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A Painting to Inspire Jazz Improvisation

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Pacific Rhythms, Seascape, by Jenny Armitage

Pacific Rhythms (18 x 36 watercolor) Commissioned

I painted this seascape for the most marvelous client.  Her request charmed me.   She wanted a seascape with no figures or land masses, beach, or boats; just waves, sky, and clouds.   The waves and clouds must be rhythmic to inspire jazz improvisation.  The painting must be large enough to fill the space above her piano.

The project presented some challenges, most of them having to do with size.  Standard watercolor sheets are only 24 x 30 inches.  She wanted a painting that was 36 inches wide, so the paper had to be special ordered.  I don’t have an easel large enough to accommodate a painting this size, so I used my studio table.  When I taped the paper to my studio table, there was no room left for water and brushes.  To see how the painting looked from five feet back, I had to stand on a chair.

The other challenge had to do with how to create a path through the painting for the eye.  I decided on a sideways “u” beginning on the bottom left following the breakers in and return across the horizon and out through a break in the clouds.

I presented it to the client this morning and I’m happy to say she loved it.  It’s at the framers now.

The original belongs to a lovely pianist, but prints are available here.

 

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Clouds over Boot Hill

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Clouds Over Boot Hill (9 x 12) $75.00

Clouds Over Boot Hill (9 x 12) $75.00

This is one more painting of the storm clouds gathering above Boot Hill in Central City. In this view the graves are not visible. Like the Dynamite Dome, I painted this one at Art in the Burbs in Tigard, Oregon. The palette and the method are the same.


Or purchase a print from Fine Art America.com.

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Before the Afternoon Rain

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Before the Afternoon Rain (9 x 12) $100.00

Before the Afternoon Rain (9 x 12) $100.00

This is the Catholic side of Boot Hill above Central City, Colorado. The grave yard is in a park, a geological park that is, i.e. a high mountain flat open meadow. Most of the graves are old and overgrown and the plots appear to be spotted haphazardly across the field. Here and there are tended plots and even occasionally a new grave. But most of the graves date from the 1800s. Wild roses, daffodils, and onions mingle (the mountain ghost-town survivors) mingle with wildflowers and grasses.

I liked the way the coming afternoon storm lit up some parts of the graveyard but left others in shadow. I also loved the sky itself.

I planned the painting to be three quarters sky. I painted the sky first wet on wet mostly in Prussian blue grayed down with burn sienna. Prussian blue is perfect for storm clouds the color is almost perfect and it spreads out nicely into water. After I finished the sky, I began the hills and the mountain ridge in yellow ochre mixed with phthalo blue, cobalt blue and Prussian blue. But I got carried away with trees and painted them higher up into the sky than I’d intended. I thought briefly about cutting off the bottom part of the grass but decided against because the gravestones so clearly belong in the mid and background. I like it, but I’m tempted to do it over again and really emphasize the sky this time.


Or purchase a print at Fine Art America.com.

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