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A Friendly Porch

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Oregon City Porch, Original Painting by Jenny Armitage

Oregon City Porch (17 x 13 watercolor) unframed $400

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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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The Annex Bar

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The Annex Bar (11 x 14)  $125

The Annex Bar (11 x 14) $125

Between art fairs and getting prints ready for my first painting fair I haven’t had time to actually paint nearly as often as I’d like.  Today I decided to paint whether I had the time or not.

And I returned to a subject I had attempted to paint without success about six or seven months again, the Annex Building in  downtown Portland.  Like many downtown Portland buildings it’s wedge shaped to take advantage of the oddly shaped blocks created where diagonals run through the city grid.  I photographed the Annex in the late afternoon when sun lit up all of the brick-a-brack.

My first attempts at painting the building ended in frustration because I included much too much detail.  This time I simplified both the brick-a-brack and the colors.  I also eliminated an upper story with a flat wall used as a a bill board facing out over the bar.  This is one case where KISS (“keep it simple stupid”) worked.

Besides eliminating detail, I also simplified the colors and reduced my palette to phthalo blue, burnt sienna, and yellow ocher.  At the very end I dropped cobalt blue into the sky.

It sure felt good to paint again, and better yet to paint something I’d failed to paint before.

Or purchase a print from Fine Art America.

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