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Denver Watercolor Class Teacher Dennis Pendleton

The Garden Charm

Watercolor Painting by Dennis Pendleton. Looking at paintings that I have done in Denver Botanic Gardens gets me excited about going there to paint. My weekend workshops at the gardens start in June and I like to paint there once or twice a week before the workshops start. All that beauty can be overwhelming and I always carry a viewer to help me focus in on areas that I find particularly intriguing. This painting is a good example because it is a small part of a large flower bed full of gorgeous colors.

I started my drawing with the two large floppy pink violet flowers and placed them where I wanted in the composition. Next I surrounded them with shapes, mostly abstract, that indicated other flowers. Limiting my drawing is important because if it is to precise and full of detail then I loose that fresh and loose style of painting that I enjoy. The great American Artist Charles Reid said it best, "I work really hard to make my paintings look loose and spontaneous."

Yellow is the complement of violet and I deliberately surrounded the pink violet flowers with shapes that indicated yellow flowers. For this I used lemon yellow, cadmium yellow, yellow ochre and transparent yellow. I also added dark blues and greens to make the flowers pop out while creating a sense of depth. The lower part of the painting shows how the flower beds get darker close to the ground because less sunlight can work its way in. Here I painted deep violets, dark blues and one of my favorite colors perylene green. The size difference between these flowers and the bigger flowers in the center of the painting is important because it keeps the painting from getting monotonous.

Starting from the bottom of the painting you move from a dark more secretive area up into a bright sunlit area and finally up into an area with more open negative shapes where I used spattering and unpainted white paper. It is important to make these negative shapes of unpainted white paper as interesting as the painted flowers. My computer allows me to enlarge this image and if you can do that you will see how the brushstrokes, dripping paint, colors running together, and a combination of hard and soft edges create that loose spontaneous style that I love. Happy Painting! Dennis Pendleton

My weekend workshops at Denver Botanic Gardens are:

June 3,4, and 5, July 15, 16, and 17 and August 19, 20, and 21. You can sign up for 1, 2, or all 3 days and the prices are $95 for 1 day, $165 for 2 days and $225 for all three days. My calendar is already filling up so if you would like to join the workshops or have any questions send me an email


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