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Denver Watercolor Class Teacher Dennis Pendleton

Adobe Nocturne

Watercolor Painting by Dennis Pendleton. One of the places where we paint in my Taos Watercolor Workshop is the small community of Rancho De Taos where the famous Saint Francis Church looms like a giant sculpture. Next to the church are these ramshackle adobe buildings that collapse a little more every year. For me, they are a more interesting subject than the church because of the different angles, the exposed adobe bricks and the clutter in the overgrown yard. There is also the untold story, who lived there, why has it been neglected, is it owned by the Saint Francis Church, who knows?

I decided it would be interesting to paint it as a nocturne and I looked to the Taos artist, Tom Nobel, for inspiration. He lived in Taos and did such interesting watercolors of the area - many of which were nocturnes. His unique style captured life in Taos and the surrounding farming communities as well as any artist that I have studied. He often painted birds flying across the foreground and that is where I got the idea for the magpies. For me, they add another element of mystery to the story and an interesting depth to the composition because they are the closest thing to the viewer. Nocturnes are interesting because you are creating moonlight, starlight, and sometimes artificial light like from street lamps or light from windows.

I used some different colors that I would not use in daylight such as lime green in the wood pieces and orange mixed with the cool colors lemon yellow and alizarin crimson for the adobe. I wanted a dark sky with a slight hint of clouds so I used indigo mixed with cerulean blue. Indigo is a much stronger and darker blue and will overwhelm the cerulean blue so it is important not to stir them up but just push the two colors together on your palette. For the darkest colors on the magpies and the open doorway, I mixed burnt sienna with French ultramarine blue. The muddy area between the buildings is raw umber mixed with cobalt violet and cerulean blue. There is still space available in my 2024 Taos Watercolor Workshop and the dates are May 19th through May 24th. CLICK HERE FOR INFO ON TAOS Happy Painting! Dennis Pendleton


Watercolor Artist's Blog by Dennis Pendleton

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