The City of Fountains

J.C. Nichols Fountain

This doodlewash is of one of the many fountains that have given Kansas City its nickname, The City of Fountains. The first city-built fountain was in 1889 and since then over 47 publicly-owned fountains have been added to various locations around the city.

This is such an icon in Kansas City, I knew I had to show you all, but I was stalling because it involved sketching a horse (something I hadn’t done yet), sketching standing water and spraying water (something I didn’t quite have a clue how to paint!).

For this doodlewash grabbed by Moleskine again and used Cobalt Blue, Cobalt Teal, Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Sienna, Raw Umber, Quinacridone Gold, Quinacridone Rust, Sap Green and some white gouache for the water spray. I’m sure there’s a way to do this without resorting to white gouache, but that seems hard and I’m no purist.

This particular fountain is the J. C. Nichols Memorial Fountain fountain and it’s the best-known, most-photographed of all of the city’s fountains. It is located at the east entrance to the popular Country Club Plaza district which you can see the start of via the building in the background.

The figures were sculpted by Henri Greber in 1910 and adorned the mansion of Clarence Mackay in Long Island, NY. It has four heroic horsemen which are said to represent the four rivers of the world: the Mississippi River, the Volga River, the Seine and the Rhine (Yet I’m pretty sure there are more than four rivers in the world). It’s a wonderful fountain in the city, and I’m glad that I was able to finally muster the courage the doodlewash it and check it off the list!

Profile photo of Charlie O'Shields (doodlewash)
Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!
39 Comments
  1. I always enjoy your fountain scenes, and you did a great job with the horse, Charlie! Way to go! 😀

    • Author

      Thanks so much Laura!! ❤️❤️😃Not sure I got the spray part down, but I think it at least resembled water so I give it a win! Hehe

  2. Jacob 2 years ago

    They just get better. So so beautiful – I LOVE the spray.

    I’m not surprised it’s so popular… I want to be there after seeing this!

    • Author

      Awww thanks Jaco! What a sweet thing to say! 😊 I’m glad you like it friend! Glad you like the spray! Lol…wasn’t sure I quite had it! 😉

      • Jacob 2 years ago

        Oh, I think you definitely have it! Indeed you’re becoming simply too good at this stuff. You’ve actually inspired me to have a go at a fountain-y drawing – haha, we’ll soon see what ‘not quite having it’ looks like!

      • Author

        Haha! I doubt that Jacob! I’m sure your fountain-y drawing will be amazing! Can’t wait to see it friend! 😃👍🏻

  3. Kit Schuetze 2 years ago

    Charlie you’re just getting braver and braver. Did you use your new watercolor brushes on this? if you did, they and you did a wonderful job. And by the way congrats on your new job how exciting.

    • Author

      Thanks so much Kit!! ❤️❤️😃 I did use my new brushes and I love them! They’ll be all I use from now on! Hehe

  4. Sand Salt Moon 2 years ago

    You’re cutting your chops beautifully ~ magnificent

  5. memadtwo 2 years ago

    I’m going to have to get to Kansas City one of these days…you are whetting everyone’s appetite. I hope to see more fountains too. This is beautiful. (K.)

  6. Kari 2 years ago

    The sculpture is amazing! I think this may be my favorite!

  7. Sharon Mann 2 years ago

    Very cool Charlie, love the waterfall action and horses.

  8. kirkistan 2 years ago

    Love your colors.

  9. Jodi 2 years ago

    OMG!!! How did you draw that horse so well?!?! Please don’t tell me you sketched this in 10 minutes!!!! The status of the horse is amazing. The colors are amazing. YOU are amazing! Sheesh! Blowing me away!

    • Author

      Hmmm… Okay… it was 15 for this sketch 😊 hehe…but the doodlewash took an hour as I tried to figure out how to make water splash. Jodi, you’re so sweet. Thank you friend!! ❤️❤️😃

      • Jodi 2 years ago

        GRRR! I want to draw like that! But I want it to just happen! POOF! Now you are a good sketcher Jodi! Wouldn’t that be great! 🙂

      • Author

        That would be awesome!! But unfortunately it takes constant practice…😥Some days I’m not feeling it, but then I remember that I’ll keep getting better if I just make myself DO it!! Hehe

      • Jodi 2 years ago

        I want a POOF moment, but I guess I’ll just have to keep practicing 🙂

      • Author

        Yes! And thank you for just coining “Poof Moment”! Love it! Lol

  10. Teresa Robeson 2 years ago

    I would never have guessed you had never drawn a horse or spraying water before! Holy moly, that is excellent!

    • Author

      Thanks Teresa! ❤️😃I’ve done fountains but with no real spray! Hehe…but this is my first doodlewash horse. Which technically still isn’t since it’s a sculpture of a horse, but close enough! 😉

      • Teresa Robeson 2 years ago

        Whatever you choose to call this, I call it marvelous! x

  11. Jill Kuhn 2 years ago

    Most excellent Charlie! WOWZA! Very impressive! 😊🎨💜🌟🌀

  12. artandmoondreams 2 years ago

    Fantastic! Beautiful horses, lovely fountain and great rendering of movement. The water looks so inviting I want to jump in the fountain and ride a horse…it looks like fun ;D.

  13. waynejacques 2 years ago

    Very nice Charlie. The horse is excellent and your captured the water.

  14. amaryllislog 2 years ago

    I had no idea there are so many fountains in Kanas City! This is absolutely beautiful Charlie. I believe you can paint anything and everything! So very impressive!

    • Author

      Thanks Cathe!! ❤️😃I don’t know about anything and everything, but I’m certainly not afraid to try anymore!! 😉

  15. ann christina 2 years ago

    Wow, this is wonderful!!! The horse looks gorgeous, and we all know how hard it is to draw or paint a horse!!! Great job!!! 😊🐎

    • Author

      Thanks!! Hehe…I actually had not idea whether horses were difficult or not, so maybe that helped!! 😊😊Glad you liked it!!

  16. Snehal Kank 2 years ago

    Woooooooh!!! Love this! Look at the transparency of water falling from fountain and horses just incredible!!! Great job done friend!

    • Author

      Thanks Snehal!!! ❤️😃 That makes me smile! There were so many new things in this sketch for me so I’m super happy you think it was successful my friend!!

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