Tale of Two Cities

February 2001

There are aspects of Denver that most of us recognize as beautiful – our gardens, parks, and historic architecture. And there are other parts of the city we’ve decided are in need of improvement, such as the Stapleton Airport grounds and the old convention center. But for local artists Dennis Pendleton and Rob Gratiot, it’s all good.

Both artists find inspiration for their paintings in the city and think of Denver as one big workshop full of ideas. Pendleton paints in watercolor using broad, loose strokes while Gratiot works in acrylic and focuses on the detail within the details. Their styles are quite different but the end result is the same – each captures a slice of Denver that most of us overlook as we hurry through our day.

Since the late 1800s, artists have been depicting realistic scenes of the cities in which they live. “The Impressionists,” says Pendleton, “were the avant-garde who first painted everyday activities instead of portraits of nobility or picnics of rich people’s families. They painted the train stations and bridges and all the activity in the markets.”