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Denver Watercolor Class Teacher Dennis Pendleton

Painting Jazz

A Watercolor Painting by Dennis Pendleton. This is one of my favorite paintings because so much of it came from my imagination. I love painting cityscapes and I"m a jazz aficionado so combining the two was an interesting challenge. The entire painting came from my wandering mind and I put the piano keys on a rickety wooden framework that reminded me of the old rollercoasters in the amusement parks that we visited when I was a kid. Turning a giant clarinet into an apartment building then doing the same thing with a saxophone was a fun challenge. Fortunately a friend had a clarinet I could borrow and I took pictures of the saxophone in a pawn shop window. Having the buildings lean against each other, along with the taxicabs bouncing up and down on the piano keys, created a sense of rhythm and reminded me of jazz improvisation. I am sure you can tell by now that I had a good time painting this. I placed rich darks around the cabs and piano keys to create high value contrast in that area which I considered my focal point. Even though I took piano lessons as a kid, I couldn't remember exactly how the keys were positioned so I went to the 16th Street Mall in downtown Denver where they had piano's set out for anyone to play. Because I didn't have a particular city in mind, I was able to use what ever colors I wanted for the buildings and then place them wherever I thought made an interesting composition. Color temperature was important as I used warm colors in the front buildings and then cool colors as the shapes drifted into the background. This is actually a mixed media piece because I painted several buildings very dark and then cut back into them with lighter pastel sticks. The little figures added scale and the human element that always exists in my cityscapes. Doing a painting from your imagination is an interesting way to move you out of your comfort zone. Happy Painting! Dennis Pendleton


Watercolor Artist's Blog by Dennis Pendleton

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