California Fall Landscape Oil Painting – Autumn Joy – Karen Winters

Autumn Joy
11 x 14 oil on canvas

(It was cloudy and rainy today so I couldn’t take the painting outdoors into natural light to photograph it, so there is some blurring that is not in the painting. I cant use a flash when the painting is wet, either. I’ll shoot it again when the weather is better. But it does look good in reality.)

In this typical California landscape, sycamore trees blaze with color on a local trail in Southern California. This scene is close to home in La Canada Flintridge, and I may be taking this painting next weekend to the Montrose Artwalk. If you’re a local person, look for me near the bowling alley on Honolulu Avenue in Montrose, zip code 91020.

If you’d like to purchase the painting before I take it to the artwalk, email me …

I came across a 1985 copy of Southwest Art the other day that had an article about artist Randall Lake, and some advice he had given to a student. Here are a few of the suggestions made:

“There are no short-cuts in this profession. For most of us, creativity has more to do with daily work than momentary inspiration. Don’t wait for the grand vision; work and re-work. When inspiration does come, your skills will be up to the task of using it effectively.”

“Painting is not a nine to five profession. It is a life’s work, whch demands that your schedule will vary.”

“Try many art forms and take risks. By that I mean go beyond what you are comfortable doing. If what you are doing doesn’t have the possiblity of failure, neither will it be brilliant. Exceptional accomplishment in any of the arts has always been the result of risk taking.”

“Always remain a student: learn through research, refinement and experimentation while remaining flexible. To paraphrase Henri Matisse: one should never become a prisoner of one’s style or reputation.”

Good words to live by as an artist!


  1. Marian Fortunati
    November 1, 2008

    Always inspiring, Karen….
    Good advice and lovely colors in this painting!

  2. Timaree (freebird)
    November 1, 2008

    Very nice painting. I feel like taking a walk here. It’d be so soothing.

    That is good advice. I’ve taken some classes and been told I’m not a beginner but I am – in that style or medium or… Since I’ve crafted all my life I have picked up a bit about color and design but it’s not formal. Still it helps when I finally get to doing drawing and hopefully when I move on to painting. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Ann
    November 1, 2008

    Brilliant painting! I really enjoy how you manage to capture the light in the colors of the scenes you paint. Great advice too – thanks for sharing.

  4. annie
    November 1, 2008

    So now that you just finished an oil on linen,
    how much difference did you find while working
    on this canvas?
    I love the way you captured the light glowing through
    the yellow leaves.

  5. Karen
    November 1, 2008

    Timaree … I think we are all beginners one way or another. Nothing wrong with that. It’s when we start thinking we know it all that we get into trouble. That’s why I like to continue taking classes with many different teachers who have different approaches. We can always learn something new.

  6. Karen
    November 1, 2008

    It is a different feeling painting on cotton canvas instead of linen. Slicker, smoother, at least with acrylic priming. I prefer the linen but I didn’t have a canvas handy in the right size. I thought that Blick would stock linen panels but they don’t – I’ll have to try another store or buy a batch online.

  7. M. Nova
    November 2, 2008

    Your typical California trail also looks like a typical Missouri trail! Great job as always, Karen. And thanks for sharing the quotes of inspiration. The learning never stops!

  8. Cathy (Kate) Johnson
    November 2, 2008

    Wonderful words to live by, Miss Karen, thank you for sharing them.

    Lovely scene…it really COULD be in Missouri, you know?

    And wow, your gallery of “recently sold” works is impressive indeed! Congratulations, you are living proof that all the hard work does pay off.

  9. Loriann
    November 10, 2008

    Good words to live by Karen. Thanks for the inspiration.
    Painting, or any art for that reason, is a discipline that benefits from constant practice, whether one is in the “mood” or not. Does Yo Yo Ma wait till he feels like it? No. I believe that constant practice makes more confident risk takers because nothing is precious. What do you think? Loriann
    PS Your blog is filled with beautiful work!

  10. Kay Keller
    December 7, 2008

    I love everything I have seen. I love the way you use your colors. You are an insperation!!
    Thank you

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