Pasadena Skyline Oil Painting – Pasadena California City Hall complex

Pasadena Skyline
11 x 14 oil on hardboard panel


Although this painting is sold, I have more Pasadena area paintings at this link:
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I am also happy to paint on commission.
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Garden Party Pasadena paint out – California impressionist landscape painting

The Garden Party
11 x 14 oil on canvas panel

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This season I’ve been enjoying doing more and more live event painting, like this recent party at a private home.
True, there’s a little pressure to get a painting mostly done within the time limit of an event, but I thrive on challenges and I enjoy socializing as I paint. And if there’s wine and cheese and fine music involved, what could be better!

I know that many of my readers have asked to see my palette set up. This photo gives a better look at a typical arrangement: French easel, easel mate with glass palette, medium cups, turp (OMS, really) brushes, lots of paper towels, paint scraper to clean glass palette, etc. I’ve blocked in the scene and am working on the background before the large crowd appeared. When I’m painting for myself, you’ll usually find me in T-shirt and jeans, but for a nice event I like to dress up a little (and try to keep my sleeves out of the paint piles.) Occupational hazard – I can’t shake hands with people who stop to visit, unless they want a nice offering of titanium white. So I do the back-handed knuckle-bump instead. So very hip, doncha know.

California impressionist landscape oil painting – Spring poppies – Hillside Bouquet

Hillside Bouquet
9 x 12 oil


I have other California wildflower paintings. Please write

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On a central coast hillside, California poppies and lupines make a dazzling display. I started working on this painting over the weekend at the Redondo Beach pier art show. Thanks to everyone who came out, it was a pleasure meeting new collectors and getting acquainted with old friends. If you stopped by and wondered how the painting turned out, here it is.

This coming weekend I will be showing more than 20 paintings at the Bowers Museum Invitational Show in Santa Ana. It’s a two day show, Saturday and Sunday the 19th and 20th, from 10 am to 4 pm. The address is 2002 N. Main Street, Santa Ana. There is a meet the artists reception on Saturday the 20th from 2-4, but you can also see me in my area at any time. A portion of all painting sales goes to the California Arts Council and helps the conservation and exhibition of paintings in the Bowers Museum collection.

La Canada Angeles Crest Landscape Oil Painting – Karen Winters

“Snow on the Crest”
16 x 20 oil on canvas

This is a view into the Crescenta Canada Valley from a high road in Flintridge, near the Sacred Heart Academy. The 210 freeway can be seen on the left as it passes the upper Arroyo Seco. The mountains are the San Gabriel range. Last winter, a snowstorm left a dusting of snow on the Angeles Crest Forest. It only lasted a few days but I had the opportunity to take some early morning pictures of this rare occurrence. By the next day, most of the snow had vanished.

Now that the temperatures have reached the high 90s locally, I thought it was a good time to think about something cool.

Karen Winters California Impressionism New Works Show at Gale’s Restaurant, Pasadena

If you’ve been following my blog, you know I’ve been preparing for this event for some time.
So, if you’re in the LA area and would like to see my work in person, I invite you to come to my show of California impressionist fine art.

Place: Gale’s Restaurant
Address: 452 S. FairOaks in Pasadena, California
Dates: Sat. May 16 – Friday, July 10
Reception: Sunday afternoon, May 31, 4-6 pm.


Chinatown, Los Angeles oil painting – California Art Club Plein Air Paint Out

Chinatown Afternoon
11 x 14
plein air painting
oil on canvas panel

Good times just don’t get any better than this. The California Art Club, which is celebrating its centennial this year, invited all members to a big paintout in Los Angeles’ historic Chinatown. Although rain had been threatened, morning brought fair skies and the promise of a picture perfect day. We arrived around 10 am to a very well-organized reception, complete with coffee and pastries – and then we were free to roam the streets of Chinatown looking for the best angles.

CAC members were there at the gracious invitation of the Chinatown Business Improvement District and we were impressed by their hospitality, including the delicious artists’ reception which refreshed us at the end of the day.

To paint, I found an angle just off the main plaza on Broadway, looking toward two of the most colorful buildings. As I explained to people who passed by and stopped to chat with me as I painted, I’m more of a tree and mountain sort of gal (as you blog readers know) – but there’s something about the ornate facades of these beautiful historic buildings that just steal an artist’s heart. In the late afternoon the warm sun makes everything radiant. At that hour, once again, it’s the Chinatown I remember visiting as a child, throwing coins into the fountain to make a wish, buying candied ginger and imported seashells from faraway shores.

The smell of the sea, joss sticks, firecrackers, oolong tea, fried shrimp … the sounds of music emanating from every shop, the babble of conversation in Spanish, Chinese, English and the tinkle of wind chimes … the cool breeze riffling the hanging lanterns and flags … a visit to Chinatown is a sensual delight not to be missed. If you’re an Angeleno and you haven’t been there lately – it’s time to discover it again.

And speaking of things to discover … if you’re an artist living in California, come join us in the CAC and become a part of a grand artistic tradition.

Good Morning, La Canada Flintridge

“Good Morning, La Canada”
9″ x 12″ oil on canvas on board

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In our small town, the streets aren’t usually this deserted in the morning, but during the holidays and early weekend mornings there’s definitely less traffic. I decided to leave out the random cars for the sake of reducing clutter.

La Canada Flintridge is a “bedroom” community of Los Angeles. Just 20 minutes or so from downtown, Foothill Blvd. is our main street. This is a view of the corner of Foothill and Oakwood, quite near the Vons market on the left, and La Canada Presbyterian Church on the right (that’s the spire that’s visible.)

After all the paintings I’ve done of Pasadena, the Arroyo Seco, Eaton Canyon, Hahamongna Park, Glendale, Descanso Gardens and other local sites, it’s really about time I got around to painting more of LC itself.

The last time I painted a vertical cityscape it was El Molino Avenue in Pasadena, near the Pasadena Playhouse. This one. So maybe it’s about time for another one.

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.

California Oak Trail – Impressionist Landscape Oil Painting

Morning on the Trail – Hall Canyon Oaks
Oil on hardboard panel
11 x 14 inches

This is a painting that I began last year, put aside and then worked on again recently with a fresh outlook. I think that all painters have paintings like these. Either we were too busy at the time working on other paintings, or somehow lost interest along the way, or otherwise decided that the time was not right to bring it to finish.

It’s been hanging where I see it whenever I pass by. Enough repetitive glances and I start thinking … what if I tried this, or that? What if I corrected this challenging passage? What if I tried a different color here or there? Or added some different shaped branches?

The fact is, until the time that a painting is signed sold and on its way to a new home, any one may be a “work in progress” and as our experience and vision changes, so does the way we express ourselves. And just as the natural world changes and morphs with time and the seasons, so do we.

California Fall Landscape Oil Painting – Autumn Joy – Karen Winters

Autumn Joy
11 x 14 oil on canvas

(It was cloudy and rainy today so I couldn’t take the painting outdoors into natural light to photograph it, so there is some blurring that is not in the painting. I cant use a flash when the painting is wet, either. I’ll shoot it again when the weather is better. But it does look good in reality.)

In this typical California landscape, sycamore trees blaze with color on a local trail in Southern California. This scene is close to home in La Canada Flintridge, and I may be taking this painting next weekend to the Montrose Artwalk. If you’re a local person, look for me near the bowling alley on Honolulu Avenue in Montrose, zip code 91020.

If you’d like to purchase the painting before I take it to the artwalk, email me …

I came across a 1985 copy of Southwest Art the other day that had an article about artist Randall Lake, and some advice he had given to a student. Here are a few of the suggestions made:

“There are no short-cuts in this profession. For most of us, creativity has more to do with daily work than momentary inspiration. Don’t wait for the grand vision; work and re-work. When inspiration does come, your skills will be up to the task of using it effectively.”

“Painting is not a nine to five profession. It is a life’s work, whch demands that your schedule will vary.”

“Try many art forms and take risks. By that I mean go beyond what you are comfortable doing. If what you are doing doesn’t have the possiblity of failure, neither will it be brilliant. Exceptional accomplishment in any of the arts has always been the result of risk taking.”

“Always remain a student: learn through research, refinement and experimentation while remaining flexible. To paraphrase Henri Matisse: one should never become a prisoner of one’s style or reputation.”

Good words to live by as an artist!