9 x 12 oil
Not too long ago I was at a botanical garden for an art show and a wedding was about to take place. It seemed like a beautiful romantic scene to paint, so we asked the wedding party if they would allow me to paint discreetly from the side. They graciously said yes and this was the result. The framed painting was delivered today to family members who are giving it as a gift. (You’ll notice I’m not mentioning the name of the garden or the family. Shhh, it’s a surprise.)
Usually when I do a plein air painting I try to portray an exact moment as it is – a shadow pattern at a specific time, a certain quality of light. Wedding paintings are somewhat different in that they are idealized renditions of an entire event. In this painting, by the time the bride and groom arrived after taking their pictures, there was little light left on plaza. Some of the guests said they were sorry that the wildflowers in the background were not blooming as they had been a month before. I told them – in my painting they’ll be blooming. Milford Zornes, the watercolorist, once said “paint it the way it could be.” When it comes to event painting, that is very good advice.
Claremont Wilderness Park Trail
(featuring Potato Mountain – and the Angeles National Forest – San Gabriel Mountains)
18 x 24 oil on canvas
If you have a question or or would like to find out if this painting is still available for sale…..
This painting is brand new and features a viewpoint from a trail in the Claremont Wilderness Park. Depending upon which way you’re hiking on the trail, it’s either the beginning or end of a loop that goes way up into the mountains. On the day I was there and did a small on-location study, there were spectacular clouds in the sky, making interesting shadows and bright spots on the ground – a painter’s delight.
I’m taking the painting tomorrow to the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Gardens show in Claremont for their annual juried Art in the Garden show. This will be my third year participating in this wonderful location. I would love to see you there, so if you plan to attend, please email me and I will send you a flyer you can print out – good for free admission this weekend only.
Please make a calendar date: Next weekend, June 12-13, I will be painting in my home territory, Descanso Gardens in La Canada Flintridge during a 2-day Art in the Garden event. Look for a number of painters painting around the pavilion in the International Rosarium. I will be bringing a selection of works for sale also.
More later … now I’m back to getting my last-minute framing done.
This California landscape oil painting was inspired by a pepper tree I saw leaning into the wind on a golden hill.
9 x 12
oil on wood panel
The spring green grass has turned to gold, now, and even though we are experiencing more than a usual amount of “June gloom,” the sun occasionally breaks through. When it does, it’s wonderful.
Over the weekend we had the opportunity to see the new California Art Club associates show at the Women’s City Club in Pasadena. After that, we went to the opening at Segil Fine Art in Monrovia. An art-filled weekend in the very best way. Now, I’m getting ready for next week’s plein air paint out in San Clemente. I have 25 paintings framed and ready to take with me for the final sale June 27-28.
We had a great weekend at the Art in the Garden sale at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, in spite of the ever-present threat of rain. In spite of the light turnout, some of my paintings found new homes and I had a chance to set up my easel and paint a nearby path in the beautiful California native plant gardens.
This scene features a blooming California buckeye (in the background, a spreading pine, several clumps of sages and a variety of oak trees. Most of the day was gray, but occasionally the sun would break through.
Now I have a break until the San Clemente paintout and sale, ending on June 27-28 (details to come.) If you live in the coastal OC, I hope you can come.
9 x 12 oil on canvas
Idyllwild, California, has always been one of our favorite places to retreat. We began visiting when we were first married, and always loved the beautiful mountain sunsets. Once we stopped our car and watched in awe, while classical music played from a nearby cabin. This is a recreation of that spectacular scene, when the sky was awash with color and all was right with the world. I still like to return, in memory, to that golden time.
5 x 7 inch oil on panel
In the wide open heartland of California’s Central Valley, the skies are big and the land is rich and bountiful. This plein aire style impressionistic landscape painting captures the glory of the waning day. I can’t pinpoint the exact location, but the surrounding names are picturesque, Buttonwillow, Lost Hill, Tranquility.
Just for fun, here’s a closeup of one part of the painting, showing the brushstrokes and delicate color:
Desert Dawn – Palm Springs – California Impressionist Oil Painting
11 x 14 oil on canvas
Click image to see larger, better res version
Painting the desert as seen in morning light is definitely a challenge. The air is remarkably crisp and clear, probably clearer and with less particulate material than just about anywhere I’ve seen. So that’s a distinctive look that says “desert.” But this is in contrast to one of the principles of landscape painting that tells us that distant objects should be softer, grayer, bluer and with less distinct detail. I could have painted this painting that way .. “pushing back” the mountains with desaturation and adding more blue. But this time I chose to keep them darker, almost close enough to touch. This alluvial area comes out of the San Jacinto Mountains. I believe it’s an area along the Randall Henderson Trail, but I’m not certain. I really need to take better notes about my locations.
This painting was done using only three colors, black and white: ultramarine blue, cadmium yellow light and alizarin crimson. I feel that the limited palette can help to create greater color harmony. It was an experiment and I like the results. Some very wise teachers advocate using a full palette with perhaps two dozen colors, many premixed, so that you can quickly select the right color when time is short. There is definitely an advantage to working that way, speed being a major concern. But other good painters say that you can get more color harmony if you limit your colors and just mix like crazy. I know one demo painter that only uses about seven colors on his palette on location. Another teacher, John Cosby, challenges his students to paint with just five. So there are a lot of different things to explore and learn from.
I may be taking this painting with me to the show at Descanso. Now I’m down to the wire deciding on the right mix of subject matter, size, color, medium and so forth. Although I’m restricted to bringing 20 paintings, if you’re coming to the show and would like to see something else that I’ve featured here or on my website, drop me a note and make sure I have it available for viewing in person.
“Wildflower Spring” – 14 x 18 oil on canvas
This very new painting (painted last week) was inspired by my recent trip to California’s Anza Borrego State Park in North San Diego County. I’ve never been much of a desert person, although one of my warmest memories of a family trip was to see the California desert for the first time – around Joshua Tree, I believe. Perhaps it’s because most of the year it is fairly dry and barren. But when springtime follows a winter of abundant rainfall – stand back. This is the desert as I’ve never seen it before. Next year I’ll be looking for new places to paint and take photos with different kinds of flora.
If there is someone reading who lives in the North San Diego area and is familiar with the native plants, I’d like to know the name of the tree/shrub, which grow near Coyote Canyon at the upper part of the A-B preserve. Some have said it’s a smoke tree but it seems too full for that. It has some resemblance to a palo verde, but the trunks weren’t green. The foliage is soft and airy and drooping. It grows out in the middle of the desert, in what look like flash flood gullies. It likes sand as opposed to a craggy, rocky habitat.
This might be a good time to remind new readers of a few things about the images you see here:
I scan and process my photos on a Mac, which means that it may look slightly different on a PC, even though I have my monitor setup for PC preview, since that’s what more people use. I do my best to get a good color match, but if you’ve ever been in a computer store or the TV department of a large retailer, you know that there are rarely two screens that look alike. I’ve been told that in most cases the painting “in real life” looks even better than on the monitor.
Thing two: My name and blog address which appear in one of the corners of the photo are NOT on the painting.That is not how I sign my name. It’s a watermark that I apply digitally to my work so that if it ever gets separated from my site, or if I display it on Flickr (not here) that people know where to go to see more. I usually sign my name very small and subtly in either the lower left or right hand corner, whichever looks best.
Thing three: What you see in this post is a low res version so the blog page will load quickly. If you want to see a somewhat higher res version, click the image and it is likely you’ll be able to see more brushstrokes and detail.
More paintings coming soon … I have a lot on the easel(s) and I’m doing final tweaking for all the shows coming up this month and next, among them the Art Matters show and sale at the Huntington Library and Gardens in San Marino. More details as the dates approach. Mark your calendar for the weekend of May 2-3-4.
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.
“Desert Sunrise” oil on canvas 14 x 18
But you can find more of my desert paintings and other landscapes at Karen Winters Gallery Site
This Friday, December 8, I will be exhibiting some paintings again at Descanso Gardens in La Canada, and this painting may be among them. (I’m still deciding which four I’ll bring for the group exhibition, and my final selection will probably be made that morning.) This painting was inspired by the warm beauty of the sunrise in Palm Springs.
On another topic, last Friday night we attended a lecture at the Norton Simon museum in Pasadena on the landscapes of Renoir. His painting continued to evolve through the years, and there were some startling examples of contemporaneous paintings executed in very different styles, depending upon the subject matter. This came as a surprise to me because I think we are used to seeing a great deal of consistency in the bodies of work of the masters. It’s refreshing to see how they experimented and explored new techniques with a variety of interesting results.