I just returned from Steamboat Springs where I taught a plein air workshop. Today we painted in the Aspen trees and I haven't downloaded any of my paintings so I decided to talk about this one that I did on a previous painting trip in Steamboat Springs. The autumn colors were changing and the sunlight coming through the aspens was a beautiful thing to see. Because the aspen trunks are mostly white I used different colors to make painting more challenging and more interesting. Yellow ochre, cobalt violet, cerulean blue, and different grays, found their way into these trees. If I wanted aspens to appear in the background I made them smaller and used the cooler colors cerulean blue, and blue gray.
Representing a glimpse of mother nature on a small piece of watercolor paper is daunting and introducing a few colors that I don't really see helps make this possible. The evergreen tree behind the aspens on the left added some deep colors and a cool accent among all the warm colors. For the deep colors between the trees I used perylene green, mineral violet, olive green and ultramarine blue. The foreground is transparent yellow, rose dore, yellow ocher, and orange with a few green accents. If you look carefully you can see where I spattered paint, left visible brush strokes, and allowed some of the wet paint to mix right on the watercolor paper. These are some of the techniques I use to create a loose and spontaneous looking painting.
Placing the paint right where I want it with confident brush strokes that are the right value and color is a constant challenge. It doesn't always work but when it does I am happy with the results. These beautiful summer days won't last forever so take your paints outside and capture your unique impressions of nature. Happy Painting! Dennis Pendleton