Pasadena bridge landscape oil painting – Arroyo Springtime

Arroyo Springtime
Pasadena’s Colorado Street Bridge painting
16 x 20 oil on canvas

This painting has been sold but I have others. Please write.

See more Pasadena paintings here

This painting, of Pasadena’s Colorado Street Bridge in the setting of the Arroyo Seco, is one of my favorite renditions of the area so far. Because it is so close to my home, I can visit frequently and observe the changing foliage through the seasons. In the springtime the wide meadow leading down to the river is covered with wild mustard. The mustard is an invasive imported species, not a native, so it tends to crowd out the indigenous plants. But it does lend a beautiful color to these open areas when the light strikes it just so.

Every time we go down there we see something different and interesting. One time it was ranger on horseback patrolling to make sure that dogs were on-leash. Another time it was a group of people with a flock of (leashed) goats. Never a dull moment in the arroyo!

My show at Gale’s has been going very well. So far three paintings have been sold, and I’ve replaced them with new ones. You can see some of the sold paintings in the left hand column at

This weekend we’re going to the reception of the On Location in Malibu show, presented by the California Art Club. I’m sure it will be a wonderful event as all of their shows are. Art, Malibu, hanging out with painters … what could be better?

Arroyo Seco Trail – Pasadena California Landscape Oil Painting

Arroyo Seco Trail
16 x 20 inches
Oil on Canvas
SOLD to a collector from Pasadena

See more Pasadena area paintings are here

This painting of the Arroyo Seco, featuring the Colorado Street Bridge, will be available starting May 17 at Gale’s Restaurant in Pasadena, where I will be having a solo show from mid May until early July. I will likely be using it on my postcard, so I need to hold it for the show.

Spring and fall are my favorite seasons in California, and I’d have a hard time deciding which I prefer. Fall is great for the foliage in the Sierras, but spring is wonderful for wildflowers and just the feeling of lush abundance.

I’m not sure about the name of the plant that has purple flowers. I’m guessing that it’s a ceanothus but I can’t be sure. If there’s a botanist in the house and you happen to take a walk down by the bridge, maybe you could ID it and let me know. (It’s not a garden lilac because they’re not in bloom yet and it didn’t have a lilac scent.) Maybe a native lilac species?

Once a month the California Art Club comes to the arroyo to paint. I’m usually busy on those days but this month I think I’ll try to join in the paint out with my CAC friends. It’s just the most beautiful time of the year, I think.

arroyo seco painting, colorado street bridge painting, Pasadena bridge painting, suicide bridge painting, Pasadena art, casita del arroyo, california art club

California Mountain Landscape – San Gabriels – Arroyo Seco Oil Painting

San Gabriel Vista
(from the Arroyo Seco)
14 x 18 oil on canvas

This painting is now SOLD, but I have more at

This view of the San Gabriel Mountains is from a familiar viewpoint along a trail in the Hahamongna watershed area, formerly known as Oak Grove Park. These days it’s the home of a frisbee golf course, and I have to stay heads up when walking through the zone to get to a painting location. The golfers are pretty tolerant of us hikers and painters, and I try to stay out of their fairways. In the summer my husband and I call this area Snaky Acres and tread carefully among the high grass. Bobcats, mountain lions and other wildlife have been seen here, along with deer, rabbits and abundant bird life.

I started on this painting last fall, when the willlows were starting to turn yellow and the summer grasses were dusty and dun-colored. But the storm clouds rolling in promised the first rains that would germinate the mustard seeds for their spring surge. Now, the whole area is lush and green.

If you’re a walker who likes doing the loop from the Rose Bowl up through the upper Arroyo Seco, or are a Rose Bowl rider who frequently takes your horse for an outing, then I’ll bet you know this view well.

Colorado Street Bridge Painting – California Impressionist Pasadena Landscape

Across the Arroyo
9 x 12 oil on canvas on panel
(The Colorado Street Bridge, Autumn in the Arroyo Seco)
New, and available.

Yes, more sycamores. It’s the time of year when I want to capture them in all their glory, and if I can include my favorite bridge, all the better.

Just looking at this view makes me happy. And painting it, well, I can get downright giddy around these trees.

Arroyo Seco Path – California watercolor sketch

Arroyo Seco Path
7″ x 5.5″ watercolor sketch

For more information about my work, please write

One of the most frequent questions I get about my paintings is whether they are all done plein air style (no) and, if not, what I use for reference. Although I do use photos to catch specific details of trees and structures, especially when painting architecture, one of my most valuable tools is my sketchbook. Because my roots are in watercolor, I usually do plein air sketches using that medium. This is a quick way to get color notes and the general layout of a landscape subject without having to fuss with too much detail.

General color areas are indicated with a quick wash. The colors of the shadows can be added when those are dry (and outdoors, watercolor dries fast!)

Using watercolor as a plein air medium has a long history among 19th century painters, and noteworthy is John Constable. His field work formed the basis for his later oil paintings. Eugene Delacroix followed the same practice.

Watercolor painting has the benefit of being quick and portable, and it is a good way to capture the mood with few strokes. Although I love plein air oil painting and do it as often as I can, it’s not always easy to set up an easel. But a watercolor sketchbook can be opened and put to use in a few minutes. A portable watercolor palette, a spray bottle, a collapsible water bucket and a few brushes, some paper towels and I’m good to go. And I can carry a kit in the car so it’s handy at any opportunity.

San Gabriel View – California Impressionist Landscape

San Gabriel View
9 x 12 oil on linen

This painting is the first I’ve painted on linen, inspired by a workshop I took last weekend. The scene is of my own imagination/memory – a view of the San Gabriels in the northern part of the Arroyo Seco, AKA Hahamongna Park. I’ve painted there so many times that it feels like my own back yard.

Elizabeth Tolley, the instructor and gifted plein air painter, teaches a way of using transparent paints along with sheer opaques to get subtle layering effects. I tried out what I learned here, and I like the effect.

I told a friend of mine how much I loved working with the linen surface and she warned me that now that I’ve tried it I’ll be spoiled for painting on anything else. It’s pricey but oh so silky. Sigh …..

Arroyo Seco Reflections – California Impressionist Landscape Oil Painting

Arroyo Seco Reflections
8 x 10 inches – oil

I’ll be taking this new painting to the Pasadena Art Walk October 11 on El Molino Ave (between Colorado and Green Street) . When I took a walk through the arroyo yesterday, I noticed several aspens by the stream that I hadn’t noticed before. I can hardly wait for them to turn color because I think the show is going to be dazzling.
The sycamores are starting to look dry, there’s no evidence of fall in their foliage. It may be that they will only get dusky looking this year – it seems to depend on the weather.

This Saturday I’m looking forward to the artists reception for the Day of the Dead show at The Marengo Collection. The reception will be from 2-6 pm and will include a painting which was juried into last year’s Brand Works on Paper show. More about that tomorrow.

Now, it’s time for me to get back to the easel!

Arroyo Seco Colorado Street Bridge – Pasadena – California Impressionist Painting by Karen Winters

11 x 14 oil on canvas

“Arroyo Afternoon”
Colorado Street Bridge, Pasadena, late afternoon in early fall


See more Pasadena paintings here

There are few places that I enjoy returning to again and again as much as Pasadena’s Arroyo Seco where the majestic Colorado Street Bridge is framed by oaks, sycamores and those ever present eucalyptuses. In this painting my objective was to capture the warm glow of the earth and grees in contrast to the cool light bouncing off the landmark bridge.

I have a story connected to the bridge, also. Many years ago, we were producing a segment on Nightmares for a national TV newsmagazine show. We wanted to simulate a fear of falling and so lowered a small film camera (film rolling) off the bridge. The special effect truly created a feeling of vertigo. No brick or mortar was harmed in the making of that film

Pasadena Federal Court of Appeals Painting – Karen Winters

Pasadena Court of Appeals – former Vista Del Arroyo Hotel
11 x 14 acrylic

This stately building has become the federal court of appeals in Pasadena, California, but it was formerly the Vista Del Arroyo Hotel. I’ve painted it once before in my sketchbook, but this was an opportunity to portray it from a different angle and at a different time of day. In the distance the San Gabriel Mountains catch the late afternoon light. The foreground sycamores are starting to turn color, an early sign of fall.

Arroyo Trail – California Impressionist Oil Painting by Karen Winters

Arroyo Trail
11 x 14 oil

See more Pasadena paintings here

Click this link to write me.

The Arroyo Seco continues to be one of my favorite subjects for landscapes. In the distance are the San Rafael Hills, part of the communities of La Canada Flintridge and Pasadena.