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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.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

"Heading to Market", 28.75" X 13" watercolor

Heading to Market by April M. Rimpo

Heading to Market
Image: 28.75" X 13"
35" x 19" in Brush Silver Metal Frame

Heading to Market was based on a photograph taken in
Comalapa, Guatemala.  Because I was not feeling well and wanted to rest, I had stayed on the bus while everyone else went into the market.  After I started to feel better I spent some time photographing Guatemalans as the went to and returned from the market.  I was sitting in the bus taking photos through the windows trying not to be noticed since I was interested in natural gestures and body shapes in these photographs, not posed vacation photos. This photo, like many of the others I took that day, were rather out of focus and distorted because of the bus windows, which were far from clean, but I found this actually helped me be more creative in my painting. Since she was walking quickly the photograph had very soft shading and was somewhat blurry. I wanted to capture some of that blurriness since I felt it represented some of her focus on getting to the market, so I intentionally made her legs and feet a little out of focus.

To achieve a soft edged painting, I had to work very wet-into-wet to allow edges to blend into the next shape.  I spend a moderate amount of time deciding on how to place the woman in the frame of the painting to make an interesting composition. I also spent some time playing with new pigments I had received that I thought would granulate and make interesting soft textures.  As you can see I also love to incorporate drips into my watercolors when I think they will enhance the feel of the painting. I believe these broke-up the sidewalk and make the background more interesting without distracting from the woman.

I'd love to hear your feedback. 

To see available prints check my store 

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.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

"The Conservatory", 18" X 12" watercolor

The Conservatory
The Conservatory 
18" X 12" image
24" X 18" brushed silver frame

My husband Chas and I had a great time at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden.  As always I took lots of photographs while there.  The current exhibit in and around the Haupt Conservatory was called "Monet's Garden."  The exhibit included the types of plants Monet had in his gardens and the structures inside the display had been painted in colors to match the arches, bridges, and benches in his garden.  I really loved the architecture of the conservatory itself and took several shots of the wings of the conservatory. The Conservatory is my first painting  inspired by our visit. 

Frequently my design process begins with some time in Photoshop.  I may modify the colors or use some of the artistic filters to achieve a look close to the way I want the painting to look.  On many occasions I have to move items around or take parts of multiple photographs and combine them into a single image that I will use for my painting reference material.  I find it easier to compose in Photoshop than having multiple separate references and composing as I paint.  This process allows me to test ideas before my brush touches the paper.

Normally I have a goal and Photoshop just helps me realize it.  In the case of "The Conservatory" I accidentally selected a Photoshop filter that I do not normally use.  The result was a very simplified image that retained color in only the plants and flowers.  Although I didn't like the rendition presented by Photoshop I did like the idea of limiting the color in the painting to select areas.  This accident made me rethink my goals for this painting, resulting in this very simplified view where all the color was focused on the people and plants. In many ways I think the beauty of the architecture is more striking with this more minimal approach.  

To see available prints check my store.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

"Streetcar", 14" X 22" watercolor

Streetcar by April M. Rimpo
12"X20" image
in brushed silver frame
$720 within the United State*
Sometimes you just know exactly how you want a painting to look even before the event has occurred.  As I stood in my hotel room poised at the window looking at the street scene below a transit street car had stopped to pickup passengers.  I knew quite a few taxi cabs traveled the street perpendicular to the street car that I had only a small glimpse of from my window.  I knew the orange of the street car and the orange-yellow of the taxi would make a great composition, enforcing the interesting angles of the streets and buildings. I  patiently started to snap pictures hoping to catch a taxi in the frame before the street car moved on its way.  Finally a taxi drove by and I caught its picture.

Since I had seen this painting in my head and was able to catch it live, there was not much to do once I got home to compose the painting.  My primary job was to retain the repeated oranges (street car, taxi, and the reflection of the street car in the windows), simplify shapes, and adjust colors slightly in the windows to make the color theme work as I envisioned it.  Had the taxi arrived after the cable car left I could have taken a picture of the taxi then combined the two photographs in my painting; but catching it live had become almost a game of chase to see whether I could get it before the street car departed.

I liked how other buildings between my vantage point and the street car had created a natural frame on the sides of my composition, but I didn't want the details of the brick building on the right or the stripes of the building on the left to detract so I only hinted at the brick and essentially eliminated the vertical stripes. The angle of the wall in the foreground helped to accentuate the angle at the corner, so I retained a portion of the wall where I could repeat the angle formed by the street car and the taxi.
Designing this painting in the moment was exciting and rewarding.  Let me know what you think of the final result.

* Contact April regarding purchase 

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, September 3, 2012

"Messengers", 22" X 11" watercolor

Messengers by April M. Rimpo
Messengers speaks to a tradition in Guatemala practiced on All Saints Day.  Many Guatemalans are very faithful Catholics and as a result All Saints Day is celebrated with a parade in which they pay tribute to Christ and Mary.  It is also a time when they celebrate the living and their ancestors.  The Guatemalan's visit their cemeteries in throngs, spending the day visiting with each other and with those departed.  It is a celebration, not a sorrowful event. Flowers are everywhere and kites are sold so families can tie messages to the strings and sail these messages to their ancestors.  The recipients may no longer be here in this life, as represented by the empty chair, but you get the sense that these conversations are a vital part of life.

22" X 11" image
28" X 17" brushed silver frame

Technical Tip

It's important to watch demonstrations and to attend workshops every now and then.  If nothing else it reminds you of things you've learned but they have fallen into crevices of your brain that you don't seem to access any more. During the demonstration Frank Webb did for the Baltimore Watercolor Society this week, he used Phthalo Green, which is a color I have not included on my regular palette in a very long time.  In fact I'm not sure it has ever been a regular part of my palette.

I loved the colors he achieved with it, so I decided to use it in the dark regions in one painting I finished last week;  I also incorporated Phthalo Green in "Messengers."  I really enjoyed the result and will likely make it a regular color on my palette.  It was fun to rediscover a pigment I owned but hadn't used for a while.

"Tall Ship Gloria", 23" X 10" watercolor

Tall Ship Gloria by April M. Rimpo

Tall Ship Gloria
10" X 23" image
16" X 29" brushed silver frame

Tall Ship Gloria is from the country of Colombia. It sails to events around the world, including events held in London prior to the 2012 Olympics and to Baltimore's Sailabration earlier this year.  We saw the ship in Baltimore; no trip to London for us this year.

I loved their enormous flag on the back of the ship and the sailors wearing their flags colors in a row along the rail.  Since nautical flags us the same colors as the Colombian flag they were perfect little accents. Although normally all the sails are the highlight to me when I see tall ships, all the color in the flags was just to hard to resist, thus Tall Ship Gloria was born.

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, but all other uses are prohibited.



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