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Denver Watercolor Class Teacher Dennis Pendleton

After The Rain In Taos

Watercolor Painting by Dennis Pendleton

Every year in May I teach a watercolor workshop in Taos, New Mexico.  We all stay at the iconic Mabel Dodge Luhan House and immerse ourselves in painting high desert landscapes for five days.  Taos has long been an art colony and subject matter like this continues to inspire artists.

This was an overcast day where the sunlight occasionally peaked through to create some cast shadows.  Different lighting conditions have their advantages and an overcast day gives the artist more time to paint because the sunlight isn't constantly changing.  One of the strongest components of this painting is the value range.  Notice how the clothes on the line are more visible because they are surrounded by darker values.  Another area of the painting, the front of the adobe house, has a full value range from light to dark.  The door is a very light value, the distant mountain is a slightly darker value, the shadow under the eve is the next darkest value, and the bush to the right of the door is the darkest value.  Also, the fenceposts frame that area with dark values and all of this combines to make an interesting focal point. 

As you can see, anytime I wanted to emphasize something, I used values.  Look at the puddle in the driveway.  The water is a light value surrounded by middle and dark values in the mud.  The grassy areas, which are an important part of this painting, are light to middle values and depend on texture for interest.  You can see where I started with wet washes of lighter values then added darker brushstrokes, lifting out, and spattering.  Taos is such an inspiring place for artists, I look forward to my next painting trip to the high desert. Happy Painting! Dennis Pendleton

You still have a chance to join my ONLINE ZOOM workshop "The Art of Values: Give Structure To Your Paintings" on December 11.  If you are interested send me an email to


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