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?

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Monday, August 17, 2009


Very seldom do I paint a city scape. But this scene was just too picture-perfect! The contrasts, such as the man made sky scraper and something organic like bottle brush trees drew me in, but also similarities, such as the red roof and the red bottle brush. I've never seen bottle brush in Holland, but in California you see them frequently. I saw this view from the window from where I was sitting in a coffee shop corner.

A close up of bottle brush bush we saw in the gardens of the Huntington Libaray. It really does look like a bottle brush, doesn't it? Its color more leaning towards fuchsia, than the red bottle brush trees I was painting in San Diego's "Upstart Crow.".

The scene of my small watercolor painted in the coffee shop was meant to be whimsical and casual, which I think I succeeded in.The flurry of activities in a city that never sleeps. To give it that atmosphere, I moved very slowly in a 7 x 9 inch frame with a very tiny brush. Many cups of coffee were needed to persevere finishing the skyscraper!

City life, 7 x 9 inch, Watercolor, St.Germain

What prompted me to sketch the sky scraper in the background were the clouds being on the move behind this huge building. Somehow the building reminded me of the Dutch phrase of "building air castles."
This denotes that the dreams one has about something particular in life look so impossible and elusive that one might as well be building castles in the sky! It's meaning is similar to the American "pie in the sky."
It does not happen often in a painting that the most tedious part is the background.

On the parking lot were more bottle brush trees, so I made the front ones brighter, serving as a lead-in to the scene. The cars are just indicated, but it took more time and energy than the trees. To bring balance in the design, I added the building on the right.

If you would have the ability and time, which city scape would you like to paint?



Poetikat said...

I prefer the view in your painting to the actual scene! The bottle-brush is stunning!


jeannette stgermain said...

Am so glad that you like it, Poetikat - my reward for the tediousness I had to wade through!!
Yes, it seems bott lebrush is becoming popular again:)

Whitemist said...

Thee were several scenes that have caught my eye over my life. One was a roof top view of roofs from a shelter I was volunteering at. The angles and colors were amazing. The other was an experimental phase (surprised?) where I combined a water based blue ink pen and water color to paint a rainy street corner with various people in it. That one I liked a lot and still have.
I like your interpretation of the scene!

DawnTreader said...

You've really caught that skyscraper beautifully, Jeanette!

Carol @ TheWritersPorch said...

Jeannette, as I wrote today,the talent of you artist just stops me in my tracks! This is gorgeous! We have a Bottle Brush Tree that is about 3ft. now. It has not bloomed yet so I don't know what color it will be. We bought two at the Mobile Flea Market two years ago but one died. This makes me excited about it blooming!

jeannette stgermain said...

Thank you, Joey! You make me curious - do you have a photo of that rooftop view?
No, with your job I expect you to like experimenting - like to see that mixed media sometime:)

DUTA said...

Skyscrapers are dominant-looking, buildings, they dominate both the sky and the city. In your painting the skyscraper looks delicate, pleasant to the eye, protective of the gracious trees. I really like this painting, it's beautiful.

jeannette stgermain said...

Hope your name is Dawn - it would be a beautiful one and fitting!
Glad you like the skyscraper:)

jeannette stgermain said...

Thank you Carol! You have a generous heart (referring to your post of today)! Yes, I'm curious with you what color your bottlebrush is!At my previous house we had a bush, whose blooms look related to the bottle brush, but the form of the "brush" is rounder and shorter. I used a stunning pic that hubby took of it for my firework pic a while ago (I changed the colors, and put the pic upside down in photoshop).

jeannette stgermain said...

Thank you Duta! Maybe I should hire you as my art critic, because that is what I was exactly after with my watercolor!!

Cannot believe all the places you have been - I seldom meet people who have traveled more than we have - but you take the cake:)

crochet lady said...

Great rendering of the city scene.

I have never seen a bottle brush tree/plant, how interesting. Love that vibrant color and of course the "wow" shape.

As for city scenes....hmm, I'm not much of a city girl. I grew up a country gal. I guess I would have to say I've always loved the Court House building in the small town near where I grew up. It takes up a whole town block with a park surrounding. The trees are beautiful in the fall. And the copper dome shines like a mirror in the sun while a huge clock ticks away on the face of the stone building.

Gaelyn said...

I really like this painting. The colors and composition flow so well.

jeannette stgermain said...

Thank you! Only for the first 4 grades of elementary school I lived in a little village, then a small town in my teens,but for the rest of my life I have lived in cities. That sound like a beautiful court building you are describing - hope you show it sometime (or paint!) on your blog:)

jeannette stgermain said...

Thanks Gaelyn! The flow in this one was important to make the whole scene work!
I'm going to your blog to see the update of your water heater:)

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

I like what you did with this Jeannette. It gives a fullness to the picture and the trees make the city scene look peaceful.

We also have the bottlebrush here which attracts a lot of bees plus a miniture one which only grows to a height of about 3 feet. They make a very nice low hedge in a garden.

jeannette stgermain said...

You're getting to know me well, Joan - even in painting! That's exactly what I was after : a peaceful city scene - most city scenes are a stimulus overload LOL

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

See, my education in 'greek' is coming along. LOL!!

Sreddy Yen said...

Hmmm...the scene portrayed in your painting has a more pleasant ambience! I love the trees in the foreground :o)

jeannette stgermain said...

After some time your Greek will be as good as mine!! Have to say I was pleasantly surprized about your artsy comment on your blog:)

jeannette stgermain said...

Thank you! This scene I look at from a window of my favorite coffee shop. With coffee everything becomes pleasant LOL.