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Denver Watercolor Class Teacher Dennis Pendleton

Recording Memories


Watercolor Painting by Dennis Pendleton. I am planning a sketchbook workshop where we will headquarter at a hotel in an interesting location and then wander around town and work in our sketchbooks. The location has yet to be decided and the essentials that I am looking for are a nice hotel centrically located, interesting architecture, town park with benches and shade trees, an ice cream parlor, a deli and other affordable restaurants, coffee house, gardens, and some inspiring places on the edge of town like a farm or an orchard. If this sounds like a place you are familiar with let me know because I am open to suggestions.

Artists use sketchbooks in many different ways such as recording ideas that may or may not result in studio paintings, drawing and painting people in their normal day to day activities, and recording memories while traveling. This sketchbook I am working on is the result of being cooped up indoors waiting for spring. I decided to go through old photo's that I always intended to work from and record memories of places where I have painted before. This is the first page in the sketchbook and it represents a workshop I taught in Tuscany. The charming renovated farmhouse where we stayed was surrounded by rolling hills with an occasional farm and I also have fond memories of visiting the town of Luca and painting in a private garden that was full of lemon trees. It was fun incorporating two memories on one page and not worrying about proper proportions. Getting a few branches from a lemon tree to work with the landscape and not worrying about a finished painting actually freed my creative mind. I live in the right side of my brain anyway and I enjoy putting ideas together in non traditional ways. This is something that all artists can relate to and sketchbooks often become very personal.

Drawing a line around three borders of the landscape and then letting colors from the lemon tree spill into the landscape through the open border just seemed to happen because I wasn't hampered by preconceived ideas. Finally, printing Tuscany in red paint seemed to tie the whole thing together. The blue that surrounds the lemon tree and then meanders into the mountains is cerulean and the lemons are lemon yellow mixed with some cobalt violet, cerulean blue mixed with red, and ultramarine blue mixed with burnt sienna make up the different grays for the branches and the red roof on the farmhouse is Indian red. The texture on the hillside is visible brushstrokes of olive green, perylene green, and lemon yellow. When some of the cerulean blue spilled onto the page I decided to leave it and actually added some spattering.

Sketchbooks provide the opportunity for artists to freely put down ideas and test out possibilities that they may or may not use later in more finished works. Happy Painting. Dennis Pendleton

Watercolor Artist's Blog by Dennis Pendleton

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