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.  

Making for Shows

May 26, 2015

I’ve been doing a few art shows/artwalks recently, so my art-making life has been centered around them.  

purple LoopdeLoudonationcroppedsmLast week I was a vendor in a boutique at a luncheon and fundraiser for the local chapter of the Alzheimers Association,   I’m happy to support the Alzheimers Association, not only because of people I know whose families have been affected by Alzheimers, but also because this luncheon supports the caregivers of those affected by Alzheimers, and honors a caregiver each year.  And I always provide a scarf for the auction they have during the luncheon, which I make just for the occasion in the AA signature purple color.

This event was followed 2 days later by the Balboa Island Art Walk.  I really enjoy both these shows, and they both bring me to my target market clientele.

This was my 8th time in the Balboa Island Art Walk.  Its held every May, on the bayfront walk of Balboa Island in Newport Beach, CA. The bay front walk goes around the perimeter of the island, and is at most an 8′ walkway.  Artists’ displays can be at most 3′ deep.  So people can easily get up close to see the artwork, and not have to make that socially awkward, unintentional commitment of walking into a 10×10 pop-up booth space to look at the work.  I love that! I wish more art shows could figure this out, that the pass-by rate decreases when people don’t have to walk into a pop-up tent!

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Balboa Island Art Walk 2015 booth, pillowcases & scarves on the left, watercolor paintings on the right

And now I’m replenishing my inventory, especially the scarves, for the upcoming Contemporary Crafts Market in Pasadena, CA, on June 5-7.  

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“Poppies” and “Poppies on Waves”, 2 of our popular scarf design lines

This is one of the best shows of work by fine art and hand craft makers, where the vendors who are showing are the people who actually hand-make their wares.  There is a fee to get into this show, but if you go to CCM’s website, you can download a pass that gets 2 people in free for the whole three days, a $16.00 value!  There’s only so many passes available, so don’t delay!  

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Pillowcases being painted, with permanent dyes

I’ll be primarily featuring my new line of hand-painted pillowcases, as well as my silk scarf line:  Poppies and Poppies on Waves (above), Olive Branches, Flower Fields, Layers, Koi, Watermelon Wedges, Apples, and hopefully some designs I’m working out  now that I might be able to sneak in!  

I just read the transcript of Bob Dylan’s speech last week at MusiCares, when he was honored as their Person of the Year. It’s part of the annual Grammys events.  I wish I could have watched him, but it wasn’t broadcast on television.  However one reporter, Randall Roberts, thought to transcribe it, and the LA Times published it.  Its a hell of a good read.

Pink Fuschias

“Fuchsias” ©Jill Rosoff 2011, 6″ x 17.5″

I think it’s important to remember that creativity doesn’t happen in a vacuum.  It is almost as if its a redistribution of wealth, that everything that we take in, visually, aurally, emotionally, spiritually, through taste, through feel, through smell, all of it can come back out of us in the art we make, if its painting, cooking, making music, writing, or any other creative endeavor, all of it reflects what we have learned so far.  My artwork is influenced by so many things, by what I learned growing up, what my parents taught me, what I saw in museums, what I tasted.  Anyone who knows me knows I’ve usually got a cup of coffee with me while I’m making art.  I’m influenced by a great latte.  Yup, I said that.  

Dylan talks about the music he listens to, how he hears the songs and then writes something that reflect them.  Read especially the part about the “Come all ye” songs, and what he wrote after that.  You’ll have a V-8 slap-your-forehead moment.  I look at Van Gogh, and Thiebaud, and Klimt and Diebenkorn, and so many more, and then I indulge in them as I paint my paintings.  Going to museums to see the actual work of these artist heroes of mine is like plugging me in, I get all excited and fascinated and wish I could paint right then and there.  Thank goodness for my iPhone, I can now take notes on it.  But I still often take a notebook into a show with me to jot down things.  Musically I try to channel Gabby Pahinui as I struggle to get my fingers, which are ingrained in American folk music rhythms and patterns, into playing Hawaiian slack key guitar.  Its my new, great struggle.  

Read the transcript here, even if you don’t subscribe to the LA Times online, you can read up to 10 articles a month there for free.   I’ve downloaded it so I can go reread it now and then.  So can you.

And if you live in or near Orange County, CA, come take one of my watercolor workshops!

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.

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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!

This past Friday I participated in the local chapter of the Orange County Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association‘s Visionary Women’s Luncheon.  Each year they honor caregivers of those touched by Alzheimer’s and related forms of dementia.  I was one of the artisan vendors in the Artists’ Gift Faire that was one of the features of the luncheon.  This was my second year in a row participating, and I was pleased to be asked to join them again to support this organization and all the great work they do.  The luncheon also features presentations, awards and a keynote speaker.  This year it was to be Rita Moreno, last year it was Shirley Jones.  Stars of some of my favorite musicals!

When I can, I take my ‘traveling’ silk painting equipment when I know I’ll have the space to demonstrate how the scarves are painted, alongside displaying and selling them.  Its a great attention-getter in the mix of other vendors of artwork, jewelry, and other artisan/hand-made goods.  And its fun to talk to people while I’m demonstrating, get their questions, and show them my process.

set up and ready to goMy set up, with 2 blanks pinned to a padded board, the dyes and brushes lined up in between, and the lovely adult beverage that started the day out so well!

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Detail of one of the 2 scarves I worked on that day.

donationI donated this scarf for the silent auction portion of the fund-raiser–purple is their ‘theme’ color.

This woman, in the photo below, came up to my display, and asked, “Will you help me pick out the best scarf for what I’m wearing?”   After ascertaining that she likes longer scarves, I selected the four I thought would look good on her, with  her lavender dress and white jacket.  This is the one she decided she couldn’t live without. 

happy customerVMAADoesn’t she look great in the yellow poppies?

As I mentioned, there’s a keynote speaker at this Luncheon, usually a star who supports the organization.   Rarely do they venture out into the crowds–they usually enter and leave by a private entrance.  So I don’t expect to see them, even from a distance.  Well, as I was painting along, I saw  suddenly someone  watching me.  I looked up, and it was Rita Moreno.  I like to be in America!  I whipped off the latex glove I that wear when I dye, and reached to shake her hand, to thank her for stopping by.  She smiled, looked at all my scarves and said, “You’re very talented!”.  So sweet!  So what did I reply? “Thank you so much, thats so nice of you to say, and so are you!”  Made my day.  Songs from West Side Story ran through my head for the rest of the day.  OK by me in America!

me and Rita Moreno

Rita and me.  Ay ay ay!

Catching Up

May 26, 2013

Happy Memorial Day Weekend.  I get to relax a little this weekend.  I spent the last two weekends doing two art shows, one showing just the scarves, one for both the art and the scarves.  I’m pooped!  The first was Unique LA in downtown Los Angeles on May 11 & 12, and then on Sunday May 19th I showed for the 5th time at the Balboa Island Art Walk.  I’ve showed at the Balboa Art Walk five years, now, this was my first experience with Unique LA.

The fun thing about Unique LA is that its all local, hand-crafted work.  And it was held in the penthouse of the California Market Center, where clothing wholesalers are located.  I had a table location to show my hand painted scarves.  tableday2

My immediate fellow vendors included: on the tables on either side of me were lovely women that made jewelry, across from me was a soap maker, a woman who made letterpress cards next to her, another table of necklaces on her other side.  Oh, and the place a few spaces down that made, I kid you not, both salted caramel donuts and bacon/maple donuts.  Which were both over-the-top delicious, by the way.  And I’ve now had my donut ration for the next five years.

This woman was my first sale Saturday morning.  She must have tried on a dozen of the scarves, and each one looked better on her than the last.  Here she’s in the one she ended up getting:  Lavender Poppies with sap green buds.

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She bought it and put it on for the rest of her day.  Makes the artist’s heart go pitter pat!

Later on my friend Rheena Mae came by, and modeled this one of the Poppies design in yellow, again with sap green stems and buds.  I think she needs to buy this one, don’t you??  Especially to wear with that sap green dress!

RheenamodellingyellowpoppiesSM

Rheena makes a line of necklaces and bracelets called Mae Mae.

The second day was Mother’s Day.  I’d been talking with all my neighbors, especially the card maker, who was English, and had told her mum in London about my scarves.  When she decided to get her one,  she came over with her iPhone while she was Face-timing with Mum so she could show her all the scarves, and Mum could choose the one she wanted.  It was so very cool!  and my longest-distance ever real time sale!   There we were in LA, she was in London, and we were having this conversation so she could pick what she wanted.  From thousands of miles away!  My grandparents would be flabbergasted.  I’m still getting a thrill out of it!

Here’s a close up of some the scarf designs on the display rack.  scarvesonrack

The purple scarf in the middle is a new style, and it’s on a color field.  I’ve started experimenting with dying the scarves a background color first, then painting the pattern on the colored background.  The other styles featured are (left to right, top to bottom):  Fall leaves, Flower Fields, Farfalle (in turpuoise and green), Lines & Dots, Leaves (in grass and chartreuse), Farfalle (in light orange and deep pink), and Stars (in pink with lavender centers).  

I only wish I’d had another pair of hands at the show, if only to document all the fascinating things people were wearing.  I could’ve done a series just of all the shoes!  But I did get this on, one customer had this small purse, fabricated from soda can pop tops.  Fun, isn’t it!

poptopphonepurseSM

And finally, here’s another new design, a development of the “Poppies” design.  This one features a wave pattern in the background.  If you have seen my paintings, you’ll know that this wave pattern is one of my signature patterns.  I am tickled how I worked out a way to include this pattern onto the scarf designs–using foam brushes and  a pair of scissors.  I’ve made this design so far with these hot pink poppies, as well as with orange and yellow poppies so far.  Next experiment is with a different color of wave!  Maybe magenta waves behind the lavender poppies?  Any ideas?  Leave me a comment!  

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Next time I’ll show you the Balboa Island Art Walk.

Busy Busy Busy

May 1, 2013

I’m getting ready for shows and events in May and June here in Southern California.

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Next weekend, May 11th and 12th, I’ll be showing my hand-painted silk scarves at Unique LA.  This local artisan made show will be at the California Market Center in their Penthouse.  The show is open from 11-6 both days, my location is T106, not far from the coffee bar (you’d think they’ve met me!).  

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Bring your Moms for Mother’s Day!  AND, if you print out and bring this blog post you’ll receive 10% off the price of any scarf (retail sales only).  

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The following weekend, on May 19th, I’ll be showing for my 5th time at the terrific Balboa Island Art Walk.

Artwalk Postcard-1

This is the Art Walk’s 19th year, and there are more artists than ever showing their work.  I will once again be located between Coral and Apolena Streets, just look for my apple-green umbrellas.  The show is strung all along Balboa Island’s bayfront walk, overlooking lovely Newport Harbor, from Marine Avenue past the Ferry Landing.  The Art Walk lasts from 9 am to 5 pm.    

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy display at the 2012 Balboa Island Art Walk

I hope to see you at one or both events!  Thanks!

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