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Bottles and Stoppers

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Bottles and Stoppers, Painting of Bottles by Jenny Armitage

"Bottles and Stoppers" (8 x 10 watercolor on claybord) Available

Painting can be magic.  You get to see new and hidden things.  When painting these bottles, I exaggerated the contrast between the various soft gradations of color within the bottles.   None of them looked like anything in particular,  just abstract shapes to paint.   But having painted the shapes I discovered that one of the things I was exaggerating was the magenta bottle’s reflection in the purple bottle.

It’s fun.  But it’s not unusual.  When painting reflections in metal or glass, I often discover that I have painted more than I can see, and yet the painting is right.  I’ve clarified by exaggeration.

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Bowl Full of Spring

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Bowl Full of Spring, Floral Painting by Jenny Armitage

"Bowl Full of Spring" (11 x 14" watercolor on aquabord) Available

I’m still busy working through glass and reflections.  Long time readers with recognize the green mister.  I love painting it.  In ordinary household lighting, it is a dull unexceptional object.  With the sun shinning through it, it is magical. The camellias are fresh out of the garden.  Here in Salem camellias mean Spring has come.

This time my palette was: phtalo green, phthalo blue, quinacridone magental, new gamgee, and dixion purple.  I used a hint of burnt sienna to dull and darken the greens and for the metal parts of the mister.

Painted on Ampersand’s  aquaboard and mounted on a 2 inch black cradle frame the painting is ready to hang.  Hung this was the effect is much like a gallery wrapped canvas.  A frame may be added for a more traditional look.

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Craft Room Pickles

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Craft Room Pickles, mason jar painting by Jenny Armitage

Craft Room Pickles (11 x 14 watercolor on aquabord) SOLD

It’s  fascinating to paint what happens to objects behind curving glass.  Add that the objects are more glass, and it gets more fun.   The shadows cast by glass are even more interesting because glass not only casts shadows it reflects light into those shadows.

For this particular painting I filled mason jars with the brightest objects I could find, marbles, crayons, and brightly colored thread.

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Out For Spring Cleaning

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Painting of Cut Glass by Jenny Armitage

Out For Spring Cleaning (11 x 14 watercolor on clayboard) Available

It’s Spring cleaning time here at the Armitage residence.   With a little dusting and a little sun, my cut crystal sparkles.  I can’t imagine another time of year I’d have all of the cut crystal out at once, but it sure does shine when I do.  The lighting was a little bit tricky because I arranged the glass on the shelves in my new studio.  From there the glass is back lit through one set of windows and indirectly front lit through the others.   The result is a lot of extra glitter.

Like the metal instruments I’ve been painting the last few months, cut glass is all about shine and it contrast in values that makes shine.  The actual colors don’t really matter so much as long as the values are right.   For this set of crystal I used primarily cobalt blue, pthalo blue,  new gamgee, burnt sienna and dioxin purple.   There are hints of magnesium blue, and touch of pthalo green.

Painted on clayboard and mounted on a black cradle frame, this painting is ready to hang.  For a more traditional look, a frame may be added.

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They Were So Juicy and So Sweet

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They Were So Juicy and So Sweet ("11 x 14" watercolor on clayboard) Available


The light in my new studio space has inspired me to begin painting glass again.  The light through the windows is just perfect for the subject.  I both enjoyed and went slightly nuts getting all the little shapes in the cut glass bowl, but I happy with the result.

I used a slightly different palette than my usual for the cut glass:  magnesium blue, pthallo blue,  dioxin purple, burnt sienna, quinaciderin deep red rose,  new gamgee, and raw sienna.  The magnesium has a reflective quality all it’s own that very useful in depicting the shine of glass.  The raw sienna helped created the textured background.

Painted on clayboard and finished with a coat of clear polymer varnish this painting my be either framed without glass, or matted and framed like a traditional watercolor.

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Nautilus and Marble, Still Playing with Color

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Nautilus with Marble (10 x 13 watercolor) $175

Same nautilus, new angle, new colors–after several attempts to paint the nautilus in it’s true colors, I think I understand why I keep changing them.  The shell’s shadows are warmer colors than it’s highlights.  Most real world objects have cooler shadows and warmer highlights.  But the standards of the shell have warm local color while the base of the shell has cooler local color. Painting apricot shadows with cool blue and green highlights simply goes against the grain.

This time I ignored the natural color of the shell entirely and simply painted the colors I felt like painting focusing entirely on value.  I painted the marble to echo the center of the shell.

I reserved the highlights with mask. The palette is phthalo blue, dioxazine purple, new gamgee, a little quinacridone magenta, and burnt sienna to dull the blues and greens.  The background is a wash of burnt sienna which I chose to contrast with the cooler shell. I mixed the colors in multiple transparent washes.  I dropped some of the softer shadows wet into wet paint.

Or purchase a print from Fine Art

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Nautilus With Glass, A Color Fantasy

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Nautilus with Glass Stones (10 x 11 watercolor) $150.00

My husband and I spent last weekend on the Oregon Coast. The weather was so fine we hardly even went inside at all.  So on our last day having not set foot in a shop all weekend,  it occurred to us we had bought nothing for our daughters.  So we stopped in a shell shoppe. We did find some lovey sea urchins for the girls. But we also found something for us, a bisected nautilus shell. Stephen wanted it to display it, but I wanted to paint it. I’ve just finished painting it and it now lives on our mantle together with fossil shells and a free form hand made basket. But it will visit the studio again.

I took great liberties with the color of the nautilus which is really is really a dull orange in the outer chambers fading to blue green at the center. The color shift in my painting was driven by the decision to heavily under-paint the shell in phthalo blue to emphasize the depth of the shell.  I over-painted with various mixtures of new gamgee yellow, quinacridone madder rose, and phthalo blue.

In Progress

The left most of the glass stones resting in the shell is actually stone marble. But the green and rust of the actual marble would have clashed horribly with the rest of the painting, so I changed it to a blue glass marble.

The background is a wash of burnt sienna grayed down with phthalo blue.

Or purchase a print from Fine Art

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The Opening

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The Opening (watercolor 10 x 11) SOLD

This is one more painting from my Valentine’s Day bouquet. In the clear glass vase the lilies are much softer and less dramatic. I emphasized the soft back-lighting.

The palette is only slightly different than Lily with Carnations. I added dioxazine violet which I substituted for phthalo blue when underpainting the lilies. Dioxazine is a good pigment for underpainting because it is strong, staining and transparent. Violet is warmer than blue, so the lilies are warmer too.

This painting has sold, but you can still purchase a print through Fine Art
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