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!

Haven’t been painting?  Egad.  Can’t be so!  Yes, I take breaks from painting.  But I rarely take breaks from being creative.

Spring was been busy this year.  I taught two six-week workshops at #Orange Coast College’s Community Education division, one on Flowers in Watercolors, the other was Watercolor Still Lifes.   And I have just finished a new six-week workshop on painting Cityscapes, and I’ve got two more slated for the Fall semester.  I also started a new part-time job with a non-profit in April, which has been very stimulating and fun.  I announced a new line of scarves for my Blooming Silks:  “Layers” which I will be showing at the Contemporary Crafts Market in Pasadena, CA over Halloween weekend.  And I went on a trip in June.

It’s the trip that I want to share about today.  To begin with, I love Hawaiian music.  My family has listened to Hawaiian music my whole life.  My mom got us started, she went to Hawaii with her family when she was a teenager in the late 40’s, and learned to play the ukulele from the locals.  Gabby Pahinui has always been one of my music heroes, and the guitar style he played is called Slack Key, or ki ho’alu in Hawaiian.  If you have seen The Descendants, you’ve heard this music, it’s the soundtrack to the movie.  Other favorites are Ray Kane, Dennis Kamakahi, Jeff Peterson, George Kahumoku Jr., and Kimo West.  Just to name a few, there’s so many!

I’ve played guitar since I was a kid, my dad taught me how.  My family used to sing and play together, along with some friends, mostly folk music, a little bluegrass, and some early rock and folk/rock.  But I’d always in the back of my mind thought it would be so great to learn to play slack key.  Well, a couple of years ago Mom and I went to a slack key workshop organized by George Kahumoku Jr. in Maui, where the instructors are some of the slack key artists whose music I been listen to.  I was in heaven for a week, inundated and overwhelmed with the beginnings of the slack key style.  It was so wonderful, that we went again this year, and if possible, this year’s workshop was even better than the first one.  

View from the room

First off, this was the view from the lanai of our room.  We woke up to this each morning, drank our coffee here, dried off after swimming, sipped on cocktails, and sometimes just sat in peaceful awe.  We went swimming and/or snorkeling every day.  We didn’t take a computer, so I was happily unplugged.  

We were there for the music.  For a week we were immersed once again in Hawaiian music and culture, eating lunch and dinner with the whole group, and sometimes breakfast, and swimming when we took breaks from workshops.  There were classes for six days, mostly in slack key guitar or ukulele, but also in lei making, kapa cloth making, and hula.  Mom was taking classes on the uke, I of course on my guitar.  Every evening, after dinner, there was a kanikapila, or jam session, where everyone played and sang  together.  

Here’s a shot of most of our faculty one afternoon, as we celebrated the life of musician and songwriter Rev. Dennis Kamakahi, who this past spring lost a short, intense, battle with lung cancer:

faculty

David Kamakahi, Jeff Peterson, Herb Ohta, Jr., George Kahumoku, Jr., Richard Ho’opi’i, Laurence the sound guru, Jason Jerome and Led Kaapana.  This room was where we had our kanikapilas each night, over 80 of us sitting in a huge circle, playing slack key music together.

The last day of the workshop we performed at the Ki Ho’alu – Slack Key Guitar Festival 2014 at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center in Wailuku.

group shot

Group shot of the workshop, ready to perform at the Festival.  Photo by Scott Hillman

Here’s a great video from the same workshop 3 years ago, so you can hear the music.  This is from the workshop 3 years ago, and features George Kahumoku, Jr., the late Bob Brozman, Led Ka’apana and Herb Ohta, Jr.  George, Led and Herb were all teaching again this year.

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.

Busy Busy Busy

May 1, 2013

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

uniquelaspring-pinkbanner-joinus-1

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).  

*    *    *    *    * 

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!

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?

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.  

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