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I Keep Him In My Heart, So He Can’t Get Away

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I Keep Him in My Heart, Pen and Ink Drawing By Jenny Armitage

I Keep Him in My Heart (9 x 12 India ink) available


Limited Edition Digitally Altered Prints:

I Keep Him in My Heart on gray lavender (digitally altered pen and ink 9 x 12) $60

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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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Dances With Fountains

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Dancies With Fountains (7 x 10) $75.00

I don’t think I’ve ever taken anywhere near as many photos I’d like to paint as I did the day of the Wilsonville Festival of the Arts. Hot sun on skin and lots of water is turning out to be one of my favorite combinations.

This one took a little more teasing out to make it a good image. The photo itself shows not only the boy but also his father and sister and sub machine gun style water pistol too, all cluttering up the background and obscuring the larger fountain. It was easy enough to remove the figures and the shadows they cast. To restore the fountain I need to use other reference material.

I have have been using much the same method for all of the paintings in my Splash series. First I mask the fountains, waterfalls, and water drops. Then I can paint the water without worrying about saving the whites as the masking protects them for me.

After the Mask Came Off

After the Mask Came Off

Dances with Fountains (in progress)

Dances with Fountains (in progress)

Once the paint is really dry I remove the mask from the water features and the figures but leave the water drops over water masked. Then I mask the highlights in the water-features and the splashes obscuring the figures. After I’ve painted the figures and roughed in the water I remove all the mask and add shadows to some of the water drops.

Should you like to try using removable liquid mask yourself, I have two tips. First, use cheap synthetic brushes to apply the mask and soap them before and during the process. Second, never use a hair dryer to speed the drying of a masked painting because sometimes it causes the mask to stick to firmly to the paper.

I painted the water in cobalt blue grayed with burnt sienna. The boy’s hair is yellow ocher, burnt sienna and cobalt blue as is his skin. I added some quinacridone deep red rose to key places in his skin such as his ears. His shirt is cobalt blue and burnt sienna again.

This painting has sold, but you may still purchase a print through Fine Art

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Biting Off More Than I Can Chew: Demonstrating

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I have difficulty painting in public. I never paint my best or even close to my best with an audience. Even at the gallery where people wander in and out infrequently, I have a hard time with painting in company. I don’t blush or drop my brush. But I don’t concentrate as well as I do in private. And I make fundamental errors more frequently.

But I must learn to paint in public and soon. And what is more I must be able to talk about it while I do it, because this coming August I have agreed to demonstrate painting and sculpture at the Artisan’s Village in the Oregon State Fair.

It’s sculpture that got me into this. I’ve sculpted for seven years now and I’m quite comfortable doing it with an audience. For the last four years I have sculpted all day at just about every art fair I’ve been in. Only heat and fancy carpets stop me.

Last Christmas a representative from the Artisan Village saw me demonstrating at the Salem Saturday Market Christmas Show and asked if I would be willing to take a booth at the fair. This is plum. Commercial booths at the fair rent for several thousand dollars. Booths in the Atrisan Village rent for $75.00. The difference? The Village is a juried venue. The catch? —artists in the Village must demonstrate from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm.

Most artist share a booth and share demonstrating hours. But I know no one else who sculpts polymer clay. And besides, it’s an outdoor venue and the hotter it gets the hotter polymer clay gets until it becomes much to soft to sculpt. What to do?

Well, I was looking for a way to display my new watercolors so I talked myself and the director into both sculpture and painting. I am to sculpt in the cooler mornings and paint in the heat of the day. Switching mediums halfway through the day should help me keep my brain active too.

Now all I have to do is learn to paint in public. I spent this weekend learning. Saturday and Sunday I sold sculpture while painting watercolors. I tried to stick to easy subjects and to leave the detail work for later.

I will try my hand at painting in public again at The Salem Art Festival in July, and the Silverton Fine Arts Festival in mid August. At the end of August it’s show time.

Here are my three half finished paintings. With luck I’ll be posting the finished paintings later this week:

Dances with Fountains (in progress)

Dances with Fountains (in progress)

This is the beginning of another painting in my Splash series of the children playing at Town Center Park. I began by masking the boy and the fountains and painting the water in cobalt blue and burnt sienna. After lifting the first mask I masked the splashes on the boy and the high lights in the fountains. Then I added raw sienna to the palette and began painting the boy. I think I am going to need a real red to complete his skin. Then I will lift the mask and complete the detail work.

Boy with Umbrella (in progress)

Boy with Umbrella (in progress)

This is a full size painting of the boy with the umbrella. The boy is mostly finished, but I want to add a second umbrella on the lower right. I didn’t have a reference photo for that at the show. But I have plenty of pictures of umbrellas in the same light to choose from here.

The painting is on hot pressed paper. The palate is cobalt blue, phthalo green, quinacridone deep red rose, yellow ocher and ceruleum blue.

Pumice Seekers II (in progress)

Pumice Seekers II (in progress)

This is a much smaller version of a painting I did a few months ago of my husband and the girls looking for pumice stones at Crater Lake. Stephen loves the original and won’t let me sell it. But it’s too large for his office. I’m hoping to have this smaller office sized version finished in time for his birthday.

So far I’m using just three pigments: cobalt blue, yellow ocher and burnt sienna. The painting still needs a great deal more contrast.

In the meantime I’ll be preparing to sell sculpture and paint at the Salem Art Fair. I will be at the State Fair August 28th through September 1st in Booth 414 on the south side of the village next to the floral gardens. Wish me luck.

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Splash Dance

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Spash Dance (8 x 11) $150

Splash Dance (8 x 11) $150.00

I started painting this young man on Saturday. Unfortunately the tummy bug that swept our family earlier in the week caught me just as I was starting to mask the whites. But I thought about him off and on all Saturday and Sunday. This morning I went right to work and here he is, the fourth in my Town Center Park series–one more happy extrovert getting wet.

I used tons of splattered masking fluid to keep the splashed water. I find flicking a damp flat brush produces a lovely semi-controllable spray of mask. The faster you flick the smaller the dots.

I’m particularly pleased with his shirt. To make it look wet and stuck to him I added a little cobalt blue to his skin tone and applied it very lightly to his shirt. Where the shirt is stuck to his pants instead of his chest I applied a grayed down pastel version of the same colors that went into his pants.

The palette is a raw sienna, burnt sienna, quinacridone deep red rose, phthalo blue, and cobalt blue. His skin is raw sienna and quinacridone darkened with cobalt blue. I washed him with burnt sienna at the end.

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Wading In On All Fours

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Wading In On All Fours (8 x 11) $75.00

Wading In On All Fours (8 x 11) $75.00

Another painting based on the the photos I took at the Town Center Park in Wilsonville last weekend.
This young man didn’t think just wading was enough. He had to really get down into the water. I think he had the right idea.

This is another limited palette painting. I used burnt sienna, phthalo blue, cobalt blue and yellow ocher. This time I reserved all the whites with mask. Notice how much sparklier they are than the Chinese white I used in Waterfall in Her Lap.

I’m going to put in a plug for the park too while I’m at it. Town Center Park has the most wonderful made made stream running up the middle with little two foot high waterfalls and lot and lots of little bubblers. It’s designed for toddlers and even babies to wade in and on hot days it’s a lively place.
If you’re taking I5 just south of Portland on a hot day take the Korean War Memorial exit to find the park. You’ll be glad you did. The Memorial is in the back of the park well away from the fountain. It’s worth a visit too.

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The Red Shirt

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The Red Shirt (12 x 16) $100

The Red Shirt (12 x 16) SOLD

I’ve read that it’s advisable to place the horizon low when painting the sea to avoid making the waves look like a wall at the top of the painting. It’s a rule I violate frequently.

When I walk along the beach I am drawn to the leading edge of the ocean. Looking out from the edge of the waves the sea does feel like a wall above me. And the breakers rise many feet above sea level. In winter they they tower over the beach.

Standing in front of all that raw power I am awed that something so elemental is also so beautiful. My eyes follow the waves. I rarely scan the horizon.

I want to catch that feeling of being small and looking up into the waves, so when I place people right on the edge of the beach I often place the horizon high, or as in this case eliminate it altogether.

Pigment Notes: The water is phthalo blue, cobalt blue, French ultramarine, all dulled by burnt sienna and raw sienna. The beach is multiple washes, some salted, of burn sienna, raw sienna, and burnt umber mixed with a a hair of cobalt blue. Winsor red and cadmium yellow for the boy’s skin. Quinacridone gold, raw sienna and burnt umber for his hair. Winsor red and raw sienna for the shirt. French ultramarine and cobalt blue for his pants.

This painting has sold, but you my purchase a reproduction of it at Fine Art
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