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Denver Watercolor Class Teacher Dennis Pendleton

Maintaining the Lily Pad Pond

Watercolor Painting by Dennis Pendleton. Spring is here in Denver and it won't be long before I am painting in our Botanic Gardens. This is a painting of the lily pad pond in front of the Beehive Cafe. I watched the figure working and decided on this gesture where he was bent over pulling on one of the lily pads. The sunlight on the worker was what attracted me with his face in shadow and the sunlight and shadow on his cloths and high boats. In a situation like this I often work with three values. For example his shirt was painted with a light value of cerulean blue, then the shadow shapes were added with a middle value of the same color and finally a darker value of cerulean was added in just a few places. His pants and skin tones were painted with the same three value technique and so was the blue water.

As the worker twisted and pulled on the lily pads it stirred up the water so that his reflection was not a clear mirror image. His entire front was in shadow and I painted that part of the reflection as a single shape of ultramarine blue and burnt sienna. I was careful not to stir up the mixture because I wanted both colors to be visible. They put something in the water to make it dark so you don't see the lily pads growing out of pots on the cement bottom. This results in deep colors like perylene green and indigo. I also mixed olive green with perylene green for some of the water behind the figure.

The man's hat cast a shadow over his face and for the skin tones I used different values of cadmium red mixed with yellow ochre. The lily pads are a mixture of olive green and lemon yellow and, for the ones I wanted to be under water, I glazed cerulean blue over them after the green was dry.

I have scheduled three weekend workshops for Denver Botanic Gardens starting with June 3, 4 & 5, then July 15, 16 & 17 and finally August 19, 20 & 21 and you can sign up for 1, 2, or all three days. The price is $95 for one day, $165 for two days and $225 for all three days. For more information or to sign up send me an email to Happy Painting! Dennis Pendleton


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