Santa Fe Sunlight


Watercolor Painting by Dennis Pendleton. This is a watercolor painting that I did on a sunny afternoon in Santa Fe and it is now available in a giclee print. Santa Fe and Taos are famous for their beautiful sunlight which has attracted artists and art lovers for years. I discovered this scene while walking up Canyon Road which is well known for it's galleries and shops. The adobe wall and trees are great subjects but, most of all, I was interested in capturing the sunlight in my painting. To do this, I used predominately warm colors and concentrated on light and shadow.

I walked up and down and back and forth on this road to settle on this viewpoint because the cast shadows made interesting patterns and I liked the way the tree trunks directed your eye to the entrance on the adobe wall. When painting on location, I always see more colors in the cast shadows than I do from photo's. This is evident where the cast shadows cross the fallen leaves on the road. Here the colors are rich golds and yellow greens adding to the warm and sunny atmosphere that I was after.

The tree trunks are a dark warm mixture of burnt sienna and ultramarine blue and I saved the darkest dark for the entrance in the wall. The brightest yellows and golds were painted in that same area to create a strong contrast between between light and dark values and color intensity. To keep the cast shadows on the adobe wall from being to repetitive, I made sure they were all different in size with slightly different values. I also took the liberty of adding some pure cerulean blue for a cool accent. Subject matter like this is thrilling for a plein air painter and every spring and summer I make painting trips and teach a workshop in New Mexico. Happy Painting! Dennis Pendleton


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