Denver Watercolor Class Teacher Dennis Pendleton

Monumental Art In The Garden


Watercolor Painting by Dennis Pendleton. A few years ago Denver Botanic Gardens hosted a show of Henry Moore's sculptures and I had a lot of fun painting them among the flowers. I studied Henry Moore's work in art school and seeing his large sculptures placed among the flowers and trees was the experience of a lifetime. In this setting I was struck by how this big shape settled so comfortably among the colorful hollyhocks and other flowers and how the deep green behind the sculpture really set it off.

I like to crowd in as many flowers as I can thus making the green colors easier to deal with. Some of the flowers are more carefully painted and some are simple marks of color. If you paint all the flowers with equal definition it will look more like a photograph and less like a painting. The human eye cannot hold everything in sharp focus the way a camera lens does. For example, if you are looking at a stem of the hollyhocks some of the other flowers appear as simple colors. It is up to the artist to decide what to emphasize with rich colors, sharp edges and value changes and what to represent with softer edges, fewer dramatic value changes and less detail. Thinking your way through a painting and directing the viewers eye is one of the most enjoyable things about being an artist.

For the sculpture I used burnt sienna, raw umber, and ultramarine blue and let the colors mix right on the paper to create an interesting texture. These colors granulate on the paper if you don't stir them up. For the hollyhocks I used lemon yellow, cadmium yellow, cobalt violet, and rose dore. Mixtures of olive and perylene green were used to set off the colors in the flowers and I was careful to leave bits of unpainted white paper through out the composition to give the effect of bright sunlight. The Henry Moore sculptures are gone now and I have paintings like this to remind me how much I enjoyed seeing his work that summer. Happy Painting! Dennis Pendleton

I have two more weekend workshops scheduled for Denver Botanic Gardens and the dates are August, 6, 7, & 8 and August 27, 28, & 29. You can join for one, two, or all three days. To register or for more information send me an email pendletonstudio@gmail.com.

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