Watercolor Tutorials and Watercolor Paintings

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Painting and hiking is Steamboat Springs

I taught a watercolor workshop in Steamboat Springs, Colorado this past weekend, and scenes like this abound in the Yampa and Elk River Valley’s.  The wildflowers are everywhere because the mountains have had a lot of rain this summer.  Using white paper effectively is a trademark of watercolor painting because we usually don’t use white paint and the white flowers are an example of this.  Painting in watercolor is like a chess game where you plan your moves ahead of time.  I love the effect where white paper is surrounded by rich colors and they work together to create that wonderful transparency that watercolor is known for.  

We painted on ranches and along the Yampa and Elk Rivers, it was wonderful seeing old friends and visiting some of my favorite places.  I will post more of the paintings from this workshop soon, so stay tuned. 

Denver Botanic Gardens Watercolor Painting

A gorgeous day painting in the gardens.

On Sunday I spent the day painting in Botanic Gardens and the weather was perfect, not to hot and partly overcast.  The gardens were full of people and some of them watched us paint but they were very polite and talking with them was fun.   We were surrounded by flowers in full bloom and the colors and forms were intoxicating.  Zeroing in on one small area and deciding  which flowers to emphasize was a challenge and my viewer was very helpful.  Size differences are important and the tiny blue flowers contrasted nicely with the bigger violet and red ones.  Rich darks are always important to show off the main players in a composition and I used perylene green, mineral violet, and alizarin crimson in subtle mixtures to make sure they didn’t turn muddy.  There is no sky or ground in this painting so I relied on a combination of hard and soft edges and a strong value range to create depth.  To hold onto the luminous color that watercolor is known for, I barely pushed the coors together in my mixtures and used a lot of pure color with no mixing.  Botanic Gardens are a true oasis in the city and I really appreciate the hard work involved and the way artists are always welcome.  

On the Way To The Hot Springs Watercolor Painting

On the Way To The Hot Springs Watercolor Painting

The Beauty Of The Rockies

I am going up to Steamboat Springs Colorado in a couple weeks to teach a watercolor workshop. I lived there for 10 years and so it will be like going home again. I will be taking some new paintings to the Wild Horse Gallery and this one was painted from memory.  

Aspen trees are a fascinating subject because of the white bark and dark markings and all the reflected color in the forest.  I took a few liberties with color by adding pastel colors such as pink, cerulean blue, and cobalt violet.  Painting from memory is a great exercise and it gives me a sense of freedom because I am not restricted by what I see. In the autumn when the aspen leaves turn gold it is my favorite time to paint in the Rockies but I also love painting there in all four seasons because each one has its own distinct personality.  In the spring the snow is melting, calves are being born and spring colors abound. In the summer the ranchers are busy cutting and bailing hay, autumn brings the gorgeous colors of Indian summer and winter brings snow which covers the land with a beautiful white blanket. Each season brings its own set of colors and Steamboat Springs is like an artists dream.


Old Brick Victorian Watercolor Painting by Dennis Pendleton

Beautiful Day For Painting Outside

Today I met up with one of my students at a small intercity park which is lined with beautiful old victorian houses and big shade trees. It was a private lesson and we chose this brick victorian as our subject. The weather was hot but we stayed in the shade and there was a very pleasant gentle breeze. With absolutely no humidity our watercolors were drying so fast that it resulted in a lot of unexpected hard edges and extra color mixing. It was such a gorgeous day we didn’t mind and I was pleased with both our paintings.

Most of the house was in shadow except for a few areas on the lawn, steps and walkway and the roof so I used a lot of rich darks which I love.  The handsome old tree in the front was included because it overlapped the house and gave depth to the painting.

The brick is a mixture of warm and cool reds with some mineral violet and the different greens were mixed with olive, cadmium yellow light, cerulean blue and ultramarine blue. My grays are mixed rather than from a tube because I like to play with warm and cool temperatures to create sunlight and shadow.  What a wonderful way to spend Sunday in the city of Denver.   

Join me tomorrow for the second day of Meininger’s Watercolor Days. I will be demonstrating watercolor techniques from Noon to 2pm.

Make sure to stop in, as there is tons of free swag like watercolor markers, tubes of watercolor paints, and paper samples for you to try! (See photo of the swag below.)

Meininger’s Watercolor Days
Saturday, June 24 – Noon-4pm
I’m demonstrating from Noon-2pm
Meiningers is located at 499 Broadway in Denver.

Watercolor Days at Meiningers Dennis Pendleton

I just wanted to share and invite you to come and play with water, paint, brushes and paper and watch some of your favorite local artists demonstrations at Meininger’s this week, Friday, June 23rd from 12–5pm, and Saturday, June 24th from 12–4pm.

I will be doing demonstrations between Noon and 2pm on both Friday and Saturday at the Denver Meininger’s location at 499 Broadway.

Make sure to come by and see all the artist demos – it’s free and you can visit vendor tables where you can learn about and test out different watercolors, brushes and surfaces. Plus get FREE samples available at vendor tables while supplies last!

Here’s an image from Meininger’s newsletter, I’m proud to have my work featured as the banner for the event!

Meininger's Watercolor Days in June 2017

This event is for you:

  • If you’ve been timid about painting in watercolor
  • If you are looking to try out different brands of watercolors, watercolor pencils, surfaces, brushes and more
  • If you want to get started in watercolors
  • Read more »

Denver Watercolor Tutorial - Workshop at Botanic GardensDenver Botanic Gardens Watercolor Workshops
Saturday & Sunday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Summer Months 2017
Dates: June 17 & 18 and July 29 & 30
Please email me if you’re interested

As we head into the summer and the season of gardening, dig out your easel and paints to join Dennis Pendleton at the Botanic Gardens.  Flowers, foliage, and water offer the artist a rainbow of colors and diversity of forms.  And this year the magnificent sculptures of Alexander Calder will be on display in the gardens.  Monet, the most important painter of gardens in the history of art, once said, “I perhaps owe it to flowers that I became a painter.”  The garden gave him freedom to break new ground and explore.  Just like Monet, you will be enchanted by the gardens as you learn from Dennis how to compose, identify values, and mix colors.  Each day there will be a demonstration, personal instruction, and critiques.  Your paintings will blossom as you investigate flowers, trees, water, sunlight, and the sculptures by Alexander Calder.  Come see the garden with fresh eyes! Dennis will demonstrate each day and then give personal attention to the students.

The price of the workshop is $100 per weekend
Or, if you can only make one day, the cost is $50 for a single-day Workshop.

If you are interested or have any questions email me at pendletonstudio@gmail.com

Watercolor Workshop in Steamboat Springs, Colorado
August 11, 12, & 13
Price: $350
To register contact the Steamboat Art Museum: 970-870-1755

Join me in Steamboat Springs Colorado to capture the unique beauty of the Yampa and Elk River Valleys in this watercolor Landscape Workshop. Working ranches with horses and cattle, old barns and haystacks, and emerald fields against the blue indigo mountains provides the ultimate setting for the watercolor artist.  Dennis will demonstrate lessons on painting aspen trees, rivers and streams, haystacks, old barns, and the historical train depot.

Plan on returning home with a portfolio of memories and photo reference material. Basic watercolor experience needed.

Students are responsible for their lodging and meals. Dottie at the Steamboat Art Museum can make recommendations on lodging.

I am happy to announce that I just won an award for one of the best art instructors in Colorado. It was based on student satisfaction, classes available,media presence and a few other categories.  It is posted on my website if you would like to read more about it.

I just finished teaching a five day watercolor workshop in Taos New Mexico at the famous Mabel Dodge Luhan House.  The weather was excellent and we visited different locations for painting each day.  This old adobe house was a fascinating subject and the cast shadows from the tree made it even more interesting.  The painting was done in an Aquabee Watercolor Sketchbook with Winsor&Newton paints and sable travel brushes.  The French Impressionists showed us that shadows and cast shadows are full of color rather than just darker tones of gray and black.  The rich mixture of mineral violet and yellow ochre for the cast shadows on the adobe add life and interest to this painting.

Check out my Taos & Sante Fe Portfolio for more paintings of Taos New Mexico.

Here are some photos from the June Taos Watercolor Workshop with Dennis Pendleton in May 2017:

A student watercolor setup while painting at the Couse House in Taos:

Painting at the Couse House:
Taos Watercolor Workshop - Dennis Pendleton

Painting in beautiful Arroyo Seco:

We have daily critiques to admire and discuss everyone’s work for the day. Typically everyone painted 1-2 paintings a day. Some students think the best part of the workshop is the critique, as it’s so wonderful to see and get inspired by what everyone painted.

Taos Watercolor Workshop - Dennis Pendleton

Dennis doing his daily Watercolor demonstration:
Taos Watercolor Workshop - Dennis Pendleton


Here’s a sampling of some student work from the Taos Watercolor Workshop:Student Work from Taos Watercolor Workshop - Dennis Pendleton

Join us next time! Learn more about the Taos Watercolor Workshop » 

Dennis Pendleton also offers other Urban Sketcher Workshops and Watercolor Workshops thorughout the year in Denver, Colorado, and teaches at the Art Student’s League of Denver.  View all of his Watercolor Classes & Workshops »