Watercolor #18 in 33 years: Norton Simon Museum Sculpture Garden

by Pasadena Adjacent


NS_Garrisonenlarge to appreciate 

Though I may not have painted a watercolor on the Saturday I picked up my kitten, I did visit the Norton Simon the Friday before. It was the last weekend to visit Manet’s The Railway. And it’s there that I decided to use the Norton Simon garden, designed by Nancy Goslee Powers, as inspiration for watercolor #18. Yes, I had to work strictly  from a photo. No ‘en plein air’ this time – the Norton Simon will not allow local watercolor groups to paint within the garden. Drawing only and I suppose limited to a pencil and eraser — sheeeesh Uncle Normy! I can understand oils and acrylics, but watercolor? Comes out with soap and water.


The female bronze is by Aristide Maillol, and I made a kind of mess of it. Across the water is a Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore and Jacques Lipchitz. Overall not a bad painting but one that points to my weaknesses: values all seem to occupy the same level. It’s not that there isn’t darks and lights, but they need to play off one another like cool and hot. Areas of expanse left simple in order to play off more complicated areas. Case in point — if I could perform a redo – I’d have lightened the grass in the foreground. The water is respectable but needs some breathing space next to it. I do like the building and the Greenish Barbara Hepworth. And as is usual, masking fluid is my friend (white birch trees).

* Examples of Ap ‘Waterlogue’ version of my photo are included in the video