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Denver Watercolor Class Teacher Dennis Pendleton

Growing Your Painting Skills

Watercolor Painting by Dennis Pendleton. Spring is here and the gardening season is fast approaching. Some of my best childhood memories are of working in our garden and seeing how little seeds grew into things that ended up on our dinner table. Right across from the Art Students League of Denver where I teach watercolor classes is a community garden and all summer I see people experiencing the peace and joy of gardening.


Having done many paintings in places like Denver Botanic Gardens, I thought it would be fun to set up a still life of things associated with gardening. I think of a flowerpot full of flowers as a tiny little garden so I thought that would be a fun place to start. Spilling the flowers over the gardening tools and terra cotta pot was a way of tying them together to make one shape. The roots and vines also reached out and connected the seed packets and leaves. Cropping is also an important part of this composition with plants coming in from the right border, pieces of dirt and cast shadows cropped by the lower border and roots, plus a potato cropped by the right border. All this completes the rule of having objects in a painting connect to at least three of the four borders. As with all "rules" this one doesn't apply to every painting but I often find it helpful. Something else I think about when I am painting is the effective use of white paper. Here the white flowers command attention because they are surrounded by the darkest values and richest colors. They are also the only unpainted white paper because the background and even the tablecloth are painted with a light value.


The violet flowers are cerulean blue and cobalt violet and the red flowers are cadmium red and alizarin crimson. Yellow ochre, cadmium red, and burnt sienna were used for the flower pots and the potatoes are a mixture of burnt sienna and cerulean blue. The tools in the terra cotta pot are different grays mixed with cerulean blue, orange, burnt sienna, and French ultramarine blue. Understanding some of the rules of painting can be very helpful and I will discuss breaking the rules in a future Sunday Email. In April, I am teaching an Online class through the Art Students League of Denver titled, "All About Gardening with Watercolor," where our subject matter will be the implements used for gardening. Click Here for more information. Happy Painting! Dennis Pendleton



Watercolor Artist's Blog by Dennis Pendleton

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