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still lifes

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Pure Nostalgia

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Pure Nostalgia, Original Bicycle Painting by Jenny Armitage

Pure Nostalgia (watercolor 15 x 27) $550

I’ve been busy putting together paintings for my Art in the Valley show, Bicycles.  I had been eying the bikes in front of South Salem Cycleworks for some time. The show just gave me an excuse to stop and photograph them in the early morning sun.  I arrived early as they were just putting the bikes outside. The young man setting up the bikes couldn’t have been more helpful, setting out out this bike just so I could photograph it.

With it’s lovely curves and built in light, this bike really is pure nostalgia.   I wanted the painting to have the same 1950s vintage feel as the bicycle.


Or purchase a fine art print.

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Last OSF Painting: Rear Derailleur

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Rear Derailleur, Original Painting by Jenny Armitage

Rear Derailleur (watercolor 11 x 15) $250

Painted at the Oregon State Fair.


Or purchase a fine art print.

 

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Classic Brass

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Classic Brass, Watercolor of a French Horn and Trumpet by Jenny Armitage

Classic Brass (17 x 19 watercolor) $600


Or purchase a fine art print.

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The Wheel in Color

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The Wheel in Color, Bicycle Painting by Jenny Armitage

The Wheel in Color (13 x 18 watercolor) $400


Or purchase a fine art print.

 

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Heart of the Bike

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Heart of the Bike, Fine Art Painting by Jenny Armitage

Heart of the Bike (10.5 x 14 watercolor) $400

This is a hot summer painting for a cold winter day here in Oregon.  It’s been snowing steadily for the last 40 hours or so.  Everything is white and cold.  But this painting warms me right up.


Or purchase a fine art print.

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Scroll Bouquet

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Violins Painting by Jenny Armitage

Scroll Bouquet (14 x 18 acrylic on board) $400


Prints available here.

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Four Violins

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Four Violins, Watercolor by Jenny Armitage

Four Violins (16 x 20 watercolor on clayboard) $450

A violin painting about rhythm and shape.

This painting is on Aquaboard, and may be framed with or without glazing.


Or purchase a print from Fine Art America.

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Teddy and Friends

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Teddy and Friends, painting by Jenny Armitage

Teddy and Friends (watercolor 17 x 20) commissioned

 

This is a commissioned piece for a local nurse practitioner who wanted a still life painting to appeal to little boys.  The irony is that most of the toys belong to my girls.  But, we did have to borrow the mitt and baseball from one of my daughter’s friends.

I painted it at the Oregon State Fair.   Demonstrating watercolor while stopping answer questions about other paintings, prints, and cards is always a bit of a hat-trick for me.  Detailed paintings require great concentration, and loose paintings are easily spoiled by stopping at the wrong moment.  This painting is full of small shapes and distinct items, making it a perfect painting to do in public.  Each object could be treated as a separate little painting and there was very little glazing that might be spoiled by stopping at the wrong moment.  No the less, I did wait to do the final touches back in the studio.

Since then it’s been waiting in my studio for my client to come home from vacation.  I delivered it to her this morning and she’s pleased. The studio looks a little empty, but I’m replacing it with other things.

The original was sold before I began, but fine art prints are available here.

 

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Music Day and Night or the Bear Facts

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Midnight Duet, watercolor painting of a Sax and Clarinet by Jenny Armitage

Midnight Duet (watercolor 7 x 10) $75

These two little instrument paintings were done at very different times in very different moods.  I began “Midnight Duet” yesterday afternoon and worked late into the evening to do it.  Given the painting’s dramatic night time lighting that seems appropriate.

“Noon Trio,” I began on vacation in the early morning.  I think of it as the bear painting though there are no bears in it.

Noon Trio, painting of a Jazzy Trio, by Jenny Armitage

Noon Trio (watercolor 7 x 10) $75


I painted it at my brother’s woodland house above Albuquerque, which he had kindly lent us for a couple of nights.  I was working at the dining room table engrossed in the trumpet when a bump against the window caught my attention.  That was as close as I’ve ever seen a live bear.  He as only about six feet away peering curiously in.  I wasn’t terrified, but I felt very, very alive and my brain when into hyper-drive. The windows on the bear’s side of the dining room were closed, but just on the other corner they wide open.  So I stood up to close them, and the bear turned and lumbered away looking back over his shoulder just before disappearing into the forest.  I closed the rest of the downstairs windows just for good measure.

I told my father and niece at breakfast at a local cafe and got a raft of  neighborhood bear stories.  The most amusing centered around a bear reaching in through a kitchen window to sample a birthday cake.  But mostly the bears just want garbage and quickly learn which neighborhoods put out their garbage when.  I think mine was mostly curious.  “Look at the funny people.”

Prints of both paintings are available here.

 

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Licorice Pieces

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"Licorice Pieces" Painting of a Clarinet in Watercolor by Jenny Armitage

Licorice Pieces (11 x 16 watercolor) $450

Another clarinet portrait.  Orange suits it don’t you think?

 

Or purchase a fine art print.

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Clarinet Candy

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Clarinet Candy, An Instrument Painting by Jenny Armitage

Candy Clarinet (14 x 20 watercolor) $450

A portrait of a friend’s clarinet.   She can make it sound like candy too.


Or purchase a fine art print.

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Paint Tube Hills—Playing with Perspective Again

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Paint Tube Hills, Original Painting by Jenny Armitage

Paint Tube Hill (16 x 22 watercolor) $600

Realistic paintings are representations of three dimensional space on a two dimensional surface. This painting plays with that concept by depicting three dimensional objects like paint tubes and brushes resting on a two dimensional painting. But of course the tubes and brushes are also two dimensional representations of three dimensional space.


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Tipping My Hat to M. C. Escher

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Pygmalion Joins the Band, Echeresque Painting by Jenny Armitge

Pygmalion Joins the Band, (16 x 22 watercolor) $600

When painting Flugel and Friends, I was struck by the way in which the unfinished the flugelhorn appeared ultra three dimensional.  It just wanted to hover above the paper.  It took some effort playing with the shadow to get it lay down and behave itself. But I was struck by how beautiful the floating horn was.

Flugle and Friends In Progress

The experience got me to thinking about the trick of making the flat paper look three dimensional and reminded me of M.C. Escher’s various perspective games playing with this concept.  So I decided to play around with the idea a little within a painting in a painting.

The process has been fun, but very meta.  I painted Pygmalion Joins the Band, with the very brush depicted in the painting with palette shown, using the paints in the tubes I painted.   If you paint on block pads, you may recognize the border of the pad cover peaking out from under the painting in a painting.   The most challenging  part of the painting turned out to be depicting paint on the plastic palette and making it look like paint on plastic rather than paint of paper.  I had the most fun painting the tubes and now plotting excuses to paint them again.

Or purchase a fine art print.
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Flugelhorn and Friends

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Flugel and Friends, Original Painting by Jenny Armitage

Flugel and Friends, (11 x 14 watercolor on clayboard) SOLD

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.

This painting has sold, but you may purchase a fine art print.

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Nuts and Bolts Impression

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Nuts and Bolts Impression (watercolor on clayboard 10 x 24) $400

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.


Or purchase a fine art print.

 

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Bottles and Stoppers

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Bottles and Stoppers, Painting of Bottles by Jenny Armitage

"Bottles and Stoppers" (8 x 10 watercolor on claybord) $100

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.


Or purchase a fine art print.

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Bowl Full of Spring

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Bowl Full of Spring, Floral Painting by Jenny Armitage

"Bowl Full of Spring" (11 x 14" watercolor on aquabord) $225

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.


Or purchase a fine art print.

 

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Craft Room Pickles

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Craft Room Pickles, mason jar painting by Jenny Armitage

Craft Room Pickles (11 x 14 watercolor on aquabord) $300

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.


Or purchase a fine art print.

 

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Handyman’s Preserves

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Handymans Perserves, Painting by Jenny Armitage

Handyman's Preserves (9 x 23" watercolor on paper) $600

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.

In Progress

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.

This painting has sold but you may still purchase a fine art print.

 

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Out For Spring Cleaning

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Painting of Cut Glass by Jenny Armitage

Out For Spring Cleaning (11 x 14 watercolor on clayboard) $300

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.

Or purchase a print.
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They Were So Juicy and So Sweet

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They Were So Juicy and So Sweet ("11 x 14" watercolor on clayboard) $225

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.

Or purchase a print.

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Taking a Shine to Each Other

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Taking a Shile to Each Other, painting by Jenny Armitage

Taking a Shine to Each Other (13 x 19 watercolor on paper) SOLD

And here’s the completed painting.

This painting has sold, but

giclee prints are available.

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Brass at Rest

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Brass at Rest, Painting of Brass by Jenny Armitage

Brass at Rest (8 x 8 watercolor on clayboard) SOLD

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.

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Ringing in the Brass

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Ringing in the Brass, Painting of a Trombone by Jenny Armitage

Ringing in the Brass (8 x8 watercolor on clayboard) SOLD

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.

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Brass and Silver Keys

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Brass and Silver Keys, Painting of a Trumpet and Flute

Brass and Silver Keys (8 x 8 watercolor on clayboard) SOLD

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.

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Reeds Between Sets II

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Reeds Between Sets II, Painting of a Saxophone and Clarinet

Reeds Between Sets II (watercolor 8 x 8 ) SOLD

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.

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New Orleans Jazz

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New Orleans Reeds, painting by Jenny Armitage

New Orleans Reeds, (12 x 15 watercolor on paper) SOLD

A brighter version of Bouquet of Reeds. Painted a little larger–this time on paper.

Prints available through my FAA shop.

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Because Three French Horns and a Whole Pear Tree Was Too Much

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Horn d"Anjou (14 x 18 watercolor on clayboard) $400

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.

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The Glowing Sound of Brass

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The Glow of Brass (16 x 18 watercolor on paper) SOLD

For this painting I used the very same reference photos that I used for Three Horns.   In repainting this image, I’ve made several changes besides the obvious change from canvas to paper.  This time I’ve kept the background quite light and emphasized the shadows and the reflected light from the horns into the the shadows.   I’ve also bumped up the contrast by leaving more white and taking the darks much darker.

This painting has sold, but prints are available through Fine Art America.

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Electric Reeds

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Electric Reeds, a Painting by Jenny Armitage

Electric Reeds (16 x 20 watercolor on clayboard) $400

 

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.

Prints are available through my shop at Fineartamerica.com. See more jazzy art here: jazz art.

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Silvery Night Music—Painted at Art Fairs

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Silvery Night Music, a Horn and Glass Painting by Jenny Armitage

Silvery Night Music (11 x 14 watercolor on aquabord) $250

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.

 

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Silverton Fine Arts Festival Is This Weekend

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Watercolor Painting of a Tuba, by Jenny Armitage

Little Big Boy (watercolor on clay board 8 x 10) SOLD

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.”

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Pear Roadie

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Pear Roadie, Still Life Painting By Jenny Armitage

Pear Roadie (6 x 6 watercolor on clayboard) SOLD

This is another little painting, completed during my Southwestern vacation. I started it  in a little Victorian Hotel in Durango and completed it poolside in Cortez.

Finished with clear acrylic and mounted on a black cradle frame, this painting is ready to hang.

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Some Assembly Required

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Flute Painting by Jenny Armitage

Some Assembly Required (8 x 10 watercolor on aquabord) SOLD

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.

 

 

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The Color of Music

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The Color of Music, Painting by Jenny Armitage

The Color of Music (16 x 20 watercolor on paper) SOLD

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.

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Saxy Trio

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Saxy Trio and Musical Painting by Jenny Armitage

Saxy Trio (13 x 22 watercolor on paper) $375

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.


Prints available through my website at Fine Art America. See more saxophone artwork here: saxophone art

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Little Purple Sax

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Watercolor Painting of A Saxaphone by Jenny Armitage

Purple Sax (8 x 10 watercolor on clayboard) $100.00

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.

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Silver and Glass Make Music

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Watercolor Painting of a Trumpet and Depression Glass, by Jenny Armitage

Silver and Glass Music (11 x 14 watercolor on claybord) $300

 

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.

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I’m Still Painting on the Keys

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Watercolor Painting of Wind Instrument Keys, by Jenny Armitage

I'm Still Painting on the Keys (8 x 10 watercolor on clayboard) SOLD

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.

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Duet for a Pear

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Painting of a Pear, Piccolo, and Clarinet by Jenny Armitage

Duet for a Pear (watercolor on clay board 8 x 10) SOLD

 

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.

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