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.

Plumeriasfinal100

 

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!

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Three-Plus Poppies

“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.  

Icelands in dark red and oranges

“Red and Orange Poppies” ©Jill Rosoff 2012

I went on a bit of a blog-hiatus last month.  Between making my holiday cards, which I’ve done for the past 25 (gasp!) years, and then making Christmas gifts for my family, I was plum tuckered out.  Maybe that’s sugar-plum tuckered out?  Only the fairies will know for sure.  And they’ll dance about it.

I’m back at it now.  I have some new paintings that I finished up over the holidays to post here that I’ve had on the drawing board for awhile.  This painting actually came out of an idea I had for a new colorway for my scarves, one that was more fall or winter inspired.  And to play with new color combinations through a very familiar theme is an interesting process, because it can help to bust open a preconceived idea.  Since Iceland poppies are in a naturally spring-y color spectrum, which I really love, I have pretty much painted them that way.  But now I think not every poppy needs to be in yellows, oranges, reds and pinks, do they?  I mean, there are pink daffodils, for crying out loud.  What if I could have a lavender poppy?  Ooooh!

My New Year’s resolution?   I will not be as literal with color.  The reds can be deeper, softer, not so siren-like.  The orange can be a faded tomato orange-red.  And the green?  Instead of a bright spring bud green, how about verdigris?  A nice, oxidized, dusty green.  This worked for me!

Now all I need to do is remember to write 2013 instead of 2012.  I’m thinking I’ll get that done by February, earliest.  

Leaves, wet-in-wet

November 12, 2012

 

“Leaves, wet in wet, purples” ©Jill Rosoff 2012.  12″ h x 6″ w

This painting came out of a demonstration I wanted to do for my watercolor workshops exploring wet-in-wet and dropping in color.  It was also to show the physical properties of water in watercolor, and how it can be used, exploited, but also how it can be a great tool.   I lightly sketched the leaf shapes onto the paper first.  Then one by one, I painted each leaf in clear water, then dropped color into the wet areas with strong watercolors, diluted enough to make the paint liquid but to hold on to the intensity of the color.  As each drop of color spread out when it hit the wet paper, I dropped more color into the tips and the stem to hold on to that intensity of color.  It was lots of fun to do, but what was truly fun was watching my students observe what the paint does as the water dries.  

This piece is now for sale via my shop on Etsy.  If you’re looking for holiday gift ideas, you can now purchase a gift card for my shop on Etsy and let the person your giving the gift to choose what they want!

The artist, next to my tulips painting (see the clipping of it over in the right-hand column, there).  Segment of painting in process, by Janet Logan

A little over a week ago, for my first time ever, I was the model for a small artist’s group.  This all came about when 2 friends, mother and daughter, came over for coffee in July.  I met Connie while at an former job, where one of my responsibilities was to schedule educational seminars for the members of the professional organization.  Connie worked for a company in New England that gave qualified educational seminars, which she brought to us and was the seminar presenter.  She came out a total of three times, over the years, but when she came to do the first one, she asked if her mom, who lived nearby, could come to see her give the seminar.  Her mom, Pat, turned out to be a painter too, and we immediately hit it off.  After I left that job, I lost contact with Connie, sadly.  Then a little over a year ago, Pat emailed me that Connie had an artist client for whom she was doing PR who was going to be a group show nearby here, and could I come to the opening?  And suddenly, happily, we were back in contact.  Thank goodness for the internet!  

So Pat and Connie came to visit, we were having a great conversation over cafe’ lattes, when Pat suddenly said she loved the way I was sitting on my couch, under one of my paintings, and would I consider modeling for this group she paints with? Long story short, we scheduled it, and it happened a week ago Thursday.  

In the emails confirming the date, Pat was so excited that I was going to pose for them.  She wrote, “You were just so elegant sitting in your space with your large painting behind, being so animated about your work.  So, if you could bring your couch and that large painting, that would be good.”  I howled as I shared this little gem with Connie.  Just so you know, the painting she was referring to is a very large piece, the paper is 40″ tall by 60″ wide.  Unframed.  But her enthusiasm was so fun and so sweet to hear, that I offered to bring one or two of my 22″ x 30″ pieces with me to hang on the wall behind me while I posed, if she wanted.  She was thrilled. 

So, here is where I was sitting when Pat and Connie came over:  my couch and the painting over it.  I was sitting on the right side of it, leaning on the arm of the couch, as you can see in the drawing up top, with my legs up on it, out to the side.  

And here is the set-up Pat had ready for me at their studio, with a futon approximating my couch, and two of my watercolors (obviously not as large, and much easier to transport) up on the wall behind.

Very similar!  And particularly easy, since I don’t have a bevy of nubian slaves that would be able to schlep my couch and painting onto my car, and to this painting studio.  Yet.

And here is Pat with her painting of my part-way through the session.  And yes, Pat is wearing one of my scarves that her daughter Connie had ordered from me for Pat’s birthday.  Doesn’t she look great in it!

More of my experience watching others paint while I model, and their paintings in the next posting.

“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!

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