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Denver Watercolor Class Teacher Dennis Pendleton

Better Late Than Never

Watercolor Painting by Dennis Pendleton. I was in Steamboat Springs, Colorado for the weekend teaching a workshop. My computer was hooked up to the system we were using so this is the first chance I had to send out my Sunday email. Steamboat Springs was beautiful with warm balmy weather and people still skiing down hill and cross country. This is a painting from when I lived in Steamboat Springs and I still remember the day I took the photos. It was 13 degrees below zero when we left the barn on this hay sled pulled by the two white work horses. They were sisters and seemed to look forward to pulling the hay sled through the snow while the ranchers pitched off hay for the cattle. My biggest challenge was painting the white horses in the white snow. Color temperature made it possible. The snow was painted with the cool colors, cerulean blue and cobalt violet with just a little yellow ochre for a warm accent. The horses were painted with the warm colors yellow ochre and burnt sienna and cerulean blue was used as a cool accent. A little bit of cool color in a warm area and a little bit of warm color in a cool area causes a subtle color vibration that makes the colors more interesting. If you look at the noses of the horses you can see the cool cerulean blue accent and it is also on the strap across their snouts. The warm accent in the cool snow can be seen next to the horses on the left. In both cases, I left plenty of unpainted white paper and created a combination of hard and soft edges. Too many hard edges would have made the horses and snow look stiff. The hay is a combination of yellow ochre, burnt sienna, and cobalt violet and I used a little bit of white watercolor for the snow and ice on top of the hay. For the harnesses, I mixed ultramarine blue with burnt umber and, because I didn't stir up the mixture, you can see bits of both colors. The distant hillside is a light wash of cerulean blue and the flat area in front of it is pure white paper. Soon the snow will be gone, spring leaves will be on the trees and the Elk River and Yampa River will be flowing with snow melt from the mountains. Steamboat Springs will be ready for summer. Happy Painting! Dennis Pendleton


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