Denver Watercolor Class Teacher Dennis Pendleton

The Grand Finale


Watercolor Painting by Dennis Pendleton. Last Sunday I explained how I started this painting and how I painted the pear and the dresser paying particular attention to how I applied the paint. Now I will explain the rest of the process. Let's look at the violin. Because I wanted to capture the gentle bulge on the surface I applied yellow ochre and burnt sienna to create texture and subtle value changes and the light edge is pure yellow ochre. I moved the paintbrush carefully, letting the two colors mix on the paper. You can also see where I tapped the damp paint with my fingertips and the side of my hand. The top of the violin is darker where I added a little ultramarine blue into the mixture. This was done so that it would fade ever so slightly into the background. The black pieces that hold the strings are a mixture of burnt sienna and ultramarine blue and for the lighter areas I blotted the dark color with a tissue while the paint was still damp. The dark piece where the musician places their chin is the same dark mixture. You can see where this shows through the clear glass jar. To make a stronger composition the pear tilts slightly to the left and the violin tilts slightly to the right.

For the glass jar I used a mixture of cerulean blue with a little cadmium red to make gray and I carefully left unpainted white paper for the sharp edges. Olive green mixed with cerulean blue was used for the flower stems and, like I mentioned last week, some of the colors of the pear were added for reflected color. The flowers are unpainted white paper with light strokes of cobalt violet and cerulean blue to give them form. The leaves are a mixture of olive green and lemon yellow with a combination of hard and soft edges. For the darkest parts of the leaves I added ultramarine blue. On top of the dresser there is one flower, three leaves, and a stem painted with the same colors. This is important because it connects the the vase, violin and dresser with overlapping. Also the cerulean blue cast shadow adds another shot of rich pure color that matches the cast shadow from the pear.

Now for the background which is a gray mixture of cerulean blue and cadmium red. This same gray color was used in a couple other places and that repetition holds the painting together. There is a warmer gray beside the dresser and a cooler gray behind the other objects. This is because I felt the warm gray related nicely to the warm colors in the dresser and I wanted a cooler gray to drop behind the other objects, This background color was added with different values and visible brushstrokes. You can see the brushstrokes around the flowers repeating their shapes. The darkest value of this gray is along the right side of the violin and in the upper corners of the painting. This was done to keep the viewers eye in the painting rather that escaping through the corners and along the border. Finally there is a light drip of paint along the left border above the pear. This was included to balance the painting and keep it from tipping to the right. Like I said last week, a small painting like this gives me the opportunity to take my time and work on specific watercolor techniques. Happy Painting! Dennis Pendleton


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