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Denver Watercolor Class Teacher Dennis Pendleton

Aspen Memories

Watercolor Painting by Dennis Pendleton. I just finished this painting in my studio from old photographs and memory and it will be used in the workshop I am preparing on painting aspen trees in all four seasons. Spring is a beautiful time among the aspen trees with wild flowers and new colors among the leaves. When I am trying to capture all of this, it is easy for my painting to get overworked. To prevent this, I keep certain things in mind. For example, if I only define a few of the wild flowers then the others can be simple marks of unpainted white paper or colors like blue, yellow, and violet. If I were to carefully define each of the wild flowers it would not reflect how the human eye works and the painting would definitely look overworked. Suggestion is an important part of direct painting.


If you look at the background behind the trees, I have used color temperature and value changes to create depth. The darker cool greens on the left work their way across behind the trees and gradually become warmer and lighter in value on the right. Also, the most distant aspens are cooler with cerulean blue, cobalt violet, and gray mixed with cerulean blue and orange. In contrast, the trees in the foreground are larger and painted with warmer colors such as cobalt violet mixed with yellow ochre, warmer gray, and yellow ochre by itself.


The largest tree is the most important due to its size, location, and the fact that it overlaps another tree. Also, it has the most detail along with unpainted white paper countercharged against it's dark markings. When you place the lightest value next to the darkest value that always attracts the eye. The dark markings on the trees are a mixture of French ultramarine blue and burnt sienna and I did use a little bit of opaque white paint spattered among the wild flowers. In a few days, I will be heading to my favorite town in the rockies, Steamboat Springs where I used to live, to paint Aspens in the snow. To see more of my paintings, go to my website Click Here. Happy Painting! Dennis Pendleton



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