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Denver Watercolor Class Teacher Dennis Pendleton

My Passion for Flowers

Watercolor Painting by Dennis Pendleton. This is another painting in my series of full sheet, 22x30 inches, watercolors inspired by all the plein air paintings I have done at Denver Botanic Gardens. For this ongoing series, I decided to paint my own borders and then make the borders part of the painting. For a complicated painting like this, I start with very little drawing and develop the composition as I go along while keeping my original idea in mind.

I started with the large yellow-orange flower in the lower right corner and painted it high on its stem so that it would cast shadows on the surrounding flowers and leaves. I don't often use cast shadows in a flower painting like this because they add confusing details but, in this case, I thought they worked well in that section of the painting. The white flowers were of particular interest to me and I wanted to see if I could weave them in and out among the other flowers. This took some planning because they are mostly unpainted white paper with very light strokes of cerulean blue and cobalt violet.

Size relationships are important and I like the contrast created when I added the smaller flowers in the upper right corner. If to many items in the composition are the same size the painting will be boring. Also, you can see the largest flowers are in the lower part of this vertical composition and they get smaller at the top.

Rather than putting colors down at random, it is better to have a plan. In this case, I used a double complimentary color scheme with blue and orange as one set of compliments and yellow and violet for the other set of compliments. There are obviously other colors in this painting, like the different shades of green, and they are there to show off the complimentary colors. Staying in color families will also hold a painting together and, as an example, you can see how I used cadmium yellow, lemon yellow, yellow-orange. orange, and red-orange, all colors close to each other on the color wheel. The blue flowers are a mixture of cobalt violet and cerulean blue and the the small flowers in the upper right corner are lemon yellow and cadmium red. The green leaves are mixtures of olive, cerulean blue, perylene blue, and French ultramarine blue. If you would like to push yourself forward as an artist, do something different like working in a larger size or using a specific color scheme. Happy Painting! Dennis Pendleton


Watercolor Artist's Blog by Dennis Pendleton

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