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Denver Watercolor Class Teacher Dennis Pendleton

No Excuses

Watercolor Painting by Dennis Pendleton. In the watercolor classes that I teach at the Art Students League of Denver, I am always doing demonstrations and this is one that I painted for an Introduction To Painting In Watercolor. We had done color charts, value scales, worked with hard and soft edges, brushwork, and had moved on to painting a few simple objects. I did this in about 10-15 minutes and I decided to use it in todays email to emphasize that artists should paint everyday.

If your painting supplies are set up and ready to go you can still paint something even if you only have a few minutes. There are days when I spend hours painting and other days when things get in the way and I don't paint at all. If I remind myself that I can always find a few minutes to paint it can be fun and rewarding to do a little painting like this with no pressure and no great expectations. I remember Earnest Hemingway saying that if he didn't write anything that day he had an empty feeling and trouble sleeping. He new that if he just wrote one sentence that he thought was good then he could sleep comfortably. It is the same with artists, just a few minutes painting sometime in a busy day will keep your skills from slipping. Also, once you start painting, that few minutes can easily turn into an hour or more.

Even a simple little painting like this can show some of the things that make up my particular painting style. For example, I like using different colors beyond what I see in the cast shadows and, you can see that here, in the blue violet cast shadows from the lemon and banana. Seeing the object and its cast shadow as one shape is helpful and you can see how the lemon and cast shadow blend together . Also adding abstract color shapes to the background can tie the objects together and relate everything to the different borders. Every time I put down a brushstroke I remind myself to decide if I want a hard or soft edge and, here you can see, edges that start hard then soften and also a nice combination of hard and soft edges throughout the painting.

To create an effect that would command attention, I darkened the tomato as it came up against the white banana thus creating a value jump with a rich dark against a light value. Having the curving banana peels meet in that same spot also added details and movement to that area. I painted the white banana with a mixture of yellow ochre and cobalt blue leaving some unpainted white paper. The banana peal is lemon yellow and transparent yellow and the lemon is lemon yellow with some light olive green to show the shadow. The tomato is a mixture of cadmium yellow and cadmium red and the cast shadows are cerulean blue mixed with cobalt violet. Even in a quick little painting you can practice your skills and have some fun. As an extra bonus I ate the banana after I was done painting! Happy Painting! Dennis Pendleton


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