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Morning in Le Marias

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Morning in Le Marais, Original Paining of Paris by Jenny Armitage

Morning in Le Marais (17 x 23 Watercolor) SOLD

My husband, daughter, and I spent a pleasant morning walking through the Le Marais district in Paris, on our way to the Pompiduo Modern Art Museum.  The Le Marais was once inhabited by the French aristocracy and later become center of the Jewish community in Paris.  Post WWII, it is once again inhabited by traditional Jews.  I found the Jewish men’s back hats and suits striking against the back drop of more casually dressed tourists.

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

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Village Stairs

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Village Stairs, Painting by Jenny Armitage

Village Stairs (19 x 12 watercolor) $500

This is a back “street” in Riomaggiore where the streets are not only likely to be too small for cars, but may include staircases.  I loved the light at the end of the tunnel effect and the contract between the brightly painted wall and the natural stone stairs.  The woman was both beautiful and big.


Or purchase a fine art print.

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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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Changing in Milan

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Milano Centrale, Watercolor Painting By Jenny Armitage

Changing in Milan (14 x 21 watercolor) $600

In our month long odyssey to Europe last year we had only one really long travel day, but it was a dozy.  We left London in morning  to take the train to Paris.  We boarded the train without a hitch and ate lunch as we emerged from the channel tunnel in France.  We walked the streets and had dinner in Paris. Then we boarded the night train Milan.

I’ve heard mixed reviews of the night train, but it did well for us.  Our cabin mate was a gorgeous young Frenchmen who man managed to be both chivalrous and bashful at the same time.   The cabin was spacious and the bunks comfortable. We agreed to an early bedtime and all fell asleep easily.  Which is surprising because the trip was tinged with worry because  Italy was scheduled for a railway strike, and we intended to go on from Milan to Rome.

So it was with some relief that we arrived in Milan in the wee hours to discover our connection to Rome was still on the board.  Relief and time to enjoy the beauty of the modern railway station with the morning sun lighting up the tracks’ exit to the greater world.


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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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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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