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poured

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Fog Over Croisan Valley

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Fog Over Croisan Valley, Original Painting of Salem, Oregon by Jenny Armitage

Fog Over Croisan Valley (17 x 23 watercolor) $600

This painting is a little closer to home than most of my recent work.  I see this view every morning on the way home from my walk down Croisan Scenic Trail.  The trial occupies a long thin, Salem park with our neighborhood a hundred feet above it and Croisan Creek a few hundred feet below it.  The path is beautiful in all seasons and rarely feels nearly as close to town as it is.   It’s particularly evocative in the fog.


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Pillars of the Humanities

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Columns of the Parthenon in Paris France

Pillars of the Humanities (watercolor 17 x 21) $600

This is my first painting since returning from our month long odyssey to Europe. I began with the Pantheon in Paris. I made the cream colored columns vibrant to match the intellectual vibrancy of the persons buried in the crypt: Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Emile Zola, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Louis Braille, Pierre Curie, Marie Curie, Alexandre Dumas.


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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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The Ultimate Alley View

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The Ultimate Alley View, Painting of the Duomo, Florence, Italy

The Ultimate Alley View (12 x 19 watercolor) SOLD

A colorful back alley view of the Duomo, Florence, Italy.

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

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Oxford Street

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Oxford Lane, Original Painting by Jenny Armitage

Oxford Lane (watercolor 13 x 19) SOLD

A little taste of Oxford—another poured painting.

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

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Summer in the Old World

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"Pilgrims at the Gate" a watercolor of Canterbury by Jenny Armitage

Pilgrims and the Gate (watercolor 15 x 20) $600

I am the March  featured artist at Art in the Valley, Corvallis, Oregon.  The show will be of my Europe paintings.  Reception March 9th, from four to six.

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Colossus

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The Colossus, Painting of the Colosseum by Jenny Armitage

The Colossus (12 x 15 watercolor) $400

This building needs no introduction.  If there is a ruin that everyone recognizes, it is  Roman Colosseum.  Even in ruins, it is an impressive building. It dominates the horizon, larger even than you expect to be.

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Clock Cafe

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Clock Cafe, Watercolor of a  Paris Cafe by Jenny Armitage

Clock Cafe (12 x 16 watercolor) $400

The d’Orsay Musee in Paris, was once a railway station.  The original exterior clocks now serve as windows on the upper floor.   I painted one of them a few months ago.  That clock is opposite the gift shop and attracts as many tourists as the paintings.   The other clock serves as the window in the museum cafe giving the cafe a charm all it’s own.  Here it is.


I poured this painting is a similar manner to the first clock painting.

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Rue Galande

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Rue Galande, Watercolor of Paris by Jenny Armitage

Rue Galande (watercolor 19 x 13) $500

Another painting taken from our trip to Europe last summer.  This charming little street is close to Nortre Dame, but at least a little off the beaten path.    Like many of the streets in the area, it curves charmingly.

I poured this painting in much the same manner as  July in Florence.  The process is much like batik and leads to clear color passages that make buildings glow.

July in Florence, Painting of Old Florence by Jenny Armitage

July in Florence (13 x 23 watercolor) $600


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And Suddenly, The Duomo

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And Suddenly The Duomo, Painting By Jenny Armitage

And Suddenly the Duomo (15 x23 watercolor) Reserved

Old town Florence streets are shaded lanes so narrow they almost feel like tunnels running at irregular angles to each other.  The view at the end of the tunnel is often as not another narrow lane cutting the street off at not quite a right angle.   But here there the streets open into plazas with startling sunny views of churches, cathedrals, bridges, train stations and castles.  Walking from our apartment, the Duomo complex burst upon us in much the same way–the light at the end of the tunnel.

Another poured watercolor painting, a process much like batik.

This painting is reserved for a show but you may purchase a fine art print.

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Pilgrims at the Gate

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"Pilgrims at the Gate" a watercolor of Canterbury by Jenny Armitage

Pilgrims and the Gate (watercolor 15 x 20) SOLD

 

 

This is Canterbury.   I began with reference photos showing  Canterbury Cathedral’s spires rising above the gate, but in the end I cut back to the gate itself.   The gate is now the only approach for tourists, and  the streets leading up to it are charming.   But despite the Tudor buildings, it is modern.  There are Starbucks and Subways.  These tourist use smart phones and get their cash for ATMs.  Rather than providing a refuge and a place to sleep for pilgrims, the cathedral charges  a fee to tour the cathedral and view the place where Thomas a Becket was murdered.

Like the Arch of Titus below, this painting is primarily poured rather than painted with a brush.  The result is rich color with a graphic feel.

This painting has sold, but you may purchase an art print.

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Yellowstone Lake Painting

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At The Water's Edge, painting by Jenny Armitage

At the Water's Edge (watercolor 10 x 15) SOLD

Here is another vacation watercolor.  This one is from Yellowstone National Park on the north side of the lake.  We picnicked here on our last day in the park.

Like my previous painting of Fort Robinson, I simplified the image by masking heavily and then getting out the big brushes.  I began by painting in the sky and the light blue of the lake.  Then I masked the sky and all of the water except the dark ripples.   I painted the trees and hills in used a one inch brush and moving diagonally in wet juicy strips of cobalt blue, raw sienna, and phthalo blue.   I blotted the rocky edge in with burnt sienna.  The lake ripples are cobalt and phthalo blue grayed down with burnt sienna.   After the paint dried I picked out the grass and the highlights on the rocks with mask and  added more paint to the rocks and foreground.

This painting has sold.  Prints are available from my Fine Art America website. More landscapes by me and others are available at landscape paintings

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Taking Ten With My Shadow

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Taking Ten With My Shadow (8 x 10) $125.00

Taking Ten With My Shadow (8 x 10) $125.00

Ordinarily I paint from life or more commonly from my own photographs.  But the photo I based these this painting on was taken by charlena of RedBubble.  The art groups on RedBubble regularly hold competitions.  One of my favorite groups, Just Watercolors, often holds competitions in which each artist paints the same photo.  Up until now, none of the photos appealed to me particularly, but this one did.

Just Kickin Back by Charlena

Just Kickin Back by Charlena

Charlena’s picture is moody and emphases the intimate nature of the space and lighting. I didn’t see any way to do that better with paint than she had already done it with the camera.    But I really liked the shadow looming up behind the resting musician, so I changed the format from horizontal to vertical and cut out most of the dark wall to emphasize the man and his shadow.

After Masking

After Masking

My version of this scene is an almost entirely poured painting.  After transferring my sketch to the paper, I masked the musician, his shadow and everything else dark in the sketch.  The trick to applying liquid mask is to use synthetic brushes and to soap the brushes before and in between dips  into the mask.

The Yellow Pour

The Yellow Pour

When the mask was dry I poured the lights.  After wetting the paper (a necessary first step to get the paint to stick) I poured a tea like mix of hansa yellow light over the paper.  I waited for the hansa to dry before pouring first new gamgee, then deep red rose.  Once again I wet the paper.  I poured the area around his feet first.  Then I poured upwards from his head to preserve the bright yellow halo effect around his face and hat.

The Second Pour

The Second Pour

First Mask Removed

First Mask Removed

When the lights were completely dry, I removed the mask.  I took a moment to renew the pencil lines the mask had lifted. Then I masked all of the areas I has just poured leaving only the darks.  I left the mask to dry.  Then, after wetting the page, I poured light mixtures of cobalt blue, phthalo blue, magenta and deep red rose.  I tried to keep the darker and colder phthalo blue primarily to the shadow and the dark wall leaving the cobalt for the figure in the middle.

After the paint dried, I masked some small highlights in the musician’s face, hat, trousers and shoes.  When the mask dried, I wet the paper and poured the same colors in the same places only darker.

When the final mask was removed I felt the picture was too bright.  So I added little gray shadow under the chair to set off the vivid colors.  Colbalt blue over the orangy pink floor produced a lively gray.


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High Noon at the Gravel Spit I

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High Noon at the Gravel Spit (8 x 10) $100

High Noon at the Gravel Spit (8 x 10) SOLD

Under the West Salem bridge there is a little sand bar, really a gravel bar. At any given time on the weekend there are likely to be three or four families there and at least one father teaching his son to skip stones. It is an ideal place for skipping stones into the river. It’s a good place for wadding toddlers too.

But looking down from the bridge a couple weeks ago I saw a very different scene. Five or six young men roamed the sandbar, jostling against one another and skipping stones from first one side than the other. There was no real violence, but the boys radiated suppressed anger and extreme restlessness.

Reference IIThis painting is a composite of figures from several of the photos I took of the restless young men. I arranged them to keep the feeling of tension I felt looking down at them from the bridge.

Reference I

The painting is almost entirely poured. The first pour was hansa yellow light, quinacridone deep red rose, and phthalo blue. In the next pour I substituted new gamboge for the hansa yellow and added quincaridone magenta. The third pour I used just the two reds and phthalo blue. For the fourth pour I used quincaridone magenta, dioxzine purple, and phthalo blue.

After the fourth pour I washed the boy’s jeans with phthalo blue and added dioxzine purple and phthalo blue wet into wet into the shadows on their shirts. The little dots are dioxzine purple splattered off the brush.

I think I captured the tension and the pours produced beautiful colors. I’m going to paint a larger more complex version of this painting tomorrow. I like the colors and will probably use them again.

This painting has sold, but I have run a limited edition of fifty giclee prints on archival rag paper.  Signed and numbered prints are $50.00 each.


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Sneakers I: More Pouring

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Sneakers I (11 x 17) $125

Sneakers I (11 x 17) $100

This is my youngest daughter in a characteristic pose. I love the way she has clasped her hands in tight but spread her legs out with her feet pidgin toed.

I poured all of this painting except for her hands and feet and an under painting of the carpet. I painted her hands and feet first, and then masked them to protect them from the pour. I left the under-painting of the carpet pattern unmasked.

face and hand

face and hand

carpet underpainting

carpet underpainting

I masked and poured three times. When the mask came off: I adjusted the values, added shadows and shoe details; and touched up her face.

first pour

first pour

second pour

second pour

mask removed

mask off

I used Winsor red, alizarin crimson, and cadmium yellow for her face and hands. I used hansa yellow medium, burnt sienna and phthalo blue for the first pour. I substituted raw sienna for hansa yellow in the second and third pours. I direct painted with the pouring palette.

What would I do differently? Well I like this painting a lot as is. I would mask the hands and face before painting them and paint them after the pour next time. I think I would also leave the sunshine streaks across the carpet out.

I like the painting enough that I’m going to do it again without pouring.


Or purchase a reproduction of this painting at Fine Art America.com.

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The Counter-Weight Part IIA: A Pouring Demonstration

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After the last of the viable mask has been removed, I wet the paper generously to remove the last remnants of the of the mask. This is a necessary step because unless the masked area has been washed, it will take paint unevenly or not at all.

Then I laid in the sky. This time I went for blue (cerulean blue, and French Ultramarine).

With Sky

With Sky

From here on out it’s all detail. I used a mixture of French ultramarine and Windsor red for all of the brush work. I varied the temperature of the mixture to match the surrounding pour image and to cool shadowed areas. I mostly left the poured passages alone.

The Counter-Weight (11 x 14) ($100)

The Counter-Weight (11 x 14) ($75)


What would I do differently? Well, the current composition is unobjectionable but it lacks excitement. The early painting had movement and especially depth that this one lacks. I may go back to the bridge with sketchbook and camera in hand, but not today.

Here are some other examples of paintings I have made using the multiple mask and pour method:

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Counter-Weight IA: A Pouring Demonstration

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Pouring is one of my favorite techniques. It literally means to pour paint across the paper. It can either be the atmospheric beginning to a painting or a major part of the painting process. Some people use it to create abstract shapes to suggest the painting subject. But however much pouring is used, it provides transparent color passages that can be gotten in almost no other way.

The method I use most frequently was popularized by Jean Grastorf in her book Pouring Light: Layering Transparent Watercolor. Her technique uses multiple masks in much the same way batik uses multiple wax resists.

When I first began painting I used her pouring and masking method as an aide to help me paint with contrast, because it forced me to divide my picture into five distinct tonal values or less. It also helped me loosen up about color. These days I pour only when I think the subject of the picture will be enhanced by pouring.

Sunday I photographed just such a picture, one of the counter weights to a local railway drawbridge recently converted to a pedestrian bridge. The silhouetted subject is perfect for pouring.

Working Photo

Working Photo

After one false start detailed in the previous two posts I had a drawing of the bridge I liked. I began the painting by transferring it to a block of Arches 140 cold-pressed paper. (Because removing mask is hard on paper I always use the more durable 140 weight cold-pressed paper when pouring.) My photo of the bridge has loads of minute detail. In my cartoon I simplified. I want the silhouette of the bridge tower and counterweight to predominate. Too much detail would take away from the graphic nature of the image.

After making the cartoon I taped off the edges of the painting and began masking the sky plus everything I’d like to remain white. The trick to masking is to use nylon brushes and to soap the brushes frequently. This keeps the mask from gumming up the brushes and saves your quality brushes from rack and ruin.

Once the mask was dry, I mixed three cups of very thin paint: cadmium yellow, phthalo blue, and Windsor red. I deliberately choose staining colors, because mask lifts pigments. Then I wet the paper (an important step as otherwise the paint tends to run off the paper without staining) and poured the yellow straight across the top of the tower. I tilted the paper right to let the paint run off and wiped up the excess. Then I poured the red just below the yellow, tipped the paper, and cleaned the excess again. Some of the red bled into the yellow making orange. Then I poured the blue the same way across the counter-weight adding a dull purple where the paint crossed the red paint I had just poured.

After the First Pour

After the First Pour

When the paint had dried completely, I masked all of my lightest values and poured slightly thicker paint over the paper in roughly the same places. After the paint dried I masked the medium values and repeated the process with milk-thick paint. When the final pour had dried, I pulled the mask off, revealing a bold but rough painting in vivid color.

After the Mask Came Off

After the Mask Came Off

It’s all brush work from here.

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