Crest Pines

“Crest Pines” 15″ x 11″ watercolor on paper

Pines and summer wildflowers on the Angeles Crest – the newest in my trails of the San Gabriel series.

This weekend, at two different watercolor demos held at Watercolor West and the National Watercolor Society, both demonstrating artists mentioned how they like to work in themes and series. I hadn’t been consciously thinking that way, but I now realize that I keep doing similar paintings of trails or byways and our local mountains. So I guess you could call that a series. Although I don’t know that I’ll make every upcoming painting a part of that, I’m sure that tomorrow’s plein air is likely to be a continuation, and I’ll be doing more in the future. I do find that by working consistently on similar subject matter that it reinforces what I’m learning and experimenting with.

As with others in this series, the only pencil drawing was about a half a dozen lines to indicate horizon, mountain range, the shapes of the two prominent pines and the shape of the trail. Everything else was ‘drawn’ with the brush as I painted.

I used about four brushes for this: a one inch flat, a 12 round, a 4 round and a #6 liner. The colors were primarily chrome yellow, thalo blue, payne’s gray and a bit of leftover burnt sienna from yesterday’s painting


  1. Ann Fortenberry
    November 14, 2006

    So, now that you consciously realize that you have been doing a series :) does this mean we will see even more of your spacious “mountain views” and paths that we so love? Yay.

  2. Pamela
    November 15, 2006

    perfect colors. I need to learn how to focus on something and let the other stuff just be less of an incumbrance
    (like the rest of the picture… just nice colors and easy on the eyes. … no detail)

  3. Renate
    November 15, 2006

    Beautiful, as always!

  4. TeriC
    November 15, 2006

    I love this Karen! The lights and darks just dance together.

  5. Karen
    November 15, 2006

    Pamela, yes … it’s easy to want to make everything important, but it creates a sort of hyperrealism that looks unnatural because our eyes work like cameras, and when we are focusing on one thing, all the rest is less focused, even in a big landscape. We just don’t notice it because our eyes flit back and forth from background to foreground so quickly that we think we’re seeing it all in focus. But at any one moment, only a few things are really sharp and clear. It’s something I’m trying to rmemember to do.

  6. Fran aka Redondowriter
    November 16, 2006

    When I returned from Laughlin last week, we cut over Angeles Crest from Littlerock. I hadn’t been up there for years, though was often there in my younger years when I lived in Sunland and when my folks lived in Littlerock. You have many interesting places to draw and paint right out your back door.

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