Fun In The Garden
Watercolor Painting by Dennis Pendleton. This was one of those special days in Denver Botanic Gardens when the weather was perfect, flowers were in full bloom, and there were plenty of places to setup in the shade. I was attracted to these delphiniums growing among the white and yellow flowers. The composition was right there and I was excited to get started. I began with a simple pencil drawing then painted the delphiniums with cobalt violet and mineral violet. It was important to leave bits of white paper to catch the sunlight.
Next I painted the white daisies by leaving unpainted white paper and surrounding them with dark greens mixed with olive and ultramarine blue. It was important that some of these daisies were carefully shaped while others were barely suggested with little bits of white paper. Some are partially covered with green leaves and other flowers. Even though this is how they are in the garden it is easy to see them as individual flowers and make them all equally important. This is when you have to trust your eyes and paint them as you really see them in spite of what your mind is telling you.
Next came the yellow flowers with the same approach of defining a few and suggesting the rest. The dark centers, painted with burnt sienna, really helps identify them. At this point I was not only painting flowers but also adding leaves in different shades of green. My thinking was that the leaves were there to show off the flowers and I placed dark leaves against the lighter flowers for a strong value contrast. The white flowers in the upper right corner are important because they add a different shape and keep the painting from getting monotonous. Again they are mostly unpainted white paper with little bits of cobalt violet, lemon yellow, and some spattering to give them thickness. In the lower right corner I added a few red flowers for more color and surrounded them with their compliment green.
The four borders were also a consideration and I used them to crop some of the flowers to give the illusion that the flower garden expanded beyond the actual painting. In my mind I was trying to create an impression of the garden rather than one spot enclosed by the four borders. A couple dark delphiniums finished the painting and I made sure they were surrounded with green leaves of similar values so that they did not compete with the lighter violet delphiniums. Happy Painting! Dennis Pendleton