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Spring Comes to the Arroyo – Karen Winters – Arroyo Seco daily painting

January 21st, 2008

“Spring Comes to the Arroyo” – 12 x 16 oil on canvas

Spring is first announced the the appearance of bright green grasses in the arroyo. These may emerge within weeks of the winter rain, covering the parched mountains and hillsides with brilliant chartreuse fuzz. Rosettes of mustard plants germinate and provide patches of darker green among the annual rye sprouts. Eventually the mustard grows tall , blossoms, and blankets acres of ground with yellow mist.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to see watercolorist Jerry Stitt demonstrate. He brings a great amount of energy and passion to his work, along with remarkable technique. One of the quotes that stayed with me was “I don’t paint what things ARE, I paint what they do.” He doesn’t want us to just see a boat, a lake, a hillside … he wants us to FEEL the sweep of the windblown tree, the flatness of the desert, the weight of the mountains. I learned a lot not only from what he painted by how he painted it as he put his whole self into his work with large gestures. Someone once said if he had a native American name it should be “Dances with Brushes” and that’s not far from the truth. He is also a trained ballroom dancer and that elegance and confidence comes through in the way he paints as well. A fascinating and talented painter. If you have a chance to see him demo (he lives in Sausalito) don’t miss it.

7 Comments »

  1. A beautiful painting, Karen. I love the shadows on the top mountain. The whole thing is awesome. I start my first oil painting class this wednesday and I am very excited.

    Comment by Ellen Brandin — January 21, 2008 @ 3:36 pm
  2. I love your trees and the colour of that subtle sky!

    Comment by Katherine — January 21, 2008 @ 4:51 pm
  3. I love the feeling in this painting! The play of the colors and textures off of each other is outstanding! SIMPLY BEAUTIFUL

    Comment by Tami — January 21, 2008 @ 5:34 pm
  4. Oh, all the words and imagery are great. I mean, of the demonstration AND the painting. And, yes, the promise of mustard blossoms… Sigh.

    Comment by Wendee — January 21, 2008 @ 10:57 pm
  5. This painting is fabulous. It is perfect.

    Comment by shea — January 22, 2008 @ 1:30 am
  6. I think it’s that contrast in color temperature, at least partly, that makes your painting attractive. I also appreciate (and like) the subtle color variety in this scene, as in most your work. A painting I wouldn’t mine walking in.

    Comment by Bill — January 22, 2008 @ 12:01 pm
  7. Good post. You make some great points that most people do not fully understand.

    “This past weekend I had the opportunity to see watercolorist Jerry Stitt demonstrate. He brings a great amount of energy and passion to his work, along with remarkable technique. One of the quotes that stayed with me was “I don’t paint what things ARE, I paint what they do.” …

    I like how you explained that. Very helpful. Thanks.

    Comment by chiz — March 5, 2008 @ 7:21 am

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