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Denver Watercolor Class Teacher Dennis Pendleton


Watercolor Painting of Cows and Aspens by Dennis Pendleton. This is a painting I did in Steamboat Springs Colorado and it is now available as a Giclee print. I was driving between Steamboat Springs and Aspen when I spotted these cattle grazing in the aspen trees on Gore pass. I still remember the curious looks on their faces when I walked up and I actually titled the painting "Aspen Daze."

My main interest was capturing the dappled sunlight coming through the trees and lighting up the faces of the cattle. I also tried to give each one personality with their curious looks as they stared at the intruder. Framing the cows with different aspen trees added depth along with the distant dark colors between the trees. Along with the unpainted white paper in the tree trunks and cow faces I used the softer pastel colors cerulean blue, cobalt violet and rose dore.

The foreground grass was interesting because I first used warm colors but decided it looked to much like the aspen leaves so I changed the grass to cooler greens. The warm colors in the cattle against the cool colors in the tall grass created a strong contrast. It is the responsibility of the artist to do whatever results in a better painting even if it means departing from reality.

Edges played an important part as I placed the cattle in the tall grass with stumbling, spattering and lifting out and did the same with the tree trunks. The colors in the aspen leaves are cadmium yellow, lemon yellow, new gamboge, along with olive green and ultramarine blue. I glazed cerulean blue and cobalt violet over the smaller distant aspen trunks so that they would recede into the distance and used warmer colors to paint the closer trees. An artist lives for subjects that inspire, excite and challenge them and this was certainly one for me. Happy painting! Dennis Pendleton


Watercolor Artist's Blog by Dennis Pendleton

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