Drifters in the Stream – California botanical oil painting – Descanso Gardens


Today I got the good news that this painting, of fall leaves at Descanso Gardens, has been juried into the Pasadena Society of Artists spring show. Previously it was juried into the California Art Club’s “Rivers and Harbors” show at the Pasadena Women’s City Club. I hope it finds a good home on this outing. It’s more abstract than most of my work and painting it was a bit like doing a big jigsaw puzzle.

The PSA show will run from April 29 to May 16 at the VIVA Gallery on Moorpark in Sherman Oaks.

Peace Rose Painting – Botanical Art – Karen Winters

Peace Rose Painting
8 x 10 oil on canvas

Here’s another in my rose series – this time a close up in a more realistic style. I love impressionism, but I wanted to challenge myself to do a more realistic painting from life, and this was the result.

Now for the taggage

5. When I was growing up we moved so many times (I can remember at least 6 elementary school and class changes) that books became my most constant and dependable companions. National Geographics – some of them decades older than I was – were among the most interesting. Almost without realizing it, I learned countless names of animals, plants, seashells and wildflowers from the colorful plates that accompanied each edition. When a magazine would come that was filled with paintings from some great museum, I would look at it for hours. (Yes, I was a bit of a bookworm. Still am.)

My mother was a plant lover and from her I learned the names of all the roses she cultivated: Chrysler Imperial, Love, Cherish, Honor, Peace, Mister Lincoln, Queen Elizabeth, Sutter’s Gold. Each colorful name brought stories to mind. When I visit the Descanso Gardens Rosarium and look at the labels of the roses in bloom, it’s like seeing old friends … ever new, ever fresh, ever young.

Below: starting this painting on a toned canvas.

Yellow Rose Botanical Flower Painting

Yellow Rose
6″ x 6″
oil on canvas on board

See more of my floral and botanical paintings here

If it’s not too late, I’m going to head over to the nursery today to see if they still have a few bare root roses left to plant. I do love roses and grow them in my yard. My favorites are Climbing Peace, Just Joey and Sally Holmes. But no matter the variety, every rose delights me and offers creative possibilities. At the Descanso Rosarium, there’s an amazing collection of roses from around the world – from the oldest shrubs to the newest hybrids. You’ll find climbers, rugosas, floribundas and more, intermingled with irises and drought-tolerant perennials that provide additional texture and color. If you are in Southern California in the spring, you just have to see it (and smell it) to believe it.

Reminder: If you’re in LA, join us tomorrow fro 7 – 9 pm at Flintridge Bookstore and Coffeehouse for a meet the artists event. See new artwork and chat with local painters, photographers and authors. Angeles Crest Highway at Foothill Blvd. in La Canada (CA 91011)

Descanso Rose Garden Pathway

Descanso Rose Garden Pathway
8 x 10 oil on canvas on board
Available for sale.

This painting has evolved through the years. It started as an oil sketch a few years ago, but I put it away, dissatisfied. Today, with a few miles under my brush, I took it out again and revisited the subject. I’ve noticed differences in how I paint certain subjects. I’m more aware of color in shadows, and I tend to paint masses of leaves and flowers rather than just individual blossoms. I’m more likely to change the scene from “what is” to “what could be.” And I am more inclined to simplify and not to put in every bench and bud if it doesn’t add to the composition. The painting is wet so I had to filter it a little bit to get rid of all the distracting specks from the indoor light. When it’s dry I’ll either scan it or take it outside on a non-rainy day and shoot it in light shade or indirect north light. Which is to say, it’s a bit crisper than this.

If you’re interested in this painting, please write. My email is at the top left of this blog.

White Roses Botanical Oil Painting – Sally Holmes

“Two Sally Holmes White Roses with Jasmine”
9 x 12 oil on canvas

Interested in this painting? I’d love to hear from you.

These Sally Holmes roses grow in my garden. They’re climbers and love to arch over the little arbor I have that leads to the back yard. Sally is technically a shrub rose, but it is a hybrid of “Ballerina” (a hybrid musk) and Ivory Fashion (a floribunda.) It grows like crazy and is a welcome addition to any garden.

I’ll be showing this painting and many others at the Sierra Madre Art Fair on Saturday and Sunday May 7-8, 2011 in Sierra Madre, California in memorial park. Please come!

California Plein Air Landscape – California Mission Garden at Descanso Gardens

California Mission Garden at Descanso Gardens
11 x 14
oil on canvas, plein air painting

Interested in this painting? Please write!

The good news: it was a picture perfect day in Southern California. Perfect, in fact, for April. The bad news: this is February 1, and no rain in sight. We desperately need rain, both for the snowpack on the Sierras and to nourish our local flora as well. But I tried to make the best of a bad situation by going out to paint at Descanso Gardens today in the Rosarium. The good news: it wasn’t too busy because everyone was home getting ready for SuperBowl parties. The bad news: there weren’t any roses to paint, either (duh) because they had all been pruned back in anticipation of a fabulous spring bloom. So we looked around to find something as sparkly and fetching as newly opened roses and I came upon the Mission Garden fountain, glistening in the afternoon sun.

I got set up around 1:30 and by 3:30 the light had changed so completely that I packed it in. In the meantime, I enjoyed painting and sharing my love of plein air painting with others.

I thought I was painting, but it turned out I was drawing … a crowd. Of course, I love talking to people about painting so I didn’t mind, and it was good practice for the demo I’ll be doing in May for a local art club. I expect they’ll want me to talk while painting and I don’t want to disappoint them!

For those of you who like to know what I’m using … I have a small 7.5 lb. Yarka easel which sets up very quickly. I should have had an umbrella but didn’t. I should have been wearing a black apron but wasn’t. I have an easel pal that sits on the easel and holds my palette in the middle, while the wings open up and hold OMS, brushes, spare paper towels and whatnot.

Descanso Gardens Path – California Impressionist Landscape

Descanso Gardens Path
9.7 x 7.6 inches
Acrylic on paper

People often ask me what the word “Descanso” means. It comes from the Spanish verb, descansar meaning “to repose or rest”. So, Descanso Gardens suggests a place of rest and relaxation.

To counteract today’s politically and economically charged climate, I thought I’d paint something that you would find restful and energizing. A place of repose and calm. A place to recharge and restore your soul. My friend Ruth told me the other day that she likes the ‘paths of light’ that I put into my paintings. It made me happy that she noticed that because they are a prominent feature of many of my landscapes. So today’s painting features all the restful elements I can conjure up … a cared-for well-tended garden, a place of rest and a path of light, beckoning to brighter times ahead.

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.

Spring Memories – Karen Winters Daily Painting

“Spring Memories” 12 x 16 oil on canvas

Yes, spring is here – the hillsides covered with fresh green grass, the birds singing in every tree, and gentle breezes replacing the harsher winds of winter. Well, as harsh as it gets in Southern California – which is not much, all things considered.

This particular scene is a pathway in Descanso Gardens. But it could be just about anywhere in So. Cal this time of year.

Still, we welcome springtime as does everyone else. The wildflowers have already begun blooming and I’m looking forward to some poppy painting soon.

Blue skies – plein air study

“Blue Skies” – 9 x 12 oil on board

On Friday I arrived in the afternoon at the gallery and didn’t have time to do a whole small painting. So instead I decided to take my easel outside and do some more studies of clouds – this time in oil instead of watercolor. I think a lot can be learned just observing the forms of nature and the effect of light upon them. Needless to say the clouds did not hold still for this study, so I would simply look for a cloud that had a similar form and coloration as I painted this cluster of thunderheads and scattered puffy clouds. Are these cumulonimbus (any weather experts out there?) They look like cumulus on the top but they were definitely laden with rain and dark gray on the underside in places. There were smaler wispy clouds floating among them.

Actually, the colors are a lot more subtle than this photo shows. The painting is soaking wet so I can’t put it on the scanner. There are delicate blues and grays throughout the puffy areas, but jpeg compression just doesn’t reveal it.