Watercolor Painting by Dennis Pendleton. Sketchbooks afford an artist the opportunity to put down ideas and enjoy the process without worrying about the finished product. You can try new techniques, work out different compositions, and try colors and color schemes to see if you want to use them in more finished paintings. Most of all I enjoy the freedom of capturing whatever interests me and then turning the page and looking for something else to put down in paint. This little painting spans two pages in my 5 x 7 Hahnemuhle watercolor sketchbook. The paper is 140 lb. cold press and I like the way it accepts water and paint, allows lifting out, and gives me the control I want for creating hard, soft and blurred edges.
The subject is one of the ranches in Steamboat Springs, Colorado where we paint in my summer workshop. I love painting on the ranches in Steamboat Springs and I am fascinated by the broken down equipment and other clutter that accumulates over generations. Steamboat Springs was a ranching and mining community before it developed into a world class ski area and the ranches like this one are still a beautiful part of the Yampa Valley. Because of the long format, 5 x 14 inches, I was able to concentrate on all the interesting colors and shapes of the things lined up on the ground while using just the lower part of the barn as a backdrop. I did include the window because I liked the way it looked in relation to the blue chair. I didn't change or rearrange anything but rather painted all the objects just the way they appeared. The one exception was adding the chicken in the lower left corner. I didn't know if this would work and the sketchbook was the perfect place to try it out.
For me the interesting part of this painting is the horizontal viewpoint I chose along the bottom of the barn and I think I will develop this into a larger painting. The barn wood is a combination of burnt sienna, raw umber and ultramarine blue and the chair was painted with cerulean blue. The chicken was painted with burnt sienna and mineral violet and the gate is gray mixed with cerulean blue and cadmium red. The ground is a light wash of burnt sienna and yellow ochre with a darker version of this mixture for the cast shadows. A sketchbook is the perfect addition to a small watercolor kit that y0u can take with you anywhere so fill one up with your ideas and memories. Happy Painting! Dennis Pendleton