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Undaunted: Portrait of a Tree

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Watercolor Bark Study, by Jenny Armitage

Undaunted (15 x 19 watercolor and gouache) available

Portrait of a limbed tree.

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Chair with Sunflowers

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Sunflower Collage by Jenny Armitage

Sunflowers with Chair (16 x 20 Collage) Sold

This is the first collage I’ve published on-line.  It is hand-printed paper on plywood.


I began my foray into collage by hand-printing and hand-marbling paper to create a paper palate.  I print paper using stamps, found objects, combs, palate knifes, and other implements to texture acrylic paint on a gel pad.  As I work, I stamp a sheet of paper with the paint I’m lifting from the gel pad.  When I have the gel pad textured to my satisfaction, I lift one or two prints from it’s surface by laying paper down on the pad.  Later, I may stamp the gel pad mono-prints with a contrasting color.  The goal is to have many textures in a full range of color and value.

Ultimately I tear the paper into little pieces and glue it to boards with liquitex to create paper “paintings.”


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Bowl Full of Spring

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Bowl Full of Spring, Floral Painting by Jenny Armitage

"Bowl Full of Spring" (11 x 14" watercolor on aquabord) Available

I’m still busy working through glass and reflections.  Long time readers with recognize the green mister.  I love painting it.  In ordinary household lighting, it is a dull unexceptional object.  With the sun shinning through it, it is magical. The camellias are fresh out of the garden.  Here in Salem camellias mean Spring has come.

This time my palette was: phtalo green, phthalo blue, quinacridone magental, new gamgee, and dixion purple.  I used a hint of burnt sienna to dull and darken the greens and for the metal parts of the mister.

Painted on Ampersand’s  aquaboard and mounted on a 2 inch black cradle frame the painting is ready to hang.  Hung this was the effect is much like a gallery wrapped canvas.  A frame may be added for a more traditional look.

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Silvery Night Music—Painted at Art Fairs

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Silvery Night Music, a Horn and Glass Painting by Jenny Armitage

Silvery Night Music (11 x 14 watercolor on aquabord) Available

I began this painting at the Silverton Art Festival and finished it up at the Oregon State Fair.  My photo reference is from the same group of photos I took for Silver and Glass make music.  But I wanted this painting to be more dramatic, so I darkened the background to make the light more obviously artificial  indirect lighting.

Painting outside in the heat on aquabord was an challenging experience. Most of the time I was painting the temperature was over 90 degrees and it was very dry. The challenge was to keep the board wet enough to work with. I brought in a spray mister the second day which helped considerably. I used cardboard pieces as a shield to keep from misting the parts I didn’t want wet.

Painted on clayboard and finished with a clear acrylic matte varnish and mounted on a black cradle frame, this painting is ready to hang. Alternatively, it can be framed like an acrylic or oil painting.


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Silver and Glass Make Music

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Watercolor Painting of a Trumpet and Depression Glass, by Jenny Armitage

Silver and Glass Music (11 x 14 watercolor on claybord) Available


I painted this in my usual palette of  cobalt blue, phthalo blue, ceruleun blue, hasna yellow, new gamgee, burnt siena and dioxian purple plus a new addition, phtalo green.  Like phthalo blue, phthalo green is extremely staining and very transparent. Even on clayboard and canvas it’s hard to lift.  Typically, I mix my greens rather than pour them out of the tube, but there’s something metalic about phtalo green that can’t be mixed and it’s the perfect color for depression glass.

When I finish this one, my mother-in-law commented that she admired anyone who could paint glass. I will tell you the secret about painting and drawing glass. There’s nothing any difficult about glass than any other subject. The only trouble is psychological. If you just paint the shapes you see, no matter how abstract, when you step back, it will look like glass. It’s only when you worry about making it look like glass that it doesn’t. The same thing is true of metal.

Painted on aquabord and  finished with a clear coat of acrylic, and mounted on a black cradle frame.

Or purchase a print through my Shop at 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) Available

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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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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Two Postcard Paintings For the Show at Art in the Valley


Little Green Mister (5 x 7 watercolor)

Here are the last  two watercolors for my one woman mini-show at Art in the Valley, Corvallis Oregon.   Both are much smaller versions of recent paintings.  Both paintings were painted at Art in the Valley in late March.

I hang the show this Monday.  It will hang until Tuesday, May 4th.  During the show, I will be painting in the gallery on Wednesday April 14th, Wednesday, April 21, and Wednesday, April 28th.

Single Lily (5 x 7 watercolor) SOLD

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Apples and Oranges

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Apples and Oranges (13 x 18 inch watercolor) $250.00

I had to watch my youngest daughter like a hawk to get this one painted.  She loves the sweet miniature Clementine oranges and kept threatening to eat my still life before I had it painted.  I don’t blame her much.  Clemetines are so very sweet and so small you can eat three or four of them and have had less than a full sized orange.

The palette is raw sienna, burnt sienna, cobalt blue, french blue, phthalo blue, quinacridone magenta and hansa yellow.  The magenta and the new hansa make a perfect orange colored orange.

Or purchase a print from Fine Art

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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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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.

Or purchase a print from Fine Art

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Tulips, Jade and Books

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Tulips, Jade, and Books (watercolor 8 x 11) $100.00

Our house is covered in floor to ceiling book shelves.    So it was really only a matter of time before the shelves showed up in one of my still lifes.  This time they feature only as a reflection.

Or purchase a print from Fine Art See more still paintings at: still life paintings

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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

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The Opening

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The Opening (watercolor 10 x 11) SOLD

This is one more painting from my Valentine’s Day bouquet. In the clear glass vase the lilies are much softer and less dramatic. I emphasized the soft back-lighting.

The palette is only slightly different than Lily with Carnations. I added dioxazine violet which I substituted for phthalo blue when underpainting the lilies. Dioxazine is a good pigment for underpainting because it is strong, staining and transparent. Violet is warmer than blue, so the lilies are warmer too.

This painting has sold, but you can still purchase a print through Fine Art
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Lily With Red Carnations

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Lily with Carnations (watercolor 9x12) $175.00

Yes there are red carnations in the painting. You just haven’t looked closely enough.

Both the carnations and the lily come from the Valentine’s Day bouquet my husband gave me this year. The Danish silverware vase was my Mother’s.  So the painting is a family affair.

The fact that the lily inevitably points out of the picture presented a compositional problem. I used the window frame to create a boundary to contain the eye within the painting.  Theoretically the window frame with lead the eye back around to the vase and into the painting once more.

I began the painting by masking the white edges of the lily, the stamen, and the smallest white highlights. Then I laid the window frame and background in with multiple transparent washes. I began the window frame with a mixture of cobalt blue and burnt sienna. I followed that with phthalo blue, and finally added a very thin wash of burnt sienna to tone it down. The window began with phthalo green and burnt sienna. While the wash was still damp I lifted it with tissue to create a mottled look. I followed that with successive layers of cobalt blue, phthalo blue, and burnt sienna laid wet into wet.  I made the background darker around the lily and lighter by the dark vase to add drama.

Next I under painted the lily with phthalo blue. I added the shadowed fuchsia with quinacrione deep red rose sometimes mixed with cobalt blue. The sunlight fuchsia is a combination of quinacridone red and cadmium red. I added the spots last in darker versions of the fuchsia under them. I painted the colored highlights in the vase in tandem with the lily. The carnations are cadmium red.

The leaves and stamen began with new gamgee (yellow). I laid a green made of new gamgee and colbalt blue over the top. The tips of the stamen are burnt sienna and phthalo blue.

This painting is currently for sale on-line through my Etsy shop.
Or purchase a print on Fine Art

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Three Coneflowers

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Watercolor of Cone Flowers

Afterglow II (8 x 9 watercolor) $60.00

Here are another three cone flowers from last Fall’s garden. This time I painted them during my gallery shift.

I altered my painting techniques a little from Afterglow I. I under-painted the petals in phthalo blue before over painting them in opera and dioxazine violet. I under-painted petals in phthalo blue too. I think the under-painting does add to the the three dimensionality of the flowers.

I also added dioxazine purple to the palette, working it in to the cones and the petals.

Or purchase a print from Fine Art

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Afterglow: Pink Coneflower

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Afterglow (8 x8 inch watercolor) $100

Painted from a photo I took in my front yard last year, this is a close up of my pink cone flowers (echinacea). Like mums and asters, coneflowers are a reliable late summer flower. In the late afternoon light they just glow. I only have five of them but I hope they spread like mad.

I began this painting with the center of interest, the cone of the the cone flower. I painted the bright orange parts of the cone with a combination of quinacridone deep red rose and cadmium yellow. I began with the brighter orange edge and worked my way down adding rose to the mix as I descended the cone. I filled in around the orange-red highlights with a mixture of burnt sienna and cobalt blue letting the colors mix on the paper. I worked some rose into the mix as I reached the rim of the cone.

I added the petals next with deep red rose, cobalt blue and quinacridone opera from Winsor and Newton. Opera is a vivid pink which I rarely use, but has it uses. Nothing else in watercolor produces such a florescent pink.

I added the background last with a mixture of cobalt blue and cadmium yellow, toned down with burnt sienna. Burnt sienna which is a red-orange desaturates green but not to the extent that green’s compliment red would do. I applied this mixture in tone wet into wet layer and and used a paper towel to lift some of the final layer.

This painting is currently available on-line through my Etsy shop.  Prints available through Fine Art

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The Magic Bowl II

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The Magic Bowl II (watercolor 9 x 9) $100

I wasn’t entirely satisfied with Magic Bowl I. One on the things I thought lacking was textural contrast and I found the paperweight that formed the center of interest to be a weak point in the painting. The daffodil provides both color and textural contrast. I also gave the background more texture and contrast. I like the result much better. And it keeps the abstract design feel I was aiming for in the first painting.

I painted the bowl conventionally working from light to dark beginning with the daffodil and moving on to it’s myriad of reflections. I used hansa yellow light, winsor orange, cadmium yellow and cobalt blue for the flower. For the bowl I used phthalo blue, cobalt blue, cadmuim red, winsor orange and burnt sienna.

For the background concrete I applied several layers of burnt sienna and phhtalo blue. I salted each layer separately. Salting which is exactly what it sounds like (you sprinkle salt on wet paint) causes irregular lighter areas where the salt sat because the salt pushes away the water and pigment.

Prints available through Fine Art

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More Daffodils

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Daffodils with Marbles (watercolor 8 x 8 inches)

One more still life of daffodils. This time I cut to the chase, just the daffodils and the vase.

Prints available from Fine Art

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Short Story II

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Short Story II (11 x 11" watercolor) $225.00

Short Story II (11 x 11 watercolor) $225.00

Same song,

Second verse,

Should get better,

But it’s gonna get . . . .

Actually I like the second verse better.  The dark background gives Short Story II a punch that Short Story I lacked.  And I admit that painting the pine cone magnified by the paperweight was just plain fun.

The palette for Short Story II is the same as Short Story I.  I used more transparent glazes in building up the forms.  And I mixed the paint on the paper rather than the palette.

The deep background began as a burgundy mixture of burnt sienna and quinacridarone deep red rose, but the didn’t provide the depth I was aiming for.  So I followed it with several dark  washes of phthalo blue.  Afterwords I had to correct the glass reflections to match the background.

Or purchase a print from Fine Art

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A Few of My Favorite Things

Short Story (10 x 14 watercolor) $175.00

Short Story (10 x 14 watercolor) $175.00

It’s Spring here and my first daffodils are blooming. I’ve painted them here together with some of my favorite glass from the sun room. The box is an old cigar box I bought on Ebay.   I like the look and smell of cedar cigar boxes though I neither smoke nor like the smell of smoking.

This is the first traditional still life I’ve ever done. Placing and lighting the objects increased my respect for the art of still life. And I’m tempted to play with glass and flowers again soon.

I enjoyed painting the contrasts in texture between the wood, glass, and flowers. But if I try this again, I’d like to do something with a more dynamic composition.

The techniques I used were very straight forward. I reserved the highlights in the glass and then painted wet on dry, from light to dark. I used three blues, cobalt, phthalo, and cerulean. I used two reds burnt sienna and quinacridone deep red rose. I also used three yellows, hansa light which has a greenish cast, cadmium yellow, cadmium orange. I also used burnt umber to help darken the cigar box.

Or purchase a print from Fine Art

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It’s About the Shadows

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Flower Doll Ball (7 x 11) $50.00

Flower Doll Ball (7 x 11) $50.00

This summer by daughters made dolls out of toothpicks flowers and buds, a game handed down to them by my mother. Here is a selection of their dolls in dramatic sunlight.

It thought the contrast between the deep shadows and flowers would be striking. But I was unhappy with the painting when I thought I’d finished it. Despite the dark shadows and bright colors, it looked curiously flat. After pondering a day or so, I painted the background a cool light gray made from the left-overs on my palate. It worked– white highlights popped. And it’s done.

The palate is new gamgee, hansa yellow light, phthalo blue, cobalt blue, quinacridone deep red rose and opera (also a quinacridone). Most of the colors are mixed on the paper.

Or purchase a print from Fine Art

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Garlic on Blue

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Garlic on Blue (7 x 10)  $35.00

Garlic on Blue (7 x 10) $35.00

I’ve been doing framing and back to back art shows rather than painting lately.   And lucky for me the shows have been too busy for much painting, but here is a little still life I snuck in.

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Wall Flowers

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Wall Flowers (6 x 9) $35.00

Wall Flowers (6 x 9) $35.00

When my mother was a little girl, she and a little friend spent one summer making dancing ladies out of hollyhocks.  An upside down open bloom formed the voluminous dancing skirt.  A bud for the head attached to the skirt with a toothpick completed the dancing lady.

When we visited her house this summer, she taught my daughters to make the pretty dancing ladies.  She had plenty of hollyhocks and other flowers for the girls to play with.  At first their flower dolls were all like grandma’s.  But soon they added bits of asters and daisies to the heads and bodies. Finally they made a little prince made out of pea pods and pea stems.

The girls spent several afternoons playing with the flower doll on the back porch.  But alas there was only one prince.  So most of the dancing flower ladies had to wait their turn at the ball.  Here are two of them waiting now.

I have many photos of the girls playing with the hollyhock ladies, and one of these days soon, I’m going to paint the girls playing with the flower dolls.  It the meantime, I thought I’d start small with a couple studies of the flower dolls.

Because I wanted very soft edges I did these two without mask, saving the whites with careful paint strokes.  The flowers themselves are a mixture of opera pink (PR22) and deep red rose (PV 19), both quinacridone reds.  I added hansa yellow to make the oranges and cobalt blue to make the greens.

The flag stone is many layered mixes of the same colors toned with burnt sienna. The mortar is burnt sienna and cobalt blue.

Or purchase a print from Fine Art

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