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instruments

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Horsing Around With Accordions

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Horsing Around With Accordian, Original Painting by Jenny Armitage

Horsing Around With Accordions (watercolor 17x20) SOLD

Buskers with wearing horse-heads and playing the accordion are standard Vienna fare. We heard these three coming to and going from The Leopold. They were loud, enthusiastic and good, playing both traditional folk and a few pop pieces. But mostly they are just visually fun.

—This painting has sold, but you can still purchase a fine art print.

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Four Violins

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Four Violins, Watercolor by Jenny Armitage

Four Violins (16 x 20 watercolor on clayboard) $450

A violin painting about rhythm and shape.

This painting is on Aquaboard, and may be framed with or without glazing.


Or purchase a print from Fine Art America.

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With Feeling

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With Feeling, Painting of a Violinist by Jenny Armitage

With Feeling (watercolor 16 x 23) $600

I don’t normally use the photographs of others as the basis for my paintings, but I saw a picture of this lovely young woman so wrapped up in her music and it moved me. I just had to paint her. Fortunately for me, the photographer August Miller was willing to let me use his amazing photo in return for a donation to a The Rape Recovery Center. That I was happy to do, and here is the painting.


Or purchase a fine art print.

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Singing the Cello

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Singing the Cello, a Painting of a Young Woman Playing the Cello by Jenny Armitage

Singing the Cello (10 x 13 watercolor) $350

The saxophone and the cello are, for me, the two instruments that don’t just play, they sing with all the tonal freedom and nuance of the human voice.  I try to capture that freedom and nuance in this painting through color and abstraction.


 

Or purchase a fine art print.

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Licorice Pieces

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"Licorice Pieces" Painting of a Clarinet in Watercolor by Jenny Armitage

Licorice Pieces (11 x 16 watercolor) $450

Another clarinet portrait.  Orange suits it don’t you think?

 

Or purchase a fine art print.

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Clarinet Candy

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Clarinet Candy, An Instrument Painting by Jenny Armitage

Candy Clarinet (14 x 20 watercolor) $450

A portrait of a friend’s clarinet.   She can make it sound like candy too.


Or purchase a fine art print.

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Brass Candy Trio

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Brass Candy Trio, Painting of Brass by Jenny Armitage

Brass Candy Trio (13 x 22 watercolor) $600

More big brass.  This time I really went for the distorted shadows created by the blanket these instruments rested on.


Or purchase a fine art print.

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Ompa Rainbow: Painting and Painting Again

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Ompa Rainbow, watercolor of a tuba by Jenny Armitage

Ompa Rainbow (watercolor 14 x 19) SOLD

I’ve recently begun painting on clayboard.  I love it.  But, may of the juried competitions I’d like to enter require that watercolors be on paper.  In response I’ve been repainting some clayboard paintings on paper.  “Ompa Rainbow”  is a paper repaint of  “Big Boy.”

Big Boy, Painting of a Tuba by Jenny Armitage

Big Boy (watercolor on cradled claybord 11 x 14) $300

The results of all this repainting  have been what I think are often better paintings, though not better  in every way.   Practice makes perfect is of course part of this equation.  But beyond that, looking at the finished work allows me to make serious design choices.

In “Big Boy” the idea was to make the tuba very large by looking up into a sky dominated by tuba.   In “Ompa Rainbow” I wanted to make the colors pop. I slid the tuba to the left to give it some space around the bell, but the big change is in the background.  “Big Boy” is set against  a blue background, resulting in a very cool painting, all blues, greens and yellows.  To make those cool colors really pop, I gave “Ompa Rainbow” a very warm background.  I also paid attention to color theory.  At the top, where the tuba gets blue the background is blue’s compliment, orange.  At the base, amidst all that glorious plumbing, the background becomes purple the compliment of the predominating yellow.   It’s a very warm red leaning purple though because red sets off green which is  the other color sharing dominance in the lower half of the tuba.

Brass Winds and Shadow, Watercolor by Jenny Armitage

Brass Winds and Shadow (11 x 14 watercolor on clayboard) SOLD

The Color of Music, Painting by Jenny Armitage

The Color of Music (16 x 20 watercolor on paper) SOLD

 

I made several deliberate changes when I repainted “Brass Wind and Shadows” as “The Color of Music”.  First, I backed up on the subject a little and allowed all the trombone bell to show.  The colors are deliberately brighter.  I lightened up the shadows.   In retrospect I like the lighter brighter colored version better but I think the tighter crop of the first painting works better.

Bouquet of Reeds, Painting by Jenny Armitage

Bouquet of Reeds (11 x 14 watercolor on Aquabord) $300

New Orleans Reeds, painting by Jenny Armitage

New Orleans Reeds, (12 x 15 watercolor on paper) SOLD

 

I did very little to the composition when I repainted “Bouquet of  Reeds” as “New Orleans Reeds,”  but I did deliberately change the mood by intensifying the colors.  I also reversed the basic value plan of the painting by making the background light rather than dark.  I’m not sure I like either painting better.  It’s the mood, not the quality that changed.

Jazz Buddies (watercolor on Aquabord) $300

Taking a Shile to Each Other, painting by Jenny Armitage

Taking a Shine to Each Other (13 x 19 watercolor on paper) SOLD

With “Jazz Buddies” and “Taking a Shine to Each Other” the later is to my mind a much better painting. With “Jazz Buddies” I intended to really show off the way the bright sun washed away the sax. I think I accomplished that.   With “Taking a Shine to Each Other” I went for drama and I got it by really darkening up the instruments and complicating the dark colors.

Prints of “Ompa Tuba” and the other paintings shown in this entry, are available through my print-on-demand shop.

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“The Sound of Paint” Featured Artist at Art in the Valley

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Jazz Buddies (watercolor on Aquabord) $300

My instrument show, “The Sound of Paint” opened Today at Art in the Valley, and continues through the end of November.  Reception Thursday, November 3rd at 5:00 pm.

I hung the paintings Sunday and I’m very pleased with the way they look.  In addition to the instrument paintings,  there will be a selection of matted original watercolors and a selection of my animal sculpture.

 

"Three Horns" (watercolor on canvas 16 x 16 inches) $400

"Three Horns" (watercolor on canvas 16 x 16 inches) SOLD

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Ringing in the Brass

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Ringing in the Brass, Painting of a Trombone by Jenny Armitage

Ringing in the Brass (8 x8 watercolor on clayboard) SOLD

Trombone bell resting on the bells and facing a flute. My daughter says this one has a Christmasy feel to it and I think she is right. In any case, I like the red and gold.

This painting has sold, but prints available through my print shop and Fine Art America.

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Brass and Silver Keys

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Brass and Silver Keys, Painting of a Trumpet and Flute

Brass and Silver Keys (8 x 8 watercolor on clayboard) SOLD

I painted this little baby yesterday at the gallery. I like the contrast between the silver and gold, but I wasn’t really happy with it until the shadows went in.
This painting has sold, but prints are still available through my print shop at Fine Art America.com.

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Silverton Fine Arts Festival Is This Weekend

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Watercolor Painting of a Tuba, by Jenny Armitage

Little Big Boy (watercolor on clay board 8 x 10) SOLD

Today I set up my booth for the Silverton Fine Arts Festival.  It will be the first showing of my instrument paintings in mass and only the second time any of them has been shown in public.  It’s fun to see them all hanging together. I’m in booth #71 right next to the information booth.

The fair runs Saturday and Sunday.  Admission is free.

The tuba painting pictured is not Big Boy.  It is still big, but this painting is smaller.  Painted from the same photo as “Big Boy.”

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The Color of Music

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The Color of Music, Painting by Jenny Armitage

The Color of Music (16 x 20 watercolor on paper) SOLD

This is a larger and more colorful version of “Brass, Winds, and Shadows.”  I liked the first version, but I like this one better.   Besides enlarging the painting and bumping up the color, I expanded the field of view to include more of the flute.  I also made the shadows more transparent.  I think all of the changes are improvements.

Prints available through my shop at Fine Art America.

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Silver and Glass Make Music

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Watercolor Painting of a Trumpet and Depression Glass, by Jenny Armitage

Silver and Glass Music (11 x 14 watercolor on claybord) $300

 

I painted this in my usual palette of  cobalt blue, phthalo blue, ceruleun blue, hasna yellow, new gamgee, burnt siena and dioxian purple plus a new addition, phtalo green.  Like phthalo blue, phthalo green is extremely staining and very transparent. Even on clayboard and canvas it’s hard to lift.  Typically, I mix my greens rather than pour them out of the tube, but there’s something metalic about phtalo green that can’t be mixed and it’s the perfect color for depression glass.

When I finish this one, my mother-in-law commented that she admired anyone who could paint glass. I will tell you the secret about painting and drawing glass. There’s nothing any difficult about glass than any other subject. The only trouble is psychological. If you just paint the shapes you see, no matter how abstract, when you step back, it will look like glass. It’s only when you worry about making it look like glass that it doesn’t. The same thing is true of metal.

Painted on aquabord and  finished with a clear coat of acrylic, and mounted on a black cradle frame.


Or purchase a print through my Shop at Fine Art America.

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I’m Still Painting on the Keys

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Watercolor Painting of Wind Instrument Keys, by Jenny Armitage

I'm Still Painting on the Keys (8 x 10 watercolor on clayboard) SOLD

While painting this instrument series, I have been fascinated by the keys. So this time that’s just about all I painted. I like it so well, that I’ll probably do a few more, just keys paintings.

Another painting on clay board, this painting is finished with a clear coat of acrylic, and mounted on a black wooden cradle.

This painting has sold, but you may  purchase a print through my Shop at Fine Art America.

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Duet for a Pear

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Painting of a Pear, Piccolo, and Clarinet by Jenny Armitage

Duet for a Pear (watercolor on clay board 8 x 10) SOLD

 

The is another painting from my photo session at Weathers Music, but I painted it on the patio of a beach house just outside Sarasota on the Gulf of Mexico.  Painting under an umbrella with the ocean just yards away–what could be finer?  We spent the last week there getting our fill of salt and sun.  After the long wet cold spring here in Oregon the sun sure felt fine.  But my is it hot and humid there.  I spent the afternoons painting in the cool.  I have five new paintings to post over the next few days.

This is the first one I did.  I really like the greeny black of the clarinet and piccolo in contrast to the greeny yellow of the pear.  The pear and clarinet bell shapes echo each other nicely too.

Another painting on clay board, the painting is finished with a clear coat of acrylic and mounted on a black wooden cradle.  This painting has sold, but you can still purchase a print through my Shop at Fine Art America.

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A Magic Afternoon At Weathers Music

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"Quilted Brass" Painting of Brass Instruments by Jenny Armitage

Quilted Brass (watercolor on clayboard 11 x 14) SOLD

If you have been watching this blog of late, you know I have become fascinated with painting bright shiny band instruments.  I had been renting loaner instruments one or two at a time from a shop in Corvallis.  But renting instruments, especially expensive instruments for just a month at a time, makes instruments shops who rent to sell nervous.  So I was afraid I had come to the end of my supply of instruments to paint. But a couple weeks ago I got a brainwave.  Weathers Music, here in Salem,  has a recital room that sits empty most days.  So I thought maybe I could talk them into letting me rent the instruments and the room at once.  That way the expensive instruments need never leave the shop.

I gathered up two of my recent instrument paintings and went to ask. I had dressed nicely and rehearsed a little speech about how I would use the instruments for art, and how careful I would be with them.  I never got more than three sentences into my little sales pitch.  Keith Weathers simply said, “yes.”  And the very next Friday I had the use of the Bach Room, from ten to five and an almost unlimited supply of instruments to photograph.

I brought quilts, fabric, crystal, flowers, and fruit.  I also brought my studio lights. By eleven o’clock I had everything I’d brought in and Keith had gathered me a whole little band to play with.  I had three saxophones, a clarinet, a piccolo, a brass trumpet, a silver trumpet, a violin, a french horn, a trombone, and a tuba.

I spent a magic afternoon setting up and photographing one still life after another.  I spread cloth, arranged flowers, climbed on chairs, moved lighting, and toted instruments back and forth.  At the end of the day I was exhausted but happy.  I also had over five hundred photos on my camera chip.

Since then I’ve been too busy painting to post blogs, a sorry state of affairs for which I apologize.  So here is the first of many more instrument paintings.

This painting has sold, but you may still purchase a print from Fine Art America.com.

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A Bouquet of Reeds

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Bouquet of Reeds, Painting by Jenny Armitage

Bouquet of Reeds (11 x 14 watercolor on Aquabord) $300

This is my first painting of my brand new rental toy, the saxophone.   Actually, my sax is far from new, but for my purposes, it’s just fine. I’ve paired it with what is turning out to be most painted instrument, the clarinet.  The clarinet itself is hard to compose with because it’s so long and skinny.  It isn’t metal, it’s lacquered wood; so it does have the shine that drew me to painting instruments in the first place.  But it’s black body is the perfect foil for brass.   So here it is as co-star to the sax.

The painting’s name is thanks to my best friend and critique, who also lent me her daughter’s clarinet.  So I owe a double thanks to Terrie for this one.

Painted on cradled aquabord.  May be framed or hung as is.

Original available at Art in the Valley, Corvallis Oregon. Prints available though FineArtAmerica.com.

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Daisies: Bold as Brass

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Daisies, Bold as Brass, Painting by Watercolorist Jenny Armitage

Daisies, Bold as Brass (11 x 14 watercolor on clayboard) $250

Another painting from my instrument shoot, though in this case the daisies steal the show. Painted on Ampersand’s aquabord,  coated with clear acrylic, and mounted on a black wooden cradle.  Ready to hang.

Original available at at Art in the Valley, Corvallis Oregon. Or purchase a print from FineArtAmerica.com. See more trombone paintings here: trombone art

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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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