Sierra Nevada Oil Painting – Sierra Blush – Bishop California Sunrise Oil Painting

Sierra Blush, (Autumn morning near Bishop, California)
12 x 24 inches
Oil on Canvas

(Commission – sold)

This is my latest Sierra Nevada painting, painted on commission for a lovely young woman who lives in Ohio and whose brother is a guide in the Sierra. It has been so much of a pleasure to get to know her through the painting process, knowing that the painting will be a part of her family for many years to come.

The location is near Bishop, California, in late October, after the first light snow of the season.We got up very early to observe this scene (like 5:30 am) and it was worth it. The alpenglow light on the snow was heavenly. I could hardly wait to paint it. I know that I will be painting scenes like this again, most likely in a larger size. I think the panorama format really works for this type of a landscape.

Although this painting is sold, if you’d be interested in owning a painting of the Sierra Nevada,
please write

Pomegranate Study – Still Life by Karen Winters

Pomegranate Study
8 x 10 oil on linen panel (commission)

This pomegranate painting, a larger version of an earlier small study, was painted for a client who was looking for something bright and juicy for her dining room. I was happy to paint this larger one. Maybe one day I’ll paint it even larger still.

All of the rain clouds have left, now, revealing greening grasses and wondrous blue skies. The 10 day forecast doesn’t show precipitation, although our Sierra range could certainly use some more to fatten up the snow pack. I don’t mind rain, but I do like a few days of sunshine to break up the gray.

Maybe I’ll fit some plein air days in this weekend.

Loch Shiel Scotland Landscape Oil Painting

Loch Shiel, Scotland
12 x 16 oil on canvas
commission (sold)

This painting, painted as a commission, depicts a historic site in the highlands of Scotland in the village of Glenfinnan. It is the site where bonnie Prince Charlie raised his standard at the beginning of the Jacobite rising in 1745. Glenfinnan sits at the north end of Loch Shiel. A monument (a pillar) can be seen at the lakeside at the closest point.

My forbears came from the western isle of Skye, but some of the MacDonalds who were landowners on Skye were also allies of Prince Charles.

I love painting Scotland and hope to return again. Good thing we took a lot of pictures when we were there the last time. Although today there are playing fields and roads and other signs of modern habitation, I tried to paint it as it may have looked more than 200 years ago (except for the horses and wagons and clansmen, that is.)

Arroyo Seco Trail, Colorado Street Bridge painting, revisited

“Arroyo Seco Trail”
9 x 12 inches, oil on canvas
SOLD (commission)

I like to paint new things, as a rule, because it’s fun to interpret new subject matter and challenge myself – but from time to time I get a request from a client to paint a new version of a previous painting. In this case, a gentleman saw the painting I used on my postcard of my solo show this spring (sold during the show) and asked it I would paint another version for his daughter as a Christmas present. The family used to live in Pasadena and had fond memories of the Arroyo Seco and their walks together. I was happy to do this for him. Of course, no two paintings are ever exact copies, due to different shapes of the canvas as well as differences in creative interpretation. He was delighted with this treatment and I hope that his daughter will be, too.

Saturday I had a great time with the California Art Club during a paint out at Randy Higbee’s gallery in Costa Mesa. We were painting models dressed as gods and goddesses from Wagner’s Ring Cycle.

The Knitting Basket Still Life Oil Painting – Karen Winters

“The Knitting Basket”
SOLD (commissioned work)
11 x 14 oil on canvas

This painting was a pleasure to paint for a client as a Christmas gift for a family member, portraying the items the person uses in pursuit of her favorite hobby, knitting.
Although I had not painted knitting before, I felt confident that I could do it, because, after all, painting basically comes down to seeing shape, color and value. You don’t think about painting a ball of yarn, a straw basket or a soft bit of knitting, you think about how light interacts with a surface, how the form turns and how the colors work together.

The first challenge was assembling the materials that would represent the colors the knitter liked best and the type of yarn she liked. A local fabric store made that part rather easy. The second hurdle was a little harder. I decided that I didn’t want to just position a few needles with a ball of yarn, but that I wanted a sample of knitting to go with it, as though the knitter had been interrupted in her work. Because the painting is to be a surprise, the client could not ask the person for a sample – so I had to remember what my grandmother had taught me so many years ago to produce the small sample. Surprisingly, the technique came back to me right away.

Next came the challenge of arranging the still life into what I felt was an interesting relationship of diagonals and curves – both in the needles and the spokes of the basket … incorporating the rhythmic line of the knitting as well as the individual strands of yarn that connect the balls of yarn to the piece of work. Because the yarn had to be blue, I chose supporting elements that would be in the orange and brown range for a complimentary color scheme.

Finally, came the fun of painting the setup – from the block in to refinement of shapes to final details.

Here’s a closeup of one part. I used a very small sable brush in the last layers to suggest the wispiness and softness of the fibers of the yarn.

Cabo San Lucas Los Arcos – mini painting

Los Arcos – Lands End – Cabo San Lucas
5″ x 7″ miniature oil painting

SOLD (commission)

This painting has a romantic story to it. The young woman who commissioned it, who I’ll call Stacy, is going to be married very soon. As a wedding present to her fiance, Stacy is going to give him five original paintings of different places they have been and want to return to. She saw my large commissioned painting of Los Arcos online and asked if I could paint a small version of it for this multi-part gift. I love romantic notions, so of course I was happy to oblige. I can hardly wait to hear how her husband likes it.

If you have a special occasion coming up, or are thinking ahead about holiday gifts, this is a good time to put in your order for an original painting. I get busier as the holidays approach.

Now for the less than cheerful news …

For those of you who are regular readers of this blog, you hear the names Angeles Crest, San Gabriel Mountains, La Canada Flintridge, Pasadena, Altadena, La Crescenta and other location names quite frequently. I live in La Canada, now the flashpoint of what has become the infamous “Station” Fire which is raging through the Angeles Crest forest in the northeast part of Los Angeles County. It is named the Station fire because it began near a forest ranger station up Angeles Crest Highway.

We are fine, since we live a mile or so from the forest/residential interface, but the mandatory evacuation area came within about 2000 feet of our home. Today, the skies are blue above La Canada, a far cry from four or five days ago. For us, at least, I think the worst has passed. But we have many friends and neighbors in the surrounding areas who are still in the path of the conflagration. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

It is comforting to see the snorkel helicopters and other fire fighting aircraft in the skies above us, hauling water and fire suppression materials to hot spots.We are SO LUCKY that this happened in August, not during Santa Ana conditions. In a strange way, I am grateful that this happened at all. I heard an interview with a fire chief who said that if this happened during Santa Ana season literally hundreds and hundreds of homes would be lost (including ours, I’m sure) and there’s nothing they could do to stop it.

Counting my blessings in La Canada,


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!

Cabo San Lucas – Lands End Mexican Seascape Painting

Cabo San Lucas – Land’s End
24 x 30 inches
oil on canvas
Painted on commission – SOLD

A 16 x 20 version of this painting is still available here.

Today I had the pleasure of packing up this big painting for a new collector in the midwest. I was delighted to be able to paint it for the couple because 1) I love to paint seascapes and 2) it brings me special enjoyment to paint something that has a lot of meaning for the patron.

Lands End is a landmark geologic formation, and it appears that the arches have been carved out by consistent wave action over milennia. I’m guessing that those standing stones once were capped with arches as well, a very long time ago.

Probably the most exciting part of the painting process for me was the painting of the many different rock surfaces, which reflect the color of the environment as well as having their own “local color” which comes from the minerals in the rock as well as the effect of weathering.

Now I’m working on a new commission of the Sierras, while finishing up some rose garden paintings for the Descanso Rose paintout and sale April 18-19. Busy, busy. And I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Pomegranate Orchard, impressionist oil painting

Pomegranate Orchard
11 x 14 oil on linen
SOLD (commission)

Write Me

This was a very interesting project to do, and one which I thoroughly enjoyed. A woman wanted a painting of a pomegranate orchard to give to a loved one for a Christmas present. The man had grown up in a middle eastern country where such groves were common, and he had childhood memories of playing there. I had never painted in that country, nor did I have any usable reference material, but I did a little research and realized that the area had a mediterranean climate and that the geography looked much like parts of California. So, I used a late afternoon photograph of a grove in California and used local reference photos of pomegranate trees to create an imaginary composite, which I showed her for her approval. So, this was the result, and I understand that her friend was very happy with the result.

We all love to paint from real life whenever we can. But this is one of the occasions when it’s just not possible. That’s when we, as artists, draw upon our memory and study of nature, and from having painted so much outdoors that we can craft as scene as it might have been.

If you’d like to give a special painting to someone commemorating a place or an event, but you don’t have a picture to work from, we can probably come up with a solution, just like this orchard from long ago and far away.