Christopher Kovacs - Fine Art
July 13, 2024   6:11 am NL Time

Jelly Bean Houses

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Jelly Bean Houses


Status of Original Painting – Sold

All prices are in Canadian dollars

Size: 8 x 20 inches

Price: $1,750

Medium: Watercolour on 300 lb d’Arches

St. John’s has become well known for its distinctive “jelly bean houses,” a tightly packed assortment of brightly coloured buildings in the downtown commercial and residential areas. “Where are the jelly bean houses?” visitors will ask, apparently thinking there’s just one row of such houses known only to the locals, but the reply will be “look around you.” It can be hard to appreciate the view from street level. Much of the time a painting or photo will show only three or four such houses, and my own “Uncrossed Lines” painting showed a row of about ten such houses on Victoria Street.

I wanted to revisit the jelly bean houses and show them from a broader perspective, nestled in the greenery. That thought had been in the back of my mind for several years but I was looking for the right view to depict.

People ask me how I decide what to paint, and that’s a question that is difficult to answer. Some things just declare themselves. When I saw this view last winter from an office building in St. John’s, I knew right away that I must paint it. So I returned several weeks ago and took the reference photos on which this painting is based.

The downside of a painting like this is that it became quite tedious in the execution. There’s something like 60-70 houses in there, some only poking through with their rooftops while others display 3 or 4 windows and quadruple the number of window panes. It was a relief to break out and paint the greenery at intervals. I started wishing I’d focused in on only three or four houses after all… The monotony was also reduced by a few jelly beans that look well-licked or partly eaten, desperately in need of a fresh coat of paint.

Special thanks to Steve Noseworthy who graciously allowed me to interrupt his workday by taking these photos from his office window…I guess he’s used to this everyday view now.

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