Denver Watercolor Class Teacher Dennis Pendleton

Gare Saint Lazare


Watercolor Painting by Dennis Pendleton. I honestly believe it won't be long before the virus is under control worldwide and we can all travel free of worry. This painting is of Gare Saint Lazare, one of the train stations in Paris. Claude Monet did an entire series of paintings here when steam engines were still being used. He was fascinated by the clouds of steam that filled the top of the station and the new modern apartment buildings that you could see through the back of the station. Those buildings today are part of the historical charm of Paris. The station remains today as it looked in his paintings except for the absence of the old steam engines. Trains were a new mode of transportation that allowed the French Impressionists an inexpensive way to travel into the countryside to paint in plein air. The hustle and bustle of the station was fun to capture in paint and I really enjoy adding figures, with all their different gestures, which always give life to a painting. The rough textures in the tracks and architecture were the perfect place to use dry brush along with hard, soft, and broken edges. Just like Monet, I worked to capture the atmosphere in the station with the glass ceiling and the humid temperature. I used lemon yellow for the glass in the back and cerulean blue for the glass roof, making sure that the details got lost in the wet paint. In case you are wondering, I didn't climb down onto the tracks to take pictures, I stood back on the platform and used a zoom lens. I also did sketches and color studies in the station. For the weathered colors on the front of the engine, I used orange mixed with lemon yellow and venetian red. I also added yellow ocher with burnt sienna and then ultramarine blue with a little raw umber for the windshield. I don't have black on my palette because I prefer to mix it with burnt umber and ultramarine blue so that you can see hints of both of those colors when the paint is applied to the paper. If you look carefully at the darkest parts of this painting you can see how that worked. When I get to Paris again I think I will start a series of paintings of this gritty yet interesting station. Happy Painting! Dennis Pendleton

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