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Denver Watercolor Class Teacher Dennis Pendleton

Rock Your Landscapes


Watercolor Painting by Dennis Pendleton. Two days ago I taught an online workshop where we painted rocks and explored the different settings where they are found. I did this painting in the last 90 minutes of the workshop and the other artists worked along with me creating their own version. I would like to thank all the artists who took the workshop and express the pride I felt when each one showed their painting.

When painting rocks, it is important to consider that each one has it's own particular characteristics and, like snowflakes, no two are exactly the same. First and foremost, each rock should have its own unique shape and, when painting them in a group, make sure that there are different sizes. Color is also an important consideration so look for lots of variations. Some of the grays I used were mixed with cerulean blue, cadmium red, yellow ochre, burnt sienna and French ultramarine blue. Describing their texture is fun in watercolor as there are so many techniques to capture a rough or smooth finish. For example, rocks that have been washed over with water over the years, have a smooth texture as opposed to other rocks which have jagged edges and, here in my painting, a combination of hard and soft edges was very important. If you look carefully you can see my fingerprints where I tapped into wet paint to create texture.

When painting in watercolor, white is the unpainted white paper and you can see an example of this on the sunlit rocks near the top of the composition. To keep the emphasis on the rocks, I used dark colors such as perylene green to off set the lighter values of the rocks. Living in Colorado with the Rocky Mountains, scenes like this are prevalent for plein air painters. You may have noticed that my signature in the above painting appears to be cut off but, in actuality, it is under water.

"A river cuts through a rock not because of its power, but its persistence."

If you were unable to take the workshop, I am offering private two- hour ONLINE Zoom lessons at the price of $125 where we will recreate the above painting and you will learn the different techniques for painting rocks. If you are interested, send me an email to pendletonstudio@gmail.com Happy Painting! Dennis Pendleton

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