Pasadena Adjacent

Life Lived on the Edge of Pasadena

Watercolor #20 in 33 Years: Holy Family Church


Church.Garrisonenlarge to appreciate

En Plaine Air Painting #20 on a Saturday morning. This session took place at the highly baroque ‘Holy Family Church’ located in South Pasadena. Baroque is a bitch. And since I’m not one to focus (crop) in on a manageable area, I get to experience the pain of full ‘representation’ in all it’s gory glory. But I did pretty good too. An added bonus is that one of our watercolor fellows is a member of the church and wants to include our results in the Church’s book store. That’s one way to get me into a church.

[WARNING SHOP TALK] I was able to move my Spanish revival palette into a warm yellow/green rather then the usual purple/pink spectrum. There’s a little bit of wonky happening with the architecture. I’m good with that. Yes, there are areas I’d like to redo; mainly the lighting on the different layers of concrete facade as it goes back in space, (check the original photo).  A favorite is the incense cedar’s color system on the far right. It reminds me of orange crate art and other prints of that era. Oh, and the lights; note the illumination. And just to make sure no one thinks the hillside in the far distance is the San Gabriel’s, I’ve added the South Pasadena water tower.

*The Waterlogue app translations are in the video

Watercolor #19 in 33 Years: Audubon Nature Center


Audubonenlarge to appreciate

En Plaine Air Painting #19 on a Saturday morning. This session took place in the land of the California Crafts Movement: specifically the Audubon Nature Center above the Arroyo. The local movement was a California variant of a school traceable to English designer William Morris which produced a distinct regional amalgam of Japanese, Native American symbolism and elements from the state’s Spanish-Mexican heritage. I like to think I’m part of an updated continuation of that tradition via location and chosen materials; ceramics and watercolor.

Wave at Petrea over at Living Vicuriously  She was on the other side of the Arroyo at the same time. Yodelee ay he Oooo!  

WARNING SHOP TALK: I like this painting. Though it contains my usual sins – screwing up the first elements I paint. And usually the defining elements of the composition [unidentifiable green shape and foreground bridge]. It’s also using an array of my favorite hot cools (lavender) cools (prussian blue) and warm tones. And though some may see a little to much liney liney ( think Tim Gunn’s matchy matchy) — how can one not be charmed by the dancing sycamore and flowering sage in the upper right hand corner? (thanks to my zealous use of masking fluid). It’s not just El Alisal, in my world it’s the land of dancing sycamores. Yes, you may use the term lyrical

*note the birds


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


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


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