Langham Huntington Hotel Wedding reception – plein air painting – Karen Winters

Courtyard Wedding Reception, Saturday, Nov. 22, 2008 at the Huntington Langham Hotel
Original plein air painting, 9 x 12 oil on linen on board

This past Saturday I had the pleasure of painting at the Huntington Langham Hotel in San Marino as a participant in an “artist in residence” program. I was the participant sponsored by the Segil Fine Art gallery in Monrovia. Because a wedding reception was planned for the early evening, I passed the afternoon painting indoors and brought a photo reference to work from. As night fell, wedding guests filtered in from the ceremony which was held in the garden. Although my painting time was up, I couldn’t leave, transfixed by the beautiful party. Within a short period of time it became very difficult to see the guests, so I used a little imagination to fill in the spaces and to make up for my myopia.

I don’t know the happy couple but perhaps some day they will google their wedding date and the name of the Huntington Hotel and find this memory of a very special occasion, and I hope it will bring them a smile. I think I heard someone say that the bride grew up in Shanghai, but that was only a snippet of a conversation overheard in passing.

And yes, I would love to do this again. So if you’re planning a wedding and want a plein air painter to create a unique fine art memory of your event – in a garden, a meadow, a beach or any special place, please feel free to ask.

Folklorico Dancers at Pasadena Civic Auditorium

Plein air oil painting
9 x 12 oil on canvas board

This may have been the most difficult plein air painting I’ve ever done. I’m not complaining, mind you. I love to paint outdoors and the dancers were beautiful with their colorful costumes, but it was just challenging for a variety of reasons. For one, the colors of the sunset changed moment by moment. I hadn’t taken into consideration how dark it would be when the dancers appeared in the plaza (yes, 7:30 is dark, it’s not summer any more, even though temps are still in the 90s!) And even though I arrived early to get the Paseo Pasadena background blocked in, the colors of the buildings changed by the minute. The dancers of the Clasica troupe performed for about a half an hour with one costume change. (This was the first costume, the second costumes were all white) It was the best I could do to get a suggestion of the swirling skirts. I hope the beautiful ladies will forgive me for not including faces, but I only had time for an impression of the scene – and the paint was flying!

Because plein air painting means simplifying the design and making choices about what to include and what not to include, I simplified this scene by just suggesting some of the major buildings in the Paseo Mall, the shape of the Sierra Madre Mountains, the foreground plaza and the dancers themselves. All the windows and details were reduced to a few glowing shapes to convey a night scene. The dark shapes of palms in the distance form a border to the setting. I left the painting of the ground under their feet until I got home and could assess what the painting needed.

I’m going to have to try “urban night” again sometime, and see if I can incorporate what I learned from this experience.

The dancers were appearing as part of opening night festivities for the Pasadena Symphony – and their performance was wonderful!

My Secret – My Confession – Artists Reception Saturday at The Marengo Collection

This Saturday, October 4, please join me at The Marengo Collection on 494 S. Marengo Ave. in Pasadena from 2-6 pm for the opening of the 25th annual Day of the Dead event, jointly presented by The Folk Tree and the Marengo Collection.

This painting “My offering – my confession” will be on display at the Marengo Collection for the month leading up to El Dia de Los Muertos, concluding Nov 2.

Today, our local newspaper, The La Canada Valley Sun, did an Entertainment Section feature on me and the artwork, and I’m absolutely thrilled!

The online article is here: Karen Winters Day of the Dead Watercolor

Sunset Soiree – California Impressionist Plein Air Genre Painting

“Sunset Soiree” SOLD
9 x 12 oil on canvas
Plein air painting

A few nights ago I had the pleasure of doing a plein air sunset painting while listening to the sweet sounds of The Crown City Brass Quintet. Wine, music, art, lovely people, gardens. It just doesn’t get any better than this!

And now, a few words about painting at sunset when much of the color has gone. What do you do? You invent it and you paint the color the way it might have been. Or, in the words of the late artist Milford Zornes “paint it the way you want it to be.” And so I did.

By the time I arrived at the event, around 6:30, the sun had settled behind the majestic pines and oaks. But what remained were hints of warm color that I exaggerated to create a mood. Painting in settings like this is a special treat for me because, unlike in a restaurant, cafe or on the beach, the people remain seated for the duration, so one’s painting isn’t ruined by the sudden rearrangement of of the models! This culture loving group gave me a rare opportunity to paint a genre scene in a leisurely hour and a half.

Fun Zone (LA County Fair) – National Watercolor Society 2008 painting – Karen Winters

Fun Zone – 20″ x 22″ – watercolor on paper

Well, I didn’t think it could happen two years in a row, and with such different styles and subject matter, but, happily, it did. I just got my notification in the mail that this painting has been accepted to the 2008 National Watercolor Society All Member show, opening April 19 at the VIVA Gallery in Sherman Oaks, Calif. It is an amalgamation of different scenes at the LA County Fair in Pomona, including the Tilt a Whirl, Ferris Wheel and several other rides. This is another one of those projects that I was busily painting over the past few months and that I said I’d share when the time was right. So if I missed some days with daily paintings, now you know why.

It was a whole lot of fun to paint (I hope that comes through!) and takes me back to the days when I was an advertising group head and copywriter for the agency that had the fair account. I still enjoy going there to watch the people, animals, shows and more. I didn’t get there last year because it coincided with our Descanso show, but maybe this year!

For any of you who are newer readers of this blog, here was my painting in the 2007 NWS all member show.