Juan says, “I have been painting since 1969 on location with large format watercolors.”  Juan received training in portraiture and landscape from very qualified instructors.  All his teachers were renown painters. His portrait teacher believed in painting from life.  In those days abstract painting was in vogue.   Juan believes that the plein air movement has reached a point where, those who started painting in this venue 50 years ago are now in style.  “It is terrific to think of yourself as being in style.”  


Juan adds, “I’m now approaching 74 years young”.  This is a good time to invest in Juan Peña’s paintings because he is not only in style, but his paintings will appreciate in value.  Just watch Antique Roadshow on PBS.  Paintings tend to increase in value more than anything on the show.


If you think of art as an investment, you are much wiser than the person who just wants to decorate their home.  Juan believes whenever a person approaches an artist to purchase their work, he/she should consider the investment. 



Juan Pena, proficient in many forms of media, is an award winning artist who is often sought and invited to display his work at a variety of shows, galleries, and museums. His watercolor, oil, pastel, ink and pencil artworks are included in many private and corporate collections.


Recently, Juan won second place for his body of work produced during a week long paint out in Aspen, Colorado.  Juan has received notice that two of his watercolors have been selected for publication in Splash 15 to be published in 2014.  His painting, “Let the Sunshine In” was published in 2011 in Splash 12.  Both books are published by North Light Books.  Splash showcases the best in contemporary watercolors.


In 2009, one of Juan’s paintings was accepted into the Transparent Watercolor Society of America Annual Show and another painting was accepted into the National Watercolor Society Show.  Juan Pena won “Best of Show” for his watercolor at the 2010 Hearst Castle Invitational event and sale.  Fifty invited artists painted on-grounds at Hearst Castle prior to the competition and sale.  Of the seven paintings sold that evenings sale, two were created by Juan.


In 2007, one of Juan’s pencil drawings, completed on-location, was published in Strokes of Genius by North Light Books.  A watercolor, Let the Sunshine In  was accepted for exhibition with PaintAmerica and toured the United States in 2010 and 2011.


“I paint from life, or on-location for the most part, and sometimes from my imagination,” explains Juan.  The painting No Power, No Phone  was painted entirely from my imagination.  This painting was internationally published in 2004 in the book 100 Ways to Paint a Landscape, published in International Artist Magazine.  Juan’s painting is number 96.


Juan Peña began on-location (plein air) watercolor painting in 1959 while studying with renown watercolorist/teacher, Vernon Nye at Pacific Union College in Angwin, California.  After Juan’s Army tour of duty, he studied with renown portrait instructor in oil & pastel, Thomas Leighton of San Francisco.  Juan continued his studies of on-location painting in watercolor with the renown artist/teacher Jade Fon Woo of the San Francisco Bay Area. 


“In California, our weather and light is conducive to painting outdoors year-around.”, says Juan.  Juan currently lives in the Sierra foothills of California with his wife Kay and has a studio in downtown Auburn, California. 






I will be using the following: (Golden Fleece brushes from Cheap Joes are good)

1” flat brush (minimum & with scrapping handle)                

2” flat wash brush,                  

Large round brushes, assorted sizes (#10, #12 #24 or #30 #36).                                

White sable rigger #6 & #4


A sketch pad or book of white bond paper  8 ½” x 11” (minimum) for notes and sketches  (Doesn't have to be watercolor paper)                                  

I will be using the following:  

Full sheets of watercolor paper 300 lb. 22”x 30”        

D’Arches,  Fabriano or half sheets of 25” x 40” single elephant D’Arches 260 lb. (20” x 25”)        

or 140 lb. cold press, half and quarter sheet is fine.


A board for your watercolor paper.  Tempered one side masonite board or shower board.            

1” bigger than your paper size.


Winsor/Newton or Holbein – no substitutions.                                                                                                                                                

Winsor red              

Winsor blue (reddish tint)

Holbein Permanent Yellow Deep

Optional colors:          

Holbein Permanent Lemon Yellow          

Permanent Violet      

Cad scarlet       

Quinactridone magenta  

French Ultramarine blue  

Winsor/Newton or Holbein                               


Chinese white


French easel or a more economical folding/upright shopping cart with wheels, which can be purchased at variety stores & range in price from $12-$25.                                                         

PALETTE:      Any white tray, like a Butcher’s tray, plastic mixing tray or Juan Peña’s wooden palette


Four clips or masking tape to hold down paper.  A soft pencil and a kneaded eraser.  A small sponge, paper towels or toilet tissue, and soap.  Two water containers, one for clean drinking water and the other for painting water.  One plastic bag for garbage.


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