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Denver Watercolor Class Teacher Dennis Pendleton

Aspen Colors

I just returned from Steamboat Springs where I taught a plein air workshop. Today we painted in the Aspen trees and I haven't downloaded any of my paintings so I decided to talk about this one that I did on a previous painting trip in Steamboat Springs. The autumn colors were changing and the sunlight coming through the aspens was a beautiful thing to see. Because the aspen trunks are mostly white I used different colors to make painting more challenging and more interesting. Yellow ochre, cobalt violet, cerulean blue, and different grays, found their way into these trees. If I wanted aspens to appear in the background I made them smaller and used the cooler colors cerulean blue, and blue gray.

Representing a glimpse of mother nature on a small piece of watercolor paper is daunting and introducing a few colors that I don't really see helps make this possible. The evergreen tree behind the aspens on the left added some deep colors and a cool accent among all the warm colors. For the deep colors between the trees I used perylene green, mineral violet, olive green and ultramarine blue. The foreground is transparent yellow, rose dore, yellow ocher, and orange with a few green accents. If you look carefully you can see where I spattered paint, left visible brush strokes, and allowed some of the wet paint to mix right on the watercolor paper. These are some of the techniques I use to create a loose and spontaneous looking painting.

Placing the paint right where I want it with confident brush strokes that are the right value and color is a constant challenge. It doesn't always work but when it does I am happy with the results. These beautiful summer days won't last forever so take your paints outside and capture your unique impressions of nature. Happy Painting! Dennis Pendleton

Watercolor Artist's Blog by Dennis Pendleton

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