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Denver Watercolor Class Teacher Dennis Pendleton

Controlling Color

Watercolor Painting by Dennis Pendleton. As I continue with my commitment to paint at least one day a week in Denver Botanic Gardens this summer, with all the exciting colors and shapes I find it challenging to settle on one subject. There was a large area of these flowers and I used my viewer to focus in on one colorful spot. I was enchanted by the yellow flowers next to the cobalt violet flowers and then the deep greens that created contrast. This is especially obvious in the upper right corner where I used peryleen green, the darkest green on my palette.

Most of these flowers were basically the same size so I made sure I painted them from different angles then massed the cobalt violet flowers together as a single shape. This allowed the yellow flowers to dominate with more individuality. For the green leaves I laid in a wash of light to middle green then, when the paint was dry, I cut back in with darker greens to shape leaves of different sizes and different values.

To create harmony, I painted a few of the violet flowers behind the yellow ones and added a few yellow petals into the violet mass. I also painted the bright red flowers in different locations through the painting. The blue flowers not only add more rich color, they also point the viewers eye up to the yellow flowers which are the main point of interest. Where the yellow flowers are surrounded by the rich dark greens, it is the strongest value contrast with the darkest darks against the lightest lights. This also created some strong hard edges and the two things together create what is called an "effect." I like having different "effects" in locations throughout my paintings rather than always having a single focal point.

For the yellow flowers I used lemon yellow, cadmium yellow, transparent yellow and yellow ochre. For the violet flowers I used cobalt violet, mineral violet, and cerulean blue. The red flowers are cadmium red and alizarin crimson while the blue flowers are cerulean blue and ultramarine blue. As the gardens fill in more and more there are always new possibilities and I am already looking forward to painting there this week. Happy Painting! Dennis Pendleton

My three weekend workshops at Denver Botanic Gardens still have openings and the dates are July 16, 17 & 18, August 6, 7 & 8, and August 27, 28, & 29. You can sign up for 1, 2 or all 3 days. The price for one day is $95, two days $170 and all three days for $225 so send me an email if you are interested.


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