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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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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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Dawn at the Station

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Dawn at the Station, fine art painting by Jenny Armitage

Dawn at the Station (watercolor 16 x 23) $700

Milan Central Station in the wee hours of the morning.


 

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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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Clarinet Candy

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Clarinet Candy, An Instrument Painting by Jenny Armitage

Candy Clarinet (14 x 20 watercolor) $450

A portrait of a friend’s clarinet.   She can make it sound like candy too.


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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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Brass Candy Trio

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Brass Candy Trio, Painting of Brass by Jenny Armitage

Brass Candy Trio (13 x 22 watercolor) $600

More big brass.  This time I really went for the distorted shadows created by the blanket these instruments rested on.


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The Glowing Sound of Brass

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The Glow of Brass (16 x 18 watercolor on paper) SOLD

For this painting I used the very same reference photos that I used for Three Horns.   In repainting this image, I’ve made several changes besides the obvious change from canvas to paper.  This time I’ve kept the background quite light and emphasized the shadows and the reflected light from the horns into the the shadows.   I’ve also bumped up the contrast by leaving more white and taking the darks much darker.

This painting has sold, but prints are available through Fine Art America.

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Triumphant Daisies

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Triumphant Daisies, Instrumental Still Life by Jenny Armitage

Triumphant Daisies (watercolor 10 x 10) $200

This is the second painting from my mirror and instrument shoot, this time from a more conventional angle.  The color choice is rather more conventional too, a complementary scheme of yellow and purple with a little bit of the neighboring complements, blue and orange.


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I Never Saw a Purple Hog

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Three Choppers (9 x 12 watercolor) $150

A couple of Sundays ago I spotted a group of perhaps a dozen RUBs (Rich Urban Bikers) haveing coffee at Starbucks.    The parked bikes obscured  some but not all of the leather clad men.   The image is grand, but I expect it will be difficult to paint the men, the men seen through the chopper windshields, and choppers all at once and still get it right.   So started with just three of the bikes and Starbuck’s window.

I hardly ever paint real black black black.  I find it makes a dead spot in my paintings so I always use dark blue, purple, maroon, or green instead.  This time I opted for dark purple and dark blue.  Having painted purple bikes, I decided to use the wall to make it a complementary color scheme.

I like it.  My preteen girls hate it.  They hate the subject, the colors, and everything else.  I think they are thinking of the Hell’s Angels and drug gangs, but I’m not sure.


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Jade and Tulips: Take Two

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Jade and Tulips II (watercolor 11 x 14) $250

This is much the same composition and color scheme as  Jade and Tulips I.  I lowered the tulips which causes them to stand out more than in the original version, but makes the upper line of the composition less interesting.  Including more of the jewelry box increased it’s three dimensionality as did opening thing lower drawer.

The palette and work methods are the same as Jade and Tulips I.


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Jade and Tulips

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Floral Painting

Jade and Tulips (watercolor 11 x 14) SOLD

Years ago I celebrated a new job by purchasing a jewelry box I had coveted for several years.  I love oriental furniture with it’s brass hinges and inset  jade and soapstone.   But I find a whole room full of  such furniture much too heavy.  But the jewelry box was everything I loved about the furniture in miniature.  And despite it’s exoticness, it looks perfectly at home on my plain pine dressers.  And it has the added advantage of actually looking better half open with the jewelry hanging out than it does closed.

It took me some time to compose a picture with my jewelry box at the center.  The problem is that the box’s shape  is really just that,  a vertical rectangular box.  Compositions with the complete box were brought to a complete and boring full stop by the edge of the box.   In the end, I subordinated the box to the tulips and  cropped it along one edge.  The dark open door of the box makes a beautiful foil for the bright tulips.

Once composed, painting the picture was relatively straight forward.  I masked the highlights and then began with the tulips painting them in a various combinations of hansa yellow, hansa gold, yellow ochre, cadmium yellow, and cadmium red.  The leaves are combinations of the same yellows with cobalt and phthalo blue.   I used the same colors for the jade necklace and insets as I did for the foliage.

I went on to painting vase and metal hinges using primarily yellow ochre, raw sienna and burnt sienna dulled with cobalt blue and cerulean blue.  I added the box in combinations of burnt sienna, quinacridone magenta, and dioxazine purple.

The dresser top is layered washes of burnt sienna, raw sienna, and burnt umber.  The wall yellow ochre and dulled with dioxazine purple. Layed the wall on very heavily to allow the tulips to pop.

This painting has sold but you may still purchase a print from Fine Art America.com.

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