Watercolor Painting by Dennis Pendleton. Several years ago I went to a Joseph Raphael show and was surprised to see the large paintings he had done in watercolor. It was inspiring because I really hadn't thought about working in watercolor on such a large scale. I decided to start a series of large floral paintings and this is one that I completed when I was living in my art studio on ninth avenue in Denver. Sunflowers have always been one of my favorite subjects and I included myself in this picture so that the scale of the painting would be more obvious.
I purchased a large roll of Fabriano watercolor paper and cut it to the length I wanted and set about doing the preliminary drawing. Using the same palette, colors and brushes that I always use, I started painting on a large drafting table but soon realized it was too difficult stretching to reach different areas of the painting. My solution was to role the entire paper up on a giant tube and only role out the area that I wanted to work on. From time to time I took the painting off the roll and stretched it out upright on an easel so that I could see how the whole thing was coming along.
Keeping all the different parts of the painting working together was difficult on this large scale and there were areas that I washed out and repainted more than once. Never able to remove the colors completely, a ghost image with soft edges was left and I incorporated some of that into the final painting. The petals on the sunflower are combinations of cadmium yellow, lemon yellow, transparent yellow, cobalt violet, and mineral violet. The center of the flower with its swirling design was painted with burnt sienna, cadmium yellow and burnt umber. The different greens are combinations of olive green, cerulean blue, terra verde, and french ultramarine blue. From time to time I attempt another of these large florals and my subjects so far have also been hollyhocks, wild roses, a single red rose and different orchids. I am contemplating some new ideas and will soon be starting another large watercolor. Happy Painting! Dennis Pendleton