Fall Colors

October 1, 2015

Last week Fall started.   We’ve had one of the hottest, muggiest months I ever recall, so its a challenge getting into a fall-like mood, and palette of colors.  The colors I more readily use are more spring-like,  the bright clean colors are appeal to my sensibilities. I paint with them, I use them in my home decor, I even dress in them.  All year round.  Egad!  I even wear white after Labor Day!

The colors of autumn have that certain something, nevertheless.  They are a harbinger of cooling off (at last!) from the hot summer months, and getting ready for the winter, with visions of Halloween and Thanksgiving around the corner.  Here’s some of some fall colors in Blooming Silks “Loop de Lou” scarf design line:

grouping of four colorways of scarf design line "Loop de Lou"

“Loop de Lou” scarves in grape, sap green on yellow, blue and hot pink.

Making for Shows

May 26, 2015

I’ve been doing a few art shows/artwalks recently, so my art-making life has been centered around them.  

purple LoopdeLoudonationcroppedsmLast week I was a vendor in a boutique at a luncheon and fundraiser for the local chapter of the Alzheimers Association,   I’m happy to support the Alzheimers Association, not only because of people I know whose families have been affected by Alzheimers, but also because this luncheon supports the caregivers of those affected by Alzheimers, and honors a caregiver each year.  And I always provide a scarf for the auction they have during the luncheon, which I make just for the occasion in the AA signature purple color.

This event was followed 2 days later by the Balboa Island Art Walk.  I really enjoy both these shows, and they both bring me to my target market clientele.

This was my 8th time in the Balboa Island Art Walk.  Its held every May, on the bayfront walk of Balboa Island in Newport Beach, CA. The bay front walk goes around the perimeter of the island, and is at most an 8′ walkway.  Artists’ displays can be at most 3′ deep.  So people can easily get up close to see the artwork, and not have to make that socially awkward, unintentional commitment of walking into a 10×10 pop-up booth space to look at the work.  I love that! I wish more art shows could figure this out, that the pass-by rate decreases when people don’t have to walk into a pop-up tent!


Balboa Island Art Walk 2015 booth, pillowcases & scarves on the left, watercolor paintings on the right

And now I’m replenishing my inventory, especially the scarves, for the upcoming Contemporary Crafts Market in Pasadena, CA, on June 5-7.  

Poppies selections jan-14

“Poppies” and “Poppies on Waves”, 2 of our popular scarf design lines

This is one of the best shows of work by fine art and hand craft makers, where the vendors who are showing are the people who actually hand-make their wares.  There is a fee to get into this show, but if you go to CCM’s website, you can download a pass that gets 2 people in free for the whole three days, a $16.00 value!  There’s only so many passes available, so don’t delay!  


Pillowcases being painted, with permanent dyes

I’ll be primarily featuring my new line of hand-painted pillowcases, as well as my silk scarf line:  Poppies and Poppies on Waves (above), Olive Branches, Flower Fields, Layers, Koi, Watermelon Wedges, Apples, and hopefully some designs I’m working out  now that I might be able to sneak in!  

I just read the transcript of Bob Dylan’s speech last week at MusiCares, when he was honored as their Person of the Year. It’s part of the annual Grammys events.  I wish I could have watched him, but it wasn’t broadcast on television.  However one reporter, Randall Roberts, thought to transcribe it, and the LA Times published it.  Its a hell of a good read.

Pink Fuschias

“Fuchsias” ©Jill Rosoff 2011, 6″ x 17.5″

I think it’s important to remember that creativity doesn’t happen in a vacuum.  It is almost as if its a redistribution of wealth, that everything that we take in, visually, aurally, emotionally, spiritually, through taste, through feel, through smell, all of it can come back out of us in the art we make, if its painting, cooking, making music, writing, or any other creative endeavor, all of it reflects what we have learned so far.  My artwork is influenced by so many things, by what I learned growing up, what my parents taught me, what I saw in museums, what I tasted.  Anyone who knows me knows I’ve usually got a cup of coffee with me while I’m making art.  I’m influenced by a great latte.  Yup, I said that.  

Dylan talks about the music he listens to, how he hears the songs and then writes something that reflect them.  Read especially the part about the “Come all ye” songs, and what he wrote after that.  You’ll have a V-8 slap-your-forehead moment.  I look at Van Gogh, and Thiebaud, and Klimt and Diebenkorn, and so many more, and then I indulge in them as I paint my paintings.  Going to museums to see the actual work of these artist heroes of mine is like plugging me in, I get all excited and fascinated and wish I could paint right then and there.  Thank goodness for my iPhone, I can now take notes on it.  But I still often take a notebook into a show with me to jot down things.  Musically I try to channel Gabby Pahinui as I struggle to get my fingers, which are ingrained in American folk music rhythms and patterns, into playing Hawaiian slack key guitar.  Its my new, great struggle.  

Read the transcript here, even if you don’t subscribe to the LA Times online, you can read up to 10 articles a month there for free.   I’ve downloaded it so I can go reread it now and then.  So can you.

And if you live in or near Orange County, CA, come take one of my watercolor workshops!

Always Learning

January 1, 2015

Recently in my Saturday watercolor workshops, I told my students that if they ever wanted to go to a local museum to see a show, or to an art supply store, that I could easily be persuaded to join them.  One of my watercolor workshops students took me up on it, emailed me and made a date to go to a small, local, private museum, the Irvine Art Museum.  We went last Tuesday afternoon.

Mt San JacintoMt. San Jacinto, by Phil Dyke, one of the pieces in the Westways Cover Art show a the Irvine Museum, through 1/15/15

This small museum is “Dedicated to the preservation and display of California art of the Impressionist Period (1890-1930)”.  The show they have up now is of cover art from Westways Magazine, the monthly magazine of AAA. Up until 1981, Westways’ covers were all original artwork of landscapes, commissioned expressly for the magazine.  These works of art for the magazine covers are as wonderful as they are varied.

Many of the artists that were engaged to do the works are known California artists, including many of the California Plein Air watercolorists:  including Phil Dyke, Maynard Dixon, Maurice Logan and Rex Brandt, along with other plain air masters and illustrators.  For me its always just plain fun not only seeing the actual works, but also studying each piece, working out how each artist composed their painting.  And when I’m with students, talking about how the paintings were made, what the artists did to create their artwork.

For me, seeing original art is a ready-made lesson, where I get to study not only the images, and the techniques and visions of each artist.  My real excitement is seeing if I can figure out how the artist painted the image, particularly with watercolors and gouaches simply because its my chosen medium.  In general its fascinating to work out because in watercolors, you have to build a painting specifically due to the transparency of the paint.  The more I can glean from how each artist paints, the more it feeds my own work.  When I go home and paint, usually using the imagery I know, I try applying the techniques and colors I’ve just seen, and see if I can incorporate their colors, the economy of their brush strokes, and how they use dry brush over wet on wet.  I sat in front of this Phil Dyke piece of Mt. San Jacinto, marveling at the broad under-painting of the shape of the mountain, and then those very few, specific brush strokes that essentially show the mountain extrusion from the ground.  Wow.  

Want to see some of these treasures?  Just googlewestways cover art“.  Here’s a brief bio for Phil Dyke, too.  And if you can, go see the paintings in person.  There’s another one of the Grand Canyon that’s simply remarkable!  Thanks for calling, Lori!

Happy New Year!

Plumeria Down Under

September 1, 2014

An email arrived earlier this summer, someone asking about one of my paintings of plumeria.  These are always fun emails to get, of course.  This person was from Australia, making the contact even more exciting, to realize someone halfway around the world found my work and so enjoyed it they wanted to buy a piece.  This person did end up buying that painting, and icing on the cake, they commissioned a second painting, based on a small one I posted on this blog a couple of years ago.  The client wanted the commissioned piece to be larger than the original, so I got to adjust the composition, adding a more flowers to it, to make the larger format work well.  

Here’s the finished commission.



I shipped both paintings together, and they arrived the other day, they have them in their “hot little hand.  They are gorgeous – thank you so much!”  Its so lovely knowing that something I loved making is going being enjoyed so thoroughly by someone else.  Thank you back!

Haven’t been painting?  Egad.  Can’t be so!  Yes, I take breaks from painting.  But I rarely take breaks from being creative.

Spring was been busy this year.  I taught two six-week workshops at #Orange Coast College’s Community Education division, one on Flowers in Watercolors, the other was Watercolor Still Lifes.   And I have just finished a new six-week workshop on painting Cityscapes, and I’ve got two more slated for the Fall semester.  I also started a new part-time job with a non-profit in April, which has been very stimulating and fun.  I announced a new line of scarves for my Blooming Silks:  “Layers” which I will be showing at the Contemporary Crafts Market in Pasadena, CA over Halloween weekend.  And I went on a trip in June.

It’s the trip that I want to share about today.  To begin with, I love Hawaiian music.  My family has listened to Hawaiian music my whole life.  My mom got us started, she went to Hawaii with her family when she was a teenager in the late 40’s, and learned to play the ukulele from the locals.  Gabby Pahinui has always been one of my music heroes, and the guitar style he played is called Slack Key, or ki ho’alu in Hawaiian.  If you have seen The Descendants, you’ve heard this music, it’s the soundtrack to the movie.  Other favorites are Ray Kane, Dennis Kamakahi, Jeff Peterson, George Kahumoku Jr., and Kimo West.  Just to name a few, there’s so many!

I’ve played guitar since I was a kid, my dad taught me how.  My family used to sing and play together, along with some friends, mostly folk music, a little bluegrass, and some early rock and folk/rock.  But I’d always in the back of my mind thought it would be so great to learn to play slack key.  Well, a couple of years ago Mom and I went to a slack key workshop organized by George Kahumoku Jr. in Maui, where the instructors are some of the slack key artists whose music I been listen to.  I was in heaven for a week, inundated and overwhelmed with the beginnings of the slack key style.  It was so wonderful, that we went again this year, and if possible, this year’s workshop was even better than the first one.  

View from the room

First off, this was the view from the lanai of our room.  We woke up to this each morning, drank our coffee here, dried off after swimming, sipped on cocktails, and sometimes just sat in peaceful awe.  We went swimming and/or snorkeling every day.  We didn’t take a computer, so I was happily unplugged.  

We were there for the music.  For a week we were immersed once again in Hawaiian music and culture, eating lunch and dinner with the whole group, and sometimes breakfast, and swimming when we took breaks from workshops.  There were classes for six days, mostly in slack key guitar or ukulele, but also in lei making, kapa cloth making, and hula.  Mom was taking classes on the uke, I of course on my guitar.  Every evening, after dinner, there was a kanikapila, or jam session, where everyone played and sang  together.  

Here’s a shot of most of our faculty one afternoon, as we celebrated the life of musician and songwriter Rev. Dennis Kamakahi, who this past spring lost a short, intense, battle with lung cancer:


David Kamakahi, Jeff Peterson, Herb Ohta, Jr., George Kahumoku, Jr., Richard Ho’opi’i, Laurence the sound guru, Jason Jerome and Led Kaapana.  This room was where we had our kanikapilas each night, over 80 of us sitting in a huge circle, playing slack key music together.

The last day of the workshop we performed at the Ki Ho’alu – Slack Key Guitar Festival 2014 at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center in Wailuku.

group shot

Group shot of the workshop, ready to perform at the Festival.  Photo by Scott Hillman

Here’s a great video from the same workshop 3 years ago, so you can hear the music.  This is from the workshop 3 years ago, and features George Kahumoku, Jr., the late Bob Brozman, Led Ka’apana and Herb Ohta, Jr.  George, Led and Herb were all teaching again this year.

"Three Purple Tulips", ©Jill Rosoff, 2007, 5 1/2" x 8 1/2", $55.00

“Three Purple Tulips”, ©Jill Rosoff, 2007, 5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″

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.  

pale                                                   rich 

diluted                                              saturated

soft                                                    harsh          

weak                                                 strong

muted                                               bright

tint                                                     shade

subdued                                            loud

restrained                                         intense


delicate                                             overpowering


mild                                                    deep

These comparisons produce a lot of different ideas about colors.  Can you think of any more?



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