San Gabriel Mountains
8 x 10 inches oil on plein air panel
California is colorful all year long, not only in the springtime. Summer and fall wildflowers include buckwheat and other chapparal natives. It’s an earth-tone palette, full of greens, russets, umbers and golds. The buckwheat, when it dries, is a good match for burnt sienna.
I never tire of painting the tapestry of plant life that covers our rolling hills and mountains. The California Native Plant Society is a good resource for learning about our drought tolerant beauties.
Here’s how the painting might look in a dark frame that picks up the colors in the painting, with warm touches of coppery-gold.
I haven’t talked about framing too often here, but it’s true that the frame can have a big impact on how a painting looks. Compare how the same painting, on the same colored background appears in a gold carved frame. The dark frame creates a more rustic look, which might be appropriate for a home with western accents. The gold frame creates a lighter, more elegant appearance. Which do you think works best? Do you like seeing one of my paintings with framing suggestions, as opposed to just seeing the painting by itself?
Heavenly Light – California Tonalist Landscape Painting – Devils Gate Dam – Hahamongna Park – Arroyo Seco by Karen Winters
“Heavenly Light at Devil’s Gate Dam”
(upper Arroyo Seco –
Hahamongna Park – La Canada Flintridge, Pasadena)
9 x 12 oil on linen plein air panel
When we have heavy rain, the waters really back up behind Devil’s Gate Dam in the Upper Arroyo Seco, between La Canada Flintridge and Pasadena.
The graceful eucalyptus and willows have their feet in swampy water. I’m sure the water loving willows love it – not so sure about the eucalyptus. In time the waters will filter down into the aquifer, recharging the subterranean reservoir. But for now, they provide a beautiful reflecting surface in which to see the ever-changing skies.
“The Bridge Aglow”
(Colorado Street Bridge, Pasadena)
11 x 14
Oil painting on linen panel
The Colorado Street Bridge in Pasadena is an icon that I never tire of painting. This painting was started on site last fall, and has been waiting for me to put on the finishing touches. The viewpoint is the eastern side of the Arroyo Seco, not far from the Federal Courthouse, formerly known as the Vista Del Arroyo Hotel.
There used to be monthly California Art Club paintouts at the arroyo, but I don’t think they’re doing that any longer. I liked this viewpoint for painting the bridge because it shows it in relation to both sides of the canyon, although not the entire span.
Rose Bowl, with San Gabriel Mountains, in January
8 x 10 inches
oil on linen panel
The Rose Bowl is an imposing structure any time of year, but when the San Gabriel Mountains are dusted with snow, as they often are in January, it provides an extra-special backdrop. When the air is cold enough, the snow falls at altitude, but down in the Arroyo Seco, it provides welcome rain. Welcome except on January 1, that is.
I thought about putting in some people in red or purple or gold or blue jackets, but it occurred to me that if someone wanted this painting as a keepsake of a special bowl game that they might prefer to have a few people in THEIR colors, rather than the, um, rival team. Sound fair?
“Below the Arch”
Colorado Street Bridge, Pasadena
11 x 14 painting
oil on canvas
This painting of our iconic Colorado Street Bridge went home yesterday with a new collector. I always enjoy painting the bridge, and hope to appreciate its beauty from many new angles in the coming year. This was a larger painting based upon a 5 x 7 study I did a few years ago.
9 x 12 inches
Pasadena Arroyo Seco oil painting
A stately old eucalyptus grows along Arroyo Drive in South Pasadena, standing guard at the edge of the Arroyo Seco.
I have been painting like crazy here, and traveling to paint on location, but I always seem to run out of time to post what I’m doing. Some of the paintings are commissioned works which are surprise gifts for people, so I have to be a little careful about what I put where in this day of social networking and transparency.
We’ve made one recent trip to the eastern Sierra and hope to get a few more trips in soon. Southern California weather has been marked by the same June gloom/grayness that typified our summer. I’m looking forward to making a trip to Santa Barbara to see the Clyde Aspevig show before it closes in February 2011 – he’s among my favorite landscape artists – a list that is growing quite lengthy.
9 x 12
California impressionist oil painting on canvas panel
The San Gabriel Mountains constantly change their colors through the late afternoon and early evening. Starting out as browns and greens, they become blue violet as shadows fall, and eventually reflect the warm colors of sunset.
This scene captures a moment in that transition, from the vantage point of Hahamongna Park (formerly Oak Grove Park) in the upper Arroyo Seco between La Canada Flintridge and Altadena/Pasadena.
Wildflowers billow and catch the warm light of the late afternoon sun.
Yesterday I received some more good news about one of the many shows I’ve been entering. One of my plein air paintings, “Days End at Fallbrook” was accepted into the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association (LPAPA) 6th annual “Best of Plein Air” show. The exhibit will be at the Esther Wells Collection in Laguna Beach from July 17-25.
“Days End in Fallbrook”
11 x 14
oil on canvas
(by Pasadena’s Colorado Street Bridge)
12 x 16
oil on linen panel
The previous painting in this series sold very quickly at Gale’s Restaurant during the Art for the Animals show, so I decided to paint another version of it, this time horizontal. There are always ducks paddling around down there, as we’ve discovered from our frequent walks, so this may not be the last exploration of the theme.
This past weekend we enjoyed some time closer to home and our own natural habitat, which we had been sorely neglecting as I’ve been painting all up and down the coast. So we cleared off the porches, gave the Boston ferns a good haircut and deep watering, trimmed back the geraniums and took cuttings to propagate new plants. I’m hopeful that all of these projects will provide abundant plant material for future still life paintings, or, at the very least, for our enjoyment.
This Saturday from 9-4 you’ll find me at the Montrose Artwalk in Montrose, at the corner of Honolulu and Ocean View – see map below. I’m on the sidewalk next to the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, where they have great iced coffees! You might even find me doing some painting.
View Larger Map
Saturday evening from 5-7, I’m delighted to be at the artist’s reception of Segil Fine Art’s First Annual Works on Paper show. Address is 110 West Lime in Monrovia. I’m honored to have my pastel painting “Wildflower Sunset” included in this inaugural show.
“Morning Swim in the Arroyo Seco”
16 x 12 inches
oil on canvas
Ducks gently paddle in the pond beneath Pasadena’s Colorado Street Bridge … a scene of rural tranquility in the heart of Pasadena’s Arroyo Seco. Readers of this blog will remember the great duck adventure a few years back, as we watched a mother lead her ducklings up the flood control channel to the safety of the pond – including scaling a 45 degree incline covered with moss. But all the ducklings made it eventually, safe from hawks and owls. Perhaps some of these paddlers are those little ducks, all grown up with families of their own.
Sold at the Art for the Animals show at Gale’s Restaurant in Pasadena this past week, benefitting the Pasadena Humane Society and SPCA.
“Pasadena Arroyo Bridges – featuring the Colorado Street Bridge”
9 x 12 oil
This plein air painting was done about a month ago and I thought I had posted it to my blog but just realized that I had not. So, here it is. It was painted as part of a paint out for the California Art Club.
The viewpoint is from the east side of the arroyo, near the Casita del Arroyo, looking westward.
And speaking of the CAC, we had a fantastic time last night at the 100th anniversary celebration party of the California Art Club, held at the California Club in downtown LA. The champagne flowed freely and it was fun to see so many early California impressionist paintings decorating the walls of the club, as well as some paintings by some new California masters. It was a pleasure seeing so many old friends and making some new ones, too. No other organization does so much to preserve and promote the beauty of California as portrayed through traditional fine art, and I am always pleased to take part in their many activities. If you’re a traditional fine artist, you really should join.
These are bittersweet times for us, with many mixed emotions. On one hand I’m blessed with so many new opportunities related to art, including my show at the Bowers Museum which will hang this Friday the 16th. On the other hand our almost 12 year old American bulldog Ripley has suddenly become seriously ill and we will probably need to say goodbye in a few days. Feeling intense joy and grief is part of life, and as the wise man said … “this too shall pass …” both the very good and the very sad. I pray for equanimity during these times, savoring good memories of the past and holding optimistic expectations for the future.