Denver Watercolor Class Teacher Dennis Pendleton

Learning From A Mentor


Watercolor Painting by Dennis Pendleton. Years ago I was traveling through Mexico with my mentor, Lowell Ellsworth Smith, and we spent a few days in Hacienda Vista Hermosa. We had been painting a lot so that day I decided to just watch Lowell Paint and I am really glad I did. Beyond this gate there was only open land and a few trees and I watched with amazement and delight when Lowell added this market from his imagination. Once again it showed me what an accomplished artist he really was. Last year I was looking up his paintings on google search and I came across that very painting. It was for sale and I tried to buy it but it sold to someone else in an auction before I realized what was going on. Just recently I came across it again for sale and the price had doubled. I was happy that the prices of Lowell's work keep going up but it was now out of my price range so I decided to see if I could paint a copy. This would give me a chance to revisit his work and remind myself of how much I learned from him. I spent several hours drawing and painting just the market and I remembered watching him do it in just a few minutes. The difference was I spent time trying to get everything as accurate as possible and Lowell simply worked with the freedom that comes from confidence born out of years and years of plein air painting. The trees were fun to paint because they were simple strokes with a size 10 round brush using the dry brush technique. For the figures and other things in the market, I used a smaller #6 sable brush with a very fine point. The gate wall and attached building were interesting because of all the colors I used. If you look carefully you can see raw umber, cerulean blue, cobalt violet and yellow ochre. The cast shadows across the foreground are a mixture of all the colors I used on the wall with the addition of a little burnt sienna for added warmth. The brightest, richest, purest colors were saved for the little figures in the market where I used pure cadmium red, cerulean blue, french ultramarine blue, transparent yellow and venetian red. I showed this painting of mine next to the picture of Lowells original to a few artists friends and they said the exactness is remarkable and that makes me happy especially when I remember how much his mentorship and friendship means to me. Reproducing a painting by an artist you admire is a great learning experience and I recommend it to all artists at all different levels. Happy Painting! Dennis Pendleton

Watercolor Artist's Blog by Dennis Pendleton

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