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Denver Watercolor Class Teacher Dennis Pendleton

Painting Exotic Flowers

Watercolor Painting by Dennis Pendleton. I found these beautiful orchids in a hothouse outside of Boulder, Colorado and was able to do several paintings of them. This one is 22 x 30 on 140 pound Fabriano cold press watercolor paper. The drama created by the strong contrast between the white orchids and the deep indigo was my decision because the flowers were on my table with a nondescript background. I painted the flowers first and, when I added the indigo background, it was actually deeper than I wanted and I was sorry I hadn't made some of it a lighter blue.

I decided to see if I could paint cerulean blue over some of the dark indigo, something that is difficult in watercolor. It actually took 7 or 8 coats of cerulean to get the effect I wanted. The softness of the cerulean blue only works because you can see some of the indigo peeking through. This was a delicate process because the indigo will mix into the cerulean if you are not careful. I arranged the stems and leaves to make connections to the borders and to create interesting negative shapes around the orchids. Different mixtures of lemon yellow, olive green and cerulean blue were used to mix colors that I thought would work with the pinks and violets in the flowers.

To paint the orchids, I left unpainted white paper and and created shapes and thickness with subtle shades of cobalt violet and cerulean blue. The deep interior of the orchids is mineral violet mixed with yellow ochre. For the bits of orange, I painted lemon yellow into the violet while it was still damp so the colors would mix right on the paper. Timing is critical in watercolor painting and all the soft edges were created when the paint was still damp. In the upper left corner, I added a petal from another orchid to complete the composition and covered it with a light shade of blue so that it slipped into the background. I haven't had any luck raising orchids so I guess I will have to return to the hothouse for some new subject matter. Happy Painting! Dennis Pendleton


Watercolor Artist's Blog by Dennis Pendleton

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