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Denver Watercolor Class Teacher Dennis Pendleton

Sunlit Adobe Wall

Watercolor Painting by Dennis Pendleton. The Mabel Dodge Luhan House in Taos, New Mexico is a handsome rambling adobe building that provides so many interesting opportunities for plein air painting. I have painted there in all four seasons and the famous Taos sunlight, high desert air and the warm colors of the adobe architecture are truly inspiring. This is one little corner of the Mabel Dodge property and I was drawn to the colors in the wildflowers, adobe wall, and cotton wood trees. From my view point the tree leaned slightly to the right and I loved the way it created an umbrella effect for the composition. I found this spot by looking through my viewer which eliminated so many other things and settled my mind on what would make a good plein air composition.


I am often asked if I erase the pencil work that is visible when I am painting and my answer is no because I think it is one more thing that shows the artist at work. I broke up laughing when I looked at this painting and realized that I had identified the shape of the sky in the upper right corner with my pencil before I painted that area.


I used scumbling and a combination of hard and soft edges to give thickness to the leaves and then added dark values behind the wall to create depth. The tree trunk is a combination of burnt sienna and French ultramarine blue. The adobe wall was painted with cobalt violet and yellow ochre. The hollyhocks are cadmium red and their cast shadows on the adobe wall are a mixture of cobalt violet and rose dore. The leaves were painted with olive green, cerulean blue, French ultramarine blue, lemon yellow, and transparent yellow. The sky, which I so cleverly identified with my pencil, is a blue-gray mixed with cerulean blue and just a touch of cadmium red.


Would you like to escape from your day to day routine and spend five days painting in a magical place where you are surrounded by exciting scenes to paint and where you have the camaraderie of other artists. I am teaching my annual Taos Watercolor Workshop this May 19 - 24, 2024 and there are still a few spaces left. Come and stay at the historic Mable Dodge Luhan House and and follow in the footsteps of famous artists such as Nicolai Fechin, Victor Higgins, and Georgia O'Keefe. See more about the workshop Click Here. Happy Painting! Dennis Pendleton



Watercolor Artist's Blog by Dennis Pendleton

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