The Overflowing Urn
Watercolor Painting by Dennis Pendleton. Today was the last day of my Weekend Watercolor Workshop at Denver Botanic Gardens and this is the painting I did on Saturday. The weather was hot but we had a nice table under a big umbrella and this urn surrounded by flowers was right in front of us. The dark trees in the background with sunlight hitting some of the leaves were changing by the minute so I quickly put it down in my drawing then started painting. The sunlight and shadow on the urn was also changing so again I followed my original drawing. Using a mixture of cerulean blue and a little cadmium red, I was able to change between warm and cool grays and occasionally I added a touch of yellow ochre to get a different warm gray.
The white flowers, both in the urn and in the flowerbed, are unpainted white paper with just a few marks of yellow ochre or cobalt violet to keep them from looking flat. For the tree trunks in the background, I mixed perylene green with burnt sienna. I have four yellows on my palette, cadmium yellow, lemon yellow, transparent yellow, yellow ochre, and I used all of them when painting the yellow flowers. This creates subtle temperature changes which keep the flowers from looking too much alike. Greens are always a challenge and I mix different ones with lemon yellow, cadmium yellow, cerulean blue, ultramarine blue, olive green, and peryleen green. The more greens you know how to mix the more you will enjoy plein air painting.
Understanding the temperature of the colors on your palette is critical because if you mix a warm with a cool color it will turn muddy a lot faster than if you mix warm colors together and cool colors together. Keeping your color mixtures clean and vibrant is important if you want to capture sunlight in your paintings. Rather than painting individual flowers, I tried for a fleeting impression with bits of color next to other bits of color. This also keeps the viewer from fixating on individual flowers. Propping the painting up and viewing it from a distance of a few feet can keep you from over working different areas because it is easier to see how the whole thing is developing and decide what to do next.
I have one more Weekend Watercolor Workshop on August 19, 20 & 21 and if you are interested send me an email to pendletonstudio @ gmail.com. Happy Painting! Dennis Pendleton
This painting is 7x10 inches, painted on 100 % rag paper and the price is $350.