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.

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How Do You Paint a Tree?

April 18, 2013

Tuscan Hillside

“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.  

See my work on my website, and in my Etsy shops for my paintings and my scarves.

Whenever I want browns or greys in a painting, I mix them.  I do not use brown, black or grey paint in my palette.  I’ve just started a new workshop, and realized this is something I tell all my students.  When new students sign up for the workshops I send them a supplies list so they’ll be prepared on day one.  I don’t include white, either.  I like my colors bright, clear, and initially un-muddied.  When black, browns and white are included in a pre-fab set of paints, so be it, but they are never included on my list of colors for a new student to buy.

Why do I believe this?  Because its easier than pie to mix your own greys and browns, and when you do, the colors are much more interesting. Browns and greys can be mixed using different combinations of the primary color triad, or secondary or tertiary triads for that matter.

lav+yellow=brownish

Various warm browns mixed by using violet and yellow or orange (above and below)

warm brown-scarlet&violet

Want a nice chocolaty-brown?  Use Alizarin, a bit of cobalt blue or even purple, and a nice cadmium orange.  Change the amounts of each color you add to get the tint you want.  

brown from red and green

red and green to make a cool brown, using drop-in and mixed methods

How about a nice warm payne’s grey?  Start with Permanent Blue or French Ultramarine, add a little yellow, and then if needed, a touch of red. Or pink.  Again, play around with the amounts you add to change the tint.

grey v.1

a Payne’s grey, mixed from primaries:  blue and yellow

cool grey

a whole different grey using three versions of primary colors

So my thought has been: why buy them, unless of course you use a lot of them?  I don’t use them much.  But also I think that when you mix them either in the palette or on the paper, they’re so much more intriguing.  Shadows and dark areas are much more luscious using darker values of colors, or putting in a layer of an opposing color on the area you want the shadow to be.  There’s so much more to discover in the painting.

Here’s a question: how often does brown occur in nature?  Yes, the ground is brown.  A lot of animals are.  Tree trunks, generally, are brown, but there’s so many different colors.  If you look at a eucalyptus tree, is the trunk the same color, as, say, a redwood?   I find it so much more fun to see what I can come up with.

Cherry Blossoms

Detail, “Cherry Blossoms”, ©Jill Rosoff 2012

I did a painting last year of Cherry Blossoms.  Have you ever noticed that the branches on fruit trees are sometimes more of a rich burgundy color, not at all brown?  If  you look closely at this painting, you may notice that the branches here are indeed a deep, reddish burgundy.  What may not be so obvious is that I painted each branch first with a layer of Alizarin Crimson, a great, rich, deep, cool red.  And while the strokes of color were still wet, I dropped in some Viridian green.  This is a color you just can’t get out of a tube of raw sienna, or burnt umber.  It’s a very complex burgundy.   That’s right, its in the purplish range, and oh so very interesting!  See the full painting here:  Cherry Blossoms.

And by the way, do you know where the two browns’ names, sienna and umber, come from?  Go to northern Italy.  The earth in Sienna, in Tuscany, and in Umbria, which is next to Tuscany, are just about those colors.  And the difference in raw and burnt?  The raw versions are straight from the ground.  The burnt, or warmer, versions, have literally been burned, where the fire brings out the warmer tones.  Don’t you just love knowing that?

This weekend starts a small avalanche of small celebrations:  Ground Hog’s Day, Super Bowl, Chinese New Year, Mardi Gras, Valentine’s Day.  Busy busy busy.  The realization of this came to me in the form of a small gift ofa great treasury on Etsy entitled “February“, which includes three of these events, and which featured of my “Valentine 1” small painting.  I thought it was so cool to combine the three holidays in the collection, it was the first time I’d seen them put together in any sort of way.  Many thanks to Cindi Ressler for including me in her very fun treasury.

That painting of hearts that she included, along with the other ones I’ve done recently have ended up being really fun explorations in the quality of transparency (and not) that watercolors can produce.  So I decided to try another simply shape, for fun, one of my favorite shapes, the star.

Stars 1

“Stars 1″ ©Jill Rosoff 2013, 6″ x 11 3/4”

What I’m enjoying in this piece is that the two white stars, and the background as well, are not painted in.  In watercolors, generally any white in a painting is the paper that’s been left untouched.  Its one of the great, fun, confusing conundrums of this medium.  Since the paints are intrinsically transparent, there’s no white paint to use to cover something up.  Because white when it is transparent, is, well, transparent.  So there’s a bit of trompe l’oeil going on, where the white areas are negative space, created by the colored paint that surrounds them.  And they look solid!  These paintings are little celebrations of the transparency of watercolors.  I like it.  Let me know what you think.

You can find all the paintings posted in this blog available to purchase via my shop on Etsy.  Have you looked there yet?

Lavender poppies on red patterns“Lavender Poppies on red patterns” ©Jill Rosoff 2012, 10″ x 7″

I started this piece in the fall, as a demonstration piece once again in one of my workshops.  This piece actually started me on the intention of loosening up on color ‘rules’ I have consciously and unconsciously obeyed.  Since I often use a subject I know when I’m playing around with ideas, and I have been painting Iceland poppies forever, so shape, color and composition are like second nature to me,  I find it really easy to go for changes and experimentation with them as my subject.  

There is no such thing as a lavender Iceland poppy.  Yellow, orange, reds, pink, and white yes, but nothing in the blue spectrum.  And I’ve always wanted them.  So ‘tada!’ I made them.  In the grand scheme of things its really not much of a huge plunge, but then again, baby steps are just fine to start out on new paths.  I also broke another covenant I heard early on in my painting education, that paintings with red backgrounds can be difficult to make work, let alone sell.  Thank goodness Henri Matisse didn’t believe that!  There are essentially four different reds used in the background, but with layers and some mixing, it looks like more.  I am really enjoying how this piece turned out.  You?

This piece is now available through my Etsy shop.

Watercolor Workshops

January 2, 2013

Happy 2013!

Paperwhite teaser100

Detail from “Paperwhites”, ©Jill Rosoff 2010

For those of you in the Orange County, CA area, my watercolor workshops start up again on Saturday, January 12th.  

These workshops are open to everyone at every level of experience in painting with watercolors.  Each session’s work is focused on what those who are there bring in, whether it be a new project or technique, or working on ongoing paintings, and developing them to completion.  When I find new ideas or ways of creating an effect, I bring those in and we experiment with them.

The workshops are held in Santa Ana at Karen’s Detail Custom Frames, which is on MacArthur Blvd, one block east of Harbor Blvd., across from the Home Depot.   Each session is $25.00, or you can purchase a six-session pass for $125.00 (six sessions for the price of five).  

Sign up here to receive emails about the workshops, or download the 2013 workshops schedule here.

Contact me with any questions using the ‘contact’ link at the end of this or any posting!

This coming Sunday, November 11th come see my Silk Scarves

in Long Beach, CA at

Indie Arts & Crafts Festival

Location:

at the Marine Stadium in Long Beach
Space #6 just opposite from the food trucks!

The Marine Stadium is at the corner of Bayshore & Appian Way at
the lot by the boat launch ramps (just follow the signs).

Directions:

From the 405 South:
Exit at Studebaker.  Turn right on 2nd St, take 2nd St. to
Bayshore Ave. Bayshore takes you right to the lot.

From 405 North:
Take the 405 to 22 west, exit on Studebaker. Left on  Studebaker to
2nd St. to Bayshore. Again Bayshore will take you right to the lot.

Can’t make it to any of my shows?
By all means contact me, using the Contact link below.
We’ll make a date for you to come peruse my paintings, notecards, reproductions, and of course, the scarves!

This just in!  

Enter to Win a $100.00 ETSY card!  

When you arrive and sign in at Patchwork, tell them that you heard about Patchwork from Jill Rosoff Artworks! 

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