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The Contraption at Number Two

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The Contraption at Number Two, Watercolor By Jenny Armitage

The Contraption at Number Two (12 x 19" watercolor) $400

Walking around The Jordan neighborhood in Amsterdam, we collected interesting variations on the bicycle.  The bicycle-wheelbarrow combination was common.  We saw it used to transport children, tools, and goods.


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View From the Cloister

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View From the Cloister, A Watercolor of Westminster Abbey By Jenny Armitage

View From The Cloister (watercolor 15 x 23) $600

This is Westminster Abbey as seen through the wrought iron work of the cloister.  It is the view visitors now see just before they exit the abbey complex.   But for hundreds of years it was the view seen by the monks on their way to services.


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City Portal: More of Chicago

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City Portal, Painting of Chicago, By Jenny Armitage

City Portal (12 x 22 watercolor) $500

The Art Institute of Chicago again, this time from the inside.  While my daughter gift shopped, I took a whole series of photographs of the two doors to Michigan Ave.  The great doors with their iconic lamps and the people silhouetted in front fascinated me.


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Oxford Bike

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Oxford Bike, Original Painting by Jenny Armitage

Oxford Bike (watercolor 17 x 19) SOLD

I poured this painting at the Oregon State Fair on yesterday and spent this afternoon finishing up the brushwork.   I rather like it.  The greens feel very England to me.

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

 

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Teddy and Friends

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Teddy and Friends, painting by Jenny Armitage

Teddy and Friends (watercolor 17 x 20) commissioned

 

This is a commissioned piece for a local nurse practitioner who wanted a still life painting to appeal to little boys.  The irony is that most of the toys belong to my girls.  But, we did have to borrow the mitt and baseball from one of my daughter’s friends.

I painted it at the Oregon State Fair.   Demonstrating watercolor while stopping answer questions about other paintings, prints, and cards is always a bit of a hat-trick for me.  Detailed paintings require great concentration, and loose paintings are easily spoiled by stopping at the wrong moment.  This painting is full of small shapes and distinct items, making it a perfect painting to do in public.  Each object could be treated as a separate little painting and there was very little glazing that might be spoiled by stopping at the wrong moment.  No the less, I did wait to do the final touches back in the studio.

Since then it’s been waiting in my studio for my client to come home from vacation.  I delivered it to her this morning and she’s pleased. The studio looks a little empty, but I’m replacing it with other things.

The original was sold before I began, but fine art prints are available here.

 

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Tabby’s Favorite Window

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Tabby's Favorite Window, Painting by Jenny Armitage

Tabby's Favorite Window (11 x 14 watercolor on clayboard) $300

I often get asked at art fairs how long it takes to paint one of my paintings. It’s an unanswerable question.  Some paintings take days and even repeated attempts each taking days.   Some paintings just fall out of the brush in minutes.  This painting just fell out of the brush.   And that despite being painted at the State Fair as a demo.

The reference photo is a picture I took of a girl friend’s cat some years ago. I don’t often paint animals, but my gallery is having a group “critters” show and so I browsed my old photos looking for a suitable cat, and this tabby popped up. Now that I’ve done him, I rather like him.  He will be on display at Art in the Valley all this September.


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OSU Moms Weekend

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Mothers' Day Daffodils (watercolor 5 x 7) $25.00

[This painting is currently on display at Art in the Valley, Corvallis, Oregon.]

I’ve spent my gallery shifts this month making postcard sized paintings for the OSU Mom’s Day Weekend Craft Fair.  It’s a fun fair to do.  Where else do you get to see a crowd of college boys with their moms?

As part of the Mom’s weekend celebration I’ll be at the gallery demonstrating  polymer clay cane-making on Friday from 1:00 to 2:30 at Art in the Valley, 209 2nd Street, downtown Corvallis.  The craft fair will be on campus in the Memorial Union Quad.   The fair runs from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday.

Three Tulips (watercolor 5 x 7) $25.00


 


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The Green Mister

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The Green Mister (watercolor 10 x 14) $150.00

This is probably the last watercolor for my one woman mini show this coming April at Art in the Valley, Corvallis Oregon.

I’m using a new technique to replace liquid mask when reserving soft edged areas of white paper in many of  my latest still lifes.   Puddles of clear water on the paper will resist paint.  In this painting I made little lines of water along the reflected light from the mister and silver vase before painting the window sill.  The result is a soft sliver of white paper remaining after my washes.

To use the water resist technique use as much water as you can without running outside the area you wish to reserve.  You may need to renew the water fairly frequently too.

The water resist technique is more trouble than either masking whites or carefully painting around them, but it has the advantage of creating a much softer edge.  This technique is not suitable for fine detail.


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Spring in my Window

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Cherry Blossoms in a Blue Pitcher

Cherry Blossoms in a Blue Pitcher (watercolor 12 x 19) $250

We planted a two ornamental cherry trees the year we moved into this house.  Five years later the trees put on quite a show each Spring.  The branches I take inside don’t make a dent in the abundance of blooms.

I made two fundamental design decisions in painting this image.  Both help make the blossoms pop.  First, rather than paint the blue gray evergreens in the actual background, I added an abstract green background to compliment the pink blossoms.   Second I painted my white window blue.  I also moved the branches around to improve the composition.

I began by masking the blossoms.  Then I painted the background and window casing.  The blossoms and branches came last.

The palette was raw sienna, new gamgee (yellow), phthalo blue, quinacridone magenta, opera pink, dioxazine purple, and burnt sienna.  The background is raw sienna and phthato blue painted wet into wet.  The casing is phthalo blue and burnt siena.  The blossoms are magenta and opera pink grayed with phthalo blue or diaxazine purple.   The leaves are a wash of new gamgee and magenta washed over with dioxazine purple.

This painting is currently for sale on-line at my Etsy shop.

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The Craftsmen Lantern

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Craftsmen Lantern (11 x 14) $150.00

Craftsmen Lantern (11 x 14) reserved for La Salles show

Last week’s art show was on OSU campus in Corvallis.  Early Friday morning it was dry and clear and the morning light was stunning, but I had no time to do anything but rush inside the Memorial Building to finish setting up.  Sunday was dry, clear and cold too, so I went early and wandered the campus taking photos on the sunlit buildings.  Not only was the light dramatic, but since all the leaves have fallen much more of the buildings were visible than last time I was on campus.

The reflected trees in the arch above the main entrance to the Womens Building caught my eye.  Closer up I noticed the sun on the craftsmen lantern.

The palate is mostly cobalt blue, dioxin purple and burnt sienna. The extreme highlights are raw sienna and the deepest shadows contain phthalo blue.

I began by painting in the windows in cobalt. I added the reflected trees with a mixture on cobalt and burnt sienna. The metal mullions are layers of cobalt, violet, and burnt sienna built up one over another. I painted the lantern and its reflection next to establish the darkest values. I saved the raw sienna for the sunlit portion of the lamp and echoed it it the sunlit side of the arch.

I showed to my painting friend when I had finished. She introduced me to a new word, “tenebrism.” It means the use of extreme contrasts of light and dark with small amounts of light shining out of vast darkness. I love extreme contrast, and I’m happy to have a word to describe it. I’m not sure that this painting as a whole is an tenebristic, but the lantern and its shadow certainly are, and they make the painting.

Prints available at Fine Art America.com.

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Grass in the Window

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Grass in the Window (10 x 14) $225.00

Grass in the Window (10 x 14) $225.00

Most of Central City is so well maintained that period-town would be a better description than ghost-town.   But some of the buildings  have been left to nature for some time.    Grass grows out of a low window in one such wall were two building used to abut each other.

If the wall ever had any mortar, it’s not visible now. The quality of the dry wall construction obviously varied greatly between the two buildings is backed.  On the right hand side the wall is neatly constructed and looks purposeful and solid. On the left hand side the stones are hardly squared at all are stacked more and more erratically the higher the wall gets.   Some stones near the window have fallen away, revealing the depth of the wall.

I began the stones by making an under-painting of phthalo blue.   The under-painting showed the shadows between the stones and some of the stronger shadows in the stones.  Phthalo blue is a great choice for under-painting because it is strongly staining and won’t wash up with successive layers of paint.  After the under-painting dried, I washed the stones wetly with burnt sienna and burnt sienna mixed with rose madder quinacridone. Washes of cerulean blue and phthalo blue mixed with burnt sienna followed. I built up the shadows slowly using the under-painting as a guide. Finally I splattered the rocks with various combination of cerulean blue, burnt sienna and burnt umber using a toothbrush. I smudged the splatters with a paper towel.

The window casing is burnt sienna, cerulean blue, new gamgee, and burnt umber. I applied the paint wet first and then in dry brushed layers.

The grass I masked before beginning the painting. I finished it with greens mixed from new gamgee and phthalo blue. I added the shadows over the window sill last.

I’ve always shied away from building detailed rock and wood like this because I was afraid I couldn’t get the textures right.  But I”m pleased with this and may do some more like it.


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