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Denver Watercolor Class Teacher Dennis Pendleton

Planning Ahead

Watercolor Painting by Dennis Pendleton. The effective use of white paper is one of the hallmarks of watercolor painting. It is like a chess game where you need to plan your moves ahead of time. Before you start painting, you should have already decided where you are going to leave white paper. In this painting there is unpainted white paper in the aspen trees, the large area of white flowers in the lower left, and the white flowers sprinkled throughout the foreground. A watercolor artist can use white paint but, because it is very opaque, it never has the same beauty as unpainted white paper. I do admit that a few of the little white flowers are opaque white paint but they are so small that they fit in O.K. with all the ones that are unpainted white paper. Also, spattering with white paint is a way to add sparkle to a dark area.

Along with the effective use of white paper, edges are a very important part of this painting. Look how the hard edges on the aspen trees bring them forward against the softer edges in the background. Also look at all the intricate edges in the foreground as the different colors come together. Some of the flowers are simple marks of color with soft edges and some are more defined with sharp edges. If all the flowers were defined with hard edges, it would be a monotonous composition. Another way to create soft edges is to have colors next to each other that are the same value and you can see that in the background and foreground.

The aspen trees were painted with light mixtures of yellow ochre, cobalt violet, and cerulean blue and the background is a combination of olive green, perylene green, and French ultramarine blue. The blue flowers are cerulean blue and mineral violet and the yellow flowers are combinations of cadmium yellow, lemon yellow, transparent yellow and yellow ochre. This is one of the paintings that I will have for sale this upcoming weekend at WHAM, Winter Holiday Art Market, put on by the Art Students League of Denver. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO Happy Painting! Dennis Pendleton


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