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.


  1. Timaree (freebird)
    November 6, 2008

    That’s beautiful Karen. I’ve been up and down that road a few times. You have picked one of the most beautiful states to paint!

  2. Jan
    November 7, 2008

    The colors are fabulous. The trees have this wonderful glow and depth to them. The linen canvas really shows off the subtle dabs of color you used.

  3. Linda
    November 7, 2008

    That’s absolutely beautiful!

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