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girls

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A Girl’s Best Friend

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A Girls Best Friend, Bicycle Painting by Jenny Armitage

A Girl's Best Friend (13 x 17" watercolor) Available

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Cafe Snapshot

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European Cafe, Watercolor Painting by Jenny Armitage

Snapshot Cafe (watercolor 14 x 23) Sold

 

Despite the lack of canals and only a single bicycle, this is Amsterdam on a summer evening. But it could be anyone of a number of European street scenes.

The title is a bit of a pun.  I painted the picture from a series of snapshots, and girls in the foreground are sharing a snapshot.  I hope the atmospheric nature of the painting has little to do with snapshots.

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Cousins at the Brook

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Cousins at the Brook (10 x 14) private collection

Cousins at the Brook (10 x 14) private collection

This painting is a Christmas present for my father.   He took the photo a couple of years ago while I was visiting him in New Mexico.  He, my daughters, and my niece all went to Bandieler National Monument.  It was just as hot and dry as you might expect summer in New Mexico to be.  When we had finished touring the ruins, Dad snapped this photo of the girls cooling off by the brook.  I liked the dappled light, and I know he will like the subject, all three granddaughters at once.

The palatte is cobalt blue, phthlo blue, French ultramarine blue, burnt sienna, raw sienna, cadimun yellow, and quinacrione deep red rose.

Prints available through Fine Art America.com.  To see more figurative paintings by other painters see: figures paintings

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After the Slumber Party

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After the Slumber Party (8 x 10) sold

After the Slumber Party (8 x 10) sold

This Friday, my daughters went to a slumber party.  Predictably they stayed up until one.   They got up at eight.   When I picked my girls and a friend of theirs up at noon, they had just finished breakfast and were wide awake and chattering.   We stopped to drop our guest’s things at her house and then took all three girls to library. Chatter, chatter, chatter.    A very late lunch at the Road House followed.   Chatter, chatter, chatter.

It was it was 2:30 by then.   The chatter continued through lunch.  But Road House lunches are heavy and plentiful.  Stomachs full, the girls were suddenly overwhelmingly tired.  My youngest leaned against her friend and both girls would have fallen asleep right there had we let them.   I snapped a picture.

Reference Photo

Reference Photo

Today I painted it. I did my best to correct the ugly green blue light of the restaurant. I made red-purple shadows of blue green ones, and removed the excess pink from their faces.

The palette is cadmium red, cadmium yellow and cobalt blue. Which the exception of some yellow ochre along the jaw lines, those were the pigments I used on the faces. I defined the eyes, nostrils and shadows in cobalt first. Then I painted the faces working mostly wet into wet.

The girls’ hair is various combinations of burnt sienna, cobalt blue, and yellow ochre. I used these three for the brows and lashes too. I added a little phthalo blue to the jacket and the wall.

purchase a print at Fine Art America.com.

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Summer Shoppers

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Summer Shoppers

Summer Shoppers (11 x 12) $150.00

This could be anywhere.  What I liked about my photo was the sunshine and the interaction between the young women.

Poured Version

Poured Version

I intended to pour a very atmospheric painting, and I did pour one reserving only the womens skin for direct painting.  But I was unhappy with the reflections in the windows and the draping of the sundress.  I really liked the bright pinks, oranges and yellows I got through pouring though.  So at the gallery yesterday, I repainted the image using not only my photo, but also the poured painting as a guide.

For most of the painting I used hansa yellow light, new gamboge, quinacridone deep red rose, and phthalo blue.  Using two yellow helped keep things bright.  I added burnt sienna to the hair and the leather bag.

I tried to keep most of the poured feeling by mixing the paints freely on the paper.  I added the windows and other darks in many layers of transparent color.

I’m happy with the results, but were I to do this over, I would pour the windows, sidewalk, and shadows and perhaps the dark bag and pants.  Then I would paint the women directly.


Or purchase a print at Fine Art America.com. See more of my people paintings here: people art

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The Best Hot Pink or Playing Chicken with the Waves

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Retreat (9 x 12) $100

Retreat (9 x 12) $100

I haven’t been able to paint much recently, so I brought some things to play with at my mother’s.  I started with another winter wave painting because they are becoming easy and familiar.  This is my youngest daughter playing chicken with the surf.  I think in the end she got her feet wet. My reference photo included both girls, but for composition reasons I left my eldest out.

The palette is cobalt blue, burnt sienna, raw sienna and opera rose.  I rarely want anything as bright as hot pink, but when I do, Winsor and Newton’s Opera is a good choice.  It’s hotter than anything I can mix by diluting my reds.  It’s another quinacridone red, PR 122.  And like most of the quinacridones it’s light-fastness is rated II, very good but not excellent.  Also like the rest of the quinacridones its a very warm red.

The paint came to me by serendipity.  Dick Blick’s sent me a sample on the same day I saw it used to effect in small touches in a large foresty landscape.  I was painting a picture of a young woman with a hot pink plastic bucket.  I grabed the new paint and discovered I liked it.


Or purchase a print from Fine Art America.com See more painting of little girls here: girls paintings

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Low Tide at Agate Beach

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Low Tide at Agate Beach (12 x 16) $200

Low Tide at Agate Beach (12 x 16) $200

I love the ghostly look of the beach at low tide on a foggy morning. The beach stretches out forever half hidden in haze and strangely reflective, making the beach and the sky much the same color. The ocean swallows up all sound. All is quiet mystery.

But I have a hard time painting it. It is essentially nothing with variations. Here, to emphases the space and provide life are my daughters striding companionably into to that great emptiness filling it with sound and movement.

To paint the picture I masked the white waves, the foam and girls, but not their reflections. I painting the sky with burnt sienna and cobalt blue in multiple wet into wet layers. I painted the beach first in yellow ocher and than followed that with burnt sienna. I painted various mixtures of burnt sienna and cobalt blue wet on wet over the sand. The waves are a darker mixture of burnt sienna and cobalt blue painted wet on dry.

After the wet paper dried, I lifted the mask and painted the girls. The were actually dressed in brightly colored coats, but I painted them in more burnt sienna and cobalt to keep the monotone foggy feel of the beach. Then I dampened the area under the girls and painted in their reflections wet on damp.

I placed my signature carefully since in all that emptiness I knew it would be a design element.

This painting is currently for sale on-line through my Etsy Shop.

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Biting Off More Than I Can Chew: Demonstrating

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I have difficulty painting in public. I never paint my best or even close to my best with an audience. Even at the gallery where people wander in and out infrequently, I have a hard time with painting in company. I don’t blush or drop my brush. But I don’t concentrate as well as I do in private. And I make fundamental errors more frequently.

But I must learn to paint in public and soon. And what is more I must be able to talk about it while I do it, because this coming August I have agreed to demonstrate painting and sculpture at the Artisan’s Village in the Oregon State Fair.

It’s sculpture that got me into this. I’ve sculpted for seven years now and I’m quite comfortable doing it with an audience. For the last four years I have sculpted all day at just about every art fair I’ve been in. Only heat and fancy carpets stop me.

Last Christmas a representative from the Artisan Village saw me demonstrating at the Salem Saturday Market Christmas Show and asked if I would be willing to take a booth at the fair. This is plum. Commercial booths at the fair rent for several thousand dollars. Booths in the Atrisan Village rent for $75.00. The difference? The Village is a juried venue. The catch? —artists in the Village must demonstrate from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm.

Most artist share a booth and share demonstrating hours. But I know no one else who sculpts polymer clay. And besides, it’s an outdoor venue and the hotter it gets the hotter polymer clay gets until it becomes much to soft to sculpt. What to do?

Well, I was looking for a way to display my new watercolors so I talked myself and the director into both sculpture and painting. I am to sculpt in the cooler mornings and paint in the heat of the day. Switching mediums halfway through the day should help me keep my brain active too.

Now all I have to do is learn to paint in public. I spent this weekend learning. Saturday and Sunday I sold sculpture while painting watercolors. I tried to stick to easy subjects and to leave the detail work for later.

I will try my hand at painting in public again at The Salem Art Festival in July, and the Silverton Fine Arts Festival in mid August. At the end of August it’s show time.

Here are my three half finished paintings. With luck I’ll be posting the finished paintings later this week:

Dances with Fountains (in progress)

Dances with Fountains (in progress)

This is the beginning of another painting in my Splash series of the children playing at Town Center Park. I began by masking the boy and the fountains and painting the water in cobalt blue and burnt sienna. After lifting the first mask I masked the splashes on the boy and the high lights in the fountains. Then I added raw sienna to the palette and began painting the boy. I think I am going to need a real red to complete his skin. Then I will lift the mask and complete the detail work.

Boy with Umbrella (in progress)

Boy with Umbrella (in progress)

This is a full size painting of the boy with the umbrella. The boy is mostly finished, but I want to add a second umbrella on the lower right. I didn’t have a reference photo for that at the show. But I have plenty of pictures of umbrellas in the same light to choose from here.

The painting is on hot pressed paper. The palate is cobalt blue, phthalo green, quinacridone deep red rose, yellow ocher and ceruleum blue.

Pumice Seekers II (in progress)

Pumice Seekers II (in progress)

This is a much smaller version of a painting I did a few months ago of my husband and the girls looking for pumice stones at Crater Lake. Stephen loves the original and won’t let me sell it. But it’s too large for his office. I’m hoping to have this smaller office sized version finished in time for his birthday.

So far I’m using just three pigments: cobalt blue, yellow ocher and burnt sienna. The painting still needs a great deal more contrast.

In the meantime I’ll be preparing to sell sculpture and paint at the Salem Art Fair. I will be at the State Fair August 28th through September 1st in Booth 414 on the south side of the village next to the floral gardens. Wish me luck.

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Greeting Cards

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Georgia in the Morning

Georgia in the Morning

I am now offering many of my paintings as greeting cards through Fine Art America. The cards are 5 x 7 inches and can be printed blank or with a custom message inside. A single card costs $5.45. In packs of ten they are $2.95 each or $29.50 per pack. In packs of 25 they are $2.25 each or $56.25 per pack.

Art Prints

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Blond Indians or Ladder to the Past Prelim

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Blond Indians (8 x 10) $50.00

Blond Indians (8 x 10) $50.00

This painting began as my first attempt at Ladder to the Past. As you can see I began the idea with two figures not one. Midway through I decided that a single figure would be more eye catching. So I gave this painting up and began again. The results are Ladder to the Past shown in the entry below.

But I liked Ladder to the Past so much I thought I’d finish this little painting too. And I’m glad I did. The two girls are my daughters and the ladder is of course still at Bandelier National Monument.

The palette for Blond Indians is a little larger than Ladder to the Past: quinacridone deep red rose, burnt sienna, cobalt blue, phthalo blue, yellow ocher and dioxazine purple.


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Ladder to the Past

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Ladder to the Past (10 x 15) $75

Ladder to the Past (10 x 15) $75

After painting four very wet paintings working mostly wet on dry, I just completed a very dry painting working mostly wet on wet.

This is Bandelier National Monument, New Mexico. For those of you who don’t know of it, Bandelier is a kind of pocket sized Mesa Verde located not far from Santa Fe. The major cliff dwellings can be seen in a half day self guided walking tour.

I took the photos for this painting a couple summers ago while visiting my father. The slender young women reaching the top of the ladder is my niece. She and my daughters climbed every ladder and explored every dwelling. Besides the fun of climbing the dwellings interiors are a cool contrast to the hot dry trail.

The palette is burnt sienna, cobalt blue, phthalo blue and yellow ocher.


Or purchase a print at Fine Art America.com.

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Waterfall in Her Lap

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Waterfall in Her Lap

Waterfall in Her Lap (8 x 11) $75

Whether because it was hot or because of the economy or both, the art fair was slow this weekend. I had time on my hands. So on Saturday I asked a fair buddy to watch my booth and took photos of children playing in the long combination fountain and man-made stream running down the middle of the park. I got nice and wet doing it too. That evening I downloaded the photos and Sunday I painted this one at the fair.

I had fun painting her, but I think she had even more fun sitting under the waterfall.

The palette is quinacridone deep red rose, burnt sienna, yellow ocher, cobalt blue, and phthalo blue. I reclaimed some white with Chinese white gouache.


Or purchase a print at Fine Art America.com.

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Winter Sun or Hat With Girl

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Winter Sun I (9 x 12) $75

Winter Sun I (9 x 12) $75

Arne Westerman has a little chapter in his book, How to Become a Famous Artist Through Pain and Suffering, in which an artist complains to his psychiatrist that he just can’t do lost edges because he has a compulsion to paint in the lines. I can relate. I have a hard time painting loose and yet the paintings I most admire are often painted that way.

This painting was an exercise in staying loose. I had to throw away two tighter versions to get it. But I’m glad I kept at it. And yes is does have a lost edge or two.

The palette is my trusty favorite four, burnt sienna, yellow ochre, cobalt blue and phthalo blue. It’s a good palette for painting loose. The burnt sienna and the blues flow together in the most interesting and unexpected ways. I washed just a hair of quinacridone deep red rose into her lips.

But however much I may like the painting, my eleven year old daughter, does not. As she complains, you can’t even see my eyes. And you can’t But if she will wear oversize hats, what else can she expect?


Or purchase a print at Fine Art America.com.

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Sisters on the Rocks III: A Wild Change in Palatte

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Sisters on the Rocks III (12 x 16) $100

Sisters on the Rocks III (12 x 16) $100

Yes color matters. I changed the palette to brighter clearer colors, but grayed them down with their compliments. This made the scene more restful. The active climbing takes second place to the static view. I like the effect, but it feels much less like Oregon winter to me.

I used red rose deep (quinacridone), dioxazine purple, cobalt blue, Prussian blue, and hansa yellow light.

I under-painted the rocks with cobalt blue to establish the basic shapes before adding much color. Then I dropped in dioxazine purple and Purssian blue. This resulted in an unreal landscape of glowing blue rocks. After stewing a while I mixed up a grey brown with the dioxazine and the hansa and a muddy orange with the hansa and quinacridone. I washed these over the rocks to tone them down a few notches.

Underpainted

Underpainted

Half greyed Half Blue

Half greyed Half Blue

The sky is cobalt blue with a tad of orange mixed from the quinacridone and hansa dropped in wet on wet. The sand is dioxazine purple grayed with the same orange. I used the same mixture for the headland in the background.


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Gaining Texture But Losing Transparency

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Sisters on the Rocks II (9 x 12) $50

Sisters on the Rocks II (9 x 12) $50

This painting is almost all rock. To get the gritty texture I used naturally sedimentary pigments mainly burnt sienna and French ultramarine. Sedimentary pigments break into fine pieces and settle into the indents of the paper. I used granulation medium to heighten this effect.

But while granulation medium increases texture, it decreases transparency. Very little of this painting still looks like watercolor to me. Only the climbing girls, the sky and the background cliff look transparent. I liked this effect on the rocks in Sisters on the Rocks I because it exaggerated the transparent look of the scenery around the rocks. And in this painting is does heighten the transparency of the the girls. But, in future I don’t this I’ll use granulation medium for quite so much of a painting’s total area. It makes a better spice than a main course.

Stay tuned, I’m not finished with Sisters on the Rocks yet.


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Daddy’s Magnifying Glass

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Daddy's Magnifying Glass (11 x 14) $225

Daddy's Magnifying Glass (11 x 14) $225


We’ve been watching a lot of old Survivor Man episodes here. I think that’s why Stephen and the girls decided to start a fire with the magnifying glass. Survivor man often has poor luck with fires. We didn’t do much better. Dry tinder is hard to find in Oregon and the wind kept blowing out the sparks. I gave them a little fire anyway.

I may have exaggerated the fire, but I didn’t have to exaggerate the light. In the late afternoon sun they were perfectly beautiful just as was.

For this painting I went back to my favorite earthy palette of burnt sienna, yellow ocher, cobalt blue and phthalo blue. I used a little quinacridone magenta and cadmium yellow in the skin.

This painting is available on-line through my Etsy shop.

Or purchase a print at Fine Art America.com.

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Cello Practice IV

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Cello Practice IV (11 x 14) $160

Cello Practice IV (11 x 14) $160

I like this second attempt at my niece much better. As usual it’s the painting that happened the fastest that I like the best. I simplified her face and exaggerated the light which improved the picture. I also broke the background up to create interest and center more attention on her face.

Once again I did all of my mixing on the paper. I expanded my palette to include four blues: cerulean, cobalt, phthalo, and Prussian. Prussian and phthalo blue are quite similar in color but Prussian blue lifts easier and isn’t such a tiger in mixes. In addition I used yellow ochre and burnt sienna.

Available on-line through my Etsy shop. Or purchase a print from Fine Art America.com.

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Cello Practice III

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Cello Practice III (11 x 13) $100

Cello Practice III (11 x 13) $100

This is my niece playing cello. I took the photo a couple of summers ago at my brother’s house. I just love her long limbs and fingers. Playing the cello shows off those elegant fingers like nothing else. I’ve heard her complain that she hates to see how she was holding her hands on the cello even a few months ago because her positioning is improving. I can’t tell good positioning from bad, but I like the way her hands look. I hope she’ll forgive me for immortalizing her two year old cello technique.

I had intended this painting to be looser, more painterly, and less illustrative than it turned out. That seems to be a painting at the gallery problem. Given an audience I tend to tighten up and draw with the brush. The First Quilt is another tight painting resulting from painting at the gallery. I need to pick my gallery subjects carefully.

But, it’s not a bad little painting. It’s just not what I intended. I do like the way her face and limbs pop out against dark background. I will probably try a much freer version this afternoon.

I used cadmium yellow and quinacridone deep red rose as a foundation for her skin. Other than that I stuck to a three paint palette of burnt sienna, phthalo blue and cobalt blue. I didn’t include a yellow at all. I like the color scheme and will probably keep it in the next version.

I created her appearing and disappearing necklace by first masking it and then removing the mask when the shirt was about half finished. I like the effect.


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Homemade Boat

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Homemade Boat (8 x 11) $50

Homemade Boat-sketch (8 x 11) $50

I did this little painting at the gallery today. It’s my daughter launching a homemade boat at Mom’s last summer.

Her skin is cadmium red and yellow ochre. Cobalt blue, burnt sienna, and burnt umber complete my palette.


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Skipping Stones and Body Paint

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Skipping Stones (11 x 14) $75

Skipping Stones (11 x 14) SOLD

Skipping stones is like testing an echo, faced with a smooth body of water and rocks at hand, all right minded people want to do it. This is my husband and girls skipping stones into the Williamettee River. Georgia learned to do two or three skips that day and Paula found some fresh water shells.

Because the painting is really all about basic body shapes and afternoon sun I began it painting by pouring. I wanted bodies washed in color. But I did so much direct painting afterwords that it hardly feels like a poured painting to me. Whatever I did, it wouldn’t come right and I almost gave up on it. I finally decided that for design purposes I should have made Stephen’s hat white like the girls’ hats. But with watercolor white is reserved paper not paint and there was no way I could lift enough paint to make his hat white again, certainly not white in comparison to the girls’ hats.

So I pulled out the white body paint. Body paint or gouache is opaque watercolor. Dark colors are lightened with white. Transparent watercolor dilutes gouache and it won’t cover it. Consequently, gauche must be added last. So I painted the shadow of the hat with transparent colors first and then I painted around the shadow with permanent white gouache. I had to apply it fairly thickly because opaque is one thing but covering is another. While I was at it I reclaimed a little white in Paula’s left shoe too.

The gouache white is bluer that the page, so Stephen’s hat is bluer than the girls. That’s fine because he’s farther away. If he had been close I might have had to paint the girls’s hats too just to even things up.

I’m not tempted to work in gouache. I like the look a transparent watercolor too much. But every once in a while a little gouache is a life saver.

Other than white, I used ceruleum blue, phthalo blue, raw sienna and burnt sienna for the first pour. For the next two pours I substituted cobalt blue for the ceruleum. Ceruleum is an opaque color (but not gouache). I used the same palette for the direct painting with the addition of raw umber.

Prints available through Fine Art America.com.

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