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clayboard

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Tabby’s Favorite Window

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Tabby's Favorite Window, Painting by Jenny Armitage

Tabby's Favorite Window (11 x 14 watercolor on clayboard) $300

I often get asked at art fairs how long it takes to paint one of my paintings. It’s an unanswerable question.  Some paintings take days and even repeated attempts each taking days.   Some paintings just fall out of the brush in minutes.  This painting just fell out of the brush.   And that despite being painted at the State Fair as a demo.

The reference photo is a picture I took of a girl friend’s cat some years ago. I don’t often paint animals, but my gallery is having a group “critters” show and so I browsed my old photos looking for a suitable cat, and this tabby popped up. Now that I’ve done him, I rather like him.  He will be on display at Art in the Valley all this September.


Or purchase a fine art print.

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Grandpa’s Toy

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Grandpa's Toy Car, Painting by Jenny Armitge

Grandpas Toy (14 x 18 watercolor) $375

When I’m showing paintings at the fair, I’m usually locked in my booth. I’m supposed to be demonstrating and I can’t leave the booth empty for more than a few minutes. So when friends and family visit, I take a few minutes to tour the fair. I always manage to see the fine art show, the quilts, the midway, and antique autoland. I also visit some one or two day events. The Classic Car Show took place on the last weekend of the fair. It’s a fun little event. There are cars from the 60s to the 20s and bands playing oldies.

This little red car caught my eye, especially the grill and the head lights. Have you noticed I like shiny things?

Painted on clayboard this painting my be matted and glazed or framed without glass like an oil on board.

This painting is available through Art in the Valley, Corvallis Oregon. Or purchase a print from my shop at Fine Art America.

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Musical Reflections

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Musical Reflections, Instrumental Still Life, by Jenny Armtiage

Musical Reflections (11 x 14 watercolor on clay board) $300

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.


Prints available through Fine Art America.com. See more clarinet artwork here: clarinet art

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Depot Bay Reflections

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Two Times Two at Depot Bay a watercolor by Jenny Armitage

Two Times Two at Depot Bay (6 x 6 watercolor on aquaboard) SOLD

I took the photo for this little painting in Depot Day, Oregon, last summer.  Depot Bay itself  is the smallest working bay I know of.  It’s completely sheltered and hidden from the ocean, which is a good thing because the town that surrounds it, is one of the best places for wave watching I know of, and the only place I regularly see waves splashing Highway 101.   Despite the waves outside, the bay is usually calm and a great place to find reflections.  One of these days I’m going to do it’s cute little arched bridge entrance.

This painting is the first time I’ve used mask on clay-board.  I used it just for the ropes and a couple of the highlights at the window edges.

Like the pears in my last post, this painting is painted on aquaboard mounted on two inch deep wooded frame. After I completed the paintings, I painted the wooden frame black and finished the watercolor with two coats of Krylon’s UV Archival Varnish, and three coats of Golden’s Polymer Varnish with UVLS (satin). The result is that the painting may be hung without a frame or glass. The coating is not only protective, but archival and removable for conservation purposes.

 

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Five Pears and Three Techniques

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Painting of Pear and Grapes by Jenny Armitage

Pearcial to Grapes (watercolor on clayboard 6 x 6) $50.00

Pearcial to Grapes as Finished

These are a continuation of my experiments with Ampersand’s Aquaboard. This time I used cradled board, i.e., board mounted on two inch deep wooded frame. After I completed the paintings, I painted the wooden frames black and finished the watercolors with two coats of Krylon’s UV Archival Varnish, and three coats of Golden’s Polymer Varnish with UVLS (satin). The result is that the paintings may be hung without a frame or glass. The coating is not only protective, but archival and removable for conservation purposes.

This first painting, I painted almost the way I ordinarily use paper, except that I lifted the highlights rather than reserving them.

Still Life Painting on Clayboard, by Jenny Armitage

Meeting over Grapes (watercolor on clayboard 6 x 6) SOLD

Pearshall to Grapes as Finished

For the second painting I wet each section of the painting with clear water first and then offered the tip of a pigment loaded brush to the damp surface.   I hardly used any actual brush strokes at all.  I like the way this technique lets the pigments spread out into the painting.  This technique could be used on paper too.  It isn’t limited to clay-board.  However, this technique is easier on clay-board because the damp surface turns taupe until is dries,  making it easier to see where the paint is going to go.

Blushing Pears a Watercolor by Jenny Armitage

Blushing Pears (watercolor on clayboard 6 x 6) SOLD

Blushing Pears as Finished

This third painting I did on aquaboard that I had used previously.  I scrubbed off the first painting  resulting in a clean, but  much smoother working surface than the virgin board, more like gessoed paper or Yuppo to work on than unused aquaboard. I worked wet on dry without any layering letting the water carry the color from one section of the pears to the other.

 

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A Little Bit of Garlic

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Little Garlic I: a painting on clayboard by Jenny Armitage

Little Garlic I ( 6" x 6" watercolor on clayboard) SOLD

I did these three little paintings at the Gallery on Wednesday.  My primary purpose was to continue learning to handle clayboard.  I had taken the reference photos some time ago and they seemed perfect for the little six by six inch panels I had to work with and they were great subjects for learning technique as they have soft and sharp edges and a full value scale from black to white.

I used  the same palette for all three paintings:  burnt sienna, red brown madder (much the same color as burnt sienna but much less sedimentary and brighter), cobalt blue, phthalo blue, new gamgee , raw sienna, and because both reds are really orange, dioxion violet.   This gave me a highly sedimentary pigment, and transparent pigment for each primary.  The transparents, new gamgee, red madder and especially phthalo and dioxion violet are difficult to lift from paper.

Little Garlic II: a paining in purples and yellows by Jenny Armitage

Little Garlic II (6" x 6" watercolor on clayboard) $40.00

I emphasized different pigments in each painting. Little  Garlic I is all about blues and greens with a little orange-red and  orange for punch, i.e. two analogous colors with a touch of each compliment.  Little Garlic II is a complimentary color scheme, violet and yellow.   Garlic III is simply the reverse of Garlic I; orange-red  and yellow predominate and blue-violet and green provide the punch.

I mixed the colors almost entirely on the clay-board, laying down the warmer colors first and dropping in the cooler ones.  Primarily, I mixed sedimentary colors with sedimentary colors and transparents with transparents. Mixing transparents with transparents and translucents with translucents is another trick I learned from Karen Vernon.  Droped into thier own kind, they spread out nicely.  Otherwise sedimentary colors tend to push everything else aside.

Little Garlic III watercolor on clayboard by Jenny Armitage

Little Garlic III (6" x 6" watercolor on clayboard) SOLD

Because of the ease of lifting  from clay-board, I didn’t use mask.  The very whitest whites are reserved through negative painting but most of the whites are lifted.   All of the soft edged lights in the garlic roots are lifted.

After I completed the paintings, I fixed the surface with two coats of Krylon’s UV Archival Varnish, and three coats of Golden’s Polymer Varnish with UVLS (satin). The result is that the paintings may be  framed without glass. The coating is not only protective, but archival and removable for conservation purposes.

Little Garlic II is still available for purchases.  Prints of all three paintings are available through Fine Art America.

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The Columbia River on Paper and Clayboard

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Foggy Morning on the Columbia River (paper) Painting by Jenny Armitage

Foggy Morning on the Columbia (watercolor on paper 12 x 16) $175.00

These are two paintings I did at the gallery in late September in preparation for a workshop with Karen Vernon. Karen, best known for her huge floral paintings on clayboard. My primary goal for the workshop was to learn to paint on clayboard. So the week prior to the workshop I painted the same scene twice, once on cold pressed paper and once on Ampersand’s Aquabord.

The first painting I did conventionally painting from light to dark and reserving the whites without masking. Some of the fog is lifted, some of it is reserved. I used a very restricted pallet of burnt sienna, cobalt blue, phthalo blue and new gamgee.

Foggy Morning on the Columbia a painting by Jenny Armitage

Foggy Morning on the Columbia (watercolor on aquabord 8 x 10) $60.00

For the second painting I added dioxon purple to my palette. I proceeded once more from light to dark getting to know the new surface. The first thing I discovered is that the surface has to be bone dry to accept an over glaze. The second thing I discovered is that it’s very hard to lay down an even wash on the clay surface. On the other hand lifting is very easy. Rather than reserved the whites, I lifted them after the painting was almost completed. The result is softer than the watercolor painted version.

In class I learned that the trick to even washes on clayboard is to saturate the surface and let the water soak all the way through the clay part of the board before beginning. Over glazes require that the board be thoroughly dry. A hair dryer is an absolute must for working with clayboard.

The workshop turned out to be a fantastic experience.  I will be detailing so of the lessons learned in the coming blog entries as well as posting the paintings I started in class.

The clayboard version of the painting is protected with a clear satin polymer varnish and may be framed with or without glass.

These paintings are currently for sale on line at my Etsy shop.

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