Way of the Oak – California Impressionist Landscape Oil Painting of Oak Tree on Trail – by Karen Winters
“The Way of the Oak”
12 x 16 oil on canvas
This graceful old oak arches over a trail on Eaton Canyon, beckoning the hiker to walk under the arch and continue their journey. Scenes like this are typical of trails all over California, though. From the Arroyo Seco of Pasadena, the Cerro Gordo campgrounds of California’s Central Coast, the equestrian trails of La Canada, where I live, and the trails of Irvine Park, Malibu Creek State Park, Agoura, and more. I’ve seen so many places like this that it is truly iconic of California, especially in the springtime when the grasses are still fresh and only beginning to turn to gold.
9 x 12 oil painting on canvas
Dramatically lit by a blazing sunset, this lone eucalyptus stands guard against the coming night. The gray-green foliage, stirred by the breeze, takes on the sunset colors. I’ve seen scenes like this in Carpinteria, Orange County, Cambria, San Luis Obispo, Fillmore, Fallbrook, and even close by in Pasadena and La Canada. Eucalyptuses are everywhere in Southern and Central California.
“Divers Cove, Laguna Beach
8 x 10 oil on Belgian linen plein air panel
California seascape oil painting”
The surf gently rolls into Diver’s Cove in Laguna, near Heisler Park. Only a few walkers are enjoying the moment. I think the building to the right is the Seacliff Apartments, but I couldn’t be sure. I love Laguna – such a gorgeous spot.
8 x 10 oil painting on plein air panel
Some fresh new oaks in the Conejo Valley, near Agoura. The hills are no longer pure emerald green, and the seed heads of the grasses are turning shades of brown and mauve. An interesting color combination against the dark rich green of the live oaks. I’m going to be painting on a nature preserve soon where there are abundant oak trees among wild flowers. I’m getting in a little practice ahead of time to get in the mood.
“When California Hills Turn Gold”
9 x 12 oil painting on plein air panel
See more of my paintings on my website
The winter season has almost departed and the bright fresh green of springtime is starting to leave some of our hills. Soon they will all be shades of brown and tan, creamy white with wild grasses with hints of violet and sienna. This transition is as predictable as the fall return of Santa Ana winds and the carpet of poppies that covers the foothills of the western Sierra.
California Landscape Spring Pastel Painting – Quiet Spring Reflections – Western Sierra Foothills – by Karen Winters
Quiet Spring Reflections
9 x 12 pastel on sanded paper
Western Sierra Foothills, near Visalia
I enjoy pastel painting although I don’t do it as often nowadays as oil. But I’m getting back into it. For this subject, I thought the soft spring foliage lent itself to the soft buttery texture of the pastel on sanded paper. I toned the paper first with a warm under painting, then let it dry, then painted into it directly with hard, then soft pastels, finally accented with pastel sticks.
Pastel has advantages over oil: there is less opportunity to make mud when working in layers alla prima. But there is the disadvantage of not being able to use transparent layers in the same way one can with watercolor and oil.
Surprisingly, I use many of the same techniques that I do in oil. Instead of doing drybrush, I drag the side of the pastel horizontally over a layer. Negative painting is much the same as with oil. Edges can be lost and found in much the same way. Getting the color right is the most difficult part. Virtually any color can be mixed with a warm and cool of each primary, plus black and white, in oil. In pastel you need to have a kaleidoscope of sticks unless you mix and blend some on the paper.
Whichever medium I choose, it’s still California impressionism and I think it still looks like something painted by me.
“Pride Mountain Vineyard, Autumn 2010”
9 x 12 vineyard oil painting on plein air linen panel
Private Collection (sold)
Last autumn, while visiting our children over Thanksgiving, we had the pleasure of visiting this wonderful vineyard on Spring Mountain near St. Helena, above Napa Valley, California. The wines were superb and we thoroughly enjoyed the tour which was given by a very knowledgeable and entertaining man who was also a refugee from the advertising business, like me. The day was magical in every way. We picnicked on a hillside overlooking the vineyard fall color. Bread, wine, cheese, sausages, more wine, fall color, crisp air … ahhhh.
This commissioned painting evolved out of that delicious fall inspiration. I’d love to go back there again to paint in another season – maybe while the grapes are still on the vines.
Show reminder: The California Art Club 100th Annual Gold Medal show continues at the Pasadena Museum of California Art – through April 21. Check the museum website for days and hours. Be sure to see my painting, “Gaviota Springtime.” It’s in the side room where the smaller works are hung.
San Luis Obispo Plein Air Landscape Painting – When Sunrise Fills the Sky – SLO Art by Karen Winters
SOLD to a collector from Nipomo …
“When Sunrise Fills the Sky”
11 x 14 oil on linen plein air panel
Near Nipomo, San Luis Obispo County
Plein Air Landscape Oil Painting
I thought that I had photographed all the paintings I did last year at the CAC paint out, but I recently came across this one and thought I’d wait until spring to post it. It was painted near the Dana Adobe near Nipomo, as were the other two done that day at the California Art Club paint out.
In the early morning the sun broke through the moody fog with the promise of a beautiful day.
My paintings have been recently featured in an article “Top 15 oil painting blogs” on this site. Thanks to the site owner, Andrea.
Gaviota Springtime – California Art Club Gold Medal Show – California Landscape Oil Painting by Karen Winters
11 x 14 oil on plein air panel
Central Coast California
Saturday is the opening night for the Centennial of the California Art club’s Gold Medal Show. I’m very happy to have my painting, “Gaviota Springtime,” included in this historic exhibition at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. The early members of the California Art Club include such legendary painters as William Wendt, Edgar Payne, Benjamin Brown, Franz Bishoff and many other early California impressionists. The CAC commitment to fine representational painting continues now into its second century, and I am honored to be a part of that tradition.
The Gold Medal show will be on display until April 24, and the museum is closed Monday and Tuesday, weekdays.
“Oaks of Springtime”
California Central Coast, near Pozo & Santa Margarita
8″ x 8″ oil
Oaks put on new leaves in a wilderness park along Pozo Road, in Central California. Lupine and other wildflowers grow at their feet.