Fall in Winter – in La Canada

Fall in Winter – 9 x 12 watercolor

Today is the winter solstice and here in La Canada, California, the sycamores finally decided to show some fall color. All I can say is “it’s about time!” This is an impressionistic painting of Flint Canyon – an equestrian trail that borders a small creek here in our town. Due to the recent rains the water was plentiful, reflecting a brilliant blue sky (not shown — you’ll just have to imagine it). One of these days I’m going to go back to Hall Canyon and see how the sycamores are doing up there – and hope that there won’t be any mountain lions about.

This was painted with a very large round brush, quickly, and with a lot of thick, rich paint. The time of day depicted is about 11 am – and look how low the light is … you can tell by the light-struck sides of trees. If it were later in the year everything would be in deep shade with no sideways light.

A few things about leaves. Experienced teachers have always cautioned (whether painting in oil or watercolor) not to paint every leaf on a tree because it looks too fussy. Rather, paint the mass of leaves and then put a few distinct leaf shapes in to suggest the rest. Viewers are pretty clever, and we don’t have to put in minute details get the idea across. I think it’s rather like telling a good joke. If you have to explain it, it didn’t work.


  1. Terry Banderas
    December 23, 2007

    Beautiful art. I love your style and the brilliance of your colors. Have a Merry Christmas and a great 2008.

  2. wendy
    December 23, 2007

    Wow, that’s a change from snow! Bold and beautiful. I was watching a TV show (repeat) of Rolf Harris painting a portrait of the queen, chatting away as he made massive sweeps of bright colours – no black anywhere. He didn’t seem to use glazes just thick paint on the brush. There are so many possibilities with paint and we need to explore all the possibilities don’t we and watercolour can be bold or soft.

  3. Donn
    December 24, 2007

    Like the looseness of this one. Very nice indeed! Colors are bright and pleasing.

  4. Jana Bouc
    December 30, 2007

    Hi Karen, Thanks for posting your year end summary and favorites. If I were choosing, I’d put this one in the favorites. It’s really beautiful and so free and expressive!

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