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Denver Watercolor Class Teacher Dennis Pendleton

Denver Jazz

I have been working on a book of drawings and paintings of my favorite places in Denver and this is one of the paintings. El Chapultepec is the oldest jazz club in Colorado and it has an interesting and notorious history. The owner used to settle arguments with a baseball bat and it remains a popular spot for famous jazz artists to drop by and sit in with the band. Novelist and poet Jack Kerouac was a frequent patron in the 50's and the ambiance is pretty much the same today.

The club is at its best in the wee hours of the morning so I decided to paint this as a night scene. The giant neon sign is a classic and it was fun lighting it up against the night sky. The empty street and the cast shadows from the street lamps helped to create the melancholy mood that I was after and the red traffic light is a subtle way of holding your attention. To make the composition more interesting I used the two utility poles to frame the three figures, the entrance, and the neon sign. Red orange and cool green were used for the sign and the night sky is pure indigo. The awning and exposed brick were painted with venetian red and I added mineral violet for the darkest areas. Some of the other hot spots included in the book are, My Brothers Bar, Hi Tea at the Brown Palace, Union Station, The Art Students League of Denver, Washington Park, etc. The memory of these places is enchanting and I know it won't be long before we can all visit them again. Happy Painting! Dennis Pendleton

Watercolor Artist's Blog by Dennis Pendleton

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