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Denver Watercolor Class Teacher Dennis Pendleton

Taos Barnyard

Watercolor Painting by Dennis Pendleton. Another watercolor from my sketchbook and this one spans two pages. Last week I talked about how sketchbooks could be used in many different ways and, for this one, I am going back through pictures that I took for painting but never used. Sometimes I just put down one impression like a chicken walking through a barnyard and, other times, I do a more complete painting like this.

One year during my Taos Watercolor Workshop, we went to this farm which was full of interesting material but it was so windy we couldn't set up and paint. I took a lot of pictures with the intention of painting from them later and it was fun seeing the pictures again. This was done from three photo's and the long horizontal format across two pages was an interesting challenge. As usual, I was most intrigued by the sunlight and shadows which tied everything together. Barnyards are always full of things like old tires, wire fences, wooden gates and you can see here how the cast shadows tie these things together. For example, look at the two tires, without the cast shadows it is just two tires next to each other. The cast shadow on the barn wall relates the tires to the barn and the cast shadow on the ground reaches out and ties the tires to the wooden gate. This keeps the composition from looking scattered and the chickens add life and movement.

The chickens were always strutting around so I decided to place one inside a cast shadow and one in the sunlight. Little decisions like this are the artist's responsibility and they can make a painting so much more interesting. Everything else is pretty much located the way it was in the photo's and that is why I choose this lower point of view rather than including the whole side of the barn. The composition is worked out now and I can decide if I want to turn this into a larger painting or just leave it as two pages in my sketchbook.

The barn is a combination of burnt sienna, raw umber and yellow ochre and the cast shadows are a mixture of burnt sienna and ultramarine blue. Indian red and mineral violet were used for the chickens. The tires are grays mixed with cerulean blue plus red and ultramarine blue mixed with burnt sienna, The two white pails are unpainted white paper with light shadows of cerulean blue and the two wooden gates are lighter versions of what I used for the tires.

What will you explore with your sketchbook? Happy Painting! Dennis Pendleton


Watercolor Artist's Blog by Dennis Pendleton

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