{my garden this morning}

It has been a busy couple months, with our move in December, establishing a new garden and all the regular stuff that life throws at you. I’ve been posting via Instagram recent work-in-progress paintings, but blogging about my studio process has taken a bit of a backseat. (It is just so easy to post an in-process photo via Instagram!)

So instead, last month I began regularly posting about the long-term oil color analysis project I began last year and updates on my new garden. I have several large paintings in progress that are not ready for their debut on my website, however today I will share two floral paintings that just got delivered to the Principle Gallery in Alexandria, Virginia.


My Instagram feed: elizabethfloydart

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“Flower Record” Daffodils, 8 x 8 inches

“Flower Record” Daffodils

Framed Painting
Available for Sale at the Principle Gallery, Alexandria
{8″ x 8″ – oil on linen panel}

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Narcissus “Ice Follies”, 16 x 9 inches

Narcissus “Ice Follies”

Framed Painting
Available for Sale at the Principle Gallery, Alexandria
{16″ x 9″ – oil on linen}

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Garden Update: Early May 2017


It has been a while since I shared progress on my new garden. So much is been accomplished, while there is so much that still needs to be completed.

Today, I want to celebrate the successes.

First off, with the help of friends and my wonderful husband, I was able to dig up my old garden and transfer it to the new yard. Everything except a small flower bed was removed. All the plants ended up in boxes in our front yard waiting to be transplanted. And then they got moved to the backyard to also wait to be transplanted. Last week I emptied the last box! Yay!

A listing of plants transplanted:

  • hundreds of daffodil bulbs
  • (13) hydrangeas, some ever blooming, a few Oakleaf and a few paniculata
  • (12) roses, all but three are thriving and even these look like they will survive.
  • (15+) hostas and sedum
  • three types of irises
  • (8) peonies
  • (20+) echinacea
  • (10) Verbena bonariensis
  • lots of bread seed poppies (Papaver somniferum)
  • lots of Asiatic lilies and other random lilies
  • a honeysuckle and a clematis vine
  • and other onesies and twosies of various flowering plants

I also owe great thanks to my husband, who completed the Herculean feat of getting all the pea gravel transferred during a long weekend in March. Now all the big components of my old garden are moved over, and I have been busy getting everything set up and ready for the growing season.

In early April the holly hedge was pruned back to allow more sun to hit the south facing flower bed I wanted to install. With the generosity of a neighbor this bed received a dense layer of leaf mulch, and now I am in the process of adding another layer of compost. I am planning on turning this bed into my dahlia border. It still needs some more attention before I can plant the dahlia tubers. However in my eyes, even being only halfway there, it looks beautiful!

This area of the garden is going to be my densely planted annuals, like zinnias, cosmos, sunflowers, gaillardia, and nicotiana.  This first row is going to be Naomi’s garden, where she chooses what is going to be planted.  And this is how I prepped the bed to help supress any existing weed seeds and give her a good growning foundaion.

Four sheets of clean and blank newsprint/packing paper were placed on the ground…

and then a 2-3 inch layer of compost was placed on top, workind down the bed with my dependable garden wagon with a dumping feature.

And this is how it looked when the row was all covered with compost.

Here are the flats of seedlings I began, a bunch of items have already germinated and I will need to act fast in preparing the other four rows before my seedlings get to leggy.

A view of how the garden looks now.  I will be making more obelisks for the climbing roses I have in the garden, and several other things that need attention.

Here is a view of the lilac that came with the yard and a small bed filled with a bunch of delights.  A very established peony, some irises, day lilies, and two Gallica Roses, I think “La Belle Sultaine”. 

So much to do, and so happy to be in the new garden.


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Cerulean (PB 35 or PB 36)

Cerulean (PB 35 or PB 36)

Information: Semi-Opaque to Opaque depending on the manufacturer’s pigment
Handling Characteristics: a beautiful, lower strength pigment that mixes well alone with white, and with most every pigment on my palette.

Cerulean blue is one of my favorite oil colors and I always have it out and use it often.

Each manufacturer mills their cerulean blue differently, so for one manufacturer cerulean may be an opaque paint, and where another may be semi-opaque. Even with this difference from manufacturer to manufacturer, I love incorporating this pigment into my paint mixtures.

What I value most about this oil color is its soft blue that leans towards green. It is a granular pigment that mixes in a muted way with other more fine-grained pigments, such as quinacridone rose or viridian. And when cerulean is mixed with earth pigments, it will make lustrous and soft grays (mixed with umbers) or muted greens (mixed with ochres). I think an afternoon spent exploring and fiddling with different mixtures that cerulean can create is time well spent. (I wrote a blog post four plus years ago all about my cerulean favorite paint mixtures)

Because of the diversity and how manufacturers produce cerulean, I have found at times that I squeeze out as many as three different cerulean’s on my palette, this happened when I was working on the blue quilt in the double portrait of my daughter and her friend.

At other times, when I begin a painting, I think about what I want to achieve color-wise and decide before I start the painting which cerulean will best meet my painting goals. Currently I am working on a painting with a muted but lush background and only the semi-opaque, large grained quality of the Blue Ridge Cerulean will do because of its enabling properties to create the visual vibrations of broken color so well.

It is my belief that an artist must become intimately acquainted with each pigment used on their palette, this means you need to understand its physical and mixing properties, along with knowing if the pigment “plays well” with other pigments utilized on your palette. If a pigment is “bullying” in its staining and mixing traits I will shy away from using them regularly because it is so easy to go overboard and then my painting begins to be visually dominated with that specific color.

Cerulean is a color that “plays well” with all pigments. You can mix fantastic grays, purples, and greens on your palette with this pigment, and visually it also mixes well on the canvas when you lay a pure cerulean tint over a color saturated underlayer.

All in all, I just love working with cerulean.

Row 1:
Name: Cerulean (PB 36)
Manufacturer: Vasari Classic Artists’ Oil Colors
My Thoughts: The Vasari cerulean is made with PB 36, where all other manufacturers use PB 35. Because of this slight pigment difference the Vasari cerulean is a deeper more richly blue-green. It is one of the more finely grained cerulean’s, with an opaque covering effect. The colors straight from the tube is more reminiscent to me as the blue-green of a piquant feather–almost cobalt turquoise–that is just a smudge off from a purely saturated color, when comparing it to the other cerulean’s manufactured.

Even with its pure form being slightly desaturated, Vasari cerulean is a fantastic color to have at your disposal. I love how it is a bit more green than the other manufacturer’s cerulean blues and at times I will choose to use this cerulean just because it is such a stunning color and I just want to revel in its beauty and share it in the painting.

Row 2:
Name: Cerulean (PB 35)
Manufacturer: Williamsburg Handmade Oil Colors
My Thoughts: The Williamsburg cerulean is made with PB 35, same to the other manufacturer examples except for Vasari. This cerulean is a fine-grained pigmently dense oil color that is a pure saturated middle-of-the-road blue-green cerulean. It is creamy and texture and mixes on the opaque site because it is so dense in pigments. I choose to use this in my painting when I want a slightly stronger effect and mixing power with other pigments.

It is a joy to use and I have so much fun when it is squeeze out on my palette.

Row 3:
Name: Cerulean (PB 35)
Manufacturer: Blue Ridge Oil Colors
My Thoughts: The Blue Ridge Cerulean is also made with PB 35, and for the past five years it has been my predominant cerulean squeezed out on my palette. I discussed it exclusively in the blog post Favorite Paint Mixtures: Cerulean.

The reason why I like using this specific version of cerulean is because of its semi opaque characteristic and it’s somewhat larger grained granular texture. It is the closest version of cerulean in oil colors that handles like cerulean watercolor pigments handle. Because it is a bit more large grained than other manufacturers when you skim a layer of this cerulean over under layers of different colors you get the visual vibrations of broken color, the same visual effects the Impressionist strived for in their work, and something I personally also strive for in my paintings.

Due to its semi-opaques characteristic it is slightly weaker in mixing power with other pigments than the other cerulean manufacturers listed. However in this situation I like using it to my benefit in the visual effects I’m striving for.

Row 4:
Name: Cerulean (PB 35)
Manufacturer: Gamblin Artist’s Oil Colors
My Thoughts: the Gamblin cerulean is a very bright almost a royal blue. It mixes well and has good workability. I don’t often use the Gamblin cerulean because straight from the tube it is a bit lighter in value than the other manufacturers and I prefer starting with a slightly deeper in value cerulean when I need to use it straight.

Row 5:
Name: Cerulean (PB 35)
Manufacturer: Winsor and Newton Artists’ Oil Colors
My Thoughts: The Winsor and Newton cerulean is another excellent cerulean choice, especially if you are seeking the semi-opaque mixing attributes. I used to use it exclusively prior to discovering the Blue Ridge cerulean. This cerulean is creamy and fine-grained and handles well.

In summary, I do not have an absolute favorite cerulean, but use them as I need for my painting goals.

These articles about my color palette and the oil colors I use are the result of my experience and continued exploration. I have purchased all oil colors on my own and I have not received any reimbursement from the mentioned paint manufacturers or art supply stores. The usefulness and perceived attributes expressed here in these articles are my personal opinions.
The oil color manufacturers that I will discuss in this series are: Williamsburg Handmade Oil Colors, Winsor and Newton Artists’ Oil Colors, Michael Harding Artists Oil Colours, Vasari Classic Artists’ Oil Colors, Gamblin Artist’s Oil Colors, Blue Ridge Oil Colors, Old Holland Classic Oil Colors and Rublev Colours-Natural Pigments.

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