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Denver Watercolor Class Teacher Dennis Pendleton

Queen of the Garden

Watercolor Painting by Dennis Pendleton. On Friday, I had my first day of the Denver Botanical Gardens workshop and the weather was perfect. We had a glorious day of painting and then, unfortunately, the following two days it rained. Such is the fortune of plein air painting and it made me appreciate the paintings we did on Friday even more.

The colors and all the possibilities for painting in the gardens can be overwhelming and I stressed the importance 0f narrowing in on your subject when I did this demonstration painting. There were several irises growing among peonies and other flowers and I chose this one to be the prima donna of my composition. I painted it first telling myself not to get to caught up in details. Before the iris was finished, I started on the background so the two would work together. You can see there are parts of the iris that jump out and other parts that fade into the background. The deep color in the iris petals is mineral violet mixed with alizarin crimson and the deep colors in the background are different mixtures of perylene green and olive green. The yellow part of the iris was painted with lemon, transparent yellow, and yellow ochre mixed with cobalt violet.

Finally, I moved the violet flowers into the bottom of the composition because violet is the compliment of yellow and I knew they would tie the painting together. They were painted with cobalt violet. I did the entire painting with a number 12 round travel brush because working with a bigger brush with a fine point works best for my direct painting style and helps me avoid to many small and unnecessary details. Happy Painting! Dennis Pendleton

I have three more weekend watercolor workshops scheduled for Denver Botanic Gardens. One more for June 16, 17, and 18, 2023....the one in July is already full.....August, 18, 19, and 20, 2023. You can sign up for 1, 2, 0r all three days and the prices are $95 for 1 day, $170 for 2 days, and $225 for all 3 days. To sign up or, if you have any questions, send an email to


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