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.


  1. Kim Saxe
    November 19, 2008

    Oh Karen,

    Wow, this is beautiful. I was up in the high country of Yosemite in mid-October, and it was just stunning. You captured it wonderfully.

    I also enjoyed the book, Obata’s Yosemite. He was a Japanese American who went up in the high country for 2 months in the late 1920’s. He painted all day every day, and came home with 100 paintings that blend West with East beautifully. Your work reminds me of him.


  2. Brenda
    November 19, 2008

    Wow – this is one of your best (and that’s saying a whole lot!) Absolutely you have captured those special times in the high sierras (my ultimate favorite place in our beautiful state). You may have found the gullies to be challenging, but you met that challenge. . . in spades!! I honestly don’t see how this could be any better.

  3. Shari
    November 19, 2008

    oh WOW this is GORGEOUS!!

  4. Leona
    November 19, 2008

    My goodness, this is beautiful and sooooo realistic!

  5. annie
    November 20, 2008

    There are the mountains and sky and space
    I love that you do so well.

  6. Jackie
    November 20, 2008

    I really really like this one – beautiful! You’ve got the balance just right.

  7. toni
    November 20, 2008

    Hi Karen,

    Wow this one really caught my eye as it came across my reader.
    You are an inspiration to me. Beautiful

  8. K.Idaka
    November 20, 2008

    Beautiful Paintings

    Hello,Its very very nice and wonderfull.
    your work is so fantastic
    I enjoyed your paintings!

  9. Karen Hargett
    November 20, 2008

    OMG this is beautiful! Perfect title too.

  10. carole
    November 20, 2008

    That is GORGEOUS! So, so beautiful.

  11. Jan
    November 20, 2008

    Wow, Karen, this is gorgeous! Thank you for sharing the story behind this beautiful painting and the challenges you faced. You are an inspiration!

  12. Lynn
    November 20, 2008

    Karen, that’s the perfect title for this painting. It really does sing! Beautiful!

  13. Leslie
    November 25, 2008

    Oh, this is beautiful!!! I can just see the angels…

  14. Marian Fortunati
    December 6, 2008

    Somehow I missed this earlier! It’s gorgeous Karen….
    See you tonight.

  15. chris hack
    January 14, 2009

    love the clouds on this one. and the blend with the mountains. really amazing. brillaint.

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