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Denver Watercolor Class Teacher Dennis Pendleton

The Strutting Rooster


Watercolor Painting by Dennis Pendleton. A sketchbook opens up so many possibilities and this shows two more pages of mine. The long format across two pages has encouraged me to consider different compositions like this one. This chicken coop was right next to a parking lot in a little town near Taos, New Mexico and all day long people parked their cars and walked past the chicken coop without giving it a second thought.

The long low format was perfect for capturing the activity of the chickens and the collection of farming equipment scattered about. I choose the strutting roster for a focal point and placed him slightly off center with his white feathers countercharged against the dark barn wood. A light value against a dark value creates an "effect" which always commands attention. Also, notice how the rooster and the two red hens, which seem to be watching him, form a triangle which is another way to direct the viewers eye. It is the artist's responsibility to make adjustments like this rather than paint only what you see.

The red hens are a combination of cadmium red and burnt sienna and the dirt is different combinations of raw umber, cobalt violet and cerulean blue. Ultramarine blue and burnt sienna were used for the barn wood with an occasional addition of yellow ochre. Gray for the garbage can was mixed with cerulean blue, cadmium red, and yellow ochre while the shovel and strip of metal are a cool gray mixed with only cerulean blue and a touch of red. The horizontal container next to the trash can is the same mixture of burnt sienna and ultramarine blue that I used for the barn wood only this time I used more ultramarine blue to create a cool temperature. The lid behind it was painted with lemon yellow and transparent yellow. If you don't have a watercolor sketchbook, get one and start filling it with new ideas and possibilities for larger paintings. Happy Painting! Dennis Pendleton

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