Tea and Conversation


Watercolor Painting by Dennis Pendleton. Lately I have been thinking a lot about places I used to go to gather material for paintings that are no longer an option because of the pandemic. This is a painting I did of high tea at the Brown Palace in downtown Denver. It is such a special place with the antique furniture, beautiful china, cut glass lamps, plush carpeting and excellent service. One of their specialities is a five tier desert tray that is irresistible. It is a marvelous place to while away a couple hours in divine decadence.

Painting interiors is an interesting challenge and you don't have to be concerned about the weather. The table in the foreground with all the dishes was a perfect lead up to the three ladies lost in conversation as they enjoy their tea and treats. I was only concerned with their gestures and outfits so I did not include their facial features. I would rather they represent all the different people who enjoy this traditional pass time rather than anyone in particular. I like to include the special things that add to the ambiance and the large cut glass lamps are mostly unpainted white paper with a little cerulean blue for the glass and yellow ochre for the shades. I used the dry brush technique to keep the edges of the tables and chairs from being too rigid and I also used the same technique in some of the large plants. The carpeting is a deep indigo blue with a cool gray for the pattern. The white china is again mostly unpainted white paper with subtle shades of cerulean blue to give them form.

With that many lamps, the lighting is not direct but rather diffused as it comes from different directions. This allowed me to choose what I wanted to emphasize, for example the light on the shoulders of the lady in the blue dress and the cast shadows from the china across the glass top tables. I look forward to a time in the not too distant future when I can join a friend for tea and conversation at different places like the Brown Palace.

Starting March 9th I am teaching a class "Painting Interiors In Watercolor" at the Art Students League of Denver. It is a Zoom Class that meets once a week for four weeks from 1:30 to 3:30 in the afternoon. If you would like more information, you can send me an email or contact the League. Happy Painting! Dennis Pendleton

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