Copyright April M Rimpo

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Copyright April M Rimpo All Rights Reserved. You may share my work with attribution and a link to this source site, but all other uses are prohibited.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

"Missing You", 20" X 26" watercolor and fluid acrylic

Bicycle entangled with plants
Missing You 20" X 26" watercolor and fluid acrylic

Missing You
acrylic and watercolor
20" X 26" image, matted in brushed silver frame
Giclee prints also available 

Me photographing the Source Material
My inspiration for Missing You started in Charleston, NC.  My husband and I were walking back from the waterfront to our hotel when I saw this bicycle chained to a tree at roadside.  Weeds, grass and other plants had grown up through the sprockets of the wheels and woven through the bike indicating its disuse.  Not knowing the story of why the bicycle was in such a state intrigued me.  I wanted to relay the unknown story to others so they could add their story to the painting.  Had the owner just been too busy to ride?  Were they sick and unable to ride?  Had they gone off to college and the bike was left behind while the owner moved onto other things in his/her life?  It didn’t matter what the story was, I just felt it needed to be shared; so others could bring their own story to the scene.

I started to play with the image to emphasize the story.  A few extra vines were added or moved to make it more obvious that they wove through the wheels and bicycle supports.  Cars and signs in the photograph were removed to avoid these distractions; to me these were unwanted noise that would hinder the story.

I liked the red color of the bike (I think my brother had a red Schwinn when we were growing up), so when I started to explore color options the red had to stay.  I went to my favorite color scheme site, , where I decided to use an accented analog color scheme based around red.   As I worked through the painting I found I needed to include some Prussian Blue to get the deep greens and browns I wanted.  A few additional blues found their way into the scene as interesting cooler counterpoints.  

I'd love to hear what you think the story may have been behind this lonely bike.

To see my other work where I combine fluid acrylic and watercolor check this blog post

Copyright April M Rimpo All Rights Reserved. You may share my work with attribution and a link to this source site, but all other uses are prohibited.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

"Morning in NYC" 23.5" X 16" watercolor

Morning in NYC
Morning in NYC
Morning in NYC
23.5" X 16" image
31" X 23" brushed silver frame

My husband and I typically travel to NYC at least once a year to take in some shows on Broadway, visit some art museums, or visit historic sites.  This painting was inspired during a trip with our son, during which we visited the Empire State Building.  The views from the Empire State Building are magnificent. We had gone early in the day so morning light played across the city.  I took quite a few photographs, as I am inclined to do. I am always composing paintings in my view finder so I take several photographs with slightly different zoom or perspectives of the same place.  After the trip this view of the New Yorker Building kept speaking to me. At the time of the trip I wasn't technically ready to take on this scene, but after a few more years of working with watercolor I finally decided to take rise to the challenge. 

I started by doing a drawing on tracing paper, figuring the first time out might not work. I also knew getting the architectural angles right was critical and that some erasing would be involved.  Drawing on tracing paper meant all that erasing would not mar my watercolor paper. Once the drawing was complete I transfered the drawing to the watercolor paper and off I went. Much to my delight the painting came out just as I wanted it, so I didn't have to paint multiple versions.

I submitted this painting to the National Watercolor Society (NWS) International exhibit and was delighted that Morning in NYC was accepted.  I was so surprised since NWS receives nearly 1000 entries for this exhibit each year.  I was one of 93 artists accepted into this prestigious show.  Two others in this exhibit are artists I admire from whom I have taken workshops: Chen-khee Chee was one of the first few artists I took a workshop from and Nicholas Simmons introduced me to fluid acrylic and a new way of looking at my work. Both workshops were invaluable to me.  To be in a show with them was a delight.

Exhibition update: in 2014, Morning in NYC traveled to Houston to be included in the Watercolor Art Society -Houston.  There it was exhibited with a many wonderful paintings.  The first place winner was a painting by John Salminen, another artist from whom I have taken a workshop.   After returning home, I decided to enter it in the Maryland Federation of Art's National exhibition American Landscapes, which resulted in a trip to Annapolis, Maryland to exhibit in that show.

I haven't felt this much satisfaction in something I have done in a very long time; my decision to refocus on art has been validated.   Thanks to all of you who have encouraged me and sent me feedback.  It is much appreciated.  Now I've got to try to get my feet back on the ground so I can finish the painting I'm currently working on.

Click here to see available prints

Sunday, June 24, 2012

"Basket Maker", 27.5" X 20.5" fluid acrylic and watercolor

Basket Maker from Guatemala in traditional men's clothing
Basket Maker, 27.5" X 20.5", by April M. Rimpo
Basket Maker is a little special for me.  One reason this is so special is because this man was wearing traditional Guatemalan clothing that unfortunately not many of the men wear.  Many years of revolution in Guatemala have caused the men to migrate from traditional clothing to wearing clothes more like ours.  I assume this transition was to avoid damage to the clothing, but most men in Central Guatemala have not returned to wearing their traditional garments.  The women continue to wear the clothing of their clan, but not the men.  It was with pleasure that I could share this tradition. 

When I travel I take thousands of photographs of the area.  In fact I am so focused on the beauty of the area that I take few pictures of the people I am traveling with; something that I regret in hindsight.  I photographed the man making the basket but, like many of my painting source photos, I had no idea how to paint this subject at the time.  It was 4 years after taking the photo that I finally felt I had the skills I needed to accomplish the vision in my head.  I knew I wanted to keep him in front of the stone wall, but had to do some shifting and rearranging to make a better design.   The basket maker was in the shadow of the building so I also had to brighten the scene a little and reduce the shadow on his face.

Basket Maker
fluid acrylic and watercolor
27.5" X 20.5" image, matted in brushed silver frame

This painting is another in which I used a combination of fluid acrylic and watercolor.  Fluid acrylic was used first to create some textures in the background, especially in the rocks and door.  Once the acrylic was dry and not going to move, I used watercolor to create the blends of color in the rocks allowing the watercolor to flow and mix on the paper, something you just can't do with other media. I've included a couple photographs of the painting in progress for those interested in the techniques.
Basket Maker from Guatemala in traditional men's clothing   Basket Maker from Guatemala in traditional men's clothing  Basket Maker from Guatemala in traditional men's clothing
To see other work done by combining fluid acrylic and watercolor check this blog post

Thursday, June 21, 2012

"City Reflections I", 14" X 40" watercolor

City Reflections, 14" X 40" image, watercolor
My city paintings are frequently about pattern and color.  Like many artists, I am drawn to the reflections in city windows.  This building had sixteen panes reflecting back surrounding buildings.  Since I wanted the details of the patterns to be more visible I cropped down to the four panes shown here.  Distortions in the windows cause the reflections to look more like a Picasso painting where the buildings are melting instead of a picture perfect image of the surrounds.  To me the distortions were the charm I wanted to emphasize.  Having the straight vertical window muntin bars that hold the panes in place seems to emphasize the fluid, melting reflections.  If you squint at the painting, which helps emphasize value rather than color, I used the darker values as pathways to connect one part of the buildings to another. Quiet blue sky reflections provide occasional relief to the jumble of the reflections.
Taking a Break

I used a triad color scheme focused on orange as the primary, blue the secondary with hints of greens.  Including the light pole surrounded by flowers that was in front of the building allowed me to add in a few touches of green.   I have found this triad very dynamic in other paintings I have done.  Taking a Break, shown at right, is the same color plan but with slightly redder oranges.

Click here to Contact April

Interested in learning more about April's art inspirations, tips about her painting process, or art business tidbits? Want to know when her art is in exhibits? Consider joining her friends and collectors by signing up for her twice-monthly email.

Copyright April M Rimpo All Rights Reserved. You may share my work with attribution and a link to this source site, but all other uses are prohibited.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

June 19, 2012 - Delivery Day

Today was the day to deliver my art to Agora Gallery in NYC.  Chas and I packed up the car last night.  Definitely would have been a problem if there had been more than 6 paintings.  I continue to paint large, despite advice from friends.  We'd tested the empty boxes a week ago to make sure they would fit in the Highlander and as you can see the boxes filled the back.  After getting the paintings packed in the car last night we had fun with bungie cords trying to figure out how to secure them in case of a quick stop.  No visibility out the back window on this trip.  We'll be adjusting those side mirrors!  (FYI - Nothing moved during the trip, so I guess we did okay.)
Highlander Packed to the Brim
Paintings unloaded from car

Fortunately, Agora was prepared for deliveries all this week, so they had cones in front of the gallery that we moved to park.  Yeah!  No double parking in NYC.  

We unloaded the car as fast as we could then Chas drove the car down to the parking garage just down W 25th Street, within eyeshot of Agora.

We took the paintings up the elevator to the 2nd floor and dropped them off.  Lots of driving for about 10 minutes of delivery time.  

We did take some time viewing the current exhibit at Agora before heading off to Joe's The Art of Coffee on W 23rd Street.  We'd been there on a previous visit to New York and we knew it would satisfy our finicky coffee habit.  Chas is still spoiling me with high quality home roasted coffee beans, but Joe's coffee was almost as good as what we have at home.
Parking Just Down from Agora
High Line Elevated Park

From Joe's we went to New York Burger Company for burgers and a rich chocolate milk shakes.  What decadence for 2 people who have been dieting for longer than we'd like to admit.

On our next trip we'll need to check out the High Line Elevated Park that runs parallel to 10th Avenue, right near Agora Gallery.  There is also Chelsea Garden, which is a couple blocks over by West 28th Avenue.  I suspect the hotel where we'll be staying for the reception on July 12th is right next to Chelsea Park.  

Holland Tunnel  - Bye New York

Including our time in NYC our round trip took 9.5 hours.  

Check out April's art available through Agora Gallery at

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Flores - Watercolor 22" X 30"

watercolor by April M. Rimpo of Flores, Guatemala
"Flores", 22" X 30", by April M. Rimpo
My first night after arriving in Guatemala I found myself sitting in the hotel’s outdoor restaurant looking across the lake at the beautiful town of Flores.  The red roofs, prevalent in Guatemala, all reflected in the lake taking my breath away.  I found the view terribly relaxing and I felt I could stare at it for hours, and as I recall I did.  I decided to paint this scene in hopes of sharing this beautiful moment.  My goal was to focus on the reflections and decided to add a person in his dugout on the lake to bring additional interest to the water.  Later in my visit to Lake Atitlan, in central Guatemala, I had seen men use their dugouts on that lake.  I transported one to Flores; I hope he doesn't mind.   My goal is for people to feel the serenity I felt that first night in Guatemala.

22" X 30" image
Original SOLD - Prints available

14.5" X 20" Limited Edition giclee print on watercolor paper with 18" X 24" mat available in April's print store. You can get prints as large at 44 X 60 on gallery wrapped canvas.  Contact April to discuss the size print you would like.  

Here is the final installment on the creation of "Flores".  You can see that I did add more blues and lavenders across the entire background, added a few more splashes of color and details in the city buildings, and added the man in his dugout.  Other posts on this painting can be seen at
Click here to Contact April

Interested in learning more about April's art inspirations, tips about her painting process, or art business tidbits? Want to know when her art is in exhibits? Consider joining her friends and collectors by signing up for her twice-monthly email.

Copyright April M Rimpo All Rights Reserved. You may share my work with attribution and a link to this source site, but all other uses are prohibited.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Amazing Wood Scupltures

Sculpture by Bruno Walpoth
Although I don't strive for photorealism in my figure painting, the wood sculptures by Bruno Walpoth seem to almost achieve photorealism.  It is astonishing what he can achieve in wood.  I don't think of wood sculpture in this way.  Follow the link provided above to see other examples of his work.
Anjeli prichádzajú

Other fascinating wood sculpture by Juraj Čutek and ceramic sculpture by Vladimír Oravec can be seen ate .  I especially like Oravec's sculpture Angel's Come shown at right.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

"Flores" - Next step after Aerial Perspective

My post called Aerial Perspective showed a portion of the background of my painting titled, "Flores".  Today's blog discusses the beginning of the buildings in that painting.  You might recall it is the reflection of the red roofs and other details in the water that will be the focus of the painting.  But before I get to that you might be wondering, what happened to the blues and lavenders in the distant hills?  This is a different part of the painting from what I showed in "Aerial Perspective"; I had not yet added those colors to this section.  When I paint I tend to work one area then move to another.  I frequently develop one section to completion to verify my approach and later go back into the other areas to apply the same technique.  As you can see without the blues and lavenders the hills look distant but rather gray and uninteresting.  Since I love color, leaving gray is difficult for me to do unless the subject calls for it.  I wanted to communicate the beauty of Flores so the grays will go. Trust me on this.

Red tiled roofs abound throughout Guatemala; even the ancient buildings in Antigua, Guatemala had red roofs.  My focus here was getting the buildings on the hillside to stand out as being at different levels, layering one on top of the next.  Since they all had red roofs, I varied the colors within the reds, creating a patchwork effect.  I also used more pale blues and grays in the distant buildings. To breakup some of the red I included some tan and concrete walls.  I didn't want to change the primary hue of the roofs since the red reflections in the water will be the heart of the painting.

At this stage the painting looks rather uneven. I still have many elements to add and the darkest darks are missing.  Having only lights and mid-range values make the painting appear a little flat.  Although I said earlier that I often take one area of a painting to completion before moving on to another section I do tend to wait for the entire painting to be nearly complete before I add the darkest values.  This way I can be sure I am placing these darks where they are needed to pop out a feature I think is important. If you use too many darks then they no longer help to enhance the focal point.  I'll get to those darks and the background blues and lavenders in another blog.

Copyright April M Rimpo All Rights Reserved. You may share my work with attribution and a link to this source site, but all other uses are prohibited.


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