Watercolor #31 in 33 Years: Mount Wilson Observatory

by Pasadena Adjacent


This is kind of how it works. I like to have a few extras in the hole. Meaning I’m working on two watercolors since having painted this one. Like the last two watercolors, this was not part of my Saturday pleine air gathering. The Southwest Museum and the Sparkletts building was, and I still need to go back and paint them. Btw – according to Sparkletts security spokesperson, we are allowed to photograph, but not paint the building (even from across the street). What would Huell Howser say?

[WARNING SHOP TALK] Mr V and I headed to Mount Wilson to escape the heat and (he) do some drawing (me) painting. Hoping to capture the 100″ Hooker telescope, I settled on this view of the 60″ telescope. Mainly because I was able to find a rock to sit on. And it’s a decent balanced composition, though the perspective is wonky. Part of raising the bar is knowing what to edit, and what to save. It’s a hard balance to achieve because you want to be fluid – expressionistic – and yet be anatomically correct.

The Ponderosa Pines are a nod to my latest watercolor hero – Chiura Obata. The fallen logs and bench got overworked. Not a surprise since they were the first thing I painted. I seem to always screw up that first element. What I especially like is the silver trunk background trees with the eucalyptus green foliage. And at the end of the day, I don’t mind the telescope. It’s kind of sweet. Like a giant mushroom.