California desert wildflowers landscape painting – Anza Borrego

“Desert Wildflowers”
14 x 18 inches, oil on canvas
Anza Borrego State Park, California

Down a dusty desert road and up a canyon in Anza Borrego State Park, we came upon a beautiful scene tucked out of the way. The desert was blooming with color. Although the rain had not been plentiful it was enough to germinate the seeds that brought these flowers. And they were fun to paint …

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California poppy fields landscape oil painting – One Brilliant Moment

“One Brilliant Moment”
SOLD
9 x 12 inch oil painting
California poppies, Lancaster Poppy Reserve

This past week was peak bloom time for the poppies of the Lancaster Poppy Reserve, just north of Los Angeles. Painting there is an annual pleasure for me and in spite of the drought, the poppies didn’t disappoint. This is one of the paintings that came out of that trip. Another will be posted here soon.

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California high desert Valyermo oil painting “High Desert Color”

“High Desert Color”
9 x 12 inches, oil painting on plein air panel
Valyermo, California
Antelope Valley High Desert area

After our welcome rains that came a few days ago, my husband and I saw the sky was still filled with beautiful cumulus clouds – the kind we see around here too infrequently. So we decided to take a drive up to the high desert to see the wide open spaces. It was a picture perfect day and we found ourselves in the small community of Valyermo. Although the wind and rain may have taken away some of the glory of the cottonwoods, there was still some color left, and the paint brush took care of the bare spots.

This is a view of one of those cottonwood groves. I liked the contrast of the yellow golds against the blue violet mountains in the background. Those happen to be the San Gabriels, the closest range to our home. So now I’ve painted them from ‘both sides, now’.

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Grand Canyon afternoon painting near Hopi Point – Karen Winters

Grand Canyon Afternoon
Plein Air Oil Painting near Hopi Point, South Rim
9 x 12 oil painting
Available now.

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The great thing about painting at Grand Canyon is that there’s a scene practically everywhere you look. The sculptural forms of the plateaus and cliffs constantly change color as the sun moves – which adds to its beauty and provides entertainment and frustration for the artist. Our first days at the canyon we looked for locations to paint, then returned on the third day to some favorite spots. My location for this painting was somewhere between Hopi Point and Powell Point on the south rim, rim trail.

The photo below shows a good example of the difference in color temperature between seeing a painting outdoors and indoors. The photo above was taken under indoor light (as it will be seen in a home or office.) Below, the painting as it appeared under natural (blue) daylight in shadow. As a rule I try to always photograph a painting as it will appear under normal home or office conditions.

Blue Skies Ahead – Paradise Camp/Swall Meadow near Bishop California oil painting by Karen Winters

“Blue Skies Ahead”
16 x 20 oil painting
(near Swall Meadows, historic Paradise Camp, outside of Bishop, California)

This road, I believe, is Lower Rock Creek Road, also known as the old Sherwin Grade Road, which parallels today’s Highway 395. I painted this a few years ago, and revisited it recently, since my work has evolved considerably since then. I find it interesting that sometimes when people ask (and they always do) “how long did that take you to paint?” That sometimes the answer is “years.” It certainly is in this case.

This is not an uncommon practice among serious painters. Sometimes you just need some time and distance on a painting to resolve certain areas, or to see color and value differently. Upon revisiting this painting, the sky is very much the same, but the land areas are completely repainted. Many influences move through our lives – teachers, books we read, shows we go to, artists we admire, experiences we have in working things out ourselves. Every painting is the cumulation of experience to date.

Mojave Desert Sunset Oil Painting – Abode of the Desert Rat by Karen Winters

“Abode of the Desert Rat”
Mojave Desert, somewhere off the beaten path between Tehachapi and Rosamond
9 x 12 oil on linen

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This painting was inspired by a trip back from Kernville a few months ago, coming back from a paint out with the California Art Club. The sun was starting to come out from under a cloud bank, and a storm was threatening. The brilliance of the sun contrasted with the dark shapes of the poplars. I imagined that some recluse was living in the trailer, enjoying the constantly changing weather patterns and quiet solitude. Not long after this the rains started coming. Those heavily rain laden clouds suggested a flash flood and we headed for high ground.

Here’s a closer detail shot:

Eastern Sierra Bishop Cottonwood Oil Painting Art by California landscape painter Karen Winters

Cottonwood Road, early autumn
9 x 12 inches
Bishop, eastern sierra nevada oil painting
SOLD, but I have more Sierra and cottonwood paintings, see link below

More Sierra Nevada paintings here

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September is just around the corner, and soon the cottonwoods of the Owens Valley, in the shadow of the Sierra, will be starting to turn from green to gold. This transitional period provides an interesting color palette as the warm colors overtake the cool leafy shades.

Grand Canyon Oil Painting – Sculpted by Time – Yavapai Point – by Karen Winters


“Sculpted by Time”
Yavapai Point, Grand Canyon
9 x 12
oil painting on linen panel
Available from Hueys Fine Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico, Feb. 11 – March 2011

I was happy to be learn that this painting, Sculpted by Time, will be included in the 2011 Canyonlands Show at Hueys Fine Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico. The show celebrates the beauty of the Grand Canyon and Canyon de Chelly.

I’m looking forward to visiting the canyon again sometime this winter season – perhaps combining it with a trip through northern Arizona and/or Utah. I love California but there’s a whole lot of west to explore and paint, with new vistas and new painting challenges.

One of the many things I love about the Grand Canyon is the way it naturally provides complementary colors to work with – from the red rock chiseled cliffs to the blue of the sky and distant mountains.

Mt. Whitney Portal Lone Pine painting – Eastern Sierra Nevada Landscape oil painting by Karen Winters

“The Way to Mt. Whitney”
(Lone Pine, Eastern Sierra, Mt. Whitney Portal)
18 x 24 inches
Oil painting on canvas

SOLD

Although this painting is sold, find more Sierra Nevada paintings here

These days I’ve been completing some of my Sierra paintings that I’ve been working on for awhile. During the holidays things got so busy that I didn’t have the time to bring them to finish.

Interesting facts about Mt. Whitney and the Lone Pine area:

Mt. Whitney (slightly right of center in the painting) is the highest mountain the lowest 48 states, and is the most-climbed peak in the Sierra and one of the most climbed mountains in the US. It is composed of granite and is a “jointed” formation. Looking at Whitney from its east face, a formation known as “The Needles” is directly to the left.

There is little rainfall most of the year, so the eastern slopes reflect that climate. Below there are alpine forests, but at the higher reaches greenery is scarce, dominated by gray granite.

Sierra Light – Mt. Whitney Portal -Lone Pine, Sierra Nevada landscape oil painting

“Sierra Light”
Mt. Whitney Portal, Lone Pine
20 x 24 ” oil painting
Oil on linen

More Sierra Nevada paintings here

This is a painting from last fall’s trip to the Sierra. I did some studies on site to capture the light conditions on that day where a storm was moving in … and this was painted in studio from those references. Because the clouds were moving rapidly, occasionally there would be a break where a shaft of light would hit the high desert below. I found that “spotlight” very intriguing.