To live and enjoy every day to its fullest, use my gifts to help others, I travel to wherever passion finds me.

What Will She Paint?

So many friends I met here...!

Friday, April 17, 2009


These scribbles may mark the beginning of something new. In all my painting years, this is the first landscape that I have never seen with my own eyes. At first I thought I had a beautiful dream that turned into a nightmare. A few weeks ago I saw on Dick's blog "Eye on Texel" a forest landscape that blew me away. I was mesmerized by it. I was smitten! At times, the only way to get it out of my system, is to paint it.

This looks closer to my real beginning of this painting. For the Scribble and Doodle Window I saturated the colors for fun in Photoshop.

Dick gave me his permission to paint his photo, so I was jazzed, until... I started having a closer look at the pic that hubby had enlarged for me and printed (what would I do without him:)? ). I began to wonder if I had not overestimated my ability. I muttered something about pulling my hair out.

So many details - all those ferns on the forest floor! What do I do??
Upon which hubby completely ignored my desperate state of mind, and said, "That will be a good one then." Thanks for the support, Buddy!

I calmed myself down with making a plan...and lots of positive self-talk (it's a psychological strategy I recommend to clients/patients when one is intimidated by a task and self-esteem starts spiraling down like a plane with a broken wing).

After a while the anxiety fog started clearing and I remembered that a painting is not about the details, but about the skeleton of the scene.

this is how it looked one fourth through the painting process

First Step.
The tree trunks are the skeleton. To give this view a maximum of depth, I choose very light colors for the distant trees. I figured I could always darken them later.

Second Step.
Since the focus of this view would be the rays of the sun coming through, I outlined the sunny part, even before I started on the sky. To my surprise I saw many pink and lavender tones in the background sky.

The third step.
Now I positioned the most obvious horizontal branches of the trees. I changed a few things here and there, because it would look awkward in the painting. This is the artist's right:).

Fourth step.
the foreground was by far the most challenging and tedious part of the painting. I don't know if I ever made use of so many Cerulean and Aqua blues, and blue-green shades. In soft pastels there are many degrees of soft- and hardness available. To have more control over the tiny fern forms, I used the hard Nu pastels for the entire lower half of this painting.

Last step.
Now the sunny part was just a cinch, because in all the previous steps I prepared for this last one by constantly evaluating the values (how light or dark) as I was going. When I indicated that I was almost done, hubby said with Cocker Spaniel eyes (internat. readers: big dog eyes), "I knew it would be a good one." Don't you hate (oops, wrong word) love such people?

Forest in Spring, 11 1/2 x 17 3/4 pastel, St.Germain
I still may blur some things here and there, but is is for 99% finished.

Two important things. Art is creating something new.
So I do not recommend copying a photo when you start in art. I have painted many landscapes before in several mediums.
I know about light and shadow. For the first few years, please, get out in the open air to learn, and use photographs only as a reference.

At last, when copying from someone else's photo, please first get permission (whether it is a professional photographer or not), even when you change things in the painting, or only copy a small part.


Michelle said...

It's beautiful!

jeannette stgermain said...

Thanks Michelle! You must be on line right now-I'm still working out the glitches...I know I'm a perfectionist:)

Gaston Studio said...

It is just awesome Jeannette. I love your colors, especially on the forrest floor. I would buy this!

Anonymous said...

Its really gorgeous. I love the colours and what a tribute to the photo.

gianlucio said...

Hello Jeannette, beautiful painting, congratulations for your blog ... very interesting.
Ciao, Gianlucio

Whitemist said...

I painted a painting once and it turned into one of my favorites. it was of an old Vermont farm house in the snow. The painting was an early American Watercolorist from the 1800's, who's name I can't remember. I updated the view and it is one of my favorite paintings.
It looks like you did fine with this one also!

jeannette stgermain said...

Gaston Studio,
Thank you Jane! I had fun with the colors:) I may make prints of this one. Let me know if you're interested. If not, no harm done!

jeannette stgermain said...

Aggie, thank you. Your blog is very artful. I'll visit more often. It's a scene from my home country, Holland. (I am Dutch and live in Los Angeles).

jeannette stgermain said...

that coming from another artist, that's a compliment. Went to your blog, and I like your painting of Barone the most. Have been in Venice once - your country is full of scenes to paint!!

jeannette stgermain said...

Joey, you are always so encouraging! When you start with a painting, you never know how what value it becomes to you later. Like to see that painting that you are talking about - is it on your blog?

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Hello Jeannette. What a fantasic job you have done here. It is beautiful. You do have great talent!!

Hubbies can be a pain sometimes but it is part of why we love them and have them around. :) Who else would "tell it like it is" and I think it inspires us to do our best. LOL!!

Grrr! Do they always have to say "I told you so". LOL!!

jeannette stgermain said...

Thank you, you're always so kind. What can I say, trees and I mostly get along:) my hubby is a dyed-in-the-wool idealist (when it's concerning me), so that's why. I have to admit I sometimes say those 4 words too you should never say in a marriage.

Dick said...


It's beautiful, the light comes out as it should be, the mystery is still in the painting it is even better.
I thought it was another picture you were going to do, hahaha, you have permission to use all my pictures.

DUTA said...

Amazing picture, and it shows your great talent.

"what would I do without him" you asked about your hubby. Well, it reminds me that last week I was visiting an ill cousin of mine, and her husband said in a very convincing voice that brought a tear in my eyes : 'what would I do
without her', and immediately winkled with his eye and added: 'A lot of things'.

We all three laughed. I didn't know he had humor.

Poetikat said...

I think you nailed it! The painting is beautiful. How cool that you discovered the inspiration through another artist's photograph.


Whitemist said...

Okay, Jeanette, you got the post at . Hope you like it.

Lillie said...

What can I say but 'WOW'. Great transformation, thanks for sharing the step by step.

TheWritersPorch said...

You are a truly gifted artist Jeanette! I'm sure you could paint "anything" you wanted to tackle!

PJ said...

It's beautiful Jeanette, so much thought and effort for one work. It sounds like you learned a lot about process.

jeannette stgermain said...

You got it - that's exactly wanted to express. Although it was not hard, because your photograph was so good! Thanks for giving me permission for all of your stuff:) You are a true patriot LOL

jeannette stgermain said...

Thank you, Duta. I also have to give credence to Dick, who is amazing in bringing mystery into his photos.
Your relatives do have a sense of humor!!

jeannette stgermain said...

Thank you! You never know how inspiration comes, out of any corner of your sense, or the past like on your blog - you do great writing!

jeannette stgermain said...

Thank you - I'll go and look this weekend! Have a good one:)

jeannette stgermain said...

Thank you! I do the step by step to encourage people who just started in art that in the beginning the painting might not look like much, but if you keep working at it, you'll finally get there LOL

jeannette stgermain said...

Thank you for your confidence in my ability - you sound like my hubby LOL
Have to agree that the sky is the limit when you keep persisting:)
Did you go to the paper with your fish pic?

jeannette stgermain said...

That's my nature, PJ - if it'ss going to be a representational, there needs to be a likeness. With my more abstract piece, I give the same attention and time, often even longer.
Thanks for visiting my blog:)

Wendy said...

Great painting! I'd love to go for a walk in that forest.

jeannette stgermain said...

Thank you! You'll have to trvel for that - it's a forest in Holland:)

The Gossamer Woman said...

You did a fantastic job on that, Jeannette. My hat off to you. I was worried during the process that you weren't going to pull it off, but you did and beautifully too.

Reader Wil said...

Jeannette, it's a very delicate looking forest! The colours are so soft, like in a fairy tale. I love it! I didn't know there were woods in Texel. I was pretty often in Texel, for my sister had lived there for 7 years as her husband was a minister of the Reformed church in Oosterend. We cycled a lot and walked in the Slufter. It's a beautiful island.
Thanks for sharing.

Patience-please said...

Very nice. I would love to see the real piece.

gianlucio said...

Hello Jeannette, thanks to Pegg Habets that I was able to visit your blog and now that we know will continue to you if you'll please.
Hello to soon

jeannette stgermain said...

(chuckle) you're right,the messier beginnings, the better the end. Because, you quessed it, I worry too. So, then in pulling through, everything goes on my fingers, hair and clothes. Iam glad for the result though, LOL

jeannette stgermain said...

Reader Wil,
Thansk you so much, Wil. Dick also photographs things that are not on Texel. You can look on his blog (the profile pic is among my comments for this post).
I have never been on Texel, so I don't know if the forest is on the island or not:)

jeannette stgermain said...

Since you're seeing art every day, I can imagine - nothing better than the real thing LOL!
Have been thinking about you a lot in this time of adjustment:)

jeannette stgermain said...

Really great to have met you! If I/we contemplate visiting Italy again, I now have the inside scoop! (meaning I have someone who can tell me where its chep and expensive, etc.)
My hubby is right now in construction too - what a samll world!

Lynette said...

I love those soft colors dancing in the forest floor. Jeannette, this is a really beautiful landscape, it looks magical!

jeannette stgermain said...

thank you so much! I love mystery in a painting to keep the viewers attention - and so do you LOL

Bestemor Aud said...

That was some lesson in how to create a nature painting. Very interresting and good description of your own process. And the result was very beautiful. Would like to have that on my wall!
It's several years since a held a paintbrush, and I'm just in the starting phase. But reading your blog inspires to give it a new try! We'll see!

jeannette stgermain said...

Bestemor Aud
Thank you, dear friend. Also commenting on the process - I didn't know if it would be boring or too technical for some readers. Hope that you'll pick up your paint brushes again!

David Patterson said...

Your work is wonderful Jeannette...let's hope we're both painting for at least another 40 years! :) We've got a lot of time to catch up. :)

jeannette stgermain said...

Another 40 years??? I don't know if I want to live that long, LOL
25 sounds more okay to me:) But for right now I'm thoroughly enjoying it.

Thanks for visiting me, and thank you for the "follow!"

Marvin said...

Thank you for describing your process. It is interesting even for those of us who do not paint. (Should I say, do not have the talent to paint?)

jeannette stgermain said...

You're welcome, Marvin. Actually I describe it for those who do not paint (yet) in the hope they are going to try it for themselves!
Some artists don't believe in the word "talent", they say it's 90% determination and work.
I tend to think, 30% talent, 20% of supportive people around the person, and 40% determination.

Dick said...

Hi Jeannette

I'm back here again.
This forest is on Texel, I wrote it to Reader Will.
Maybe you can send me a photo from the painting, of course I can copy it from this site but the file size is not large enough for a good picture.
It's only for personal use, I like the painting very much your work is great.

jeannette stgermain said...

I already discovered a way I could reach you and have sent you the pic. If it's not big enough give me some time to take another pic, but my hubby needs to change the settings, since he uses that camera for his photo class. Glad you like my work! (Wat is een landgenoot voor, he!)