“Daffodils on Hot Magenta” ©Jill Rosoff 2012  12″ x 9″

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.


“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!

Daffodil with bud

January 28, 2011

“Daffodil with Bud on indigo” ©Jill Rosoff 2010, $65.00

I do like these long stems that daffodils, and all in the narcissus family have, and this long, narrow paper size so wonderfully shows them off.  This is a quieter color combination than I normally use, but I love the indigo, its not quite grey, and not quite midnight blue.  Its got a wonderful atmospheric quality to it.

By the way, I opened up a shop on Etsy this week.  I am starting primarily to sell my notecards, and will also be adding some of these small works there as well.  Please go take a look and let me know what you think!


“Daffodils on Coral” ©Jill Rosoff 2010, 10″ x 6″, SOLD 

Its coming up on daffodil season.  There were cut bunches in Trader Joe’s this week.  Spring is just 2 months away!

Using flowers as they grow through each season, so daffodils and tulips round about now, has in some ways become an exploration of new color schemes.  It works in a kind of nifty way, the subject matter changes month to month.  Daffodils start to bloom in mid-winter, when its dull and often gloomy as the earth lies fallow as it reinvigorates itself.  In that bleakness, suddenly bright spots of yellows spring up, the long, finger-like leaves first emerge from of the bulb, break through the ground, and then the bud comes, and then the bloom.   And wow, there’s that yellow.

Do you recall that amazing visual in Dr. Zhivago where you knew the freezing winter was ending because the daffodils had sprung up?  That ‘s the feeling.

Daffodils in the winter time

February 24, 2010

Two versions of Daffodils, ©Jill Rosoff 2010  SOLD

I’m a warm-weather girl, no wonder since I was born and raised in Southern California.  I was living in Berkeley working on my art degree when I first truly experienced colder-weather gardens and flowers, very different from what I’d grown up with.  Some of these flowers are close to impossible to grow in SoCal:  wisteria, tulips, daffodils, and sometimes camellias, so I get my fix this time of year buying tulips and daffodils. Thank you Trader Joe’s!  So here’s another homage to and celebration of them.  This time I started the painting, got the flowers and stems established, and then scanned it with the background unpainted, and then scanned it again after filling in color and atmosphere in the background

Would you let me know what you think?  Just click on the Comments dealy-bob at the end of this post.  And I haven’t tried growing wisteria yet–never say never, though!


November 24, 2009

“Narcissus, single stem”, ©Jill Rosoff 2007, 12″ x 4″ $125.00

I love it when bulb season starts.  I bought my first pot of paperwhite narcissus (of many, knowing me) at Trader Joe’s the day before yesterday.  Since I first grew tulips from bulbs I’ve loved bulb flowers–narcissus, daffodils and tulips mostly.  And they don’t grow easily in Southern California, they need cold weather, so I have abandoned trying to grow them here, I just buy them.  When I lived in the house with a garden in Berkeley I grew tulips for a couple of years (see my August 15, 2008 entry).  I did a lot of my early watercolor explorations from that garden.

The paperwhites are particularly interesting to paint, because its a white blossom. In watercolor, the white area is left alone, there’s no color on it, its just the white paper.  Its an exercise of negative space.  I want to articulate the delicate and sensuous shapes and curves of each petal and flower, while maintaining its white-ness.  So its an exercise, of which color to use for rendering those lovely shapes, and how delicately I can apply it.

This piece is a little larger than my small works, but I decided to add it to the blog today to celebrate that the holiday season is starting.  And that there are new ‘models’ available again!

Daffodils, ©Jill Rosoff 2009, 6" x 12", unframed, $85.00

Daffodils, ©Jill Rosoff 2009, 6" x 12", unframed, $100.00

Spring is all about new growth, bright fresh colors, a portentous feeling in the air, and delicate wonderful flowers.  It all sings, especially the colors, which are so often what’s in my palette. The blooms from bulbs that only come out this time of year is a fleeting joy, especially since they’re close to impossible to grow in Southern California, and I enjoyed my bulbs in my garden when I lived in the Bay Area.  So here is a last gasp of spring in pretty much a Provençal palette.

Summer is around the corner.

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