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Denver Watercolor Class Teacher Dennis Pendleton

Experimenting with Color

Watercolor Painting by Dennis Pendleton. I have Taos on my mind because I am teaching a watercolor workshop their in May and I can hardly wait. This is another page in my sketchbook and it depicts two paintings from that area of New Mexico. Doing small paintings in a sketchbook is a way of trying out ideas that can lead to bigger paintings. Also, little paintings like this can be accomplished on days when I don't have a lot of time for painting or when I just feel like trying a few different ideas.

The one on the left was inspired by Tom Noble"s paintings of Taos and it gave me the opportunity top study how he worked with shapes, movement, and colors. Look how his undulating shapes in the land, adobe buildings, and trees add movement and rhythm while colors like the pink mountain add a unique charm. The redwing blackbirds appear to be closer because of their size and I love how they give a feeling of atmosphere and depth to the composition.

The painting on the right is a mission in a little town outside of Taos and it gave me the opportunity to play with light and shadow. I have painted this viewpoint several times and here I painted the two aspen trees, which are in shadow, a little darker to see if it would give a more dramatic effect against the light struck pink adobe. It makes me wonder how it would look if I painted the aspens in a blue violet instead of the dark gray. I think I will try that later today in my sketchbook.

The pink adobe is a mixture of yellow ochre and cobalt violet and the roof is cadmium red mixed with yellow ochre. The white trim on the front of the mission is unpainted white paper with gray mixed with cerulean blue and red for the shadow area. For the painting on the left, I used olive green for the meadow with the sheep and a mixture of raw umber, cerulean blue, and cobalt violet for the plowed land. The adobes are orange mixed with cobalt violet and the trees are olive green plus lemon yellow and ultramarine blue. Just writing this has inspired me to try a few new ideas in my sketchbook. Happy Painting! Dennis Pendleton


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