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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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.

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?

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.  

I heart you

January 18, 2013

Valentine 1“Valentine 1″ ©Jill Rosoff 2013, 6″ x 6”

Valentine’s Day is that day when if you’re in love you hope to goodness that you figure out something great to do for your partner, or your partner does something lovely for you.   If you are single, the commercials for jewelry, flower deliveries and certain card companies are annoying reminders that you’re not contributing to the economy like everyone else is.  

For me this year, I have decided to make Valentine’s Day about exploring layering and the wonderful transparent characteristic that watercolors have.  OK, yes, you can get them with acrylics too, but watercolors’ textures, I think, are much more lively.  And watercolors came first (so there! I say in my best Edith Ann voice).  This was another experiment I did for my workshops, where we took the oh-so recognizable image of the heart, and layered on colors, holding onto the transparency, and enjoying the new colors created as one layer overlapped another.  Not to mention the great textures in the blooms!

This along with a few new paintings just in time for Valentines Day can be purchased in my Etsy Store.

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.

Leaves, new color way

November 23, 2012

“Leaves 2″, ©Jill Rosoff 2012, 12″ h x 6” w

This experimenting I’ve been doing these days with leaves is fun.  As much as it is about the shapes of the leaves, negative space and wet-in-wet, it’s also about color combinations.  This one started as orange and blue leaves first, and I added the alizarin crimson and yellow ones as I developed it.  It’s become about the primaries plus one secondary.  Hmmm!  

This piece is now for sale via my shop on Etsy.  I have a pre-Christmas special on both my Etsy Shops to celebrate Small Business Saturday through Cyber Monday, November 24th – 26th, 20% off everything in my shops.  Just use the coupon code Thanksgiving12 during the checkout process.   For my paintings, notecards and reproductions, go to RosoffArtworks.  My silk scarves are available in BloomingSilks.  

Support artists and their handmade work on Small Business Saturday!

Small Business Saturday, November 24th

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