Denver Watercolor Class Teacher Dennis Pendleton

Trip To The Grocery


Watercolor Painting by Dennis Pendleton. I went to the grocery the other day and was dazzled by all the rich colors in the produce section. They were also selling big red roses so I bought these items for a still life. The color selection was exciting with the three primary colors red, yellow, and blue plus the secondary colors of green, orange, and violet. Normally the three primary colors together would be stronger than I would choose for a painting but the secondary colors helped to settle down the color scheme and I loved the richness as these colors worked together.

Starting with the lemon, I went beyond what I actually saw and added rose dore, cobalt violet, and olive green then a rich blue for the cast shadow which connected with the cast shadow from wine bottle. I then carried these ideas through the rest of the painting where I pushed color beyond what I saw and connected the items with their cast shadows.

An "effect" in painting is where the artist creates something important by placing a light value next to a dark value, along with a crisp hard edge. Another example is a bright rich color next to a dark dull color with a crisp hard edge. Look where I painted the lemon against the wine bottle. A painting should have several "effects" in different locations to attract the viewers eye.

Moving on, I painted the orange tea canister and the two mushrooms next and used their cast shadows to connect with the blue cast shadow under the scallion. As I painted the scallion, I deliberately used some lemon yellow near the lemon and then continued with different greens. The red pepper was painted with warm red to create a temperature change with the roses which were painted with cool reds and mineral violet. When painting the water container, I used a fair amount of unpainted white paper and made sure you could see the side of the wine bottle through the clear glass. A dark shape is an opportunity to use different rich darks and I painted the wine bottle with perylene green, mineral violet, ultramarine blue, alizarin crimson, and allowed the colors to mix on the paper. The next time you are at the grocery store think of it as an adventure in color and look at everything through the eyes of an artist. Happy Painting! Dennis Pendleton


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