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Denver Watercolor Class Teacher Dennis Pendleton

The Garden Flower Urn

Watercolor Painting by Dennis Pendleton. This location is one of my favorite places to paint in Denver Botanic Gardens. It is just east of the Beehive Cafe and there is a large table with chairs and an umbrella for shade. With ever changing flowers and big trees for a backdrop, the possibilities are endless. 


After deliberately placing the large urn in the center of my composition, I filled it with green leaves and tall white flowers that are mostly unpainted white paper. With each section of flowers, I defined only a few and the rest are suggested with just bits of color set off by darker color values. If I try to carefully define every flower, the painting gets too busy and I get to deranged. In the lower left corner, you can see where I used a technique I call cutting back. First, I put down a light wash of yellow green and, then, cut back into it with darker greens to create different shapes representing leaves and stems. It takes some practice and it is a fun way to show off brushstrokes and dry brush. 


As I placed bits of color for different flowers, I defined them with darker versions of the same colors as well as warm and cool dark greens. Look at the gold flowers on either side of the urn where only a few are sharply detailed. The use of lemon yellow, cadmium yellow, transparent yellow, yellow ochre, and cobalt violet, and bits of unpainted white paper is much more lively that if I had only used one color. This is a way of creating detail through the use of color. 


I think about so many things when I am painting and here are a few that my mind rambled through, in no particular order, as I worked on this one. The tree branch in the upper right corner and the tumbling leaves in the upper left corner guide the viewers eye into the painting. To keep the white flowers from looking flat, I added bits of pastel colors to give them thickness. Spattering is a useful technique but to much looks trite so I limited it to a few areas. To make sure I had enough soft edges, I placed colors with similar values next to each other along with letting some of the wet colors merge with each other. To create rhythm, I twisted and turned the flowers to contrast with the stable edges of the urn. 


I am teaching three weekend workshops in Denver Botanic Gardens this summer and you can find more information by Clicking Here. Happy Painting! Dennis Pendleton



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