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.



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:


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.

“Plumeria”, ©Jill Rosoff 2012, 6″ x 17 1/2″

“Hi, my name is Jill and I’m an art supplies-aholic.”  Someday, somewhere I’m going to be someplace where I’ll introduce myself like this.

Yes, I love art supply stores.  LOVE them.  Kid in a candy shop love them.  They are a world of possibilities, tools and supplies that look so fun, so interesting that usually my imagination goes on overload after awhile.  These days its a really like a treat to go to a good art supply store, there are good suppliers online and I usually know what I need to get.  It’s wonderfully easy to order and have the supplies arrive at my door, or get specialty items I need directly from companies that specialize in products, say, for painting silk scarves.  But a really good brick-and-mortar art supply store is hard to find anymore.  There used to be three great stores I would go to, and now there’s just one left.  >heavy sigh!<

So the other day  I went to the art supply store, and as I walked inside I was immediately sideswiped by the huge table-full of watercolor brushes on sale for ONE DOLLAR EACH.  I kid you not.  Right there, right as I walked in.  Now, I’ve spent my fair share on lovely sable brushes for watercolor painting.  But these were right there, tempting me.  And it was a one-day !Surprise! sale to boot.  What did I do?  I surrendered, just a little.  Actually I got them for students who needed to fill out their brush selection.  So I felt a certain sense of justification, even care-giving for them, so they could take advantage of a good deal even though they wouldn’t actually be there.

I went primarily to make a list of specific supplies for students signing up for a new watercolor workshop I’ll be giving at Orange Coast College in October in the community education division.  I spent almost 2 hours there, sorting through to recommend the supplies they’d need: watercolor papers, paint colors, brushes, palettes, so I could make  recommendations on the supplies list I made up for the workshop.  When I finished with those, I looked  for whatever new things I could use for painting and printing new designs on silk scarves  for the fall and the holidays.  Dangerously fun.  And coming soon.

About this painting:  I started this piece after returning from my vacation/music workshop in Maui in June.  I have always loved Hawaiian slack key guitar, its soul soothing, and found this workshop where some of my slack key favorites were going to be the teachers.  So off I went, lugging my guitar, my small traveling paint kit, and a camera just in case (!) something caught my eye.  The great little place we stayed had plumeria trees growing right outside the door of the rooms, so we would sit on our little patio in the mornings with our coffee, with the trees framing our view of the ocean.  A visually and aurally delightful few days.  It didn’t suck at all!  

Back at it!

July 11, 2012

“Four Green Apples” ©Jill Rosoff 2012, 8 1/2″ x 5 1/2″

Things have been busy lately, at the expense my blog, although I’m not ignoring it on purpose!  I had a couple of big weekend shows, one was not so great, one was terrific – I love doing the Balboa Island Art Walk!  Those were followed up with post-show follow-up work.  Then I caught a bug that took two antibiotics and a couple of weeks to chase away.  Then I went on vacation –  to Hawaii for almost 2 weeks, primarily at a workshop learning to play slack key guitar, with a little bit of sunning, swimming and snorkeling.  And last week was the Fourth of  July.  Its taken me a little longer than expected to get back to business as usual!

So here I am, back at it.  This little watercolor was inspired by the shows I did–I have a pair of market umbrellas that are apple green that I use to shade my display, and I have green apples on my table for people to take, to carry out the theme.  I had a few apples left over after the Balboa show, so I took them to my watercolor workshop the next week  for my students to use as subjects for their paintings.  This piece started as my demonstration, about using a flat wash to make the apple shapes and the shadows.  For the shadowing on the apples I used magenta in both glazing and dropping in of the color to a water wash.  The yellow striped table cloth was a great juxtaposition of color to set off the green and magenta.  The stems are alizarine crimson, which becomes brownish when layered on the green of the apples.  Its available through my Etsy shop now!

Lovely plumeria

September 7, 2011

“Pink Plumeria”, ©Jill Rosoff 2011, 5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″, $75.00

A friend’s home in San Diego is literally surrounded with plumeria trees.  Its astonishing to see all those lush plants, small ones in pots, huge ones in the ground.  In July they were just coming into bloom, and this piece cam out of  that visit.  I have to go back, he says they are in full bloom now!

My next show will go up in San Diego in October.  Get my e-announcements about upcoming shows and events by signing up on my mailing list  at:

“Poppy Field”, detail, ©Jill Rosoff 2009, full size is 6″ x 17 1/2″, $225.00

I’m just about ready!  I’ve spent this week getting ready for the Balboa Island Art Walk this Sunday, May 16th.  I’ll be showing a lot of new work that you haven’t seen here on my blog, as well as pieces from my Piccolo Paintings series that typically are posted here.

You can find my display on the South Bayfront Promenade between Coral and Apolena Streets, at the same location I’ve been at in years past.  Just look for my apple-green umbrellas!  The Art Walk is goes from 9 am until 5 pm.

For more info on the Art Walk go to:

“Plantation Cottage” ©Jill Rosoff 2007, 5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″, $75.00

While I was in Hawaii last month with friends we went to visit friends of theirs on the windward side of Oahu near Kailua.  We drove over the old Pali Highway, stopping briefly at the Pali lookout to look at the Pali’s steep cliffs and see how lush green the rainy side of the island is, so remarkably different from the dry side and in such close proximity.

After meeting for lunch at Buzz’s Steakhouse, we all went back to their lovely little bungalow, a sweet illustration of local island Plantation architecture, simple and straight-forward in the Hawaiian/Victorian way.  The interior  had lauhala matts on the vertical grain fir floors, and the windows and doors are screened so the trades breeze through keeping the interior tropically cool.  She was born and raised in Hawaii so knows the old Hawaiian ways, the ones my mother taught me and my sibs when we were growing up, and which are still a part of the way I experience Hawaii when I’m there.  So it was nice to see this traditional home, and to learn that this cottage has been in their family for generations.there’s a kind of permanence out there.

Standing in the front yard with the southern side of the Pali mountains in the background, it was too good a sight to pass up.  And even though I’d gone without my camera or drawing pad (egad!) I took some shots with my cell phone’s camera, which were the source photos for this piece.

A Pretty Great View

November 5, 2009

a perfect view3“A Pretty Great View”  ©Jill Rosoff 2009, 5″ x 8″, SOLD

I just went on my first away-from-it-all vacation in 5 years, back to Hawaii, an old favorite.  For me, Waikiki is one of my favorite beaches, you can sit and do nothing and still be completely entertained.  The view is spectacular, and even though civilization continues creeping in an taking over, there are still some things that will always be special.  And even though I managed not to pack my camera (egad!), between some sketches, my cell phone’s camera (!) and my deep memory, I’ve done some watercolor sketches.  Here’s the first one of the land of aloha.


October 16, 2008

Orange Hibiscus, ©Jill Rosoff 2006, 4" x 6"

Orange Hibiscus, ©Jill Rosoff 2006, 4″ x 6″, sold

This is a sweet, small study of this lovely, intricate flower that has just five petals and a wonderful stamen. Five broad, floppy, delicate, undulating petals. It’s always a great challenge figuring out how to evoke the intricate folds and keep the delicacy and flimsiness of these petals.  And maybe easier to do in watercolor than oils or acrylics.  I also have a ‘thing’ about orange flowers on a blue background–its sort of a classic combination for me.  I have a larger new painting of two orange hibiscus on a lighter blue background on my website, in the “Blossoms and Gardens” section about half-way down the scroll.  You can link to the website by clicking on the orange tulips image to your right.

The hibiscus is one of those flowers, that evoke someplace other than–Mexico, Hawaii, Guatemala, Bali, tropical havens.  Plumeria, or frangipani, do that too. I have a red double hibiscus tree by my front door, it reaches up 2 stories, and is almost always in bloom.  It was one of those heart-string pullers when I was looking to buy a home.  There it was.

I showed last weekend in La Quinta, and the Art Under the Umbrellas event, sponsored by the La Quinta Arts Foundation in Old Town La Quinta.  What a great day, and what a nice art show!  Its a lovely outing for a Saturday if you’re in the desert or know anyone who is going to be there.  I’ll be showing there again on November 8th, and four more times next year.  For more information go to:  Come say hello, and see my new work!

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