High Sierra Landscape Painting – Bishop, Owens Valley

High Sierra Fall Color
(a ranch near Bishop, in the Owens Valley)
14 x 18 oil on canvas

As I continue with my High Sierra fall series, this painting portrays a tranquil pasture land, which I’m pretty sure is named Round Valley. It’s near Bishop. The peaks may be Mt. Morgan and Mt. Abbot, or perhaps the one on the right is Mt. Tom. I’m not too good with my geography of that region, so I’d appreciate knowing the names so I can be accurate.

Sierra Cottonwoods – California Landscape Oil Painting – Impressionist Karen Winters

16 x 20″
Oil on canvas

More Sierra Nevada paintings here

You will find other scenes from the same location at the above link.

These beautiful strong cottonwoods were an irresistible subject. The painting was one of the ones I took to Descanso Gardens for our holiday show, through early January. I have replaced the two sold paintings (Heaven and Nature Sing and this one) with two others. No empty spaces on the walls.

I heard on the news that there is enough snow around Mammoth for skiing – so many storms must be falling on the Sierras. Can a winter painting trip be far away?

Langham Huntington Hotel Wedding reception – plein air painting – Karen Winters

Courtyard Wedding Reception, Saturday, Nov. 22, 2008 at the Huntington Langham Hotel
Original plein air painting, 9 x 12 oil on linen on board

This past Saturday I had the pleasure of painting at the Huntington Langham Hotel in San Marino as a participant in an “artist in residence” program. I was the participant sponsored by the Segil Fine Art gallery in Monrovia. Because a wedding reception was planned for the early evening, I passed the afternoon painting indoors and brought a photo reference to work from. As night fell, wedding guests filtered in from the ceremony which was held in the garden. Although my painting time was up, I couldn’t leave, transfixed by the beautiful party. Within a short period of time it became very difficult to see the guests, so I used a little imagination to fill in the spaces and to make up for my myopia.

I don’t know the happy couple but perhaps some day they will google their wedding date and the name of the Huntington Hotel and find this memory of a very special occasion, and I hope it will bring them a smile. I think I heard someone say that the bride grew up in Shanghai, but that was only a snippet of a conversation overheard in passing.

And yes, I would love to do this again. So if you’re planning a wedding and want a plein air painter to create a unique fine art memory of your event – in a garden, a meadow, a beach or any special place, please feel free to ask.

Brighter Tomorrows – Batiquitos Lagoon Path, near Carlsbad, California – California impressionist oil painting by Karen Winters

Brighter Tomorrows
20 x 24 inches – oil on canvas
Batiquitos Lagoon, near Carlsbad, California, San Diego County

This is the largest oil painting I’ve painted so far, and I got a great deal of enjoyment from the process. I’ll likely be doing more larger size works, some in anticipation of my first solo show next May. This one is going to Descanso Gardens for our Encore Holiday show, hanging Friday and continuing at least through January 6 (maybe longer.)

Batiquitos Lagoon is a beautiful wetlands area popular with birders and hikers. We spent the later part of an afternoon there, and can hardly wait to get back for more. Because the light was changing so quickly, this large painting was not painted on site but was done in studio from my own photo references, on-site observations and field notes.

When it came time to name this painting, I first thought of simply entitling it “Batiquitos Lagoon Trail,” but it occurred to me that in these very stressful times something more hopeful and optimistic might better represent the feeling I tried to capture. So it is Brighter Tomorrows, and may yours be brighter with each passing day, too.

Sierra Nevada Oil Painting Landscape – Heaven and Nature Sing – California Impressionist painting

“Heaven and Nature Sing”
16 x 20 inches oil on canvas

Although this one is sold, you can see more Sierra Nevada paintings here

This is one of my favorite new paintings inspired by our High Sierra trip, and it represents a view of the Sierras in the afternoon, not far from Crowley Lake. In the afternoon, when a storm is in the air, the clouds hover around the top of the mountain to be backlit by the sun. The effect is nothing short of spectacular and truly expresses a feeling of spiritual joy. With that in mind, as I was searching for a title for this, I remembered a line from the Christmas carol, “Joy to the World.” The refrain is “and heaven and nature sing …” Being there and seeing this magnificent mountain crowned with light, I truly felt that heaven and nature were singing. So there you have it.

The most challenging part of this painting, to my surprise, was not painting the clouds and the light – it was defining the many gullies and ridges, all in deep shadow, that decorate the eastern slope. The values are very close but there needs to be enough definition for the eye to read it as a sculptured geological form … but not SO much definition that it appears that the shapes are light-struck. So much in that area has to be suggested rather than spelled out, lest it lose some of the air of mystery. And *that* is a constant challenge.

This painting will be among the select group of new works that I’ll be taking to Descanso Gardens on Friday morning for our Encore year end show. So if you are in LA and want to see it in person, that’s where it will be. If you are out of town and wish to purchase it, please let me know and I will replace it in the show with another of my recent works.

Santa Barbara, Montecito California painting benefit – Before the Wildfire

“Santa Barbara Glow” – near Cielito Rd – acrylic on 140# watercolor paper
7.5 x 11 inches

A portion of the proceeds of this painting will be donated to the Santa Barbara County Chapter of the Red Cross.

One of my artist friends and blog readers, Timaree, just reminded me in a previous comment that I have probably painted some areas of Santa Barbara and Montecito that have been affected by the wildfires. She is right. I know that this painting is from one of the evacuation areas. What it looks like now, I don’t know. It is from an area near Cielito St. above Santa Barbara. I know because I often make notes in my sketchbook of locations I especially like, so that I can return to them in different seasons.

Now I really want to get back to this open land – and hope it escaped devastation. This is a beautiful part of California, so typical of oak-studded foothills and woodlands. It breaks my heart to think that it might be a while before nature recovers, as she always does, and carpets the hillsides with fresh growth.

This painting is still in my collection and I will be posting several more in the next few days. If anyone would like to purchase this or one of the others I will donate a portion of the proceeds to the Santa Barbara County Chapter of the Red Cross.

California Oak Trail – Impressionist Landscape Oil Painting

Morning on the Trail – Hall Canyon Oaks
Oil on hardboard panel
11 x 14 inches

This is a painting that I began last year, put aside and then worked on again recently with a fresh outlook. I think that all painters have paintings like these. Either we were too busy at the time working on other paintings, or somehow lost interest along the way, or otherwise decided that the time was not right to bring it to finish.

It’s been hanging where I see it whenever I pass by. Enough repetitive glances and I start thinking … what if I tried this, or that? What if I corrected this challenging passage? What if I tried a different color here or there? Or added some different shaped branches?

The fact is, until the time that a painting is signed sold and on its way to a new home, any one may be a “work in progress” and as our experience and vision changes, so does the way we express ourselves. And just as the natural world changes and morphs with time and the seasons, so do we.

California Art Club – Women’s City Club Show

“As the Parade Passed By”
12 x 15 watercolor on paper

Yesterday I was very happy to learn that this painting has been juried into the upcoming California Art Club exhibition, “Concertos in Color” at the historic Blinn House in Pasadena. The opening reception will be December 7, from 5-7 pm and it is free to all to attend. I hope that you will join me there to see wonderful works of art from painters all over California. I am thrilled and honored that this is the third time my work has been included in the biannual show.

I am also posting this as a reminder that the holidays are coming and I am delighted to paint portraits (and other subject matter) on commission. So if you’ve been thinking of a very special gift for a friend, family member or business associate, please write me. (karen@karenwinters.com) … and put commission in the subject line.

California Original Oil Landscape – Sierra Vista

Sierra Nevada Vista

8 x 10 inches
Oil on canvas panel

Contact the artist for price information

A California original impressionist oil painting, inspired by autumn in the Eastern Sierra Nevadas. Mt Abbot and Mt. Morgan are featured rising above the Owens Valley, dressed in fall colors. Wildflowers still bloom, contrasting boldly with the brilliant blues of the mountain and skies. Although the mountaintops seem tranquil we were told that 90 mph winds were blowing off the summit. Down in the valley gusts blew us around as well.

Eastern Sierra Oil Painting – Autumn Cottonwoods

Autumn Cottonwoods
(Owens Valley, on Hwy 395)
12 x 16 oil on linen panel
More Sierra Nevada paintings here

Last weekend we took a trip up into the Eastern Sierras for a painting and photo trip. Unfortunately the wind gusts were up to 15 miles per hour which made keeping a canvas on an easel pretty much impossible, so I made use of my sketchbook and camera instead. Best of all was the experience of being there and seeing the subtle change in the colors of the day from pre-dawn moments to post-sunset nocturnes. The days were long but oh so rewarding.

What attracted me to this scene was the contrast of the oranges and golds of the cottonwoods juxtaposed with the blue violets of the mountains. No exaggeration, the Eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada chain really is that color in the afternoon as the sun makes its descent into the west. One more good storm and the leaves will all be gone.

If you’re in Southern California, I’ll be showing my work at the Montrose Art Walk this Saturday, November 8 on Honolulu Avenue.