Some Inspirations This Week

February 12, 2016

Earlier this week I got to see “Red”, the Tony-award winning play about one of my favorite painters, Mark Rothko.  In the first act there’s a terrific back-and-forth between Rothko and the young artist he’s hired to be his studio assistant, of different things colored red.  Its a verbal panoply of all things red, and in my mind’s eye as I visualized each thing they mentioned:  tomatoes, blood, lips, cherries, apple, red pepper, rose, red hair, beets, lobsters (cooked), sunsets, strawberries, pomegranates, poppies, I saw all those different versions of red:  cadmium red, alizarin, vermilion, scarlet, carmine, crimson, garnet and more.  All so different, and all so red.  I use them a lot.  Its a fun exercise, and illustrates so well the differences between warm reds and cool reds to boot.  In my workshop 2 nights later we started doing a similar thing, so they could all start envisioning different variations of just the one color.

 

Its a fun exercise, and illustrates so well the differences between warm reds and cool reds to boot.  In my workshop 2 nights later we started doing a similar thing, so they could all start envisioning different variations of just the one color.

Next:  I was born in the Year of the Monkey, so it’s ‘my’ year according to the Chinese zodiac calendar.  There have been some interesting illustrations for it online on various social media sites, but I wanted to share one with you all especially.  A friend of mine, Kay, who does sumi-e, created a lovely tribute to this year here.

And finally, speaking of reds, have a lovely Valentines!

Valentine 1

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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!

Spring is A-Coming

January 19, 2014

Tulips (bonanza)

“Tulips (Bonanza)” ©Jill Rosoff 1992  40″ x 60″

I love painting spring flowers.  I paint them in watercolor, I paint them on my silk scarves.  Is it the colors?  The shapes?  That they make me happy?  Yes, yes and yes.  I just can’t get enough.  I walked into my local Trader Joe’s the other day, and saw the first spring tulips in the flower bins.  So I bought a bunch.  No hesitation, just leaned down and picked the color that was hollering “pick me!” at me.  They were orange with dark orange infusing from the lower part of the petals to the tips.

Now, it’s been hot in Southern California the past few days, and those buds drank a lot of water.  So they were buds on day 1, fully developed flowers on day 2, and wild things on day 3.  They were starting to droop because of the heat.  I refilled the vase, and on day 4, they were upright again.  I know they only last a week, but oh how I enjoy them.

My watercolor workshops are starting up again in 2 weeks.  My Saturday morning workshops start on Feb. 1st.   I also have two 6-session workshops scheduled at Orange Coast College Community Education, “Flowers in Watercolors” starts February 5th, and “Watercolor Still Lifes” starts March 19th.  As much as we’ll concentrate on watercolor technique, we’ll also focus on how to analyze the subject to be able to build a composition using the watercolors to their best effect.

The painting above was painted in 1992.  It lived in a restaurant in St. Helena, CA for 8 years, and now hangs in my living room.  The size noted above is the paper size, it’s framed in a simple dark wood frame, and floats on a linen background, so it’s even larger.  A  wonderful large art presence in the room.

 

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.

 DinaLavenderPoppiesSM

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!  

poppiesonwavespatternSM

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

  continued from Part 2, posted October 17 

While I was having such a grand time watching the painters as they were in the process of developing their painting, I was also looking around the painting studio.  You start noticing interesting things, given the time to sit and take the environment in:  the air ducts, the odd shape of the room, where the windows are, the flourescent lights, and how those two sources of light inform the visuals.  And some wonderfully mismatched socks. 

Aren’t these fun?  She might just be an artist!  

I took my first break after posing for about an hour.  I wanted to hold the pose for a long time, but was also really looking forward to seeing their paintings in progress.  After the placement of my limbs were marked so I’d be in the right position when I resumed the pose, I unfolded my tucked-in leg, stood up and stretched.  Then I walked around, talked to each painter, heard about what they did, both for a living and with their art, which sometimes dovetailed.  It turned out two of them are art teachers in the community college district.   And they allowed me to photograph their works too.  The versions I’m showing here were taken toward the end of the session, when the pieces were fairly well developed.  

So here are the works of the five artists, at least where they got them to at the end of the session.  After three hours, it’s a pretty fun collection.  Its an experience to see oneself painted or drawn in so many ways.  Each person’s individual view is so distinct, their palettes are so unique.  I hadn’t realized that I’d hand-painted silk scarves  of pink and orange poppies for the sitting.  

Pat’s painting of me in the pose she was so captivated by

 

Such a diverse result!  I especially loved how some incorporated my paintings that were hanging on the wall behind me, melding them into their compositions, or in my scarf, picking up the colors from me to the surroundings, five very distinct renditions.  I got very nostalgic for painting in a group, it was some of the most fun part of painting in school, seeing everyone’s version of the model and pose.   My great thanks to all the artists for having me come and pose, and for letting me show their works.  

“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.


“Cherry Blossoms”, ©Jill Rosoff 2012, 9″ x 11 1/2″

Years ago I got the chance to go to Washington D.C. in the spring.  My main reason for going was to see a retrospective of Winslow Homer paintings, as I recall.  After immersing myself in Homer’s work, I also went to  see shows at the National Gallery of Art (the newer I. M. Pei designed wing), the Corcoran, and the Phillips Collection, all on my list of favorite places in D.C.  

Coincidentally it was also a couple of weeks before the cherry blossom trees went into their annual bloom around the Tidal Basin.  So of course I went, and saw it just at the beginning of the bloom.  And although I was early, and didn’t see the full explosion of flowering, it was pretty fun, especially because the branches could still be seen, they weren’t hidden for all the cherry blossoms.  And they make a nice leggy counterpoint to all that pink.  I’d all but forgotten about it, in the midst of other things I’ve been concentrating on.  Spring is a flower-palooza for me, I’m overwhelmed with ideas for paintings this time of year with all the spring flowers blooming.  (There’s three other paintings in production on my painting table.)

A few months ago I got an inquiry as to whether I’d ever done cherry blossoms in watercolors.  Up to that moment, I’d never done one at all.  I have to say I’d rarely thought about doing a painting of them, partly because there aren’t a whole lot of  fruit trees, let alone cherry trees, in bloom nearby.  But that phone call got me going, thinking about what a painting of them would be, and remembering seeing them in D.C.  So here you go, my first attempt at cherry blossoms, ever.

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