Denver Watercolor Class Teacher Dennis Pendleton

Echoes Of The Past


Watercolor Painting by Dennis Pendleton. In a normal year without the pandemic, I would be returning to Denver from my Taos New Mexico Watercolor Workshop. There is still a chance that I can hold the workshop in September this year so I am keeping my fingers crossed. This ramshackle adobe is located right next to the historic San Francisco de Asis Mission in the Ranchos de Taos neighborhood. I return to it every year during the workshop and I have done a series of paintings that show how it decays a little more each year. When I am painting this scene, I see tourists lining up to get their pictures taken in front of the famous mission and I see some of them looking over at the artist who is painting these old abandoned adobes instead of the beautiful church that so many artists have painted and photographed.

What interested me most about this subject was the light and shadow and the cast shadows created by the sunlight pouring through the broken down roof. I moved around and decided I liked the view with the two trees in front because of the depth they created in the composition. This is because they start in the foreground, then overlap the middle ground and background. Also, the undulating design in the tree bark adds to the movement and rhythm created by the cast shadows on the front of the adobe building. The absence of straight lines, even the posts and window frames twist and lean to the left and right, also adds to the rhythm and movement. Having the entire foreground, with the grasses, boards and rocks, in shadow plays down this area with all its details and puts emphasis on the rest of the painting which is flooded with sunlight.

I used a mixture of cobalt violet and yellow ochre for the adobe and mineral violet and yellow ochre for the cast shadows. The trees are a combination of burnt sienna and ultramarine blue and the leaves are olive green with bits of yellow and cerulean blue. By manipulating these few colors, I was able to complete this painting with a limited palette. I am missing scenes like this and I think I will head down to Taos to paint with or without the workshop. Happy Painting! Dennis Pendleton

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