Pigments

March 20, 2016

Being a colorist at heart, I’ve always been curious in seeing raw pigments and learning about where the colors come from, be it minerals or plants, or those that are created in a lab.  My watercolors are infused with color.  In my workshops I show my students ways to mix and layer colors to create richer, glowing colors, rather than using color right out of the tubes.  I know there are plenty of painters who use specific palettes of color, limited to a small assortment of colors to create a certain tone to their paintings.  I’m a color hog, the more the merrier.  I never use any browns or black, and rarely grey.  I mix them or layer them using all sorts of colors to get wonderful rich colors in my paintings.  

Shutters

“Shutters”  Original watercolor on paper. 14″ x 14″. Architecture Collection. Study of classic tuscan windows, shutters and wrought iron. Orange, yellow and plum colored walls with green and blue shutters, the sky reflected in the window glass.      ©Jill Rosoff 2005

And I am curious about where pigments come from.  Typically they come from plants or minerals, and sometimes animals.  Imagine grinding up a lovely piece of lapis lazuli to get that specific blue in your painting!  Blues are purples were most expensive, so its no surprise why they are associated with royalty.   With the Industrial Revolution, color and pigments could be developed in labs, and more especially after the Scientific Revolution in the 18th C.   

I just found this article on My Modern Met about a lab at Harvard that has a collection of over 2,500 pigments from around the world, and you can go see them.  Its the Forbes Pigment Collection at the Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies, part of the Harvard Art Museum.  They have the pigments there to use in art conservation work, to be able to match colors of old paintings that are being maintained and preserved.

forbespigmentcollection3photo from My Modern Met, colors from the Forbes Pigment Collection

Seeing this article made me wistful for an art supply store I went to when I was studying printmaking in Florence way too many years ago.  Its called Zecchi Colori, on via della Studio (evocative name, no?).  Head a couple of blocks toward the Arno from the Santa Maria del Fiori, the Cathedral that dominates Florence’s skyline, Zecchi is on the right side of the street. The first time I went in there I thought I’d died and gone to heaven because around the perimeter of the store on the top shelf of the supplies were huge glass jars of pigments, bright, intense, glorious. I never did get a photo of them, seems ridiculous since I was so taken with them that I just never took a photo.  I did by a crock, though!  But I think I need to get into that lab at Harvard…

Majolica crock from Zecchi Colori, Firenze.

Majolica crock from Zecchi Colori, Firenze.  Its sitting on a new still life of fruit and vegetables that’s in process.  

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A Lovely Glimpse!

October 17, 2011

These were taken at the opening of my month-long solo show this past Saturday at Glimpse in San Diego’s Northpark neighborhood.  A lovely gallery and home/gift store, Lynle Ellis, who loves color as much as I do, has put up a show of my work, opening October 15th, and closing November 15th.  This is a ‘glimpse’ of the show, so if you’re in San Diego I hope you’ll go see it.

As you enter Glimpse

On a wonderful raspberry sorbet-colored wall

During the Artist Talk, with my large painting of Tulips on the wall next to me.

Me with Glimpse founder Lynle Ellis (right) and her mother Lynn (left).  Oh! and a couple of my paintings.

“Busy Busy Busy”, “Gerbers in Vase” and “Berry Corn”

All images ©Jill Rosoff.  All rights reserved.

Photography by Sue Rosoff

Dreaming of the Cote d’Azur

September 21, 2011

“Soft Afternoon Light, St. Tropez” ©Jill Rosoff 2011, 11 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ $300.00

This past spring I went on a truly terrific trip with my mother, a cruise along the coast of the Mediterranean from Barcelona to Rome.  Our fourth port of call was to St. Tropez, home of Brigitte Bardot and Bain de Soleil (for the St. Tropez tan!).  It was early enough in the season that it was still fun, not overcrowded, but still very warm and wonderful.  And we were there on a Saturday – market day in French villages – so the town square was filled with vendors selling everything from fresh-picked vegetables, fruit and flowers to cotton clothing, shoes, purses, real turkish towels, scarves and more.  We had the best time zipping through the stalls, finding our treasures before it all closed down at 12:30.  I think we bought more there than on the whole rest of the trip put together.

This trip was special for me.  I fell hard for the architecture in Tuscany years ago, while I was taking a graduate printmaking course in Firenze.  I spent a month in that wonderful town.  It had been too long since I’d been back, so I was looking forward to more of it when our voyage cruised into Italy.  We started off, as I said, in Barcelona,and I fell for the architecture in Barcelona, Valencia, St. Tropez, the ancient ville in Monte Carlo.  And I realized that that I really love coastal Mediterranean architecture.  The variations country to country, the colors, the homes sistered up next to each other, the balconies, the railings, the windows, the shutters that are an integral part of  liveability in the hot summer climate along that coastline (in California we all too often see shutters simply as architectural decor, rather than useful components of a natural cooling system).  There’s something wonderful about two houses sitting next door to one another, and the windows are not quite even with each other.  Like musical notes on a line of sheet music.

I also love the colors they use.  They’re lovely, light almost sherberty colors, that time and weather bestows with a patina that gives those fresh, wispy colors a certain gravitas.  And then there are the simple, graceful details of those shutters, wrought iron railings, the edge of the tile roofing, and the addition of 20th C plumbing on the facades of 200+ year old structures.  In the transparent world of watercolors, to get the building surfaces to look substantial I use layer after layer of paint, sometimes smooth layers, sometimes scrubbed on, to get the effect I want on the stucco, each pale layer painted on using a range of very similar colors, which creates a richer, fuller texture.  I start with the largest areas of color, and then built in the architectural details, leaving the darker areas: the shadows and the wrought iron, which serve as punctuation, to the very last.  Et voila!

A special note:  This was a big month for me and this blog!  I posted my 100th posting, and viewers to it went over 20,000.  I want to thank you all for continuing to visit my blog. I hope you’ll continue to come back and to tell everyone you know about it!

Thank you so much!

Paint, Counterpaint

June 29, 2011

Two Textured Tulips”,©Jill Rosoff 2011, 8 1/2″ x 5 1/2″,  $95.00

Thanks to everyone who responded to my last blog posting.  The majority of the feedback to my question about the Poppy Pods was in favor of leaving the painting as is.  As you wish!  (to quote Wesley in The Princess Bride).  And thank you for all your great comments!  Read them by clicking on Comments under the posting.  

This week’s piece, it turns out, is the diametric opposite, it’s almost all about the patterning.  I’ve had this painting on my drawing board since about March, around the time I was doing the small postcard ‘portraits’ of tulips.  I had a couple of pieces of watercolor paper a little larger than the postcard-szed ones lying on the table, aching to be painted on.  So I did the coral tulips, and used the patterning to echo the delicate structure of the tulips petals.  And then it sat there while I paid attention to other paintings, and put on a show, and went on my oh-so-great trip to Europe last month.  And so I finished it this week, still using the line detail, but not quite the same way as on the tulip petals.  And here it is.

I’m starting some pieces from my trip, they’ll be arriving here soon.  Mostly in the architectural vein–I love the architecture of the Spanish, French and Italian Riviera.  Plus there’s a few that I started before the trip that are almost finished, that are quite fun.

Have a great Fourth of July!  And a safe one!

Lovely Interim

June 3, 2011

Facades along a street in Firenze, May 2011

I’ve been on vacation the last three weeks, an amazing trip.  I was traveling with my irrepressible, constantly curious mom, enjoying a cruise, with bookends in Barcelona and Rome.  The cruise embarked from one of my new favorite cities, Barcelona (audible sigh) and then strung along the Mediterranean coastline of Spain, France and the west coast of Italy, and then five days in Rome.  It was my first visit to Spain ever, not the last, and Barcelona is enchanting. Some of the cities I’d been to before  over 20 years ago, including this one way-too-short day in Firenze, one of my favorite cities in the world.  It was like re-meeting old friends, in a way, you know that you’ve been there, but its been so long it all looks so fresh and new.

Michelangelo’s “David”, replica in it’s original position in front of the Palazzo Signoria, Firenze, May 2011

Firenze was crammed full of tourists this day, and it was about 90°, and about 80% humidity.  We were  on a day trip from our cruise, as were people from 5 other ships, of which ours was the smallest.  I think I’d estimate that there were a good 8,000 cruise day-trippers there that day, it was insane.  S

Gelateria, Firenze, May 2011.  I love how the cones echo the shapes of the lighting fixture!

I took over 2,00o photos.  I want to finish the paintings I have going already, before I get to start some new pieces based on those photos, which I will be loading up here eventually.  Lots to look forward to!  In the meantime, these are a few shots of Firenze to whet your appetites, as they are whetting mine!

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