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City Portal: More of Chicago

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City Portal, Painting of Chicago, By Jenny Armitage

City Portal (12 x 22 watercolor) $500

The Art Institute of Chicago again, this time from the inside.  While my daughter gift shopped, I took a whole series of photographs of the two doors to Michigan Ave.  The great doors with their iconic lamps and the people silhouetted in front fascinated me.

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The Art Institute of Chicago

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Witing for the Museum to Open, a Chicago Painting by Jenny Armitage

Just Before the Museum Opens (watercolor 17 x 22) $600

I love city light.   The shafts of light created by openings in the tall buildings, the reflectivity of building and pavement, and the flat surfaces for shadows all lead to one thing—drama.

This particular drama is the long shadows and the warm glow of  a Chicago winter morning.  The crowd is up early and waiting for The Art Institute of Chicago to open up.   The crowd and bus hide one lion, but the other can be seen peeking out from behind the traffic light.

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Downtown Chicago

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Downtown Spring Outing, a Chicago Painting by Jenny Armitage

Downtown Spring Outing (watercolor 15 x 23) $500

I took my daughter college looking this  Spring.  As part of that trip we got to stay a couple nights in downtown Chicago. This is Wabash Avenue just North of Adams and about a block from The Art Institute of Chicago.   The mother and child are just passing Palmer House Hotel.  A light snow had just melted and by our Oregon standards it was nippy.

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Making the Trash Cans Beautiful

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216, Painting of a Small Town Alley, by Jenny Armitage

216 (9.5 x 13.5 watercolor) $175

This is the same alley I painted for “Alley Shortcut,” but on the opposite side of the street facing the other way.  Once again I’m looking into the sun as it peeks out from the clouds.  This time it’s afternoon sun and it strikes the alley at an angle so the back lit effect is not quite so pronounced.

I must admit I like painting alleys.  There’s something sublime about making trash cans beautiful.

Painted in multiple transparent washes.  Most of the painting has at least five or six transparent layers of paint.  The palette is brown madder, quinacridone rose, cobalt blue, phthalo blue, cerulean blue, and raw sienna.

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Sunlight on Wet Pavement

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The Sun Peeks Out at 2nd Street (10 x 14 watercolor) $250

Once again the sun on wet pavement caught my eye.   But this time it’s mid afternoon and threatening to rain again soon.  The light was spectacular.  Sunlight streaming from between the clouds always seems so much brighter.

The street is the Corvallis street I know best, SW 2nd looking south toward Art in the Valley and The New Morning Bakery.

The palate is what is becoming my new standard: phthalo blue, cobalt blue, quinacridone brown madder, and raw sienna. I painted conventionally working from light to dark in multiple transparent layers. The “blacks” are phthalo blue and brown madder.

Available through Art in the Valley, Corvallis, Oregon.  Or purchase a print through Fine Art America.

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The Lamp at 10th and Washington or The Carpet Seller

Citcyscape of Downtown Portland, by Jenny Armitage

10th and Washington (watercolor 11 x 15) $200

Last month, my husband and I were out and about in downtown Portland, after having spent the early afternoon at Powell’s Bookstore. Stephen patiently followed me around the hot pavement as I photographed street after street. The sun was brilliant after a cloudy spring, and the light on the streets and buildings almost blinding.

Here’s my first attempt at the heat and glow of that afternoon. I began by giving the paper of light wash of quinacridone gold. After the wash dried I very carefully sketched out the scene. Then I washed the sky with cobalt blue and the pavement with a mixture of quinacridone deep red rose and gold. Next, I masked a very few small light details.

With the paper ready to begin painting in earnest I began with the shadows and the lamp. The shadows are phthalo blue and deep red rose. The lamp is the same plus some burnt sienna. I painted the man in the window next and then glazed over him and the window multiple times. Then I loosely dropped in the tree and the background foliage at the end of the street. After that I worked up and down the buildings washing in the light and building up the darks.

In the end I think the shaded part of the building on the right takes up too much attention, but I’m not sure. I’ll try something similar again soon.

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