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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) SOLD

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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Three Waiters

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Three Waiters (9 x 7) $125

Three Waiters (9 x 7) $125

Since becoming a painter of people, I’ve developed some sneaky ways of photographing strangers in public. One of them is to sit in a restaurant or on a park bench and pretend to be reviewing my pictures when I am actually taking pictures instead.  I took the photos I used for this painting in just that way.

I just had to take the photos because of  the way kitchen lights in the otherwise dark pub threw these waiters into relief.  They looked like they were on stage, yet the scene was intimate.  It reminded me of an Edward Hooper painting.  But I’m no Hooper, and I intended something much warmer than the world he painted.

It wasn’t easy. I tried a version of this painting almost a year ago and was unsatisfied with it.  As usual, the main problem was composition.  I included too much of the scene and destroyed much of both the intimacy and the light contrast I was trying to present.

Last Year's Waiters Painting

The First Waiters Painting

I like this new smaller version much better than last year’s version.

Once again I used a limited palate: phthalo blue, cobalt blue, burnt sienna, and raw sienna.  Because I was painting with limited supplies in Colorado, I only had one yellow.  If I had been painting at home I would have substituted a brighter yellow for the raw sienna.

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