Bay Area Parks Landscape Oil Painting Outdoors/Landscape Painting Plein Air

Hayward Japanese Garden painting and book commission

Hayward Japanese Garden, oil on Gessobord, 12x9"
Hayward Japanese Garden, oil on Gessobord, 12x9"

The little known Hayward Japanese Garden is a lovely and a very peaceful place. I set up my easel inside one of the little structures sprinkled throughout the gardens as it had a good view and nice shade on a very sunny day last week. It was also a popular spot for wedding and family photos, as two different wedding parties came to take photos at this spot while we painted.

There were a number of challenges with this painting. First was the complicated scene I chose. Also painting under a roof in a shaded area looking directly at a bright scene was tricky.

I was attracted by the rhythm of the crisscrossing diagonals of the bridge, the building, the tree and the reflections. While I was pleased that I met my goal for this session: to focus on composition, I only got as far as an underpainting on site (after starting with thumbnails, value study and a fairly careful drawing). I worked on it some more today from a photo on my computer screen.

Now I see  a few things I’d like to adjust (toning down the bright yellow greens, shrinking the rocks under the tree that somehow grew while I was painting, and adding some dark accents). But that will have to wait because…

Book commission

Now it’s time to get to work on the first watercolor for a book commission that is due in two weeks. I’ll be making three paintings for another book about painting flowers in watercolor by my previous publisher.  I love the first photo  I was assigned to paint from and am excited about the project. It’s so cool getting paid to paint flowers! I’m supposed to photograph 6 stages of the painting and then ship it off to London for them to make the final photo, Then they’ll send me back the painting and the digital file.

I’m hoping I can post some of the steps here, but my guess is that since they get publishing rights, I probably can’t. Either way, first I have to get painting!

9 replies on “Hayward Japanese Garden painting and book commission”

Jana, I am very happy for you for this commission. Congratulations. I am already very eager to get know what you painted for this.
Jana, don’t change a thing in the above painting about the Japanese Garden – it reflects everything you would expect in a graden like this. It does not matter at all if the rocks are a bit to large or if the hightlights do not match up with the original picture. It is lovely as it is and has a pastel quality in it which is wonderful!


Thank you Petra. I really appreciate your encouragement. I was showing my sister your website and blogs yesterday. She’s an interior designer and an artist and I wanted her to see your work. She loved it! Jana


Just saw your answer, Jana. Thanks for the “advertising” to your sister. It’s always very nice to know when poeple love one’s work. Great motivation to go on and do more and get better! 😛


Wow! Congratulations on that book commission! I didn’t know you had a ‘previous publisher’! I really like this painting, too, the attention to detail on the wood fence….looks like you had a good day!


Oh, I’d love to see your stpe by step…maybe you can ask nicely(send them this beautiful smiling picture of yours)
Very nice painting…so tranquil – exactly what Japanese gardens are all about!
good luck!


Thanks Ronelle, I talked to the publisher today and learned that they will allow me to post my work in progress and the book title and all, so I will be doing that. Thanks for the nice words about the painting too. Jana


I agree with the rest– don’t change a thing. As Ronell says, it is so tranquil… And it has all the feeling and look of a Japanese garden.


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