Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Native; The Red-Flowering Currant

At the bleak tail-end of winter, red-flowering currant’s flurry of blossoms act like horticultural Prozac. Gracefully drooping clusters of crimson flowers adorn shrubs that have yet to leaf out. The blooms reassure us that yes, spring is nearly here. The rest of the year the shrub is a good garden citizen, greening up nicely with maple-like leaves, making berries for the birds, and turning gently yellow in the fall—while quietly awaiting its return to top billing.

I purchased several native plants from the Conservation District last year and am happy to report most are showing signs of life especially the red-flowering currants. Need I say, the hummingbirds are delighted?!

You can also see the red-flowering currant in open woods, on cliffs, and along roadsides in Washington.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Artists Helping Japan

Keiko Tanabe has created a fund-raiser on her Daily Painting Blog. Artist create a piece of art which is then downloaded to the website and entered into the auction. She has chosen "home" as a theme for all the artwork submitted. All art is for sale with the proceeds going to one of the organizations that collect donations for disaster relief efforts in Japan.

If you are an artist or interested in purchasing art, here is the information you will need to know.

"The Help Japan Challenge" does not have an ending date.

Each painting has an auction that ends at 9 pm CST at least 7 days after the painting was submitted. Be sure to check the time remaining on the auction page of the painting you are interested in to see when that auction ends.

I entered this collage watercolor painting:

How About A Cup
Joanne Osband
watercolor collage

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Fascination With Rocks

My grandson, Haeden, came to visit me the other day, and he was fascinated with the pile of river rocks boarding the deck.

What is it about rocks that is so fascinating?

The colors and shapes attract me. When I was in Greece not only did I take photographs of rocks, but also brought some home from various locations, especially beaches. I have these small piles on a counter and not sure what to do with them.

Rekindling my love of rocks with Haeden, I began a watercolor painting from photographs of one of the beaches on the island of Antiparos in Greece.

This is just the first day painting:

A close up:

To be continued.......

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sunday Sketches

If you have noticed the addition of a sketch by Sophia on the lower right corner of this blog, it is a "button" link to a group of artists who sketch and post their sketches on the Blue Chair Diary blog. Of course, the event occurs on Sundays.

I came across this group from a blogger friend, Deanna, who contacted me and suggested I join. Discipline is good; the act of committing to doing a drawing once a week will be a good challenge. Besides, it will be fun to get to know others who are sketchers.

You can come along, too. View the submission each Sunday either by using the "button" here or subscribing to Sophia's blog.

I will miss this Sunday. It is my grandson's first birthday and you know where I will be :)

This began as a sketch and then became a watercolor painting:

Ask Me About My Grandson
Joanne Osband

Monday, March 21, 2011

It Must Be Spring!

Yes, the sighting of the first trilliums here in the Pacific Northwest is a definite sign of spring.

If you are not familiar with the trillium, it is a native wildflower. There are 39 species of trillium known. All types are easily identified by the three main leaf bracts that start to show in the early part of spring. These leaves are followed by a long stem on which the flower blooms. White flowers are most prevalent in damp, woody areas. Red flowers have also been known to show up where the white trillium grows. Other bloom colors include pink, white turning to pale purple, and yellow.

Many of us get very excited when we spot them as occurred today on my walk with a friend through the woods.

I have captured the delicate wildflower in a watercolor painting which has delighted many art patrons and collectors.

Janet's Trillium
Joanne Osband

It is named for my friend who is addicted to trilliums and provided me with great photographs for the painting.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Color YES!

It is that time of year when a splash of color in the yard instantly puts a smile on my face. I do not know about you, but the browns and grays of winter tend to become monotonous after awhile. Spring bulbs to the rescue!

Color speaks to the artist in me. With a couple of non-rainy days here in Washington the daffodils and anemones are showing their heads. I planted about 300 bulbs last spring and am rejoicing at their appearance.

I am learning patience. Last spring I planted English Daisies from seed and surprisingly I was able to distinguish the plants from weeds. All summer long I kept weeding around the plants. To my amazement, they are now flourishing and blooming!

Now the challenge is to keep this beautiful color from the slugs!

I have my defense.....a six pound jug of Sluggo.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Endings and Beginnings

Time to change subject matter.....

Having painted three pictures in the series of sand orchids of Greece, it is time to move off the beach and on to another subject.

Here are the three watercolor paintings in order of creation:

Do you have a favorite? Tell me and why?

I appreciate your input. Thanks!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sand Painting

Sand painting is facinating!

Ilana Yahav is a world renowned sand animation artist. Using only her fingers, Ilana draws with sand on a glass table.

Watch Ilana Yahav create........

Visit her website to see more creations.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

How About a Self-Portrait?

Recently an e-mail came to me which requested my submission of art for a self-portrait show. I realized that I had not done a self-portrait since high school!

Do I hear a challenge?

Vincent Van Gogh might hold the record for the most self-portraits painted.

The first step for a portrait: need an image.

Taking a photograph of myself was an experience in itself! I learned, after several attempts for a "good picture", that we prefer the image of ourselves to have a certain look. How many times have you looked at a photograph of yourself and not liked it?

This brought back ancient memories of when I was drawing children's portraits. I photographed them and drew from the photo. When I presented the finished portrait to the parents they either loved it or hated it. I even tried to make some changes in their presence, but this did not always correct the problem. Sometimes the child did not like the portrait; my niece for example.

Finally, I have an acceptable image for the self-portrait. The next question is what medium to use......pencil, watercolors, or maybe even oil paints?

When I painted the portrait of my grandson, I enjoyed the dialogue with him as I painted and the study of his features. What will it be like to stare for hours at my face? I believe I have embarked on an insightful journey......

Monday, March 14, 2011

Does Size Make a Difference?

A question to ponder.....

I remember enjoying painting on huge canvases because it was like a dance. Not only did you move your arm as you painted, but also your body.

When I began painting in watercolors, a half sheet of watercolor paper seemed essential to capture all that I wanted to paint.

Recently while traveling in Greece, I created small watercolor and ink sketches because I was traveling light.

Today as I painted with watercolors, I wondered about the significance of size.

In the third watercolor painting of sand orchids of Greece, I finally loosened up. Yet as I painted today, I became mesmerized by shapes and colors as I worked a small area of the painting. The thought occurred to me to cut out the section of the painting as the final product.

It reminded me of a story my artist friend, Judi Colwell, told of tearing off a section of one of her paintings because the art patron liked that part. It really shocked the customer!

Here is the watercolor painting so far......

And the detail....

Who knows where this might go?

Friday, March 11, 2011


I just learned something about the printing of colors. Have you ever wondered why your images onscreen do not come out looking the same when printed?

My watercolor painting, "Garden Art," has been a challenge to print because with some printers it will print blue instead of purple.

I think I now have the answer!


When we create an image with a camera or a scanner, we create one using technology which uses the RGB color model (an additive model - where light is added to create the colour). If you want an image printed the printer needs a CMYK color model (a subtractive model - light is subtracted to achieve the colour before it meets our eyes). This is one of the reasons why what we look at on the screen does not print out quite as we expect. Colors can look off or lose their intensity.

Another reason is that the RGB model actually has a higher number of hues than the CMYK model.

You can convert a RGB model to a CMYK model without loosing any color quality, however the inverse does not work.

For a great explanation read Katherine Tyrrel's blog, Making A Mark.

Here is an online website where it is possible to convert your photos.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Street Painting Artist

Edgar Müller's studio is the street.

He paints over large areas of urban public life and gives them a new appearance, thereby challenging the perceptions of passers-by. The observer becomes a part of the new scenery offered. While going about their daily life, people change the painting's statement just by passing through the scene.

Since 1998 Edgar Müller has held the title of 'maestro madonnari' (master street painter), born by only a few artists worldwide. The title is awarded at the world’s largest street painting festival, called The Grazie Festival, which is held in the small pilgrim town of Grazie in Italy.

See more of the MASTER'S art

Monday, March 7, 2011

Watercolor Master

A blogger friend mentioned a "must see" blog;
BRUSH - PAPER - WATER, written by watercolor artist Chris Beck who will be featuring a series of blogs focusing on American Watercolor Masters.

The first master selected is John Salminen. John is a signature member of numerous art societies and has won more than 190 awards in national and international exhibitions. The majority of John's work involves urban landscapes. His subjects are consistently presented in dynamic compositions and his ability to set a mood with color, light and tone is phenomenal.

Look at his gallery!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Second in the Series: Sand Orchid

When I was in Greece, the orchids growing in the sand amazed me. They seemed to thrive in the environment in the sand next to the water. How can this be?

Not only were the orchids a beautiful, but also was the contrast of the curly, straw like foliage emerging from the sand and the blue-green colors of the spent bulbs of the flowers.

I tried to capture this in the second of the series of watercolor paintings of the sand orchids of Greece.

On to the next painting....

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Amazing Photos

Time to play, name that image.

See if you can figure out what each of the three photos represent.
DO NOT look at the answers at the bottom of the blog.

These pictures are from the book Microcosmos by Brandon Broll who lives in London. This book includes many scanning electron microscope (SEM) images of insects, human body parts and household items. These are the most amazing images of what is too small to see with the naked eye.

Surface of a strawberry
Bacteria on the surface of the human tongue
Eyelash hairs growing from the surface of human skin

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Kinetic Sculptures

Theo Jansen is a Dutch artist who builds walking kinetic sculptures that he calls a new form of life. His "Strandbeests" walk the coastline of Holland, feeding on wind and fleeing from water. They are made with PVC pipe.

Watch them in action.

The artist at work.