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Denver Watercolor Class Teacher Dennis Pendleton

Aspens and Spring Flowers

Watercolor Painting by Dennis Pendleton. This is one of the last paintings for my workshop "Painting Aspen Trees In All Four Seasons." Each season requires a few different colors and settings and this painting represents Spring. Early wildflowers, lighter greens, and branches full of budding leaves that are not yet the beautiful olive green were all used to capture this season. For the aspen trunks, I like to use light shades of warm and cool colors and, here, I used a mixture of cobalt violet, yellow ochre, and cerulean blue. If you look carefully, you can see bits of each of those colors because I didn't stir up the mixture and there are areas where I let the paints mix directly on the paper.

Sometimes I choose colors just because they will represent what I am thinking rather than what I am seeing. In this case, the closest mountain is a mixture of cerulean blue and cobalt violet rather than the cool green that I actually saw. This is because I wanted a strong color contrast between the mountain and the distant evergreen trees.

Now lets look at how I created a subtle sense of movement in this painting. The largest mountain drops from left to right and the more distant mountain drops from right to left. This along with their harder edges creates a tension which is relieved by the evergreen trees which seem to be dancing across the background in front of the mountains. The land between the evergreens and the biggest aspens is undulating visible brush strokes of cobalt violet and yellow ochre and the aspen trees twist and turn as vertical shapes moving through the landscape. Also the absence of straight lines adds to the sense of movement.

The white flowers appear because of the darker greens around them and I did paint a few of them with white opaque watercolor. The evergreen trees were painted with olive and perylene green. The aspen leaves on the branches are a mixture of lemon yellow and cerulean blue with added bits of olive green. I am leaving on Wednesday for my Steamboat Watercolor Workshop where we will definitely be paintings aspens along with other mountain subject matter. Happy Painting! Dennis Pendleton


Watercolor Artist's Blog by Dennis Pendleton

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