Mt. Tom Springtime – Bishop, California landscape oil painting – Eastern Sierra

Mt. Tom Springtime – Bishop, California
9 x 12 landscape oil painting on plein air panel

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This was the first time I’ve been up in the Sierra to paint this season. I always look forward to seeing the first wildflowers blooming as the snow recedes.
I painted this along one of Bishop’s many agricultural canals. I set up under a cottonwood tree for a little shade, but as the wind picked up, I decided to move. There were too many broken branches on the ground for me to feel safe.

Twin Lakes, Mammoth, California oil painting – Stone and Stillness


Stone and Stillness –
Twin Lakes, Mammoth Lakes, CA
9 x 12 oil on hardboard

This is a painting from this past summer when we visited Mammoth Lakes, California, which is probably now covered in snow.
The huge granite cliffs towering over Twin Lakes attracted me to the scene. If you’ve ever taken a canoe or small boat on the lake or gone fishing from the bridge, you probably have fond memories of the place, too. Every time we’ve been there – except in winter – there are always people enjoying the recreation.

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Yosemite Falls California landscape oil painting

Yosemite Falls in Summer
18 x 24 inches, vertical
Oil on canvas

At more than 2400 feet high, from the top of the upper falls to the base of the lower falls, Yosemite Falls is the tallest waterfall in the continental United States. Peak water flow comes in late spring to early summer, the time that this was painted. The falls are fed by Yosemite Creek, and after the water leaves the falls, it joins the Merced River on its course out of the valley.

The challenge in painting a waterfall is to capture the soft edges of mist that perpetually rise from the thundering flow. Paint the edge too hard and the falls look like a cutout. Paint the edge too softly, and it looks like a big cottonball.

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Winter’s Here Owens Valley Sierra California landscape oil painting

“Winter’s Here”
8 x 10 inches
oil painting of Sierra peaks

This small oil painting reminds us that sometimes the Sierra really is packed with snow, bringing water to all of California. I sure hope we get some rain soon – the drought is terrible now.
The location of this part of the range is in the upper Owens River Valley, not far from the Owens Gorge. The dry grasses and the cool snow shadows create a natural complementary color scheme.

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Yosemite Half Dome California landscape painting

Half Dome, Yosemite
6 x 8 inches
oil on canvas

Almost everyone I meet in California knows someone who has climbed Half Dome or they’ve done it themself. In our family, my husband did the climb in college, and our son did it just a few years ago. It’s a rite of passage, and a beautiful one at that. I’m too squeamish about heights to attempt it myself, but I admire those who have.

This little painting is the perfect size for a holiday gift, to commemorate a friend or family member’s climb to the summit.

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Sierra oil painting – Autumn at McGee Creek

Autumn at McGee Creek
8 x 10 oil on plein air panel

Just north of Mammoth, McGee Creek winds up into the Sierra. Its banks are lined with aspens, now turning every shade of yellow and gold.
This original oil painting features the coming of autumn at its most colorful.

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South Lake, Bishop, sierra oil painting


South Lake, Bishop, California
11 x 14 original oil painting on canvas

This is a painting of South Lake, west of Bishop, up Bishop Creek, in the Eastern Sierra Range.
Apparently fall is the best time for fishing at South Lake. We saw a lot of fisherman around the lake when we were there.

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“Grazing at Bishop,” Owens Valley Sierra painting


“Grazing at Bishop”
9 x 12 inches
California landscape Oil Painting

A horse grazes in a small pasture in Bishop, California, in the Owens Valley at the foot of the Sierra Nevada. The sunlight burns through the clouds surrounding the distant Sierra mountains.

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At the Hacienda – Mission San Antonio de Padua Plein air painting by Karen Winters

“Meanwhile, at the Hacienda”
9 x 12 oil on linen panel
plein air painting – painted at Mission San Antonio de Padua
California Central Coast area

During the California Art Club paint out at the mission, I came upon this small guest house which intrigued me as a painting subject. In the late afternoon light, I could imagine it as an old California adobe, cool inside in spite of the surrounding heat. Some early model chickens miraculously appeared where a late model car had been.

Spring Pasture in the Western Sierra Foothills Oil Painting by California Landscape artist Karen Winters



“Spring Pasture in the Western Sierra”
8.75 x 4.75″ oil on linen on board

I had a leftover piece of linen from a plein air panel making project, so I decided to put it to use with this small horizontal study of a farm in the western Sierra foothills in California. Eucalyptus trees shelter the outbuildings.