Capistrano hollyhocks – California mission garden oil painting

Capistrano Hollyhocks
12 x 9 inch oil on plein air panel

One of the lovely features of Mission San Juan Capistrano, in southern California, is the mission garden which is filled with seasonal flowers such as these hollyhocks. It’s been said that the padres called this biennial plant St. Joseph’s Staff, because of its great height. I have some growing in my own garden and they are close to seven feet tall. What I like about painting hollyhocks is that the petals are so translucent in the sunlight. Capturing the delicacy is challenging, but fun. Palm trees and blooming jacarandas can be seen in the background along with the mission architecture.

This painting is available now.
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Yellow rose oil painting floribunda flower art

“Walking on Sunshine – AARS Rose Selection 2011”
6 x 12 inch oil painting on linen panel

This is one of the first blooms from my garden this year, which was specifically planted to provide floral material for still lifes. It was painted from life.

I was attracted to this rose because of the numerous blooms that it produces on one stem (typical of a floribunda) as well as the rich color. As the rose blooms, the dark yellow gold fades to delicate lighter shades. To see more of my garden in progress, visit http://www.facebook.com/ArtistInTheGarden.

Tournament House Rose Garden Oil Painting Pasadena Wrigley Mansion commissioned painting

SOLD
Tournament House Rose Garden painting
(Home of the Tournament of Roses Association, Rose Parade organizer)
11 x 14 oil
Painted on commission

This new painting is intended as a Christmas gift from the lovely woman who commissioned it, for a very special gentleman. The rose garden was where they first met. Built in 1906, the Tournament House was purchased by chewing gum magnate Wm. Wrigley in 1914. The home was given to the city of Pasadena in 1958 for use by the Tournament Association. The centennial rose garden (seen here) is spectacular in full bloom. The painting represents it in early morning light.

Don’t you just love romantic stories? I know I do, and I get a special joy from making paintings that commemorate special events – like first dates, first meetings, places where proposals happened, and so forth.

If you’re considering giving a painting as a holiday gift, this is a very good time to get in touch as things get busier as the season draws closer.

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Descanso Gardens Rose Garden Summer Oil Painting by California impressionist Karen Winters


“Descanso Gardens Rose Garden”
(with roses and crepe myrtle)
12 x 16 oil on canvas

This is one of the paintings I’ll be bringing to Descanso Gardens for the opening of my solo exhibition on Nov. 2. The show will hang in the Heritage Gallery in the Boddy House mansion and will continue through January 2, 2012.

My reception will be on Sunday, Nov. 13 from 1-4 pm.

The summer light filters through the trees surrounding the rose garden, and gently touches all of the floral beauty, from crepe myrtles to roses to other perennial plants. I love the look of the late slanting light.

White Roses Oil Painting – Impressionist Botanical Floral


White Roses (study)
6 x 8 inches
oil on plein air panel

Iceberg roses are among the most popular white rose varieties in California (perhaps in other US states, too.) These perennial plants have a carefree look about them, somewhat different from the formality of other hybrid tea roses. I decided to paint this group in a casual impressionist style, loosely, as though they were being tousled by the wind.

Sweet Pea Cottage Garden Springtime Figurative Pasadena Oil Painting by Karen Winters

Sweet Pea Springtime
(Cottage garden, Pasadena, California)
14 x 11 inches
Oil painting on canvas

I’ve been thinking about painting this subject for several years, since my husband and I were out on a walk in Pasadena and we came upon a scene of a woman cutting sweet peas along the cottage garden path leading to her front door. The location is near S. El Molino Street, or S. Oak Knoll, near Cornell, but I neglected to write down the exact address. I told her I was a painter and asked her permission to take a picture and she pleasantly agreed. I changed the color of her dress from periwinkle blue to white because it contrasted better with the green of the sweet pea vines.

The picture was taken in March when everything was verdant green, and the flowers – snapdragons, pansies, poppies and more – were at peak bloom. I should try to walk the area again some time and see if I recognize the houses and the path.

Although I prefer to do plein air studies as preparation for studio paintings, there are some occasions when a composition just presents itself to you and there you are without an easel, and the light fading fast. This was one of those occasions when I was glad I had a camera with me.

White Cactus Flower Painting – Botanical Southwestern Oil Painting of Cereus cactus by Karen Winters

Come Hither
White Cactus Flowers on a Cereus Peruvianus cactus
Oil painting 16 x 20

This wonderful cactus plant was at least ten feet tall, and covered in flowers so large and radiant that it took my breath away. The blossoms were as wide across as my hand, easily.
Those tireless workers, bees, were swarming all over them, harvesting pollen. However I chose not to paint those busy folk on this occasion. I love bees but not everyone feels the same way and I wouldn’t want their presence to prevent the painting from finding a new home. Maybe if I paint the subject again – I took many photos of this proud beauty.

White flowers are never truly white because they pick up color from everything around them – the blue violet sky light in shadow, the warm light of the sun, and so on. The value range of white varies greatly, too. Painting this was like trying to solve a large jigsaw puzzle. A bit frustrating at times, but a lot of fun.

Clivia Botanical Painting Kaffir Lily – Descanso Gardens Oil Painting by Karen Winters



“Clivia – Kaffir Lily”
10 x 8″ oil painting on hardboard
Botanical painting – Descanso Gardens

See more of my Descanso Gardens paintings here

Clivias, also known as bush lily, glow with bright orange colors through thickets of dark green strapping foliage. These secondary colors (orange and purple) make a nice contrast to each other. Painting this was like working a jigsaw puzzle. Every flower has dimension. The petals turn with the light, and the strappy foliage intersects the blooms in interesting patterns.

I don’t do a great number of botanical studies – especially not realistic ones – but I’m thinking of doing more this year as I redevelop my garden which will provide material for compositions. In the meantime there is always Descanso gardens, walking distance from my house, where I’ll have a solo show in the Heritage Gallery in the Boddy House mansion this November and December.

(There’s a little bit of glare at the top of the painting due to the wetness of the paint and the light source. Pretend you don’t see it. )

Sunflower Garden – Descanso Gardens Landscape Oil Painting

Descanso Gardens Sunflower Garden
9 x 12 oil painting on linen
Plein air painting

See more of my Descanso Gardens paintings here

Last autumn, when the flowers were completing their blooming season at Descanso Gardens, I painted this stand of Mammoth Sunflowers, caught in the afternoon sunlight. By the way the heads were bowing, I knew they wouldn’t last too much longer. The camellias are in bloom now, and I am looking forward to the tulip show at Descanso, if they have planted them this year.

Painting note: although the underpainting was done with thin transparent darks, the opaque paint on top was painted with a very limited palette of red, yellow, blue, white and gray. Amazing how many colors you can get from those few primaries.

Huntington Gardens Tea Room and Rose Garden – San Marino



Huntington Gardens
Tea Room and Rose Garden
Oil Painting

11 x 14 inches – oil on canvas

This is a plein air painting that I did a few years ago, and somehow it escaped being photographed and posted to my blog. A recent conversation prompted me to revisit it and I discovered that it was missing from my site.

Not too long ago we renewed our Huntington membership and I’m looking forward to visiting again when the camellias are in bloom. On a trip a few weeks ago, they had a California landscape exhibit which I enjoyed, along with other permanent collection work in the Paul and Heather Sturt Haaga gallery. If you live in Southern California and you’re not a member of the Huntington, what are you waiting for?