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Dining Canalside

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Dining Canalside, Painting of Amsterdam by Jenny Armitage

Dining Canalside, (17 x 22 watercolor and pastel) $600

This is eating out Amsterdam style.  The painting is mostly watercolor with a few pastel accents.


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Autumn Landscape of the Mind

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Pastel of Autumn Morning Landscape Near Grand Tetons National Park

Autumn Landscape of the Mind (pastel 12 x 17) SOLD

This pastel is based loosely on a photo I took just east of Tetons National Park in Wyoming. The early morning light made the grass glow almost yellow against the darker hills. I drove my family slightly batty stopping the car over and over to take yet another picture of light on the hills. I was actually pleased when when had to wait twenty minutes twice for construction. I liked this view in particular because of the way the beckons you in.

But my pastel could hardly feel less like early Wyoming summer. It seems we’ve never quite gotten summer here in Oregon this year and my mind has moved right along to fall. So I went where my mind is, and left June behind, converting dying pines into turning foliage and taking the grass even further yellow. But I left the morning light.

Working on the rough side of peach colored Canson Mi-Teintes I used almost entirely soft pastels. Only the foreground grass went in in hard pastel. The shadows in the grass are more soft pastel.

The blues, greens and oranges came very naturally. I added a few hints of purple in the shadows to set of the yellow grass.

This painting has sold, but you may purchase a print through my gallery at Fine Art America.

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Storm Off Trail Ridge: Pastel

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Storm Off Trail Ridge (12 x 15 pastel) $150

Storm Off Trail Ridge (12 x 15 pastel) reserved for La Salles show

My husband and I took a drive over Trial Ridge Road above Rocky Mountain National.  It’s a drive I remember fondly from my childhood.  But that late June day a storm was brewing.  I should have known.  Foul weather is perfectly normal in June, at 10,000 feet and even lower.  I have been snowed on backpacking in July at 7,000 feet.

But Stephen and I drove happily on.   We enjoyed the brisk cool weather and admired the clouds, ignoring their warning.  The later half of the drive was white knuckles all the way.  The coming storm brought so much snow and wind that we couldn’t see enough to turn around.  Road construction in progress but temporarily abandoned for the snow, added to the tension. We stopped with relief at would have been the half way point of the drive, the Visitor’s Center.   The Center has a lovely wall of windows for panoramic views.  But that day they showed white, white and white.   So we drove back down the way we had come, slowly carefully, tensely.  Twenty minutes later we were below the clouds and our experience was already becoming funny.

The I took photos for this painting at the last overlook before we should have turned back.  Shortly after that, all was white.

I used the rough side  Canson Mi-Teins gray paper for this painting. Mi-Tieins paper has a chicken wire looking texture on the rough side which I intended to use for texture in the foreground.  Like detail and warm colors, texture advances.

I began by blocking in the mountains, big and small in hard pastels.   I lowered  back range a little to emphasize  the looming foreground mountain.  In retrospect I could have brought it down even further.

Then I worked down and from left to right.  Once again I worked the sky in PanPastels:  phthalo blue tint, white, ultramarine, and magenta.  I added some blue and purple soft pastels as well. The back range of mountains came next beginning with dark blue shade and lightening it up until  it look far enough back.  The darker background hills came next.

Finally I added the mountain in dark blues and greens.  I used burnt sienna tint to add the lighter areas, but color contrasted oddly with the sky, so I added light violets and greens as well.  When I  got the mountain modeled to my satisfaction I added the trees with a final layer of dark green soft pastels which I applied lightly to allow the texture of the paper to show through.  Lower down some of the gray paper itself shows through.

Prints available at Fine Art America.com.

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Pumice Field at Dusk: Another Pastel

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Dusk Falls on the Pumice Field (11 x 18)  $175

Dusk Falls on the Pumice Field (11 x 18) $200

This is my second pastel.  The subject is the pumice field on the west side of Crater Lake National Park, Oregon.  The light was beautiful and I loved the way it lit up the wildflowers in the foreground, which are visually insignificant at mid day.

The support is once again Canson Mi-Teiten paper.  This time I used the rough side.

I began at the top with PanPastels’ ultramarine blue, ultramarine blue tint, burnt sienna tint and white.  The rosy hills are mostly PanPastel too.   I used magenta, violet tint, burnt sienna, burnt sienna pint, and finally a stick of purple pink soft pastel.

The tree lines are soft pastels in various combinations of an ultramarine shade, a phthalo blue, a iron oxide stick and a dark green.  The grass and pumice fields are various combinations of burnt umber, red oxide, burnt sienna in PanPastel and soft pastel sticks.  I added the gold light last soft pastel.

I added the shadowy path leading out  the foreground with purples and blue soft pastel smudged over the pumice field.

I began the red flowers by using a soft  purple pastel stick  to make dark bases for them.  I smudged the bases in and them added PanPastel red plus a little PanPastel yellow and smudged again.  I accented  them with hard yellow pastel.

For the blue flowers I made a darker purple base and drew thin marks over it in light turqouse blue which I half smudged.  Then I added blue squiggles again and again half smudged.

Shipped matted and covered with a protective sheet of paper.<form target=”paypal” action=”https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr” method=”post”>
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Prints available from Fine Art America.com.

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Fall Poplars or Playing with Pastels

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Fall Poplars (12 x 18)  $125.00

Fall Poplars (12 x 18) $125.00

I have admired pastels and mixed media with pastels for some time now.  There is a sparkly quality about pastels that no other medium can match.  Pastels over watercolors can create both spectacular and subtle effects.

My husband bought me pastels for Christmas, and I have been playing with them this last week.   Pastels are if  anything less forgiving than watercolor.  All color mixing must be done on the paper either optically or by smearing.  Pastel smears easily.  The paper holds only so much pastel before it suddenly won’t take anymore.   This last can be fixed somewhat, by using a workable fixative.  Some lifting is possible with a kneadable eraser.

The method is very different from watercolor too.  Working with them is a kind of cross between drawing and painting. Pastels are an opaque medium and therefore work best if the dark tones are blocked in first and the lights laid over them.  Highlight go on last. Nothing runs.  The chalk stays right where you put it until you smudge it.

I started this image on the rough side of a rose colored sheet of  Canson Mi-Tietens paper.   I laid in the sky with PanPastels.  PanPastels come in pots rather than sticks and they are highly pigmented and almost dustless.  Applying them is reminiscent of applying dry eyeshadow or rouge.  The top of the sky is phthalo blue. Further down I switched to ultramarine blue. Then I worked back up the sky from the horizon, overlaying the deep blue with ultramarine and phthalo tints (both of which are almost white).  I used white, and more of the blue tints to lay in the clouds.  Then I got out a violet soft pastel stick and added the deeper shadows smudging them in as I went.

I roughed in the far tree line with a dark blue shade of soft pastel.  I added a dark green shade lower down and smudged.  I pushed the pastel up into the sky with a sponge applicator.

Returning to PanPastels, I added the hills with turquoise blue shade and bright yellow green shade.  Burnt sienna came next.  Then I went back over the hills with a variety of green and brown soft pastels to create texture.  I smudged these in with my fingers.

Continuing with soft pastels, I drew in the poplar trunks first with a dark green gray and a red brown.  I added a lighter gray and then an almost white gray.   Then I added the leaves beginning with a dull orange, continuing with a brighter orange and finally a yellow orange.  I smudged the leaves on the farther tree to suggest a little distance.

With soft pastels I put in blue and purple shadows under the foreground trees to indicate the rough grass line.  I drew in the grass over the shadows with a variety of  hard pastels starting with the darker colors and continuing with the lighter ones.  I softened the lines with a finger.

After years of reserving or painting around the lighter colors, laying in the trees over the sky and grass felt like magic.

I enjoyed this.  Watercolor will remain my primary medium, but pastel has a rough sparkly quality I’d like.  Some images just seem to demand it.  I may also do some mixed media, painting a watercolor first before accenting it with pastel.

I ship my watercolors rolled in a tube or, if they or very small flat.  I provide free shipping for watercolors within the continental United States. Pastels cannot be safely rolled since they would smudge and they should be both matted and covered with a protective sheet.  Therefore, the shipping cost of my pastels will vary depending upon size.  All pastels will will include an acid free neutral colored mat and backing.


Or purchase a print from Fine Art America.com.

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