top of page
Denver Watercolor Class Teacher Dennis Pendleton

Spring In Taos

Last Sunday I talked about plein air painting and today I want to further that discussion. When I am out painting on location I carry a small paintbox from Judson Outfitters which is set up for 6 x 8 watercolor paper. It also contains a small bungie strap which allows me to work in larger sizes and still have the paper secure. The paintbox holds all my supplies, travel brushes, extra paint tubes, clips, water container, blackwing pencils, viewer, eraser and a watercolor block. This means the only additional things I carry are my tripod, a bottle of water, sun block and my shade hat. I recently was gifted a painters stool which I am excited to use for the first time this year.

This painting was done at the Couse House in Taos New Mexico in late morning on a beautiful sunny day. An important thing about plein air painting is to examine your subject with your viewer from different angles and different viewpoints before you start painting. I passed up several intriguing locations before I found this spot in the back yard behind the garage and machine shop. The lilacs were spectacular and so heavy they pulled the branches down to the ground. Their smell was intoxicating and made painting on location even more fun. I used the lilacs to frame everything and painted them with cobalt violet, small bits of olive green and burnt sienna for the branches. The adobe walls are cobalt violet and yellow ochre and the deep greens behind the blue gate are olive, perylene, and ultramarine blue. A QUICK TIP, THE GROUND MUST BE A LIGHTER VALUE THAN THE WALLS SO THAT IT WILL LAY FLAT AND THE WALLS WILL STAND UP.

As I study my subject, I am always looking for ways to make the painting even more interesting and in this case I changed the color of the gate. It is white and I changed it to Taos Blue which is the traditional color for windows, doorways, and gates in this artist community. I firmly believe it is the artists responsibility to do anything he or she can to make their painting more interesting. Behind the blue gate was an empty street which I eliminated and instead set off the blue gate with the dark greens which I mentioned earlier.

Below you can click on my website and then if you click on workshops you will find a picture of my set up and an article on plein air painting. If you are new to plein air painting go easy on yourself and enjoy the experience. I guarantee you will learn something every time you paint on location. 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