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Denver Watercolor Class Teacher Dennis Pendleton

Daisies and Delphiniums


Watercolor Painting by Dennis Pendleton. I have been teaching a watercolor workshop in Denver Botanic Gardens this weekend and this is my demo from Friday. When I was finished, I lowered the legs on my tripod and set the painting among the flowers that were my subject. It was a beautiful sunny day and, fortunately, I was painting in the shade. I started with the white daisies because I intended to leave most of them unpainted white paper and a few strokes of cobalt violet were added to the petals so they wouldn't look flat. Next the daisies were surrounded with rich darks to make them pop out of the garden. Countercharge is where the artist places very dark values against light values for a dramatic effect.

As I painted the other flowers and leaves, the painting got very abstract and yet the delphiniums and other flowers are still obvious. This is because, with the white daisies that are definitely in the garden, the viewer naturally assumes the other shapes and colors are more flowers. If you look carefully, you can see dripping paint where colors merge together. This occurred because I was painting with the watercolor paper at about a 60 degree angle and gravity was causing the paint to drip. I like this effect because it results in an interesting combination of hard and soft edges. If any of the colors get out of control, I can always dab them gently with a wadded up tissue. It's actually fun watching the paint and water do some of the work. As I painted the delphiniums with cerulean blue and mineral violet, I stretched them out to reach the top border and then added cerulean blue around them so that the daisies would remain the only pure white paper.

The green leaves, painted with olive green and perylean green, were developed with a technique call cutting back. First I painted different middle value greens and, then when they were dry, I cut back into them with a darker green using different brush strokes to make different size leaves. As this was drying, I softened some of the edges with a damp brush and scratched out a few stems through the damp paint with my fingernail. There is still room in two of the three days of my August weekend workshop in Denver Botanic Gardens and the information is below. Happy Painting! Dennis Pendleton

The dates are August 19 and 20, 2023. Friday the 18th is already sold out. You can sign up for 1 or 2 days and the prices are $95 for one day and $170 for two days. To sign up or if you have any questions send me an email to pendletonstudio@gmail.com.

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