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street

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I Heart Amsterdam

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I Heart Amsterdam, Watercolor By Jenny Armitage

I Heart Amsterdam (11 x 19" watercolor) $400

Amsterdam street lights.


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Lucca Cafe

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Lucca Cafe, Watercolor by Jenny Armitage

Lucca Cafe, (watercolor 13 x 17) $400

Cafe in Lucca, Italy, just before lunch.


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Divide and Conquer or the Power of the Scissors

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Italian Heat is not my first attempt at that painting.  It is the second.  I made several mistakes with the first painting, most of them having to to with composition.  I left too many people from my reference photos in the image, and that took away from the real subject, the biking couple at the end of the street.  Having reached the conclusion that the painting was a failure, I played around with photos the spoiled painting before sketching out the second version which ended up in the blog entry below.

That left me with a poor complicated painting with great color but no real focus.  So I set the failed painting aside for a while.  Then a few weeks later, I got out the mat corners (“L” shaped pieces of mat board used for visual cropping) and singled out the two bicyclists.  The result is Florence Bikers.

Florence Bikers, a Watercolor by Jenny Armitage

Florence Bikers (9 x 16 watercolor) SOLD

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Having rescued one painting I looked at the remainder and found Three Italians.

Three Italians, Painting by Jenny Armitage

Three Italians, (9 x 21 watercolor) $125


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Italian Heat

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Italian Heat, Original Painting of a Couple Bicycling in Florence by Jenny Armitage

Italian Heat (watercolor 15 x 22) Reserved for Western Federation of Watercolor Societies 2015 Annual Show

We visited Florence in the heat of summer.  The shady narrow streets opening up into white hot plazas continues to fascinate me.   Couples biking over the rough stone streets had their own heat.

This painting may be purchased through the 2015 Western Federation of Watercolor Societies Annual Show. Or purchase a fine art print.

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Brasenose Lane

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Brasenose Lane, Original Painting of Oxford, by Jenny Armitage

Brasenose Lane (watercolor 15 x 21) $650

Another painting of Oxford.  It is after all one of the most beautiful cities to walk there is. 


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Lucca

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Bike Lucca, a Painting of Italy, by Jenny Armitage

Bike Lucca (watercolor 16 x 21) $700

This is Lucca.  It could be just about any narrow lane in the old part of a Tuscan city, but this particular lane is in Lucca.  The bicyclist is appropriate, because Lucca is a bicyclist’s city.  The old city wall around town has been paved as a broad street for pedestrians and cyclists, and everyone, natives and tourists alike seem to spend much of their time biking the wall.  Down in the city, bikes are as common as at Oxford.


Fine art prints can be purchased here.

Here is a view of Lucca from the city wall:

Two Towers, a Digitally Altered Photo of Lucca by Jenny Armitage

Two Towers (Digitally Altered Photo)

Prints of Two Towers can be purchased here.

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Late Afternoon Florence

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Late Afternoon Florence, Painting by Jenny Armitage

Late Afternoon Florence (13 x 22 watercolor) $600

Florence is worth visiting just to walk the streets.   The twisting turning little alleys are endlessly fascinating.  The light pours through in dramatic shafts between the buildings spotlighting slivers of streets and buildings.


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Bicycle Florence

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Waiiting Bike, Original Painting of Florence, Italy, by Jenny Armitage

Waiting Bike (13 x 19 watercolor) SOLD

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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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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Florence Arcade

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Florence Arcade, watercolor painting of Italy by Jenny Armitage

Florence Arcade (watercolor 11 x 18) $400

Florence in heat again. This time it’s the beautiful arcade running along the Arno between the Uffzi and the Ponte Vecchio.


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October 7, 2012 6:26 pm

Florence in July

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July in Florence, Painting of Old Florence by Jenny Armitage

July in Florence (13 x 23 watercolor) SOLD

July in Italy is hot.  This July was particularly hot.  The week we were there, highs hovered in the upper nineties and topped one hundred from time to time.   It had been the same in Rome the week before.  But it didn’t feel quite as hot in Florence because of the narrow little streets.  It simply isn’t possible to find a street in old Florence without shade on one side or the other.  In this painting I tried to capture that cool shade under hot hot skies.

Like The Pilgrims at the Gate and The Arch of Titus, this painting is poured.   Pouring is not an easy process to describe so, this time I took photos of the painting in progress.

I begin the design process by making a value  sketch of the painting.   A value sketch is a rough black and white sketch with very clearly defined values.  It is my broad outline for the painting.  I refine it until I get a compositional plan I think will create a striking painting.

Next I create a detailed line drawing or cartoon.  A cartoon is the extreme opposite of a value sketch.  It has no shading at all, just lines.  It is as detailed and small picture oriented as the value sketch is loose and big picture.  If the value sketch is the destination, the cartoon is the road map. The image on the far right below is my cartoon for this painting after I transferred it to my watercolor paper.

Together my reference photo, the value sketch, and the cartoon function as my guides during the painting process.

With poured paintings, I always begin by washing the cartoon loosely with color.  The idea is to make sure none of the paper is truly white, even though it will read as white later.   In this case, I washed the sky and the pavement with light blue and the buildings with yellows and oranges.

Once the color wash had dried, I use a removable liquid mask to cover everything I wanted to remain white.  The mask shows as a blotchy coral color in my photos below.  Then I mixed some very watery cups of yellow and orange paint.  I wet the paper with clear water and then poured each cup of paint on  the base of the builds and tilted the paper to let the paint run off the top.    Then I poured cups of watery blue and purple on the lower left and tilted the paper to the right to let the paint run off.

Pour one above, shows the results of that first pour.

For pour two I masked the lightest values and poured again.  This time I used thicker paint and no yellows.  I added more reds and allowed the blues and violets up into buildings.

I masked medium values for pour three.  Then I poured yet darker paint and left out the golds.   After pour three had dried I removed some of the mask to check to see that I was maintaining the value contrast I wanted.  Then I re-masked the lifted areas and masked the areas I wanted to remain dark to medium values before doing the final pour.  In the end I did five pours total.

As you can see, each pour makes it a little harder to tell what the painting looks like as more and more of it gets covered up with liquid mask.   This is why the value sketch is so important to me when pouring.  It helps me remember where the majority of the lightest and darkest values must go.  The cartoon and the reference photo help me place the smaller details.  This helps me keep my eye on the final painting even as it disappears under mask.  But, there are always a few surprises after the mask is removed:

Once the mask came off, the brushes came out.  I cleaned up the windows, finished the figures and added the darkest values.

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

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July 26, 2012 10:50 am

The View From Our Apartment in Florence

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Before the Dinner Rush, Watercolor of Florence by Jenny Armitage

Before The Dinner Rush (11 x 14 watercolor of clayboard) $250

This restaurant was below our apartment in Florence, Italy.  Early every evening the waiters gathered to shoot the breeze and smoke while waiting for the dinner rush to begin.  I liked the way their black clothing stood out against the stucco building and flag street.  The street is typical of Florence, narrow, flagged in uneven stone, gritty, and full of life.

Painted on clayboard and coated with a clear polymer varnish this painting may be framed without glazing like an oil or acrylic painting or matted and framed behind glass like a watercolor on paper.


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December 26, 2010 4:29 pm

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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August 22, 2010 8:20 am

Mexican Cafe Take Two

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Painting of a Shady Street By Jenny Armitage

The Shady Side of the Street (watercolor 9 x 13) $200

I redid my Mexican Cafe from scratch and I like it much better.  I used the same reference photo and the same palette.   The real change is the composition.   This time the shadow leads the eye right into the diners.  And I eliminated much of the detail in the building to keep the eye there.

I took it to my critique group yesterday and it got rave reviews.  Someone pointed out that the  composition works so well that it even looks good upside down as an abstract painting.  Now, if only I could figure out how to do this every time.

An Abstract?

This painting is currently for sale on line at my Etsy shop. Or purchase a print from my print gallery at Fine Art America. (Fine Art America offers many prints of fine watercolor paintings).

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August 18, 2010 10:20 am

Mexican El Fresco

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Mexican El Fresco a Painting of Mayas Taqueria, by Jenny Armitage

Mexican El Fresco (watercolor 10 x 13) $150.00

Another cityscape from downtown Portland. The day and the palette are the same. The light and consequently the painting couldn’t be more different.


Or purchase a print from Fine Art America.

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