Christopher Kovacs - Fine Art
June 25, 2024   1:44 pm NL Time

Bulley Street

Click Here for Full, Larger View

Bulley Street


Status of Original Painting – Sold

All prices are in Canadian dollars

Size: 14 x 20  inches

Price: $1,500

Medium: Watercolour on 300 lb Arches


Here’s a set of what are called Jelly Bean houses in downtown St. John’s, Newfoundland. It’s quite typical to see such packed row houses, each one a distinct color from its neighbors. Five houses in this scene and five different colors. In other areas of the city you’ll see pink, magenta, purple, orange, sky blue, all the hues of the rainbow. These bright colors give the city a distinct character. Tourists will come seeking “Jellybean Row” but there is no such street. Just wander around the downtown and you’ll find many examples of these colorful houses.

How did this evolve? Local lore is that sailors returning from long expeditions at sea wanted to be able to see their homes in the hills from the greatest possible distance. And so, peering through inevitable fog, a distinct pink or blue or purple may indeed be distinguished from a great distance. Whether that story is true or not remains debatable. A distinct color might also help when returning home late from a pub, too.

I’ve done prior examples of Jelly Bean houses in St. John’s, including Uncrossed Lines, Jelly Bean Houses, and Wintering Jelly Beans. In each of these, including this new one, I’ve deleted the intrusive overhead cables – hence the title in the first of this sequence. I find that people generally don’t notice the absence of cables until I point this out.

Other areas of St. John’s feature brightly colored houses, although not in this tightly packed formation. Examples from my paintings include Precariously Poised and Newfoundland Breach.

The car windows proved particularly interesting to paint because there are several layers of images in each, including the interior of the car, reflections from the houses (and missing overhead cables!), and the glare off the surface of the windshield. Capturing these details was fun. Unfortunately, a lot of such details won’t be visible in the resolution of the photo shown here.

This was a commissioned painting from a classmate of mine who now owns one of the houses in this scene!


Follow me on Instagram