top of page
Denver Watercolor Class Teacher Dennis Pendleton

Paintings Within A Painting

Watercolor Painting by Dennis Pendleton. This is actually part of a much larger vertical painting. It is not uncommon to find one or more paintings within a larger painting. The original is actually 40 x 60 inches. I once did a large painting of the interior of the Venice Opera House which I did not like so I tucked it away in my flat file. Sometime later I came across it when I was cleaning my studio. Before tearing it up I took a small mat and moved it around on the painting and found three small paintings that I liked. I later sold all three to a collector so go figure. I have also found that when I move a small mat around on a large painting I often find small abstract images. Ideas are born from doing this and it is a way of continuing the creative spirit. This exercise of moving a small mat around on a large painting can also inspire the artist to create a series of works based on the original.

Claude Monet wrote about how much he liked using pink and green together in his paintings and that was an inspiration for my large hollyhock painting. Red and green are complimentary colors which I used in this painting and adding pink settled down some of the boldness which results from using only complimentary colors and, in my mind, it gives a softness to the petals. When I painted the large original I carefully drew in the hollyhocks and some of the big leaves and left most of the adjoining shapes and colors to my imagination. You can see buds, stems, and leaves and, yet taken on their own, they have an abstract quality that I like.

For the hollyhocks I used cobalt violet, rose dore, cadmium red and alizarin crimson and even a little cerulean blue. These same colors appear in darker values around the hollyhocks. I mixed all the greens with combinations of olive, lemon yellow, cadmium yellow, ultramarine blue and cerulean blue. A large painting like the original usually takes me about a month and, the closer I get to the finish, I spend more time painting which often extends into late in the night. I like doing this because the more time I spend painting the more my mind wanders and the less I am restricted by reality. This is a time for really enjoying the process. Happy Painting! Dennis Pendleton


Watercolor Artist's Blog by Dennis Pendleton

Recent Posts

Find out about upcoming workshops, urban sketching events & get a FREE watercolor lesson every Sunday in your email:

bottom of page