Roses in Artwork: Feature Friday 10

I am on a rose kick this week! Roses are such popular flowers and subjects for artwork due to their beauty and elegance – and having a pleasing fragrance helps the real flower’s popularity in bouquets. While I have drawn and painted single roses, I had not yet tackled drawing or painting an entire bouquet of roses. This is in the process of changing, courtesy of my recent experiment with text-to-image software and digital art.

Everything is coming up roses

Sprinkled in among the three new rose bouquet computer-generated images will be blogging friends’ posts featuring roses in artwork in various media. I also wish to note that new hand-drawn and hand-painted art will be created and posted within the next month – before I talk to my Mom again on the phone. Yesterday, she did not beat around the bush or try to sugarcoat her opinion when she immediately asked me when I plan to get my paints back out and make real art instead of playing around on the computer and posting that. Mom knows how to use a clue-by-four!

Pink roses

It should be no secret that pink is my favorite color. So of course the first bouquet of roses I prompted the software to generate was specifically pink. No modifiers, just “bouquet of pink roses in vase on table,” if memory serves me correctly.

large bouquet of pink roses in a vase on the table
Bouquet of Pink Roses, digital artwork

This was only the second image I prompted the program to create, and I felt pretty lucky to get something that looked correct. Being a digital image, there is no original artwork available, but you can get art prints from my Pixels store. If you prefer to wear the art you buy, then take a look at my RedBubble shop options for this image.

If this is not enough pink roses for you, you can always take a look at Tatiana’s Spanish rose, a close-up photograph with enough detail the little ant on one of the rose petals is in clear focus. She found this pair in a garden in Andalusia, Spain. And on the subject of pink rose petals, Sharon Cummings beefed up her description of her rose petal mandala artwork at my request. (Sharon recently won a spot on one of Fine Art America’s billboards, and they even put that one near her in Tampa.)

Red roses

Red roses will be very popular come mid-February. While this won’t win me any points with the independent florists, I think it would be better to gift your Valentine with a rose that won’t wilt – in the form of artwork! Here is another lucky combination of text prompt and random number from the computer program that features red roses.

bouquet of red and pink roses with green foliage in blue vase on table
Roses in Blue Vase, computer-generated artwork

Buy your art prints of this beautiful bouquet through my Pixels store. Get your apparel and accessories with this image at my RedBubble shop. Again, being digital, there is no original painting or drawing available (yet).

If you need a little assistance getting into a romantic Valentine’s mood, check out Steve Heap’s flower photography where he revisits a red rose bouquet he had waiting with champagne for his wife’s birthday in 2012. He does his own version of digital art by using software filters on his photography.

Bouquet of multiple colored roses

In the process of searching for just the right set of modifiers for my text prompt, I noticed two that just go together like chocolate and peanut butter: romanticism (the art movement) and …. Thomas Kincade. Seriously, that would be how I would describe Kincade’s painting style in just one word. No “neo-” prefix, but straight up Romanticism. While he did mostly landscapes, I feel that soft, lovely style is best suited for floral artwork. When I did not specify which color of roses I wanted, I got this lovely image.

a very classic image of a bouquet of different colored roses in a fancy vase on a table, done in the Romanticism style with a Thomas Kincade look
Classic Roses in Vase, digital art

I must admit, I like this one. Not only because the notion of time-shifting Thomas Kincade back to the Romantic period of European oil painting and having him paint flowers appeals to me. Except for that odd but of red in the middle of the bouquet, this may well be the closest that computer program has come to generating the image in my mind. I may break out my oil paints and try this one myself (but after I do the yellow roses in pastel).

Meanwhile, if you want this classic bouquet of roses as an art print, get it at my Pixels shop. If you want it on a shirt or accessories for you home and person, it is available at my RedBubble shop. Again, no original of the digital artwork.

Finally, if you are in search of a perfect rose, Jim Hughes believes he has taken the perfect photograph of a perfect rose. The technical details sailed right over my head, but I do think that is a very good portrait style photo of an elegant rose. Be sure to read the backstory on said rose as well.

I hope all y’all have enjoyed this virtual cornucopia of roses in artwork! It may seem early to be thinking about Valentine’s Day flowers, but I want to be ready for 2023.

Feature Friday 8: Holiday Art Walk

After a week’s delay, we are now doing our holiday edition art walk all weekend on our blogs. That means I will edit this post as more folks find the time to add their blog to the art walk, so check back here in a few days and you’ll likely find even more posts from art bloggers listed!

Architectural photography

First up is Rebecca of Beyond Essential, with her stunning captures of wonders of the Old World, in particular Istanbul’s famous mosques like the Hagia Sofia, the Blue Mosque, and (a new one to me) the Basilica Cistern, along with the archetype of the mountaintop monastery, Meteora Monastery.

A Cityscape photo and some opinion

Jim Hughes seems to be trying to cultivate a curmudgeonly reputation in regards to the big hype over digital art software, in particular the text-to-image generators. As a photographer, he asks the valid question of “What is left?” in the wake of so much computer-generated imagery. I certainly agree with him, and see the same question needing answers on the more traditional art side of this equation as well.

Interlude for an image

This being an art blog, every post ought to have some kind of image – drawing, painting, doodle, etc. Here is that poor jack o’lantern I am still working on from October. It’s a little bit further than this scan because I did work on it for two appointments in Gainesville, which is roughly a two hour drive each way.

pencil drawing of a carved pumpkin jack o'lantern
progress on my jack o’lantern pencil drawing

Nature photography

Bob Decker left the comment on one of my first post about the text-to-image software saying he does not see himself trying it out because he loves to go out into the woods and get his own images. He then demonstrated by taking a hike and bringing back some lovely photos of the Cape Lookout National Seashore area of the Crystal Coast, and even tells us a bit about this secluded slice of nature in his area of North Carolina.

Almost Heaven – West Virginia

Steve Heap says his part of West Virginia had an absolutely beautiful autumn season, with gorgeous fall foliage colors and perfect weather for photography. Despite going a round with the RSV virus, he managed to get enough good photos from around Morgantown (where he is based) to put together an entire year’s calendar of fall foliage photos for 2023.

Digital art posts to resume in a few days

I will be continuing my series on my successes and humorous failures using the text-to-image software to make a bit of digital art next week. Looks for the first of the floral barrage to commence Monday or Tuesday. Meanwhile, I offer my first two posts on the subject – my introduction and new avatar/internet face as well as my Christmas digital art for those who may have missed them.

Feature Friday 7: Our first virtual art walk

Feature Friday is back, and with a new twist this time. This week, we’ve all made a post of our personal favorites from our art portfolios, and today that is what we will all be linking. The inspiration for this is something art galleries do in the physical brick-and-mortar world, the art walk. In between links, I am posting some floral snapshots from before the hurricane with the story behind the flower at the end.

The art walk downtown

Going back to when we lived up in Clarksville, Tennessee, the downtown art galleries got together on the first Friday of the month to host an art walk after normal business hours. Along with being open in the evening, most of the galleries also had small refreshments available, and some would arranged a themed display when the artworks in their gallery had one. In particular, I remember one when my husband was home (as opposed to being in South Korea or Afghanistan) and my son still lived at home, and it was a beautiful late spring evening when the temperature was perfect and it seemed everyone we saw was in a good mood.

September-blooming white spider lily
Day 2 was the first decent snapshot I got

Our virtual art walk

Starting the week off, Jim Hughes posts his favorite photographs from his portfolio. His main criteria for this list is: he had a plan, a mental image, then a photo. The nautilus shell is cool. I think I like his funky-colored flower (zinnia?) best though.

two spider lily blooms open - and a cat lounging on the railing
Can’t crop out the lazy cat on the rail, but I really wanted a snapshot of one of the flowers in the sun

Jo from Siena Blue has posted her recent favorites in watercolor and gouache, along with an acrylic painting and one of her drawings from this year’s Inktober, done in ink and colored with coffee. I think I like her seashell best of all, and not only because of the unusual medium.

spider lily with four of the six blooms open
day 4 – and at this point I had figured out the plant was opening one bloom a day

Cannot forget my post from yesterday about which paintings I think make excellent jigsaw puzzles.

Finally, we have Steve from Backyard Image, with his best photos that are not from his back yard. The two that feature the color pink are my favorites – one the cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C. and the other that gorgeous sunset sky from his Alaska cruise this year.

About that spider lily plant

We bought this property in the summer of 2012, spent a week’s leave down here in September of the same year, then moved in for good in February of 2013. In the almost ten years we’ve lived here, I have never seen this plant under my window even bud. I had not idea what it would look like if it did.

Then, a couple days after the autumn equinox, I noticed it was going to bloom.

Once the first bud opened, I knew I had seen pictures of this flower before, and the name that sprang to my mind was spider lily. Yup, a quick search showed I was right … but there are quite a few species that are called spider lily, and most are white like mine, so I began to read which ones bloom in September and I think I have nailed it down to Hymenocallis occidentalis, also called Hymenocallis caroliniana though Wikipedia says this in incorrect while another botanical site says it is. Either way, its common name is certainly spider lily, and the possible reason it didn’t bloom until this year is probably because this summer has been very wet. Several of the lookalike spider lilies for Florida says they prefer wet ground, and this may be the first August and September when we got enough rain.

Yes, there is a spider lily painting in my head now. It’s just a matter of time before I wrestle it onto paper and canvas.

My current favorite paintings as puzzles

I enjoy working on jigsaw puzzles, but with three cats in the house that is something I need to do digitally these days. Back when I was a child and we had a cat-free house, we kids would put jigsaw puzzles together on the back of a game board, so they could be moved off the table for meals. Once completed, and after a sufficient time to admire the accomplishment, the puzzles would be carefully taken apart and mixed back up in the box for either the next time or when a sibling wanted to put it together. Given this brief bit of my childhood, is it any surprise I am fascinated by current print-on-demand technology that can put my paintings onto jigsaw puzzles?

Digital workaround

I mentioned my cats as the main reason I cannot do physical jigsaw puzzles, but the secondary reason is flat surfaces in my vicinity just do not remain empty for long enough to put a puzzle together either. Along with the obvious art supplies, I also have sewing stuff and yarn crafts stuff around my desk. Using Microsoft Jigsaw, I can upload up to four of my paintings and have the game create puzzles ranging from extremely easy (only 12 pieces) to very challenging (grandmaster 588 pieces). It may not be as challenging as to 1000-piece physical jigsaw puzzle, but it does keep me amused without taking up space or becoming a cat’s toy. The biggest downside for me is that MS Jigsaw limits me to only four at a time. So which four did I upload first? That is why I am writing this post!

I’ve already started featuring a puzzle on Mondays over on Twitter and Facebook, using my own hashtag #PuzzleManiaMonday, and have shown the “expert” level 196 piece level in MS Jigsaw for the past couple Mondays, so it only seemed natural I write it up into a blog post here.

Goldfish oil pastel painting as a puzzle

The first one I actually tried to use in the game was Book Reading By Candlelight, which has a vertical (portrait) orientation and did not work well. Apparently for their custom puzzle feature, the images need to have a horizontal (landscape) orientation. The second painting I picked to make puzzles out of was my oil pastel painting, Goldfish, which I posted way back when I was still on blogspot and have added to the story of its creation when I moved here to this domain. While it may seem like it would be rather difficult because of all the blue water around the fish’s orange and cream-spotted body, I figured the gradient aspect of it would help … and in the process discovered that my gradient is not exact from one side to the other, despite how it may appear.

my oil pastel painting Goldfish as a jigsaw puzzle
my oil pastel painting Goldfish as a puzzle

While it may appear daunting, this is very fun painting-as-puzzle to occupy some time and tease the brain just enough to keep interest high. I particularly love to work one of the puzzles while sipping my afternoon mug of coffee. Order your 500 or 1000 piece puzzle from Pixels here, while if you are a RedBubble customer you can get puzzles with as few as 30 pieces up to the big 1000 piece challenges. I don’t see this one making that good of a group project, but that could just be a failure of imagination on my part.

Apples sketch painted in acrylic as puzzle

For my second one, I knew I wanted to use one of my apples still life from last November. Between the two, I went with the acrylic paint sketch where I worked to get the red and green variations of the Honeycrisp apple skin. This is a bit amusing, because at the time I painted both, I liked the all red apples version better. This seems to be another case of my opinion of an artwork changing over time (like the ox-eye daisy drawing). Considering I used only about half a dozen colors in this, I think I did better than I originally thought. It makes for a fun puzzle as well.

acrylic sketch Apples as jigsaw puzzle
acrylic sketch Apples as jigsaw puzzle

Pixels customers can find 500 and 1000 piece jigsaw puzzles here, while RedBubble’s software seems to not like my image, even the higher-resolution version I uploaded this morning. I may need to fill out a support ticket for that.

Sunset Over the Hay Field oil pastel painting in puzzle form

Another no-brainer for my short list of favorite paintings to turn into puzzles is the oil pastel landscape Sunset Over The Hayfield. I guess my oil pastel work is a bit over-represented in this sample, but how could I NOT play with this image for a jigsaw puzzle? The colors in the sky and clouds are just so much fun to piece together, then the stubble over the mown hay field provides the challenge. Check it out:

oil pastel landscape painting Sunset Over the Hayfield as jigsaw puzzle
I always get this far before I take a break!

RedBubble offers jigsaw puzzles in five sizes: 30 good sized pieces for your young beginner puzzlers, 110 piece puzzles for the intermediate level, 252 pieces for a good one-afternoon puzzle session, and of course the 500 and 1000 piece options for longer more complex challenges. The one thing to watch out for is some of the image options on the website show their software adding sidebars to some sizes – I have submitted a ticket on this. Pixels offers the 500 and 1000 piece options, and seems to have better flexibility on the aspect ratio for images.

Pumpkin Close-Up watercolor painting as a jigsaw puzzle

Finally, my fourth puzzle is my watercolor painting Pumpkin Close-Up, which looks like it could be a real challenge. In some ways, it IS a challenge, but I find it to be an extremely fun challenge. All these autumn colors! All the noticeable brushstrokes! Check it out:

watercolor painting Pumpkin Close-Up as jigsaw puzzle
I use the brushstrokes and colors to match pieces – this is a fun break from blogging or painting

Personally, I say get the really big puzzle for this one. Why not? Just think of the hours of fun, either by yourself for maximum cool points or with family for a rainy day around the table. Pixels offers the 500 and 1000 piece options, while RedBubble has the smaller options for the youngsters that either live with you or invade for holidays.

Come back tomorrow for our first virtual art walk

Why this fun little favorites list? This is the preparatory post for our first virtual art walk tomorrow, October 14th. Come back this weekend for an online equivalent to an art walk, where each of us participating will be featuring our personal favorites from our portfolios!

Feature Friday 6: Summer sunflowers

It’s almost August, and summer is in full swing here in humid Florida! We come into the house after morning chores totally soaked with sweat, and have about six to eight weeks more of that to look forward to. According to the news, we aren’t the only ones this year. While it is past the time for sunflowers to bloom here in the very deep south, apparently they are blooming in parts to my north. Honestly, here in the US is there anything that says summer like big, blooming sunflowers?

Summer sunflowers

our volunteer sunflower plant earlier this summer
our volunteer sunflower plant earlier this summer

Kicking off the Friday features are a pair of posts all about sunflowers, complete with enough good photographs to make up for the snapshots I am inflicting upon y’all.

  • Bill Swartwout started it with this collection of recent sunflower pictures. He even includes some interesting facts about sunflowers, which appeals to my inner geek in a major way.
  • Also feeling the sunflower power, Bob Decker shares his recent sunflower photos from North Carolina, along with the mention that sunflowers were a part of the “three sisters” gardening by native tribes.
volunteer sunflower next to the chicken fence
volunteer sunflower amid the volunteer squash in the compost pile

More art blog features for your summer reading pleasure

Getting back to my Friday features from around the art blogosphere, I think this is the perfect place to continue a conversation that started in the comments of my post about my Daisies in tinted charcoal, then Steven expanded his thoughts and added photo examples for a full blog post on how much software editing is considered fair game in fine art photography. If that wasn’t enough, he seems to be exploring his software filters and asks which filter is better for a photograph of an historic and landmark brick building on campus near him, then applies a completely different filter to some photos from his recent trip to Alaska. I find it soothing to see someone else who thinks about his art as much as I think about mine. More feature links:

  • Anne Haile has an intriguing post about the ancient language of flowers. While I’ve known that various flowers have had specific meanings throughout history, but particularly in Victorian England, I’ve not explored that topic with my usual geek intensity yet. I really need to research this, as it has some very interesting application to floral painting.
  • Jim Cook from HotShot PhotoGuy caught some fascinating photos of some eastern bluebirds – first two males squabbling over who would nest with the female, then the happy couple nesting in a wooden birdhouse he has.
  • Sharon Popek has done more book-themed photo compositions that involve multiple photos, including using her edition of Fanny Farmer’s Cookbook, one I have on my cookbook shelf as well (great resource, if you ask me). I would never have thought of doing photo mashups like that, but that is what makes the art world so interesting!
  • PencilPaws has a new drawing, this time an apparent family of monkeys from Bali. She used tinted graphite, which I have seen at the art store and looks similar to my tinted charcoal. She has the patience to do the finely detailed lines of the fur, so be sure to check it out.

Final thoughts – I need to draw and paint some sunflowers

Writing up this post made me realize that while I like sunflowers, and have joked about having “sunflower envy” in the past, I have not yet made any drawings or paintings featuring these lovely cheerful flowers! (Insert shocked gasp here.) I know all spring just about everyone and anyone was doing up sunflowers as the national flower of Ukraine, which is actually a bit odd considering sunflowers are a new world plant and did not appear in Europe until after the 1500s (similar to the potato and its association with Ireland among other European countries). I remember thinking at the time that if I did one it would surely get lost in the shuffle, but I don’t have any excuse for prior to that despite having several potential reference photos saved at Pixabay.

The big takeaway here is that I should try my pencil and brush at doing a bit of sunflower-themed artwork. It is definitely on my to-do list now. I have an oil pastel flower piece currently in progress, and I do have some artwork that I still have not blogged, so I need to try to keep out of the summer doldrums and just power through, sweaty mess and all.