El Capitan Summer Yosemite oil painting

El Capitan Summer
9 x 12 inches
oil painting on oil primed linen

The view of El Capitan from the Merced River is one of my favorite sights in Yosemite. I always enjoy returning to paint there, any time of year. One of these days I’ll brave the elements and do a winter painting with snow capping the rocks. For now, the summer greens decorate the scene.


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Yosemite Sentinel Bridge Reflections – Half Dome oil painting


“Sentinel Bridge Reflections”
Half Dome, Yosemite Valley

16 x 20 inches, oil on canvas

This painting is quite special to me as it was the 1000th one I completed. I thought I had posted it on my blog last year, but discovered that I missed it.
If you’ve been to Yosemite Valley, you’ll recognize the view from Sentinel Bridge, with Half Dome reflected in the calm waters. With our current snowmelt, I’m guessing that the Merced River is anything but calm right now.

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Yosemite Paintings

Yosemite Awakening sunrise snowy winter oil painting

“Yosemite Awakening”
18 x 18 inches
Oil on Canvas

A year ago, we had the opportunity to visit Yosemite Valley in the midst of a beautiful snowstorm. We stayed for four days at the Yosemite Lodge and enjoyed seeing the park at its most magical. One morning, as we were hiking around, we came upon this scene where the sunlight had just come over the towering granite peaks to strike the new fallen snow. A soft mist began to arise and drift across the ground, while the bare trees glittered with frost. It was truly unforgettable, and something I’ve been waiting for awhile to paint.

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Cathedral Beach Yosemite Autumn landscape oil painting

Cathedral Beach, Yosemite Valley Autumn
12 x 16 inches, oil on canvas

This painting was done last fall based on my visit to Yosemite. As many times as we’ve been there through the years, I’d never caught it at exactly this time, and it was certainly glorious.

Cathedral Beach is on the left side of the Southside Drive, just beyond the El Capitan Bridge. It’s a popular picnic and swim area, with wide sandy beaches.

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Yosemite Half Dome California landscape painting

Half Dome, Yosemite
6 x 8 inches
oil on canvas

Almost everyone I meet in California knows someone who has climbed Half Dome or they’ve done it themself. In our family, my husband did the climb in college, and our son did it just a few years ago. It’s a rite of passage, and a beautiful one at that. I’m too squeamish about heights to attempt it myself, but I admire those who have.

This little painting is the perfect size for a holiday gift, to commemorate a friend or family member’s climb to the summit.

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Half Dome, Yosemite painting, from Glacier Point by Karen Winters

Half Dome, from Glacier Point, Yosemite
12 x 16″ original oil painting

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From the valley floor, Yosemite’s Half Dome is a lofty structure. But it is only from Glacier point, when you can look across the valley at it, that you see the true size of Yosemite’s massive landmark. This painting depicts the monumental formation in early summer, when there is still some snow evident on its flanks. Soon, the snows will come and shroud it in whiteness once again.

Yosemite Falls Painting Art – Sierra Nevada landscape by Karen Winters



Yosemite Falls
(waterfall view from Yosemite Valley Floor)
8 x 10 oil painting on linen panel

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My husband and I have been visiting Yosemite since we honeymooned there (a very long time ago) and it never fails to captivate me, no matter the season or the weather. One of my favorite views is that of Yosemite Falls from the valley floor. The water is roaring more than ever this year, with the melting snow waters. With autumn on the way, it won’t be long before these peaks are snow clad again. We were told that many of the trees are going to be removed from the valley floor because their growth is obscuring the geological features that people come to see. I hope they don’t remove too many, though. The stately pines and deciduous trees add to the overall beauty of the park.

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Yosemite Half Dome Oil Painting – California Sierra Landscape – Karen Winters KWinters

Half Dome, Yosemite
Oil painting on canvas
8 x 10 inches

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In the summer, Half Dome, the iconic representation of Yosemite (it’s even their park logo) rises about a meadow filled with marshy grasses and strewn with wildflowers. When we were there in mid summer, I noticed something moving not far from me in the meadow. Suddenly, a large mule deer stood up. He had four prongs on each antler so I guess that would make him an 8-point buck. After looking around and seeing us, he casually walked a few yards, then settled down again. I got a decent photo of him. Maybe I’ll paint that some day.

Yosemite Falls Merced River Swinging Bridge Oil Painting

Yosemite Falls from the Swinging Bridge
11 x 14 oil painting
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The Swinging Bridge across the Merced River in Yosemite connects the two sides of Yosemite valley. From the bridge, or a little south of it, where I was, you can see Yosemite Falls cascading down the granite face. Yosemite Falls is the highest waterfall in North America. When we visited, in the summer, it was not at its most intense flow, but it was impressive all the same.

California Landscape Painting – Sierra Foothills Oil Painting

Sierra Foothills
8 x 10
oil on board

This scene is from the foothills of the Sierra, approaching Yosemite from the western side. Oak covered hills and golden grasses make for a limited palette scene.

Most of this was painted with ultramarine and prussian blue, yellow ochre, and small touches of alizarin to create the violets and warm accents. I’m using this study as a way to experiment with some color choices for larger Sierra foothills paintings yet to come.

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