawaii, an old favorite. For me, Waikiki is one of my favorite beaches, you can sit and do nothing and still be completely entertained. The view is spectacular, and even though civilization continues creeping in an taking over, there are still some things that will always be special. And even though I managed not to pack my camera (egad!), between some sketches, my cell phone’s camera (!) and my deep memory, I’ve done some watercolor sketches. Here’s the first one of the land of aloha.
July 17, 2008
“Nemesia” ©2007 by Jill Rosoff, 5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″, watercolor on paper, SOLD
Welcome to my new artwork blog. I’ll be posting new small works (under 10″) as they’re completed, about one a week to start. The pieces will eventually be for sale via eBay. Meantime, please enjoy the work, and contact me when you’re interested in owning a piece. Thanks!