Stolen Roses, oil painting on panel, 8x8"

Stealing Roses Again

Stolen Roses, oil painting on panel, 8x8"

Stolen Roses, oil painting on panel, 8×8″

There’s a mysterious house on my block that has been empty but well maintained for several years. The mailman delivers mail and the gardening service keeps things nice and neat but I never see anyone go in or out.

Their roses and fruit trees are blooming but there’s nobody home to enjoy them. So I stopped by with my scissors to give the roses a little respect by painting them, even if it means stealing them (as I’ve done before). These were yummy fun to paint!

Will You Accept This Rose? Yes, Finally. Watercolor, 7x5"

Will You Accept This Rose? (War of the Roses Part II)

Will You Accept This Rose? Yes, Finally. Watercolor, 7x5"

Will You Accept This Rose? Yes, Finally. Watercolor, 7x5"

After all the struggles of the previous day, I was determined to succeed in painting a rose and decided to give myself a break. First I rearranged the colors in the palette, putting them in my prefered, mostly color-wheel order instead of helter skelter as they were, and replaced several colors (see below for color chart).

Revised Schmincke Palette chart

Revised Schmincke Palette chart

(WN=Winsor Newton, S=Schmincke, DS= Daniel Smith, H=Holbein):

Top Row: WN Transparent Yellow, S Cadmium Yellow Light, DS New Gamboge, S Cadmium Red Light, WN Permanent Alizarin, WN Permanent Rose.

Middle Row: WN Violet, S Ultramarine, WN Cobalt Blue, H Cerulean Blue, WN Winsor Blue, DS Indanthrone Blue.

Bottom Row: S Thalo Green, WN Sap Green, S Yellow Ochre, WN Burnt Sienna, DS Indigo, S Titanium White (the latter will probably be removed since I’ve never successfully been able to incorporate white into watercolors).

Second to Last Rose Test, ink & watercolor

Second to Last Rose Test, ink & watercolor

The other thing I did to give myself a break was that after I made the second to last rose sketch above from life, I decided to work from a photo of the rose. Read More

War of the Roses, Part I: Schmincke Watercolor Review

Schmincke Rose Saga #1, ink & watercolor

Schmincke Rose Saga #1, ink & watercolor

On the next test run of my new Schmincke palette that Roz introduced here, I painted some roses on a tablecloth in the sun on the deck. While the Schmincke pan paint is lovely to use, and the palette a good size and design, the colors frustrated me. Their version of rose called Permanent Carmine (PV19) is much redder than the Winsor Newton (PV19) Permanent Rose I rely on for pinks and several other colors didn’t appeal to me.

In the color chart below, the top and bottom rows are the original Schmincke colors that came with the set. I added the colors in the center row by filling empty half-pans from tube paint in the space designed for adding extra pans.

Schmincke palette original colors plus added middle row

Schmincke palette original colors plus added middle row

The colors (abbreviated above) are: Read More

Blowsy Rosies

Blowsie Roses, oil on Gesobord panel, 6x6"

Blowsy Roses, oil on Gessobord panel, 6x6"

Blowsy. [Adjective: (of a woman) Coarse, untidy, and red-faced.] That’s just what these roses were when I picked them from my poor neglected rose bush: brightly colored but messy and past their prime; yet they were just fine as my model.

It seems like once I gave myself permission to work on a painting as long as I wanted to, I’ve started being able to finish them more quickly. And it’s not just the small size;  I’ve spent hours and days on other 6×6″ paintings in the past.

It could have gone even more quickly than the three hours I spent on it, had I left some of my earliest brushstrokes alone. I just find it hard to believe they were right the first time, even though that was my goal with this painting: to put down the right strokes with the right color, temperature and value and then leave them alone. (Or scrape off the stroke immediately if it’s wrong and replace it with the “right” one, rather than adding more and more paint, which eventually leads to making mud.)

I also tried to focus on using warm and cool colors to shape the form, along with the dark and light values. I’d also like to cite my inspiration for this painting, Kathryn Townsend, whose flower paintings mesmerize me.

White Roses in Creamery Bottle (and painting process stuff)

White Roses in Creamery Bottle, oil on linen, 8x8"

White Roses in Creamery Bottle, oil on linen, 8x8"

(Available)

Strauss Family Creamery is a Marin County dairy that produces organic dairy products served in old-fashioned glass bottles from happy cows that graze on sweet grass in the hills by the sea. I enjoy their bottles as much as their cream in my coffee.

I started this painting with a goal to complete it from life in one 3-hour session, as so many plein air artists and daily painters do. I had somehow come to believe that I “should” be painting that way too. But while I met my time goal, I didn’t like the results (see original version below). And that’s when I finally accepted that it’s better to take as much time as a painting needs, and relax and enjoy the process rather than try to rush to keep up with someone else’s “rules.”

If you’re interested in seeing how I got here from there, click “keep reading” and stick around. Read More

The First Cut is the Deepest (Or Is It The Sweetest?)

First Cut Rose, gold gel pen and watercolor

First Cut Rose, gold gel pen and watercolor

This was the first rose I cut from my rose bushes this year which led to the first cut on my hands from the rose thorns (likely not the last). And it was the first sketch I did of the first rose.  My intention was get the essence of the delicate rose with as few lines and as few washes as possible. I drew it with a gold gel pen, painted directly in one layer and stopped.

Happy!

Roses Requiring Reverence (or at least to be painted)

Rose Reverence, oil on Gessobord panel, 10x10"

Rose Reverence, oil on Gessobord panel, 10x10" - SOLD

My riotously rampant roses were bursting forth from their bushes so I had to put other plans aside and paint them. Their fruity scent was as intoxicating as their vibrant colors. These were two different kinds of roses, both of which change colors and shape as they open so I had to work quickly to complete this painting in one session.

I left the still life set up just in case I needed to fix anything the next morning. But of course by then they were completely different roses. And the painting was complete.

Sketching Scruffy Roses Instead of Ice Cream

Scruffy Roses Instead of Ice Cream, ink & watercolor

Scruffy Roses Instead of Ice Cream, ink & watercolor

Sometimes when I’m tired and grumpy it feels like the solution to all my problems could be found in a bowl of ice cream. I know I’m not alone in this because I’ve noticed that movies and TV often show female characters heading for the Haagendaz when they’re upset.

I’ve also learned that despite those crossed wires in my brain* that say tired = eat sugar, dessert is rarely the solution, and only creates other problems for me.  So I try to do something else and it usually works. On this occasion I spent the evening sketching some scruffy little roses from my garden. By the time I finished, the nearby ice cream shop had closed and I was ready to go to bed.

*Sleep Deprivation and Carbohydrate Craving

In a Harvard Magazine report on sleep research they explain how and why being sleep deprived creates a physiological craving for sugar. In one study, healthy, male college students who were subjected to sleep interruptions over a couple of weeks became carb-loading sugar fiends and even developed pre-diabetes. In the article the Harvard researchers say:”It could be that a good chunk of our epidemic of obesity is actually an epidemic of sleep deprivation.”

They say that most of us now sleep less than people did a century ago, or even 50 years ago although our biological need for 8 hours of sleep a night hasn’t changed. “We are living in the middle of history’s greatest experiment in sleep deprivation and we are all a part of that experiment,” says Stickgold. “It’s not inconceivable to me that we will discover that there are major social, economic, and health consequences to that experiment. Sleep deprivation doesn’t have any good side effects.”

~From Deep into Sleep | Harvard Magazine Jul-Aug 2005

http://harvardmagazine.com/2005/07/deep-into-sleep.html

When you forget how to draw…

Hillside Gardens Apartments, ink & watercolor

Hillside Gardens Apartments, ink & watercolor

…keep drawing! After feeling so rusty sketching at the county fair I was determined to get my drawing juju back. I knew the only way to find it was to draw more.

I tried sketching at the El Cerrito 4th of July festival (see below) but was all thumbs again. Since I couldn’t make a decent sketch myself, I bought a really nice one at the festival’s art show from my friend Ikuko who had a booth there.

I decided to try again on the walk  home. The Hillside Garden Apartments (at top of post) is an ongoing renovation project and labor of love by the owner to convert an old rundown motel into beautifully landscaped apartments. He and the apartment manager were driving by and saw me standing on the corner sketching. They parked and came  to see what I doing and we had a nice neighborly chat with much mutual admiration.

Can't Draw; Ink, watercolor, colored pencil

Can't Draw; Ink, watercolor, colored pencil (click to enlarge)

Back home I continued drawing. I was happy with this sketch of a rose from my garden (below) but lost focus and overworked the watercolor. So the next day I played around with adding gouache, not worrying about getting the colors “right” since the rose had completely changed anyway.

Love the (Artist) You're With; Ink, gouache & watercolor

Love the (Artist) You're With; Ink, gouache & watercolor

Then I wrote myself a little pep talk around the rose, concluding that even if my drawing wasn’t all I wanted it to be, I could at least stop being so self-critical and, to re-phrase the old Crosby, Stills & Nash song: “If you can’t (yet) be the artist you love, then love the one you’re with!”

Berkeley Rose Garden

Berkeley Rose Garden & Rose Practice, Ink & Watercolor

Berkeley Rose Garden & Rose Practice, Ink & Watercolor

When my plein air group met at the Berkeley Rose Garden last Saturday I arrived even later than usual: at noon, only an hour before the session was to end. I found a spot to sit and quickly sketched and painted the complicated, terraced rose garden, finishing just in time for the 1:00 critique.

Berkeley Rose Garden, Ink & Watercolor

Berkeley Rose Garden, Ink & Watercolor

Rose Grid, Ink & Watercolor

Rose Grid, Ink & Watercolor

After the critique I took some photos of the roses that most intrigued me, while guys set up white chairs for a wedding there later in the day. Once home I made a grid in my journal, and displaying the photos on my monitor, tried to understand their design and draw them.

I’ve bound my next journal and named it “Rosie” and want to decorate her with a rose design so this was practice for the rose I’ll draw on the cover. I’ve finished my journal “Froggie” but still have a bunch more pages to post.

I’ve updated my blog template. What do you think of the new design?

Can’t Resist Those Roses

Irresistable Roses, ink & watercolor

Irresistable Roses, ink & watercolor

On a day that felt like a marathon of busyness I couldn’t resist pausing this afternoon to sketch roses from my favorite bush which was putting on a glorious show of snazzy blooms.

I like that I can turn my journal sideways and paint across the centerfold to double the size of my “canvas,” but it’s a little sad and distracting having that strong fold line across the middle. I’d thought of painting on a sheet of watercolor paper instead of in my journal but I had the silly idea that there wasn’t time for that and anyway my journal was feeling a little neglected.

I’ve spent the past couple of days catching up on non-art stuff, like cleaning the house from top to bottom, finally dealing with a pile of paper that needed filing or doing, and using the FURminator (best invention ever!) on my two cats, filling an entire empty Kleenex box with fur that would have been shed otherwise. I saved the big ball o’ fur, thinking it might be fun to use in an art project but  haven’t figured out what yet.

Keeping Up with the Roses

Second Rose, Just Picked, ink & watercolor

Second Rose, Just Picked, ink & watercolor

My rose bushes have started their first big bloom of the year (with no help from me) and despite a crazy week, I’ve tried to do a little sketching of the first two that were ready to cut. This is the second rose that bloomed, just picked (above) and a day after its peak (below), which I missed sketching yesterday because I just needed to sit in front of the TV last night and veg out. Oh well.

Second Rose, Opened, ink & watercolor

Second Rose, Opened, ink & watercolor

The roses above have a lovely fruit punch scent, which is why I bought the bush originally.

Here is the first rose of the season (below) from a different bush. I struggled with the sketch and the whole time was annoyed by the scent, trying to figure out what it reminded me of.

First Rose, ink & watercolor

First Rose, ink & watercolor

I finally figured it out: an old brand of women’s deodorant that smelled kind of gross after it was worn for awhile. I’m overly sensitive to some smells and I’m guessing I might be allergic to them; that they smell differently to me than how they smell to others.

My sister used to wear a perfume called Anais Anais that I thought smelled exactly like damp, moldy dog kibble. There are trees that when in bloom smell (to me) exactly like barf and give me an instant headache if I breathe when I walk by them. Could it just be me? Or do companies really make perfumes that smell like kibble and people plant trees that smelly pukey?

And back to the roses…doing these quickie sketches has stirred up the creative juices to do some “real” watercolor rose paintings, taking more time and care with the drawing and painting to accurately capture the interesting variations in color, shapes and patterns of the petals.

Bouquet of Mothers’ Day Roses

Mothers' Day Flowers #2, ink & watercolor

Mothers' Day Flowers #2, ink & watercolor

On Mothers’s Day my wonderful neighbors brought me this  lovely bouquet of roses in a crystal vase. Then all three sweet kids wished me Happy Mothers’ Day and gave me hugs. I have the best neighbors. I took the flowers outside and sketched them twice, sitting on my studio porch steps.

The sketch above was done by painting directly with no drawing. The one below was drawn first with my Pentel Brush Pen and then painted with watercolor. Both are in the large Moleskine watercolor sketchbook.

Mothers' Day Flowers #1, ink & watercolor

Mothers' Day Flowers #1, ink & watercolor

It was a pretty special day. Son #1 asked his girlfriend of 5 years to marry him (and she accepted) atop a tower in Turkey,  son #2 grilled a delicious dinner for me and his family, and I started the day with a great hike with my best friend Barbara. Life is good!

Painting Roses in the Hot Dark

White Rose #2, pencil & watercolor 5x5"

White Rose Version #2, pencil & watercolor 5x5"

This morning when I was watering the roses I noticed that the one I sketched yesterday (see below)  had opened and was even prettier today. But it was way too hot to sketch outside so I cut the rose and brought it in. Then it was way too hot in the studio too, even with  all the blinds closed and the lights off.

Trying to ignore the heat, I put the rose in a vase on the drawing table and shined one small light on it, with no light on my sketchbook and tried to really focus on the drawing instead of just approximating the shapes. It’s amazing how focusing on drawing makes the problems and discomforts of the world just drop away. But when the drawing was done, I couldn’t take the heat anymore and dragged the portable air conditioner into the studio. Ahhh relief.

I tried to be more careful with the washes for the shadows than I was yesterday, to keep the white rose white and let the shadows define the form. I’m happy with the way it turned out.

But yesterday, when I drew Rose version #1 below, I really liked my initial pencil drawing. Then I added watercolor on just the rose and liked that too [shoulda stopped]…but then I painted in the background and felt like I lost the definition of the form [shoulda stopped] …

White Rose #1, ink & watercolor 5x5"

White Rose Version #1, ink & watercolor 5x5"

…so then I added some lines with my Micron Pigma which just made it worse. At that point there was nothing I could do but close the sketchbook and look forward to the day when I finally learn the lesson of stopping while I was ahead!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,096 other followers

%d bloggers like this: