Denver Watercolor Class Teacher Dennis Pendleton

Rain On 5th Avenue


Watercolor Painting by Dennis Pendleton. It is raining in Denver today so I decided to show this painting I did of rain on 5th Avenue in Manhattan. I was only there for a few days and was thrilled when it rained because I saw all the possibilities for paintings. This painting was under glass when I took this picture so I apologize for the reflection of lights next to the traffic light on the right. I don't know how many taxicabs are left in Manhattan thanks to Uber and Lift but they were fun to paint with their bright yellow colors and red lights.

Rain adds a certain atmosphere that is difficult to capture in paint. The values change and some of the colors appear muted. I used dripping paint and set my easel on an angle so that gravity would pull the wet paint down and add to the illusion of rain. The use of soft edges as colors dripped into each other also added to this effect. The wet street was an interesting challenge and I used different grays in different values to create contrast and make the streaks from the tires visible. These streaks disappear in a few seconds and I was glad I had captured them with my camera. Cerulean blue and red were mixed for the lighter grays and burnt sienna and ultramarine blue were mixed for the darker values. I bent down the trees and branches from Central Park on the right and the evergreens on the left so that they would look heavy with rain.

For the buildings I used more muted colors and let some of them soften into each other. I wanted the buildings to drop down like the walls of a canyon and, along with the one point perspective from the street, I felt the viewer would be drawn into the painting and right up 5th Avenue. Rain is predicted for Denver again tomorrow and I think I will head downtown and look for some interesting rainy cityscapes to paint. Happy Painting! Dennis Pendleton


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