Plumerias

Plumerias come to life

After getting the plumerias color and shapes defined it becomes obvious that the white background is not going to work. The flowers are fading off into their background. I don’t want a completely solid background to the edges so I experiment as I go, applying very light washes of Sap Green first then Veridian or Thalo Green in spots.

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plumeria blossoms 01

Adding various sized drops of Hookers Green to keep it interesting, aiming for shadow behind the flower.

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plumeria blossoms 02

As more area is filled with the greens in the background the petals of the plumeria begin to stand out and shine.

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plumeria blossoms 05

Now I begin adding some Royal Blue shadows along with Ultramarine Blue, and purples. Some depth is showing where one blossom overlaps another. These transparent washes really bring out real looking shadows.

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plumeria blossoms 06

Note the difference when a shadow is added, where the red blossom overlaps the pink/orange blossom behind and where the white petal overlaps also.

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plumeria blossoms 06

Darkening places in the surroundings at the petal edges accentuate the backgrounds depth.

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plumeria blossoms 08

Done, it is confusing which way it should be hung, so I am happy that I don’t have to decide. Flattening the paper out overnight by wetting on the back side and laying face down with a heavy board overnight and allowing it to dry. Then packing to send off in the mail. Hoping that it arrives on time for Jeanie Hollands Birthday! Love You Jeannie!

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plumeria blossoms 09

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Plumeria Watercolor in Process

Plumeria White Ylw 02
Plumeria White & Yellow 02

This watercolor in process recreates how the flowers look when they are rinsed and spread across a kitchen table, while stringing leis.

Notice the yellow centered white plumerias have a brilliant center fading out to white edges and tip. To accomplish this I wet the entire petal area so I can do a wet-on-wet process with the paint. Fill a brush with Aurolean yellow. Begin applying by pulling from the tip on the outside edge of the petal to the interior in the center and lifting the brush. This leaves a wonderful puddle of light yellow bleeding out evenly and gradually to the outer edges of the petal. Do the other side of the petal.

The next shade is New Gambouge, which is a kind of orangish yellow. Same brush loaded with color, then pulling from about 3/4 or 1/2 of the petal length to the inside and lifting again at the center to produce that darker orange tint in the center. Do both sides of petal. In the image below, you can see how the New Gambouge further defines the radiance of that center area and push it into the distance.

Darkening the Center

Plumeria White Yellow 03

Apply using light touch with a smaller brush of Daniel Smith Quinacridone Gold or an orange brown to your liking, to emphasize edges and the center even more. I notice a darker shadow right under the edges of where the petal folds up on the sides remaining white. This underneath surface of the petal is where I apply the darker color sparingly.

Shadows

Finally, with same small brush I drop a little pool drop of Dioxazine Purple right in the middle where you would insert your needle to string a lei. Purples are a perfect “shadow maker” for yellows. The wet surface lets the purple bleed naturally out into the petal making an incredibly believable shadow and depth.  I also use this same purple in very light washes to create drop shadows where the flowers overlap each other, edge outlines and stems peek out from behind.

Reds and Pinks

PlumeriaRedPink
Plumeria red & pink

The same steps are taken with the red plumeria sing the wet-on-wet process. Using a light wash of Alizarin Crimson, adding Purple Lake, touching with Vermillion then more Alizarin Crimson in the middle. Last is that drop of Dioxazine Purple in the center. For the pink the same steps but what I noticed is that there is almost a stripe effect with the different colors on each petal. I start with an Alizarin Chrimson, adding Vermillion, adding Pyrrol Orange, then Cadmium Yellow Pale in stripes that I let bleed into each other. Again, the last is that drop of Dioxazine Purple in the center.

More posts like these are under the category of “Watercolor”

PLUMERIA memories

Painting PLUMERIA memories can be accomplished if you have enough memories stored away to work from in your mind. Lately, I’ve been doing watercolor paintings of flowers that I used to make lei’s of where I grew up in Kaneohe (Kahalu’u), Hawaii. It is funny cause I start from looking at various photographs from the client and before I know it, I am just painting the colors and textures that I remember. I can almost see and smell a flower in my hands and these memories seem to guide my brush.

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plumeria white and yellow

Right after I finished my client’s piece, I started on my own plumeria memories for a favorite family member’s birthday coming up. She and I made many lei’s together. Starting with multiple sketches of flowers until I arrive at an arrangement that suits me.

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plumeria sketch
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pink plumeria blossoms

The plumeria tree has big pointed dark green leaves, and produces a thick stem that branches out to multiple pods, creating a bunch of blossoms. The plumeria is a 5 petal flower with pointed ends spreading out in an equal circular fashion. It has a sturdy tube constructed from it’s petals-creating an easy to string tube stem that begins as a cone shape coming down from the blossom consolidating into a smaller diameter to where it anchors onto the tree. While picking, you have to take care to keep the milky sap off of yourself. It really is poisonous but honestly, I have never known anyone stupid (lo lo) enough to eat that yucky tasting stuff. I remember doing the “wash your hands” thing right after picking or lei making cause it was so sticky and tasted quite vile (pilau) if you ate something and licked your fingers.

Youth FULL OF Lei Making

In elementary school the designs were fun and simple, but in high school serious designs were done to enter the May Day Lei Making contest at the state capitol. Lei making is truly an art and many Hawaiians excell at creating gorgeous and fragrant creations that are a joy to see and wear. My favorite lei is still the puakinikini for it’s wonderful sweet fragrance, it is almost a magical entrancing aroma.

Back Home

We had large plumeria trees lining the dirt road in the front of our house and people used to come and knock on our door to ask permission to pick. Those trees provided the whole neighborhood with an abundance of blooming treasures to create with and me with a lifetime of painting plumerias from memory.

There was a great big one that had thick white petals with bright yellow centers and a truly heavenly perfume and the thick petals allowed it to last the longest in a lei. Right next to it was a established old tree with blossoms that had a more slender and thinner type of petal with brilliant pinks and the yellow center, it had not so sweet or heavy of a fragrance and didn’t last quite as long.

The only color missing was the dark red, at our house so I got a branch from a friend to plant in the back yard. With careful planting, watering and care, it took off and grew into a beautiful tree right in the guava orchard in the back yard. It took a couple of years before it was big enough to supply “a grocery sack-full” of flowers to work with, but even with little amounts of the dark reds some really interesting patterns and designs in our lei making came from them.

More posts like this are under the category of “Watercolors“.

Flowers Blooming Everywhere

They’re everywhere

The garden has flowers blooming everywhere and it has become quite an inspiration to my artistic soul. I can’t seem to quit painting the bright petals waving in the wind. Walking down with the intention of weeding, harvesting and checking everything, and the next thing I know, I am photographing the beautiful explosions of color everywhere. I can’t help myself, there really are flowers blooming where ever I look.

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garden flowers and house

Progressive accumulation of beauty

We have spent years building the fences and slowly planting the whole garden as economically as we can. Flowers were not as high on the list as vegetables and fruit bushes and trees. But now, I have saved seeds for most all the established crops that we plant every year, so now I can buy a couple nice flower seeds or starts each year. We want plenty of flowers blooming that attract the bees and butterflies so pollination happens, and the marigolds are being planted as a deterrent to the buggy pests that don’t like their smell. We are using old fashioned methods that don’t have chemicals to worry about in our food.

First Impression Entering Garden

In this picture you can see the view from standing right when you enter the main garden gate and turn right to look back up the hill.

This thick patch of flowers up close were actually accidental. I had been spreading marigold and dahlia seeds along our driveway and couldn’t figure out why they were not sprouting up. I thought that I must have not dried them correctly and I had screwed them up. When I walked in the garden, I gave up and just scattered half a coffee can full of flower seed on the ground. Marigolds, dahlias, marigolds, dahlias.

Walked away thinking some should sprout.

A couple of weeks later, there were more marigolds and dahlias sprouting up than I have ever seen. I started transplanting the marigolds in a row along the fenceline and have done just over 3/4 of the whole garden. Our garden is big, and it is true that marigolds help keep away pests. I read it in a real book and also on the internet here.

I tried transplanting more blossoms outside of the garden and found out that Bambi absolutely loves to eat marigolds. Now I know, why none of my seeds came up along the driveway at the beginning of the season, they were hors d’ouvres for the deer population.

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Pickin’ Choke Cherry Berries

Choke Cherry’s

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Choke cherry picking is one of the funnest kinds of berry picking! They fall off in clumps into your bucket when you pick like you are milking a cow. Near my friends house in northern Spokane, Washington my friend noticed some loaded ripe chokecherry bushes during a walk through the trees with her little dog, Skippy. She gave me a call and we met the next afternoon to get some. Choke cherry jam is super “ono” luscious!

Berry Pickin’ Friends

choke cherry picking
Linda P. choke cherry pickin

I am so happy to have a berry pickin’ friend, Linda, sorry about the branch in front of her face. My friend is very special to me because she is a true berry picking cohort. Who can you call and say, Hey, the berries are on over here do you want to go pick? I know her response will be, Sure!, if it is at all possible. Then we either meet at the trail head or drive together to the location and pick to our hearts content.

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There is no babysitting required between the two of us. We both love the outdoors, and peace & quiet of harvesting these delicious little fruits, even though there is rarely much peace and quiet as we cruise together and talk about all kinds of stuff.  A good friend that loves gardening, cooking, flowers and berry picking is really a treasure to any pirate soul like me.

Want to Get to Know Someone?

Go pick some berries with ’em. I remember the first time Linda and I went up in the mountains to pick huckleberries together. Not knowing her very well,  I assumed that she may not know what is needed, and boy was I wrong! Bringing an extra bucket with the basics that most people forget about, lunch for two, water, bug spray, TP, sunblock I found that was not even necessary. She surprised me at how prepared she was showing up with jeans, comfy shoes, and long sleeve light shirt with lunch, water, TP, small bucket (with bungie cord belt to hold it close at the waist), along with a hat and jacket. I have learned so very much about picking berries from this expert already.

Larry and Pete in garden
Larry and Pete in garden

Here are our better halves discussing important world events in our the garden. Linda and I are so lucky to have found the best husbands who also enjoy each others company.

I count my blessings every time Linda and I go for berries together. We get to see some of the best views in the mountains as we walk and talk, and when we get home we can exchange recipes for the best jellies, jams, and syrups that ever existed on the planet. We get together to do dinner and play cards together as often as possible. Thank God for the gift of wonderful friends to share our lives with.

Dahlia Watercolor progress

Step By Step Progress

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dahlia watercolor progress

This dahlia watercolor progress is slow as I experiment with getting the bright colors and shading right. It has been a while since I painted flowers, even though they are one of my favorite things in life. Isn’t it funny that we get distracted from what we love with our work in life? This paining seems to be more of a study of the light and casted shadow on the various petal surfaces. It is truly amazing how many surfaces there are on a single blossom. I love the play of light and how it makes something seem so 3D whenever I get it right.

Pink, my kingdom for a pink

It is surprising that the most difficult areas so far have been getting the right pinks to appear. It requires that I actually get the right amount of water to dilute the paint with the main one being used as Alzarian Crimson, or Scarlet Lake, the darks are better with the violet or purple ranges  added. My daughter shares my interest in flowers, she has a site named www.dahliasinbloom.net, a place worth checking out.

Dahlias and Marigolds
Dahlias and Marigolds

You can see why I feel so inspired by blossoms, each day as I walk through our garden, I not only see vegetables and fruits. Luckily, there are many blossoms to pause and smell as I do my daily chores.

Time out

At this point, I am not sure if I am liking the way this watercolor is coming out so I may put it on the shelf to rest while I get back to my real work. When you paint for work sometimes your personal paintings have to wait till there is time again. The most important thing to me is to not make a big stack of unfinished art in my shelf, so I keep working on my un-done stack every week to keep it real small. A uncluttered studio is a happy studio.

Dahlia Painting Outside

Here is my table today

This afternoons shot is of a Dahlia painting, what better way is there to show a progress painting and the love of every artist?  I love to paint anything in the light outdoors, there is no better way to spend an afternoon.

Dahlia painting outside
painting a Dahlia outside

We have a 20 x 20 deck on our house, that many people told us we were wasting too much space on, but I absolutely love it. During the warm months, I spend as much time as possible sitting out there painting and drawing because I find the sound of the wind calming, just like John Travolta in the movie called, “Phenomenon“. The birds and chipmunks and squirrels are truly entertaining.

Gazing down from our deck I can also look down over my domain anytime, now that we have cleared the patch of trees that shaded the garden too much.  I look out over our property and wonder at the sky that is so pretty, now that the smoke has cleared and I so appreciate all the warm sunshine. The sky changes colors magnificently in the evening, making it almost impossible to capture unless you are able to paint lickety-split FAST!

Dahlia Painting

Having a bouquet of cut flowers right here makes it so much easier for me to see their beauty right, I hope to be able to get what I see down on the paper and do them justice.

I made myself a promise

I would do at least one image a week that I want to do, actually, paint what I feel drawn to create. Recent health issues have made me realize that time is not a guarantee, and I had better enjoy all the time I have left before I exit the scene. This week, all the blossoms in the garden are drawing me in close, to smell, touch and admire all of their brilliant colors. What fabulously bright creations they are!

Dahlia Smiles

The garden smiles at us with colorful Dahlia blossoms in every conceivable color among many other types of flower. It just warms your soul as you stroll through looking at what needs to be done. You can’t help but touch the soft petals and admire the brilliant hues in each custom little work of art.

It is really inspiring to have cut flowers throughout the house and I feel blessed to be able to have this luxury available. I am thinking of doing a series of what we have blooming in the garden. The colors are so very much alive and refreshing!

dahlia smiles blossom
dahlia blossoms

I used to think that flower joy was only part of the female section of human kind, but lately I have seen how much my husband enjoys flowers and their magical happy influences. Love of floral beauty has no gender boundaries at all. He is a real green thumb at roses, and orchids and I love both of those types too. Sometimes, we just luck out and get with a partner in life that loves what we love. Sharing our loves is a real deep kind of friendship in life.

 

Garden Helper

Grandpa & Ben in PumpkinsGarden work with a grandchild, is always fun and a bit educational. Anticipation of the great tasting food almost always makes the work together more fun as it seems to take less time to do with the company. As a family, we really look forward to the garden on the weekends. Any kind of picking is an anticipation to really great tasting food, so it is almost always positive even though it is work. Harvesting isn’t the only thing done on our days off, there is also enough chores to fill two summers with the weeding, trimming, watering, bracing, tilling, composting and more.

This weekend we had a little helper named Ben who is 4 years old. He helped Grandpa find all the pumpkins, there is always a contest on which one do you think will be the biggest one?

Grandpa and Ben Cabbage

Then they picked a big old cabbage even though Ben was sure he would not want to eat it anyhow.

Next was picking corn for dinner. They had to go and husk it in the compost pile. Ben is a strong and great helper for his age.

Grand children are the best. Kind of a second chance at parenting that is so much easier, cause it isn’t all the time. Thank God for children who share there children with their parents!