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Denver Watercolor Class Teacher Dennis Pendleton

Aspen Gold

I spent the last five days in Steamboat Springs, Colorado painting the fall colors and gathering material for future paintings.  My headquarters were a  spectacular ranch and I actually stayed in an old western saloon which was really fun and the perfect get away from Denver.  Aspen trees continue to be a favorite subject and I learn something new every time I paint them.  My host took me up into the aspen forest and explained that when the aspen leaves are falling they land on the evergreen trees, looking light Christmas ornaments, so I included that in this painting.  There is nothing like the sound of the aspen leaves in the breeze this time of year and that is why the locals call them "quakies."   Just being in the forest surrounded by the autumn colors and listening to the trees, they actually seem to be talking to each other.  Visible brush strokes are one of the techniques that make up my style of painting and you can see them here especially in the foreground grasses.  This sends a subliminal  message that this is a painting and not a photograph because you can see the artist at work.  It is important that the trees bend and lean instead of line up straight like tin solders and they also get smaller in size as they recede into the background.  I am often asked what colors I use and in this case there are several that would work for the aspen leaves and foreground grasses.  Cadmium yellow, lemon yellow, new gamboge, cobalt violet, transparent yellow, and orange will work nicely.  The cooler lemon yellow is a nice accent among all the warm colors.  If you stir up the colors on your palette they will loose some of their intensity so let some of the wet colors mix right on the paper.  Happy Painting!  Dennis Pendleton  


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