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Denver Watercolor Class Teacher Dennis Pendleton


I am teaching workshops on loose painting so I thought that would be a good subject for this email. This is a large painting of 17th Street in downtown Denver and it contains all the different things that I talk about in the workshop.

First you should know that this is a mixed media painting. It started as a monotype where I used printers inks on a sheet of plexiglass and then transferred the image onto paper by running it through a press. I was deliberately not to careful about applying the paint because I wanted some "accidents" to happen when the image when through the press. You can see where some lines were smeared and other colors were pushed together. After the monotype was dry I worked on it with watercolor and pastel. This is an exciting time because the watercolor will not cover the oil paint but the pastel sticks of color will. I filled in areas of white paper with watercolor so that only a couple buildings were left pure white. I was able to cover over areas that I didn't like with pastel such as some of the red building. If you look carefully you can see where I spattered paint and scratched out a few lines when the paint was still wet.

My idea with this painting was to capture the moving traffic, noise, and hustle of a downtown street. If the drawing and perspective were "perfect" that effect would have been lost. The way the buildings melt together and lean on each other is an example of this. Also the way the vehicles seem to be bouncing along adds an interesting rhythm. If you want to loosen up your artwork you have to give up the idea of going back and fixing things. Move onto another part of the painting and leave things alone. As the painting develops you may actually like the area you were concerned about, if not you can always make subtle changes later. While you are working think of how the different objects relate to each other. If there was a perfectly proportioned vehicle with lots of detail on this street it would not fit with the rest of the painting. Finally I would say trust your instincts when you are painting and let go of the struggle. You may find you like the results. Happy Painting! Dennis Pendleton

Watercolor Artist's Blog by Dennis Pendleton

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