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A portrait of a friend’s clarinet. She can make it sound like candy too.
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Don’t know what a Flugelhorn is? Neither did I. But I can now tell you it not only looks but sounds gorgeous. Imagine a smooth buttery trumpet and you won’t be too far wrong.
This particular Flugelhorn (and the silver trumpets too) belongs to Mac McGowan of Faerrabella. Faerabella is a fabulous jazz trio consisting of Dana McCarty (vocal), Paul Marche (bass), and Mac (flugelhorn and trumpet). The sound is swing with a dark alternative rock feel to the lyrics and phrasing. The songs are all original. Dana’s voice is nothing short of luscious. Click here to hear them play. If you like what you hear, Amazon has their first CD here.
Mac was kind enough to lend me his horns for half hour or so at the Oregon State Fair where the trio treated us to a couple of fabulous sets. This is the first of what I hope will be several Flugelhorn paintings. Mac’s brass is beautiful and a joy to paint. One of these days I’d like to paint the whole band.
Painted on Aquaboard and finished with clear satin polymer varnish, this painting may be framed without glazing like an oil, or matted and framed with glass like a watercolor on paper.
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I enjoyed the long skinny format of Handyman’s Preserves so much that I ordered several 10 x 24 inch pieces of claybord so I could play around with the format a little more. This time I worked a little larger, a little brighter and a little looser.
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Painting can be magic. You get to see new and hidden things. When painting these bottles, I exaggerated the contrast between the various soft gradations of color within the bottles. None of them looked like anything in particular, just abstract shapes to paint. But having painted the shapes I discovered that one of the things I was exaggerating was the magenta bottle’s reflection in the purple bottle.
It’s fun. But it’s not unusual. When painting reflections in metal or glass, I often discover that I have painted more than I can see, and yet the painting is right. I’ve clarified by exaggeration.
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I’m still busy working through glass and reflections. Long time readers with recognize the green mister. I love painting it. In ordinary household lighting, it is a dull unexceptional object. With the sun shinning through it, it is magical. The camellias are fresh out of the garden. Here in Salem camellias mean Spring has come.
This time my palette was: phtalo green, phthalo blue, quinacridone magental, new gamgee, and dixion purple. I used a hint of burnt sienna to dull and darken the greens and for the metal parts of the mister.
Painted on Ampersand’s aquaboard and mounted on a 2 inch black cradle frame the painting is ready to hang. Hung this was the effect is much like a gallery wrapped canvas. A frame may be added for a more traditional look.
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It’s fascinating to paint what happens to objects behind curving glass. Add that the objects are more glass, and it gets more fun. The shadows cast by glass are even more interesting because glass not only casts shadows it reflects light into those shadows.
For this particular painting I filled mason jars with the brightest objects I could find, marbles, crayons, and brightly colored thread.
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Right now I feel like a magpie–I’m attracted to shiny things. I’ve just finished a series of shiny brass and silver instruments. The last couple paintings, I’ve done cut glass. This subject is a little humbler, but it’s still all about shine.
I like the nostalgia of it too. Surely I’m not the only one who’s seen a shop window full of jars of screws, nails, washers, and bolts and noticed how beautiful they are. The subject may be humble, but it was a bit of a challenge too. I began by painting the background in layers starting with new gamgee and ending in dioxin purple and cobalt blue.
Filling in the background brought the jars into instant relief. After that it was simply a matter of adding the contents one jar at a time. I treated each jar as it’s own little painting, with it’s own compositional problems. The result is a happy variety.
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It’s Spring cleaning time here at the Armitage residence. With a little dusting and a little sun, my cut crystal sparkles. I can’t imagine another time of year I’d have all of the cut crystal out at once, but it sure does shine when I do. The lighting was a little bit tricky because I arranged the glass on the shelves in my new studio. From there the glass is back lit through one set of windows and indirectly front lit through the others. The result is a lot of extra glitter.
Like the metal instruments I’ve been painting the last few months, cut glass is all about shine and it contrast in values that makes shine. The actual colors don’t really matter so much as long as the values are right. For this set of crystal I used primarily cobalt blue, pthalo blue, new gamgee, burnt sienna and dioxin purple. There are hints of magnesium blue, and touch of pthalo green.
Painted on clayboard and mounted on a black cradle frame, this painting is ready to hang. For a more traditional look, a frame may be added.
The light in my new studio space has inspired me to begin painting glass again. The light through the windows is just perfect for the subject. I both enjoyed and went slightly nuts getting all the little shapes in the cut glass bowl, but I happy with the result.
I used a slightly different palette than my usual for the cut glass: magnesium blue, pthallo blue, dioxin purple, burnt sienna, quinaciderin deep red rose, new gamgee, and raw sienna. The magnesium has a reflective quality all it’s own that very useful in depicting the shine of glass. The raw sienna helped created the textured background.
Painted on clayboard and finished with a coat of clear polymer varnish this painting my be either framed without glass, or matted and framed like a traditional watercolor.
And here’s the completed painting.
This painting has sold, but
Trumpet and trombone share fabric space on a mirror. This little painting has sold. But prints are available through my shop at Fine Art America.
Trombone bell resting on the bells and facing a flute. My daughter says this one has a Christmasy feel to it and I think she is right. In any case, I like the red and gold.
This painting has sold, but prints available through my print shop and Fine Art America.
I painted this little baby yesterday at the gallery. I like the contrast between the silver and gold, but I wasn’t really happy with it until the shadows went in.
This painting has sold, but prints are still available through my print shop at Fine Art America.com.
This is a second and slightly larger version of Reeds Between Sets which sold before I could get it posted. Like most of the rest of my instrument series it will be on display at Art In the Valley beginning November 1st.
A brighter version of Bouquet of Reeds. Painted a little larger–this time on paper.
Prints available through my FAA shop.
This is another painting resulting from my photo shoot at Weathers Music. I brought a number of things with me including table cloths, flowers, and fruit. In the end though I mostly limited my fruit use to grapes and pears. The pears are my favorite. I think the shapes of the pears have something to say the bells of the horns, don’t you? I hope so, because the pears are repeated over and over in the horn.
Mounted on a black wooden cradle frame and finished with clear polymer varnish, this painting may be hung as is or framed.
Or purchase a print through Fine Art America.com.
This is another painting competed at the Oregon State Fair. I began it on the first day of the fair intending it to include a lot of shadow in the design much like Jazz Buddies and The Color of Music. But the shadows actually competed with the instruments no matter how much I tried to knock them back by greying them down. On the last night of the fair I got bold and simply did away with the shadows altogether substituting an almost black back ground. This changed the feeling of the painting entirely.
The result is not subtle, but it certain grabs your attention. And while it’s not what I was aiming for, I like it.
This painting is currently available through Art in the Valley, Corvallis, Oregon.
I began this painting at the Silverton Art Festival and finished it up at the Oregon State Fair. My photo reference is from the same group of photos I took for Silver and Glass make music. But I wanted this painting to be more dramatic, so I darkened the background to make the light more obviously artificial indirect lighting.
Painting outside in the heat on aquabord was an challenging experience. Most of the time I was painting the temperature was over 90 degrees and it was very dry. The challenge was to keep the board wet enough to work with. I brought in a spray mister the second day which helped considerably. I used cardboard pieces as a shield to keep from misting the parts I didn’t want wet.
Painted on clayboard and finished with a clear acrylic matte varnish and mounted on a black cradle frame, this painting is ready to hang. Alternatively, it can be framed like an acrylic or oil painting.
Prints are available through Fine Art America.com.
Today I set up my booth for the Silverton Fine Arts Festival. It will be the first showing of my instrument paintings in mass and only the second time any of them has been shown in public. It’s fun to see them all hanging together. I’m in booth #71 right next to the information booth.
The fair runs Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free.
The tuba painting pictured is not Big Boy. It is still big, but this painting is smaller. Painted from the same photo as “Big Boy.”
This is another little painting, completed during my Southwestern vacation. I started in a little Victorian Hotel in Durango and completed it poolside in Cortez.
We’ve been traveling in Southwest Colorado and New Mexico the past few weeks. I have tons of photos for Southwestern paintings. But while I was gone, I went right on painting instruments. I did this one at my Father’s just outside of Albuquerque.
Painted on clayboard, finished with clear acrylic, and set on a black cradle frame, this painting is ready to hang.
This painting has sold, but you may purchase a print.
This is a larger and more colorful version of “Brass, Winds, and Shadows.” I liked the first version, but I like this one better. Besides enlarging the painting and bumping up the color, I expanded the field of view to include more of the flute. I also made the shadows more transparent. I think all of the changes are improvements.
Prints available through my shop at Fine Art America.
Three saxophones I captured at my Weathers Music photo-shoot. I liked this particular arrangement because they look so social, like they are singing together. I tried to emphasize that cozy feeling in the painting.
The composition is a new one for me. I’ve been told that just about any letter makes a good composition. “S” is very commonly used in landscapes with roads or rivers snaking in the the interior. “O” is often used to frame landscapes. “X” pops up all over particularly in figurative work. I’ve seen trees form “W,” but I”ve never done it. This is the first “W” I’ve ever done and it’s so obviously a “W” that it makes me smile.
Painted in Florida, from a moody shadow shot. Once more I’m having fun with the keys.
Like the other Florida paintings, this one is a little smaller, only 8 x 10. It is painted on aquabord and finished with a clear coat of acrylic, and mounted on a black cradle frame. Ready to hang. Original available in November at Art in the Valley, Corvallis Oregon. Or purchase a print through my Shop at Fine Art America.
I painted this in my usual palette of cobalt blue, phthalo blue, ceruleun blue, hasna yellow, new gamgee, burnt siena and dioxian purple plus a new addition, phtalo green. Like phthalo blue, phthalo green is extremely staining and very transparent. Even on clayboard and canvas it’s hard to lift. Typically, I mix my greens rather than pour them out of the tube, but there’s something metalic about phtalo green that can’t be mixed and it’s the perfect color for depression glass.
When I finish this one, my mother-in-law commented that she admired anyone who could paint glass. I will tell you the secret about painting and drawing glass. There’s nothing any difficult about glass than any other subject. The only trouble is psychological. If you just paint the shapes you see, no matter how abstract, when you step back, it will look like glass. It’s only when you worry about making it look like glass that it doesn’t. The same thing is true of metal.
Painted on aquabord and finished with a clear coat of acrylic, and mounted on a black cradle frame.
Or purchase a print through my Shop at Fine Art America.
While painting this instrument series, I have been fascinated by the keys. So this time that’s just about all I painted. I like it so well, that I’ll probably do a few more, just keys paintings.
Another painting on clay board, this painting is finished with a clear coat of acrylic, and mounted on a black wooden cradle.
This painting has sold, but you may purchase a print through my Shop at Fine Art America.
The is another painting from my photo session at Weathers Music, but I painted it on the patio of a beach house just outside Sarasota on the Gulf of Mexico. Painting under an umbrella with the ocean just yards away–what could be finer? We spent the last week there getting our fill of salt and sun. After the long wet cold spring here in Oregon the sun sure felt fine. But my is it hot and humid there. I spent the afternoons painting in the cool. I have five new paintings to post over the next few days.
This is the first one I did. I really like the greeny black of the clarinet and piccolo in contrast to the greeny yellow of the pear. The pear and clarinet bell shapes echo each other nicely too.
Another painting on clay board, the painting is finished with a clear coat of acrylic and mounted on a black wooden cradle. This painting has sold, but you can still purchase a print through my Shop at Fine Art America.
No, it isn’t more instruments, but I’ll get back to those shortly. I painted this one at the gallery just after finishing “Jazz Buddies.” I love painting all the keys fittings on the sax, but it tiring work and I was no fit state to start another complex instrument painting full of reflections and reflections of reflections. So I painted nice simple fruit instead.
I took the reference photo while I had the mirror out for instrument photos. The pears and daisies were intended to be co-stars (and they probably will be in later paintings) but the looked so nice and fresh that I took a few photos of them by themselves too. I’m glad I did.
Painted on claybord and mounted on a black wooden cradle. Ready to hang.
Having traded my trombone, flute and trumpet for a saxaphone, I’m now painting all the lovely keys. There’s something industrial looking about a sax. It’s hardware in a way the brass are not.
I took the reference photo for this first painting in the sun. It was so bright that day that the difficulty was not over exposing the pictures. I took the photo for the second painting inside with studio lights. The difference is day and night.
This is my first painting of my brand new rental toy, the saxophone. Actually, my sax is far from new, but for my purposes, it’s just fine. I’ve paired it with what is turning out to be most painted instrument, the clarinet. The clarinet itself is hard to compose with because it’s so long and skinny. It isn’t metal, it’s lacquered wood; so it does have the shine that drew me to painting instruments in the first place. But it’s black body is the perfect foil for brass. So here it is as co-star to the sax.
The painting’s name is thanks to my best friend and critique, who also lent me her daughter’s clarinet. So I owe a double thanks to Terrie for this one.
Painted on cradled aquabord. May be framed or hung as is.
Another instrument still life painting. I did this one mostly at the gallery yesterday working on little details between customers. I love the way the shiny brass pops in this painting, when I finished it yesterday morning I was both vaguely dissatisfied with it and puzzled over where to put a signature. You see, I had planned the painting to be hung horizontally with the big trombone horn at the bottom, and the so the whole bottom edge was busy and full. Then it occurred to me that since the view was straight down, it could just as logically be hung upside down. So I tried all four angles. I like this upright view much better than the horizontal view I planned. It has more visual energy, and the eye enters from the bottom left hand corner, which is the most natural entry point.
Once again painted on Ampersand’s aquabord. This time I painted on cradled board which mean that the clayboard rests on a two inch thick wooden frame which I have painted black. The painting may either be framed like an oil or acrylic without glass or, for a sleek modern look, hung as is.
This painting has sold, but you can still purchase a print from Fine Art America.com.
Another painting from my instrument shoot, though in this case the daisies steal the show. Painted on Ampersand’s aquabord, coated with clear acrylic, and mounted on a black wooden cradle. Ready to hang.
This is the second painting from my mirror and instrument shoot, this time from a more conventional angle. The color choice is rather more conventional too, a complementary scheme of yellow and purple with a little bit of the neighboring complements, blue and orange.
Or purchase a print from fineartamerica.com.
This is the first in what I hope will be a series. It all began a couple weekends ago when I was taking pictures in Corvallis. The instruments in the window of Gracewind Music caught my eye and I snapped a few pictures inside. All of that shiny brass made me want to paint. After wondering around admiring a little, it occurred to me that the bread and butter of many music stores is student rentals and that I might not have to buy the instruments to paint them.
After some negotiation I left the shop with three instruments of dubious music merit, a trombone, a flute and a trumpet which had been marked “for display only.” None of the instruments is is great condition, but they are all pretty and shiny. And a month’s rental of all three cost me less than what a single month’s rental of just one playable instrument might come to.
I have since borrowed a clarinet and a bells from a friend’s daughter.
Last week I took a whole series of photos of the instruments on a 42 x 64 inch mirror we had down for a remodeling project. Spread out across the floor it added an intriguing double take on the instruments. I got out some of my blown glassware, a couple of silver vases, some fabric from my quilting collection, and mat boards for background a and began shooting. The guys doing the remodeling must have thought I was losing my mind, but I had fun.
I painted this first one looking down at the instruments from above. However, the white ceiling reflected in the mirror did not provide the best background, so I painted in a dark reddish brown to set off the lighter instrument.
Mounted on a black wooden cradle and ready to hang.
A couple of Sundays ago I spotted a group of perhaps a dozen RUBs (Rich Urban Bikers) haveing coffee at Starbucks. The parked bikes obscured some but not all of the leather clad men. The image is grand, but I expect it will be difficult to paint the men, the men seen through the chopper windshields, and choppers all at once and still get it right. So started with just three of the bikes and Starbuck’s window.
I hardly ever paint real black black black. I find it makes a dead spot in my paintings so I always use dark blue, purple, maroon, or green instead. This time I opted for dark purple and dark blue. Having painted purple bikes, I decided to use the wall to make it a complementary color scheme.
I like it. My preteen girls hate it. They hate the subject, the colors, and everything else. I think they are thinking of the Hell’s Angels and drug gangs, but I’m not sure.
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I’m still playing with Aqua Board. The more I paint on it, the more I like it. These are painted on 6 x 6 inch cradled Aqua Board. I’ve protected the paintings with clear polymer varnish and painted the cradle frames flat black. They my be hung as is or framed with or without glazing.
These paintings are currently on display at Art in the Valley, but they may still be purchased by mail provided they have not sold. Use the contact page in this blog to contact me if you are interested.