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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

"Reflections III" watercolor 24" X 16"

"Reflections III" by April M. Rimpo
Reflections III"  • SOLD
Fluid Acrylic and Watercolor
24" X 16" image
30" X 22" brushed silver frame

I am always drawn to dramatic reflections in the water, especially on a still lake.  As you can imagine Mirror Lake on South Island New Zealand is known for its reflections.  Per my normal mode of operation I took many photographs of this lake.  I especially liked the one that is the inspiration for this painting, but I knew it needed modifications to make it an interesting painting. What was in my minds eye was more abstract and had a strong rhythmic interplay between the mirror affect in the lake and the foliage along the bank. 

To develop a design I played around with abstractions derived from the photograph, maintaining the textures of the foliage to act as a foil to the fluid color transitions in other areas. Long spikes pushed into the fluid lake with the intent to pull you back into the textural sides and bring them together.  

A spot of texture in the upper left creates some balance with the large mass of texture on the right. White and Pthalo blue are bounced around the painting to provide color cohesion.

To create this painting I used mask to protect the lightest spots, painted a light wash, added more mask when dry, then repeated this process 3 or 4 times gradually increasing the strength of color with each layer.  The photos below show three stages of development.

The left photograph shows the painting after the first layer of mask dried and an initial wash was applied.  Several more layers of paint and mask had been applied when the middle photograph was taken.  At this point there is so much mask, which looks hard when dry, you really can't tell what the painting looks like.  The photograph on the right was taken after I removed all the masking.  Of course it was pretty stark and needed a lot more work.  I did a lot of blending to integrate the hard edges.  I added more darks to get to the stronger color values that I prefer in my art.  To do this now that the mask is gone I use negative painting (where you paint around light areas) to bring in the darkest colors.

What else did I do? 
  • I added swirls of color in the fluid area so all the detail isn't on the right side. This included a lot  of dark purples and pthalo green in the water
  • The spike got some interesting textural notes and pale color washes to give a sense of depth
  • The lower left needed some color to provide a path into the painting
  • The right side was given more pthalo blue to balance it with the water
  • Splashes of purple were bounced around the painting
I think the transition from the image on the far right to the final painting really made the painting.  Apparently Linda Baker, the juror for the Pikes Peak Watercolor Society International Watermedia 2013 "Legacy", also appreciated the result.  She selected Reflections III for inclusion in that exhibition.    
* Contact April regarding purchase outside the United States

Saturday, April 13, 2013

"Ponte Vecchio" watercolor 10.5” X 22”

Ponte Vecchio by April M. Rimpo

In 1994 we took a trip to Europe, stopping in many cities in Italy.  One of my favorite cities was Florence, where we got to see Michelangelo’s David at Accademia Gallery.  Shortly after visiting the gallery we were delighted to see Ponte Vecchio, the oldest bridge in Florence.  With a little research I learned the Old Bridge at this location was the only bridge across the Arno in Florence until 1218.  The current bridge, the subject of my painting, was rebuilt after a flood in 1345.  During its history is has housed many different types of shops but now is dedicated to goldsmith and jeweler shops.  What a wonderful day.

Ponte Vecchio
10.5" X 22" watercolor
16" X 28" brushed silver frame
$700 within the United States *


Prints Available Here

When I took the photograph in 1994 I thought I would someday paint the scene.  All the little shops hanging off the bridge fascinate me.  Each was a little different, built individually so they don't quite align even though their design is similar.  19 years later Ponte Vecchio has finally come back to life for me in my painting.  One of my favorite quotes, which I first heard last year from Frank Web, is one by John Burke who said,
“Time spent in a painting is very much like going there again on vacation. And when the painting is done, I have seen every detail and nuance so thoroughly, that a glance at the completed work is sufficient for a short visit.”
I feel this way about many of my paintings, but somehow this is especially true of this one.  Perhaps because this trip was my first to Europe and because this view of the shops on the bridge was something I had never seen before.  When searching the Internet to learn more I did an image search using the photograph I had taken and found many people had taken almost the exact same shot, so I hope this scene will bring back memories of others’ vacations as well.

For other European landscapes by April follow these links.
* Contact April regarding purchase outside the United States

To see prints of April's paintings check her store.If you want a print of a painting that you don't see in the store ask me; I don't have all prints on display.

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