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Denver Watercolor Class Teacher Dennis Pendleton

Treasure Chest of Colors

Watercolor Painting by Dennis Pendleton. This is a painting that I just finished yesterday and it is part of my series inspired by paintings I have done at Denver Botanic Gardens. It is painted on a full sheet, 22 inches by 30 inches, of Hahnemuhle 140 lb. cold press watercolor paper and this is number 5 in the series. I create my own border for these paintings and then make the border part of the painting. Each of these paintings start with one idea and the placement of a single flower which will be the main character in the drama. The other colors, values, shapes, and edges which make up the other flowers and leaves are there to present and show off the the main character which is the large yellow orange flower in the lower right corner.

The center of that flower falls exactly on one of the main points of the Golden Mean which Leonardo da Vinci wrote about and often used in his paintings. For a composition this complicated, I don't start with very much drawing but rather establish the focal point then release the right side of my brain to develop the rest of the painting. I try to visualize the finished painting in my mind and make sure each new flower or leaf relates to other parts of the painting in some way. This may sound complicated but it is actually fun when you learn to think that way.

I chose a complimentary color scheme of orange and blue and then added accents of other colors like pink and green, a favorite color combination of Claude Monet, and different violets. I love using deep rich colors like indigo, mineral violet and perylene green and here you can see how they show off the other colors in the painting. Size relationships are important in this composition and you can see there are 5 different yellow orange flowers, each a different size and different location. Some are tangled in among the other flowers and leaves and four of them surround the main character. Another thing that shows the importance of the largest flower is the deep dark perylene green leaves behind it. This is a case of the darkest darks against the lighter yellow orange colors, a combination that always commands attention. You can also see that I directed the viewers eye with curving leaves and flowers that point to the largest flower.

The colors I used in this painting are orange, yellow orange, cobalt violet, mineral violet, cerulean blue, ultramarine blue, burnt sienna, cadmium red, Indian red, lemon yellow. cadmium yellow, olive green, perylene green, indigo, and I invite you to go on a treasure hunt and find them. Happy Painting! Dennis Pendleton


Watercolor Artist's Blog by Dennis Pendleton

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