top of page
Denver Watercolor Class Teacher Dennis Pendleton

Virtuoso Brushwork

Watercolor Painting by Dennis Pendleton. This weekend I taught my first summer workshop at Denver Botanic Gardens and this is one of my morning demo's. I like this photo because one of the leaves dangled across the painting and the leaves cast cool shadows across the upper left corner. It was a beautiful sunny day and we were able to set up in the shade where there was enough room for the other artists to watch me paint. This is a vignette and I explained how the painting ignores the borders and the edges fade into the background, hopefully in an interesting way.


Using the rule of thirds, I drew the lily in the upper left and surrounded it with the long thin leaves that bend and twist. The addition of a couple of buds finished the drawing. If I get to many details in the drawing then I tend to tighten up when I am painting so I try to keep it simple. Using lemon yellow, cobalt violet, transparent yellow, and burnt sienna, I painted the lily with a couple of overlaying washes and then moved onto the leaves where I used olive green, perylene green, cerulean blue and lemon yellow. The dark greens next to the lily are perylene and olive green and, because they are the darkest values in the painting, they cause the lighter flower to pop out against the lighter values in the leaves.


The entire painting was done with a number 12 round brush and I explained how using a bigger brush with a fine point allows you to work faster and keep up with the ever changing sunlight. Also, I showed how to paint the leaves with single brush strokes as I manipulated the brush with a twisting motion and different amounts of pressure. If I wanted a leaf to widen I applied more pressure and then used a lighter touch for the narrow paint. I enjoy leaving visible brush work and techniques like dry brush and spattering because they show the artist at work and the results look more like a painting than a photograph.


The weekend in the garden was delightful as well as productive and I know that every time I return this summer the gardens will be in different stages of exploding colors enhanced with sunlight and shadow. I have another weekend workshop in Denver Botanic Gardens scheduled for July and another in August and you can find out more information by Clicking Here. Happy Painting! Dennis Pendleton



Watercolor Artist's Blog by Dennis Pendleton

Recent Posts

Find out about upcoming workshops, urban sketching events & get a FREE watercolor lesson every Sunday in your email:

bottom of page