Sierra Blessing – California Eastern Sierra Nevada Oil Painting Commission

Sierra Blessing
18 x 24″ landscape oil painting on canvas
SOLD (commission)

Today, I finished this Eastern Sierra Nevada painting with much love and joy, and shared a photo of it with the client who commissioned it. I have since signed it and will give it a protective coating in a few days and then it will be time to leave my studio and go to live with a new family.

The origin of the painting has an interesting story, I think. The individual contacted me because she had seen a painting of mine on my website of a location close to where she lives. But as we got to talking, it turned out that she also liked my painting of the Sierras, a place where she and her family had camped together and enjoyed many happy days together.

This painting is a reflection of one of those special places, with a view of Lone Pine and Mt. Whitney. It has a special significance to the family that makes it especially sacred to them. I feel honored that she entrusted me to interpret this spot artistically, and I hope that long after I am gone it will be passed down in their family.

For me, this is what making art is all about. It is about taking something in the real world and, through the application of study, practice and technique, turning it into a creation that will capture a feeling, a moment in time, a spiritual insight. I love painting plein air, and I do it as much as I can, but sometimes I rely on my field studies, sketches, direct observation and other references to re-create a scene. That was the process I used here.

I love this painting so much that I am going to paint it again, in a slightly different size, probably a little bigger … and no doubt I will interpret it a little differently. That always happens.

Out of the wreckage of the runaway truck accident, there are some positives. Yesterday my dear husband went to the store and recovered three paintings which the store owner had carefully found and put up on the counter in a safe place. (The vase of peonies, a pink magnolia watercolor which I had forgotten was there, and the vertical eucalyptus painting.) Today my husband visited just as a cleanup crew was arriving and showed them a poster we made with small images of the remaining six works. They promised to keep an eye out for them. If they find even one or two more I will be very happy. And I am optimistic that they will!

As a dear friend of mine is fond of saying “You can’t see around life’s corners.” Indeed we can’t. Which is why it is especially important to do our best and be kind to each other at every opportunity.

And now, it’s time for me to get back to the easel!


  1. Marian Fortunati
    April 3, 2009

    To my prolific friend who paints gifts of the heart and soul… I’m glad it was just your paintings that were smashed. I was so sorry to hear of the accident and sorry to read about your losses. More horrible for those whose bodies or whose loved ones were hurt.

    Be well, Karen. This painting is magnificent. The owner will be so proud to have it in her home. Way to go!!

  2. winna
    April 3, 2009

    I don’t know why this paiting makes me tear up—I’ve been there and the strong mountain shapes with the meadow flowers brings it sll back to me—how glorious it all is

  3. Leslie
    April 3, 2009

    Karen, this is beautiful!!! What a wonderful story, too. I know the family will love this and indeed pass it down to future generations. :)

    I’m so glad some of your paintings were recovered – I hope the workers find more!

  4. Mindy Thompson
    April 3, 2009

    Hey Karen,
    I’ve been out of commision for a bit and came back to try to catch up on emails. I saw the truck incident on the news – and I know the area this happened. I grew up in Glendora, CA – and have often shopped at the *old* Sport Chalet – and I realized what happened to you! I am so sorry. But even having said that, I appreciate your positive attitude and the comments you’ve made. Thanks for being YOU.


  5. Jenny
    April 3, 2009

    Lovely painting. I especially like the background mountains and sky and the way the sunlit area is set off.

    So glad some of your work was located, and I hope more will be found. At least you have the photos of the originals in case you ever feel up to giving them another try.

    The news of the wreck was horrible, and only timing made it less than it could have been. Though the driver was arrested, I wonder if the state is more responsible for having an impossible road situation.

  6. Pat Everson
    April 4, 2009

    Just love your painting style. Have not had a chance to keep up with your blogs, but did today and so sorry to here of the accident. You are so lucky it was just your paintings that were lost. Does give one chills as you say. I so admire your drive for painting and how much better you are getting over the last year or so that I have been following your work. Not that is needed improvement, but hopefully we all grow the more that we paint. Keep up the great work, you are an inspiration to me.

  7. Cathy (Kate) Johnson
    April 4, 2009

    Isn’t lovely when a client is pleased?! I’m so glad you were able to paint, after the trauma, and obviously well…moving forward is not only better than moving backward, but really the only road open. We just don’t always grasp that..

  8. Susan
    April 4, 2009

    Karen, the majesty of this painting with the warming light of serenity. How perfect. A real add on to know how valued it is by it’s family. Thanks for sharing a hint of this lovely painting’s story with us.
    You are such an amazing mentor/model.

  9. Leslie Saeta
    April 5, 2009

    This really is a lovely painting and also great news about the “rescued” paintings. Glad you are back at the easel and doing what you do best!

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