Arroyo Seco Landmarks – Colorado Street Bridge Pasadena painting

Arroyo Landmarks
12 x 16 oil on canvas
Original oil painting


More Pasadena paintings at this link: Pasadena paintings

This is a painting I’ve been working on for awhile, and I thought it was time I finished it up while I continue progress with my fall Sierra series.
The Colorado Street Bridge (also known as the Suicide Bridge to locals) is a major Pasadena landmark, as is the Federal Courthouse, formerly the Vista Del Arroyo Hotel, which overlooks the arroyo. From a certain angle you can see both. The bridge is very tall, but surprisingly those pines are even taller.

Along with painting, I’ve been in the throes of migrating to a new computer system. My old Mac was getting slow and a few USB and Firewire drives weren’t mounting, leading us to believe that there was a problem with those buses. Fortunately I had all my files backed up, but when two of my backup hard drives went down I knew it was time to make a change. Coincidence or causality? I don’t know if the old computer could hurt the drives but I wasn’t taking any chances. Leo LaPorte (the tech guy on the radio) is fond of saying that if you don’t have your files in at least two places, you don’t have them. Even when some of my drives were heading south, I immediately backed up the data onto a new one, plus DVDs as well. I’m thinking of subscribing to Carbonite for another layer of offsite protection.

The good thing is that this new computer is much faster, which makes light work of editing photos of my paintings and organizing and cataloging my paintings.

Anyway, upgrades are a tedious and time consuming process, so I’m hopeful that now I’ll be back in the swing of posting new paintings more regularly. But you gotta do what you gotta do, right?

If you’re interested in adding this painting to your collection, please write

California Sierra Cottonwood Trail – Impressionist Landscape Oil Painting

“Cottonwood Trail”
20 x 16 oil on canvas
(near Bishop, California)

This painting has been SOLD, but I have more sierra paintings here:

More Sierra Nevada paintings here

As the seasons change, I am following along, brush in hand, capturing the colors that nature provides. This scene is from the Owens Valley, in the foothills of the Sierra, not far from the Owens River, which I hear has some great fishing these days. The cottonwoods shimmer in the morning light, their orange leaves making a nice complement to the deep blue sky.

I’m going to guess that this is a Fremont Cottonwood (populus fremontii) which is common in lowlands, close to streams. I’ve heard that you can take a twig and stick it into moist ground and it will quickly root. Maybe that’s why you see so many cottonwoods used as windbreaks out in rural pastures. You can just imagine the farmers sticking branches in the ground at reasonable intervals. These were wild ones, however … they didn’t look as though they had been planted in any careful way.

If you notice some other cottonwoods on the right (to the rear) that are still green, that is very typical of the foliage this year. You’ll see trees fully turned growing next to others of the same species that are still wearing their summer look. Wind and weather create some interesting effects, as you’ll see in some of the other paintings I’ll post in the future.

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See more of my paintings on my website

California Landscape Oil Painting – Pasadena San Gabriel View

Overlooking Pasadena
14 x 11 oil on canvas

Although this painting is sold, you can see more Pasadena paintings here

Stately eucalyptus trees line a path overlooking Pasadena/Altadena, looking east and north toward the San Gabriel Mountains. The branches catch the early morning light.

Interested in this painting? Please write

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.

Peppertree Hill – California Landscape Oil Painting

This California landscape oil painting was inspired by a pepper tree I saw leaning into the wind on a golden hill.

Peppertree Hill
9 x 12
oil on wood panel

Interested in this painting? Please write.

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.

Fallbrook Landscape Oil Painting by California Impressionist Karen Winters

fallbrook california oil painting

Spring to Summer in Fallbrook
9 x 12 oil painting on canvas
A country ranch road in Fallbrook, California

This painting is sold but I have others from the area. Please write me.

Here’s another little landscape inspired by my Fallbrook trip. There were several mornings when the marine layer had moved in and was cloaking the hillsides with a gauzy look. Around 8 o clock the mist would start to burn off. You can see where the grasses on one part of the field have already started to turn golden. Other foliage still maintains the fresh spring look.

I haven’t posted in a few days because it’s been very busy getting ready for my show at Gale’s Restaurant, celebrating Mothers’ Day and taking care of other family responsibilities.

Did you know that if you want to see all of my paintings in any one category – such as all Fallbrook paintings, or all mountain paintings that you can filter these posts by categories? Look for the pulldown menu in the left sidebar.

The Meadow Wakes – California landscape painting – Karen Winters

“The meadow wakes”
(Sierra foothills, east of Visalia)
6 x 8 oil on canvas


When the first strong rays of light hit a meadow filled with fiddlehead flowers, the mist was still rising from the nearby hills, providing an interesting contrast of saturated and desaturated colors. The statuesque valley oak was just starting to put out its new foliage, creating that lacy effect that is only characteristic of earliest spring. I wonder what it would be like to live on a farm like this, with so much beauty to see in every season.

Lean on Me – Fan Palms – Plein Air Oil Landscape Painting

“Lean on Me”
9 x 12 oil on canvas panel
(Fan Palms in Fallbrook, CA)

This friendly palm twosome caught my attention on Wednesday morning at the Libby Tolley workshop. Our assignment was to find a composition that interested us and to paint it in two hours before the light changed. The week got progressively cooler, with atmospheric mornings and more brilliant sunsets. Capturing the quality of cool morning light was one of the many enjoyable challenges we rose to. This painting represents the moment where the morning fog is just starting to burn off, when the sun catches the edge of the palm fronds. Close to the ground the mist still hovers and swirls. But higher up, the clouds are breaking up to reveal a brilliant blue sky.

More palms in other workshop paintings to come …

What I love about workshops – going somewhere new to paint – meeting other artists and making new friends – getting immediate critiques and suggestions about one’s work “in the moment” – the fun of experimenting and trying new solutions to common painting problems – seeing how other people paint a similar scene – feeling tired but satisfied at the end of the day.

Morning at the Ranch – Libby Tolley plein air painting workshop

Morning at the Ranch (Fallbrook) by Karen Winters
8 x 10 inch
plein air oil painting on canvas panel

This past week I had the pleasure of spending five days in a plein air painting workshop with Elizabeth (Libby) Tolley, who is a remarkable central California coast painter. The curriculum for each day built upon the day before, taking us from a demonstration of how she sets up her palette and mixes accurate color quickly to the uses of a quick-drying medium for underpainting. There’s too much detail to share it all here, and besides, it’s all in her North Light book Oil Painter’s Solution Book If you’re serious about improving your plein air painting, it’s a must-have.

On Monday of the first day, the temperatures were in the 90s by early morning, so instead of going on location and sweltering, our demo was done in the classroom at the Fallbrook School of the Arts. On the second day, we went out to a rural location and were given an hour to do a small painting exercise for mixing greens. This painting was the result. Composition wasn’t the primary goal here – identifying the color and getting it down was. I did touch this up a bit back in the studio to add some details and refine some brushwork, but I didn’t change it much.

Libby is an excellent teacher as well as a gifted painter. She’s clear and precise in her instruction, well-organized, flexible in the face of changing conditions and very down-to-earth in her teaching style. No question is off limits and she is generous in sharing her knowledge.

More about the workshop (and more of my on-site studies) as the week goes on.

Aspen Sierra Morning – California Eastern Sierra Oil Painting

Aspen Sierra Morning
(near Bishop, Owens Valley, Eastern Sierras
16 x 20 oil on canvas

Because many of my Sierra/aspen/Owens Valley paintings have gone away to new homes, I decided to finish up another that I began last year, inspired by our Eastern Sierra trip. This painting features a grove of aspens caught in the earliest morning light. And I mean *really* early, when the color is intense and warm. That’s the time when more sensible people are snug in their beds, or enjoying their first cups of coffee in the kitchen, but the plein air painters and photographers are stomping around in the brush, looking for the best compositions and getting tangled up in barbed wire. (Yes, that happened to me in November, and it wasn’t pretty.)

Truck crash update, for those who are interested.
At Flintridge bookstore, seven of my ten paintings have been found, in various states of damage. All framing has been destroyed. Some of the watercolors survived, others will require significant repair, and the other (one of my favorites) was torn down the middle. The only acrylic – painted on a hard panel, came through ok. It will only need a brush off to remove some plaster dust, and a few touch-ups. The other two oil paintings are still buried, no doubt. On the positive side, all of those who were hospitalized have been discharged to their homes, and there were no more deaths. Large trucks have been banned on Angeles Crest Highway, at least temporarily, until legislative action can ban them permanently.

We watched the city council meeting last night via cable TV and were glad to see a good discussion of the options to prevent future calamities. And the council was very thorough in thanking everyone who helped in the aftermath, including those who sent letters of support and ideas. At the council meeting I did not hear an acknowledgment of Girl Scout, Malia Mailes, whose 46 slide powerpoint project outlined the disaster waiting to happen before the crash, and she was not mentioned in the round of hearty back-slapping. Perhaps it’s the fact that her report was horrifically prescient and is/was a source of embarrassment to our council who were unable to use her research to get any action. It’s interesting, isn’t it, that teenagers are usually characterized as feeling “immortal” and behaving as though nothing bad could happen to them. Yet here you have a teen sounding a clarion call and the adults patiently waiting for the state to throw them crumbs.

The burning question, which a member of the public raised at the meeting, was, why did it take so long, with repeated runaway truck “near misses” and finally two deaths to get some action? Clearly, the carefully worded requests for action from our city manager, as politely “by the book” as they may have been, fell on deaf ears with the regional CalTrans director who recently told a reporter he wasn’t going to spend any money on our requests. If our city representatives tolerated a runaround on this issue, which ended in fatalities, how will they respond to future needs? Will they have learned a little assertiveness from the experience? Perhaps the PR firm that they hired to manage the media and interviews on the day of the event can give them some helpful suggestions.

Here’s a helpful suggestion: Malia Mailes for City Council in two years, when she’s 18. She sounds like a go-getter, someone who is passionate, energetic and wants to get things done. We can use more of that around here.