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Denver Watercolor Class Teacher Dennis Pendleton

Unexpected Color Combinations Part I

This is a painting of 17th Street in downtown Denver and it is a subject that I have returned to many times. I make each painting of the same subject different by considering the weather, time of day, lighting, and even the day of the week. These elements influence my color choices and often lead to unexpected color combinations. I often see artists unconsciously using the same color palette in the same way. Do you ever find yourself in a color rut? Two ways to resolve this issue are learning how to work with color families and color intensity. When people think of a city, they visualize cold steel, bricks and mortar, dull and dirty pavement, traffic, and tall buildings. As you can see in this painting, I chose an unusual color scheme that included the pastel colors cobalt violet, rose dore, cerulean blue, pink, and lighter mixtures of gray. I knew that the different shades of pink would work with the rest of the painting because they are in the same color family as the red brick building and the gray colors that include subtle shades of red. In regards to color intensity, I grayed the red brick building so that it did not overpower the rest of the painting. An important aspect of my painting style is choosing to change colors to enhance the scene and make it my own. Often when I see artists change colors from what they see the colors do not appear to agree with each other. I will be addressing this topic in my next email in a few days as I continue this discussion on color. Happy Painting! Dennis

Watercolor Artist's Blog by Dennis Pendleton

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