View From Pont Neuf
Watercolor Painting by Dennis Pendleton. The river Seine is a powerful attraction that has inspired poets, painters, novelists, architects, and lovers. Where the river flows through the city of Paris, it is lined with boats and barges that have been converted into houseboats. They are grandfathered in as long as they stay in place thus adding to the picturesque view from the pedestrian bridge, Pont Neuf. There are 32 bridges on the Seine and the Pont Neuf is the oldest. Further up the river, the historic Notre Dame Cathedral sits on an island in the heart of the city. The river supplies about half of the water in Paris and the word "seine" means a large fishnet which hangs vertically.
This painting is the view from Pont Neuf including the walkway where Parisians and visitors stroll all hours of the day and night. It is that ambience of a lazy Parisian afternoon that I wanted to capture. The sunlight in Paris is not the direct, bright sunlight I am used to here in Colorado but is rather more diffused and subtle. Tis is what I tried to capture on the walkway with the cast shadows from the trees. I worked carefully to leave unpainted white paper for the light colors on the boats and then used muted colors to show how the boats have been weathered over time. For the river, I used washes of cerulean blue and then added olive green for the distant reflections and a dark mixture of olive green and ultramarine blue for the swirling water next to the boats. For the distant bridge and buildings, I kept it simple with a mixture of cerulean blue, cobalt violet and yellow ocher. By keeping the values close together, the details are muted and the bridge and buildings fade into the distance. The figures on the walkway add life, movement and size contrast to the composition.
In June, I am teaching a Zoom workshop at the Art Students League of Denver titled, "Painting Paris in Watercolor." It is on Tuesdays for 4 weeks and the dates are June 8, 15, 22, and 29 and the time is 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Registration opens next week so, if you are interested, contact the Art Students League of Denver. Happy Painting! Dennis Pendleton