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Denver Watercolor Class Teacher Dennis Pendleton

A Walk Back In Time

Molly Brown House Watercolor Painting by Dennis Pendleton
Molly Brown House Watercolor Painting by Dennis Pendleton

I have continued to search out iconic places in Denver that would be fun to paint and this is the famous Moly Brown House which was the home of Denver socialite and philanthropist "The Unsinkable Molly Brown."  She acquired her nickname by surviving the sinking of the Titanic.  Having made millions in mining, Molly and her husband J.J. Brown bought the house in 1894. Architect William Lang designed the home with all the modern conveniences of the day including indoor plumbing, electricity, heat, and telephone.  When the couple were traveling, the house was often rented to wealthy families and, for a short time, it actually served as the governor's mansion.  In 1970, Historic Denver Inc. saved the house from demolition and it has been beautifully restored to its original Victorian splendor.  Today visitors are exposed to the elegant lifestyle of the infamous "Unsinkable Molly Brown."  The stonework was a challenge and I used different shades of warm and cool grays.  I decided to put lights on in the windows so they would not compete with the dark values I used for the entrance.  The stone trim around the windows and the columns on the porch was a beautiful warm earth tone and I used a mixture of yellow ochre and cobalt violet.  The dark grays on the attic facade are a mixture of ultramarine blue and burnt umber.  With architecture this spectacular, I couldn't include every detail because I didn't want it to look like an architectural rendering.  Choosing what to include and what to play down or leave out is the responsibility of the artist and my goal was to capture the essence of the place without every single bit of Victorian glamor.  I also chose to paint this in the middle of the day because I felt that cast shadows from the trees across the front of the house would be confusing.  Making decisions like this is what separates one artist's work from another resulting in different styles.  If you ever get the opportunity, a tour of this house is a walk back in time to the elaborate Victorian Era and the lifestyle of one of its most famous ladies.  Happy Painting!  Dennis Pendleton


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