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Wood’s Edge

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Wood's Edge, Original Watercolor Painting by Artist Jenny Armitage

Wood's Edge (watercolor 16 x 21) available

We often hike in the woods below Sprague High School.  This is the upper entrance to the trail.  Lit from behind, the shadows are an invitation to walk in the woods.

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Four Abstractions

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Red and Black Ink Blot I, Abstract Mini Painting by Jenny Armitage

Red and Black Ink Blot I (alcohol ink 5 x 7) available

Dark Place I (alcohol ink 5 x 7) available

Blue Place I (alcohol ink 5 x 7) available

Blue Place II (alcohol ink 5 x 7) available


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Fall Remnants

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Fall Remnants, Original Artwork by Jenny Armitage

Fall Remnants (collage 16 x 20) available

Collage board is permanently mounted to black wood cradle frame.  Collage surface protected with clear acrylic semi-gloss.

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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) available

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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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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Pure Nostalgia

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Pure Nostalgia, Original Bicycle Painting by Jenny Armitage

Pure Nostalgia (watercolor 15 x 27) available

I’ve been busy putting together paintings for my Art in the Valley show, Bicycles.  I had been eying the bikes in front of South Salem Cycleworks for some time. The show just gave me an excuse to stop and photograph them in the early morning sun.  I arrived early as they were just putting the bikes outside. The young man setting up the bikes couldn’t have been more helpful, setting out out this bike just so I could photograph it.

With it’s lovely curves and built in light, this bike really is pure nostalgia.   I wanted the painting to have the same 1950s vintage feel as the bicycle.

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Bike Tour

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Bike Tour, Original Painting by Jenny Armitage

Bike Tour (watercolor 18 x 12) available

Rather more abstract than I usually go, but I like it.  This is a Florence bicycle tour group as seen from the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence, Italy.

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Dawn at the Station

Dawn at the Station, fine art painting by Jenny Armitage

Dawn at the Station (watercolor 16 x 23) available

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Heart of the Bike

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Heart of the Bike, Fine Art Painting by Jenny Armitage

Heart of the Bike (10.5 x 14 watercolor) available

This is a hot summer painting for a cold winter day here in Oregon.  It’s been snowing steadily for the last 40 hours or so.  Everything is white and cold.  But this painting warms me right up.

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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) available

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.

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Ringing in the Brass

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Ringing in the Brass, Painting of a Trombone by Jenny Armitage

Ringing in the Brass (8 x8 watercolor on clayboard) SOLD

Trombone bell resting on the bells and facing a flute. My daughter says this one has a Christmasy feel to it and I think she is right. In any case, I like the red and gold.

This painting has sold, but prints available through my print shop and Fine Art America.

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Mangos and Pears, a Color Exercise

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Still Life watercolor of magos and pears by Jenny Armitage

Mangos and Pears (watercolor on clayboard 11 x 14) $150

I started this painting in Karen Vernon’s workshop this October. The photo I worked from is hers.  The photo showed two mangos and a pear.  I broke up the trio by moving one to the mangos to the wall.

We spent one of the five days working on color. The lessons aren’t unique, but certainly useful. Color has several properties, hue, intensity, value, temperature. Hue is the actual color. Intensity is the brightness or dullness of the color. Value is the lightness or darkness of a color. Temperature is the warmth or coldness of a color. Blue is the coldest color and yellow the warmest.

We spent one one morning working on changing color value without changing any of the other properties. This is not as straight forward as it appears as some colors de-intensify or intensify as they are diluted with water. Adding a bright and warmer hue of the same color will re-intensify a color.

Then we de-intesified the colors at each value. As I discussed earlier in a blog about gray, the way to deintensify a color is to add it’s compliment. Red and green deintensify each other as do purple and yellow and blue and orange.

Colors will appear brighter next to their compliment and next to deintensified color.

In the afternoon we discussed the color of shadows. Shadows are generally the deintensified compliment of the color of the object casting them as altered by the color of the surface they fall on.

Light will bounce from surface to surface. Thus one object will affect the color of the object next too it.

This little painting is a lesson in color begun in the workshop.  I rarely work from other people’s photos, but this painting began with one of Karen’s photos.  The photo showed  two mangos and a pear.  I moved the second mango onto the wall.

The bright fruit works well for playing with the color concepts we discussed in class.  The green pear and the red mango are compliments.  Therefore the shadow of each is the color of the other.  The red of the mango reflects onto the green of the pear.  The deintesified floor helps make the  relatively intensified color of the fruit pop.  The background is almost as bright as the fruit, but it’s darker and much cooler in temperature.  Both dark values and cooler colors tend to recede.

This painting is protected with a polymer varnish and may be framed with or without glass.

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The Corrugated Plain

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The Corrougated Plain, a watercolor of Montana by Jenny Armitage.

The Corrugated Plain (11 x 15 watercolor) Available

I spent a few hours at The Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument in Montana. My husband is a sort of pocket expert about Custer’s Last Stand so it was a place we simply had to go if we got within three hundred miles of it.

Stephen did show me over the battlefield. Standing on the actual ground makes many contemporary descriptions clearer. Western plains are deceptive. They often look flat from a distance, but turn out to be steep and hilly. People, houses, factories hide in what looks like an unobstructed view to the horizon in a all directions.

The battlefield is like that. From the ridge you have the illusion that you can see all, but you can’t. And the land leading up to the ridge is steep and hard. But my painting is not of where Custer made his famous last stand. Instead, I painted view from where his Lieutenant Reno was pinned down. Reno retreated up the gulches after meeting the Indians in the valley below. The hills are probably much the same, but the river below snakes through a flat valley and it has moved over time. And of course that fields and ranches now occupying the land came after the battle.

Despite the graves, the markers of where Custer’s men fell and where Indians fell, the land itself remains beautiful.

Painted on Arches cold-pressed 140# paper with phthalo blue, cobalt blue, cerulean blue, quinacridone deep read rose, burnt sienna, quinacridone gold and raw sienna.

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The Bamboo Grove

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The Bamboo Grove (watercolor 5 x 7) SOLD

This was an exercise in mixing greens.  The more I looked at this little clump of bamboo, the more I realized just how many greens were there.  To get some of this variety  on paper I used two blues, cobalt and phthalo and three yellows, hansa, new gamgee, and cadmium.   As most of the greens I mixed were blue-greens I used a little bit of  blue green’s compliment, red orange to set them off.  Burnt sienna was perfect for the purpose without any mixing.   I carried the blue-green red-orange motif into the path, painting the red Georgia soil it’s natural red and overlaying it with blue-green shadows.

Funny thing about red soil.  My husband talks about red Georgia clay and how hard it is to dig in or clean out of clothes the way mid-westerners talk of mosquitoes  and three feet of snow.  But here in Oregon we have more than plenty of red clay.  From the mid Willamette Valley south the ground is red as red can be.   And yes it’s hard to wash out of pants.


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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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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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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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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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