Sierra Seasons – California Impressionist Oil Painting – Karen Winters

Sierra Seasons
11 x 14 oil
This painting is available, as are most of them on this blog.

We are still in a transitional period here in Southern California. Some days are in the 70s, others are in the 90s. Fall has officially been here for several weeks, but it still feels as hot as midsummer. Weather reports say that this weekend, when I do the Pasadena ArtWalk, it will be in the mid 70s – beautiful – but truly anything can happen and all we can do is make the best of it and be thankful that torrents of wind and rain are unlikely.

When I visited Evanston, Illinois this past summer for our daughter’s graduation, the weather was beautiful for our entire visit. But a week later, at an art fair in town, winds tore up the booths and sent some sailing several stories in the air. I felt so badly for the artists at that show. For many exhibitors many months of work were wiped out in an instant.

The point is, some things, like weather, for instance, and the actions of others, are out of our control. We can make ourselves miserable trying to anticipate all of the contingencies and prepare for them, or accept that things happen and not try to second guess how we could have made things turn out differently.

For those of you, like me, who are busily painting for shows and sales, there always comes a moment of second guessing before or after an event. For a competition … did I select my best work? What if the judge hates red (or green, or blue.) For a show … “If only I had brought that still life/moody landscape/sensitive portrait that I left at home. I saw someone buying one – that’s what customers must want!

Of course, this sort of thinking is just folly. Just as there’s no way to predict the vagaries of wind and weather at the micro level, there is no way to predict human behavior at that same micro level. And you can drive yourself to distraction trying to guess what the others want. All you can really do is create what YOU want. And to try to do it as best you can. You cannot control outside events, try as you will. But you can learn to adapt to their consequences.

In the words of Stoic philosopher and Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius: “You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”


  1. Marian Fortunati
    October 8, 2008

    Such sage advice!!!
    Great painting as well… Love the colors.

  2. Bill
    October 9, 2008

    K, your usual good job. I especially like that ethereal quality to the background pines.
    Yes, the weather’s improving, and I’ll be reconvening my plein air efforts soon.

  3. Timaree (freebird)
    October 9, 2008

    Another nice painting. How can so many of them be my favorites?

    I know what you mean about second guessing. I just told my sister who is doing some paintings to illustrate a book by someone else to make the paintings how she wants them. If the author still wants them (she okayed the sketches) fine and if not, I told her she will have enjoyed her painting and the results. I guess we need to keep in mind artists are selling their pictures not their souls.

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