San Gabriel View – California Impressionist Landscape

San Gabriel View
9 x 12 oil on linen

This painting is the first I’ve painted on linen, inspired by a workshop I took last weekend. The scene is of my own imagination/memory – a view of the San Gabriels in the northern part of the Arroyo Seco, AKA Hahamongna Park. I’ve painted there so many times that it feels like my own back yard.

Elizabeth Tolley, the instructor and gifted plein air painter, teaches a way of using transparent paints along with sheer opaques to get subtle layering effects. I tried out what I learned here, and I like the effect.

I told a friend of mine how much I loved working with the linen surface and she warned me that now that I’ve tried it I’ll be spoiled for painting on anything else. It’s pricey but oh so silky. Sigh …..

Ladyface Mountain Agoura Painting by California Impressionist Karen Winters

“Lovely Ladyface”
5 x 7 inch oil on canvas on board.

Write me for more information about this special little painting in the plein air style.

I’m working on some larger paintings at the moment, so here is one from my archives that I haven’t posted before. It’s a spring view of Lady Face (or Ladyface) Mountain near Agoura and Thousand Oaks, California. Dressed in fresh spring garb, the mountain is a beautiful part of the Santa Monica Mountain range.

Although this painting is sold, I’m happy to paint something like it again as a commission. 

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See more of my paintings on <a href=””>my website</a>.

Folklorico Dancers at Pasadena Civic Auditorium

Plein air oil painting
9 x 12 oil on canvas board

This may have been the most difficult plein air painting I’ve ever done. I’m not complaining, mind you. I love to paint outdoors and the dancers were beautiful with their colorful costumes, but it was just challenging for a variety of reasons. For one, the colors of the sunset changed moment by moment. I hadn’t taken into consideration how dark it would be when the dancers appeared in the plaza (yes, 7:30 is dark, it’s not summer any more, even though temps are still in the 90s!) And even though I arrived early to get the Paseo Pasadena background blocked in, the colors of the buildings changed by the minute. The dancers of the Clasica troupe performed for about a half an hour with one costume change. (This was the first costume, the second costumes were all white) It was the best I could do to get a suggestion of the swirling skirts. I hope the beautiful ladies will forgive me for not including faces, but I only had time for an impression of the scene – and the paint was flying!

Because plein air painting means simplifying the design and making choices about what to include and what not to include, I simplified this scene by just suggesting some of the major buildings in the Paseo Mall, the shape of the Sierra Madre Mountains, the foreground plaza and the dancers themselves. All the windows and details were reduced to a few glowing shapes to convey a night scene. The dark shapes of palms in the distance form a border to the setting. I left the painting of the ground under their feet until I got home and could assess what the painting needed.

I’m going to have to try “urban night” again sometime, and see if I can incorporate what I learned from this experience.

The dancers were appearing as part of opening night festivities for the Pasadena Symphony – and their performance was wonderful!

Laguna Beach Shores – Oil Painting Seascape by California Impressionist Karen Winters

Laguna Beach Shores
12 x 16 inches, oil painting on canvas

See all of my Laguna Beach paintings here

See more of my seascapes here

This painting is for sale. If you are interested in it please write: and use Laguna Beach Shores in the subject line. This is also on the seascape page of my website, see the link on the right under “Other Places on this Site”

For the past two summers we’ve enjoyed visiting Laguna not only to see the art festival but the sparkling beauty of the landscape, the golden shores and deep turquoise water. This new painting is a result of that inspiration.

What I especially like about this one: I like the contrast of the warm cliffs and sand against the complimentary cool blues and greens of the sea and landscaping of Heisler Park, which overlooks this serene scene.

South Pasadena Watercolor Painting – Buster’s Coffeehouse

Buster’s Coffeehouse – South Pasadena Landmark on Mission Street
11 x 15 watercolor on paper

See more of my Pasadena area paintings here

This is the third painting that I submitted for the Rialto Visions benefit art show and sale, proceeds of which will help restore the Rialto Theater on Fair Oaks Avenue in South Pasadena.

Buster’s is a favorite hangout of ours when we’re in South Pasadena. Not only do they have great coffee and the small neighborhood atmosphere you can’t find in the ubiquitous ChainBucks stores, but they sell Fosselman’s ice cream, which is truly wonderful. It’s sort of like the Cheers of coffeehouses – you always run into someone you know when you go there.

About 100 paintings were submitted for the show. Tonight at 7 pm, there’s a Collector’s Preview at the South Pasadena Library Community Room on El Centro Street. The $25 admission fee (for non-participating artists) will help support the theater’s restoration. Come meet the artists and see a lot of art, fresh off the easel.

South Pasadena Painting – Plein air Paint out – Arroyo Drive Sycamores

The Sycamores of Arroyo Drive, South Pasadena
12 x 16 oil painting

This painting is available.

This is the second in the series of paintings I’ll be bringing to the California Art Club Rialto Visions show. The Collector’s Preview is Tuesday night at the South Pasadena Library on El Centro Ave. Last week I was on Arroyo Drive, which skirts the Arroyo Seco in South Pasadena. Looking southward in the 400 block, the sycamores are just beginning to color up. In a few weeks they may either be brilliant orange and gold or a dusty brown. The coloration change seems to vary with the weather. In the afternoon the light streams through the trees, casting long shadows across the street. A baseball field in to the right, down the hill behind the trees. Although I paint architecture (and my architectural subjects have found new homes quite well) I still have a special fondness for trees and afternoon light. So how could I resist?

It’s sycamore season – that’s what it is … and I just love to paint their luminous trunks that pick up every color in the environment, at times looking violet, dusky brown or shades of orange and apricot, depending upon what’s close by.

Update on my relative: she is speaking again and seems to have weathered this storm. At 93, anything can happen to cause a cascade of unfortunate results. We are practicing watchful waiting and trusting the excellent skills of her medical team. Our thanks for all the positive thoughts.

Rialto Theater South Pasadena Plein Air Oil Painting

“The Rialto”
9 x 12
plein air oil painting on panel

Last Sunday, a group of 30 or more plein air painters affiliated with the California Art Club gathered together in South Pasadena for a paint-out at the venerable Rialto Theater, which has fallen into disrepair in the past few years. The paintings which we created will be sold in the Rialto Visions show and a portion of the proceeds will go to restoring The Rialto to its former glory. Some of us also painted other scenes of South Pasadena, which I will be posting here and on My Gallery website.

I arrived at the event in the afternoon and caught the building in partial shade from across the street.

Although there were promos on the marquee for movies and theater rentals, I opted to leave it empty so that a potential purchaser could always imagine their favorite flick playing there, and relive some fond memories.

La Canada Flintridge Bridle Trail Landscape Oil Painting

I haven’t posted in a week, but more art will be coming soon. I was painting in South Pasadena last weekend, follwed by an out of town trip followed by a close relative having a serious stroke. I’ve been painting in the midst of it all but there hasn’t been time to get it shot and uploaded. So here is one from the archives that is still available.

Descanso Gardens Path – California Impressionist Landscape

Descanso Gardens Path
9.7 x 7.6 inches
Acrylic on paper

People often ask me what the word “Descanso” means. It comes from the Spanish verb, descansar meaning “to repose or rest”. So, Descanso Gardens suggests a place of rest and relaxation.

To counteract today’s politically and economically charged climate, I thought I’d paint something that you would find restful and energizing. A place of repose and calm. A place to recharge and restore your soul. My friend Ruth told me the other day that she likes the ‘paths of light’ that I put into my paintings. It made me happy that she noticed that because they are a prominent feature of many of my landscapes. So today’s painting features all the restful elements I can conjure up … a cared-for well-tended garden, a place of rest and a path of light, beckoning to brighter times ahead.

My Secret – My Confession – Artists Reception Saturday at The Marengo Collection

This Saturday, October 4, please join me at The Marengo Collection on 494 S. Marengo Ave. in Pasadena from 2-6 pm for the opening of the 25th annual Day of the Dead event, jointly presented by The Folk Tree and the Marengo Collection.

This painting “My offering – my confession” will be on display at the Marengo Collection for the month leading up to El Dia de Los Muertos, concluding Nov 2.

Today, our local newspaper, The La Canada Valley Sun, did an Entertainment Section feature on me and the artwork, and I’m absolutely thrilled!

The online article is here: Karen Winters Day of the Dead Watercolor