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Denver Watercolor Class Teacher Dennis Pendleton

Stunning Seasonal Blooms

Watercolor Painting by Dennis Pendleton. I just finished a three day workshop in Denver Botanic Gardens and this is the painting I did on Friday. I would like to thank everyone who took the workshop and congratulate them on the paintings they did. The Gardens are spectacular this time of year and it is always difficult to settle on one thing to paint. I was attracted to this spot because the big blue violet flowers looked so rich against all the different dark greens. The yellow flowers were slightly off to the left and I moved them under the other flowers for a better composition.

Capturing the tangle of leaves and stems around the flowers is always a challenge and having a value range of light, medium and dark greens was important to keep this area from looking flat. The "cutting back" technique was used for the leaves at the bottom and, again, I worked with three values. First I covered that area with a light wash of olive green and, when it was dry, added a middle value green to create leaf shapes. Finally a third value of dark green, in this case perylene green, was added in a few places to make the leaves even more visible. A combination of hard and soft edges kept this area from looking cut out.

For the yellow flowers, I simply put down brush strokes of lemon and cadmium yellow then added a few details with transparent yellow. It was the darker values of greens that shaped the yellow flowers and the orange dots for centers finished the job. The blue violet flowers were painted with cobalt violet and cerulean blue and, for the darker details, I added mineral violet. Each one was a different combination of these three colors and I made sure that they were all slightly different sizes.

Having a good combination of hard and soft edges was also important and you can see how the yellow spattering under the yellow flowers softens them into the green leaves. Another example is in the upper right corner where the different colors are of similar values thus creating the illusion of soft edges. Each time I visit Botanic Gardens there are different colors and shapes to excite the senses and I am looking forward to my next visit. Happy Painting! Dennis Pendleton


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