Carmel Bay, Quiet Day oil painting by Karen Winters

Quiet Day on Carmel Bay
11 x 14 inch oil painting
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It was a quiet day when we were on the Monterey Peninsula. There was a slight mist in the air which softened some of the colors. The waters of Carmel Bay truly reflected the word “Pacific” – peaceful. This view of Carmel Bay looks slightly to the south and Point Lobos, where I have painted before.

Malibu Lagoon Sunrise oil painting

“Sunrise at Malibu Lagoon”
18 x 24 oil painting on canvas
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Malibu Lagoon, in Malibu, California is currently undergoing restoration. There were heated arguments regarding whether or not this wetland habitat should be rehabilitated or left as is. I’m not a Malibu resident so I didn’t follow it closely, but it seemed as though good points were made on both sides. At any rate, I hope that one day it returns to its former beauty, as I visualized it here. Wildlife was abundant … and it was lush and beautiful at any time of day, but especially early morning and at sunset.

Cambria Colors – Moonstone Beach Cambria oil painting San Simeon by Karen Winters

Cambria Colors
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12 x 16 oil painting on canvas
Cambria, Moonstone Beach, Leffingwell Landing area

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This was painted during the San Luis Obispo Plein Air festival, 2012 where I was one of a select group of invited artists.
The colors of the beach and ocean really are amazing.

San Simeon – Big Sur California Seascape oil painting by Karen Winters

“Cloudy Day at San Simeon” (Big Sur, California)
12 x 16 oil

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The southern part of Big Sur, California is at San Simeon, the site of Hearst’s Castle. The dramatic ocean cliffs frame the always changing sea. The day I painted this the sun was peeking through from time to time, but overall the scene was moody, with blowing fog and moving clouds. I actually like these sorts of days as well as the ones with bright sunshine.

Below, a photo of me working on it on location:

Peaceful Waters California oil painting – California Art Club Gold Medal Show


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“Peaceful Waters”
9 x 12 oil on linen
Devereux Slough in Santa Barbara


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This painting was accepted into the 101st annual California Gold Medal show, opening Saturday night at a gala party at the Autry National Museum in Los Angeles.

The slough is just on the border of the University of California at Santa Barbara. The morning I was there a marine layer was partly cloaking the beautiful eucalyptus trees, which made created wonderful reflections in the water.

Montana De Oro Cliffs Painting – California Central Coast Art by Karen Winters

“Montana de Oro Cliffs”
12 x 16 oil on linen panel

California Central Coast oil painting

This plein air painting was started on location on a sunny day on California’s Central Coast. But before long – those distant soft clouds came closer and closer, then let loose with a powerful cloudburst. The light changed so completely I was forced to stop painting and to finish it in the studio based upon my memory (which sometimes works out best of all.)

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Catalina Harbor Cat Harbor California seascape oil painting by Karen Winters

Catalina Harbor
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10 x 20 oil on canvas

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The evening sun slips below the mountains of the isthmus of Catalina, separating the Two Harbors, a popular destination for sailing, hiking and other recreation. This painting was purchased by a family member in San Francisco, for another family member in Southern California as a birthday present. It was my pleasure to be in on the surprise, and I delivered the present in person this morning, to their delight.

A gift of art is something that will always be appreciated, and more than that – treasured – for many years to come. The giver doesn’t have to worry about the gift becoming outdated, or fret that Painting 2.0 will be released soon after the present is opened. Nor need they fret that the recipient may have just bought the identical item at Best Buy or Costco. A painting usually carries a message of deep emotion – a celebration of a special time together, a milestone, like an anniversary, or a meaningful shared experience like a wedding proposal or the birth of a child; the purchase of a first home. A gift of art is the making of an heirloom, and though it comes at a price, it is priceless.

When “fire season” comes in Southern California, I’ve heard people in Malibu interviewed about what they grab from their homes. The answers are always the same: First, the living creatures (people and pets); second – family photo and videos; third – original art. What does that tell you about art’s deep meaning and connectedness to our lives?

Moonstone Beach, Cambria, oil painting – California impressionist seascape by Karen Winters

Moonstone Beach
20 x 32 oil on canvas
SOLD (painted on commission)


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This painting was finished last April and in all the hustle bustle of getting ready for shows and paint outs, I neglected posting it here. It was a studio painting, based upon smaller studies that I did ‘en plein air’ on location. This is a typical way for me to work – to study a subject from life, and then to produce larger pieces in the studio when I can explore them slowly and thoughtfully. The original study was painted during a paint out with the California Art Club.

Batiquitos Lagoon, Carlsbad Plein Air Oil Painting – Batiquitos View – by contemporary California impressionist Karen Winters

Batiquitos Lagoon View
9 x 12 plein air oil painting
Carlsbad, California wetlands landscape art

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Yesterday, my husband and I went to Carlsbad, CA (in San Diego County) where I fell in love with this beautiful eucalyptus guarding the trail to the Batiquitos lagoon. The tide seemed to be fully in at the time of our visit – late afternoon. This is the second time I’ve painted Batiquitos, and I expect it won’t be the last. Anywhere that there are eucalyptus trees and water is a winner with me. I was surprised to see so much green still in the grasses, considering that it is approaching the driest time of the year. But there was a lot of humidity in the air, so maybe that helps.

Here’s a previous Batiquitos painting which was based on a study like the one above.

Batiquitos Path
20 x 24 oil on canvas
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Laguna Beach Main Beach Sunset Oil Painting – “Laguna Main Beach Sunset” by California Impressionist Karen Winters

Laguna Main Beach Sunset
8 x 10 oil painting
Linen plein air panel
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Beautiful days and glorious sunsets … no wonder Laguna Beach is such a romantic and popular tourist destination. If there are any clouds in the sky at all – even a “marine layer” moving in and out, you can count on a spectacular sunset. One of the things that I really enjoy about painting seascape sunsets is that they often have built in complementary pairs – blues and oranges, yellows and violets, warms and cools. When nature provides you with a palette – go with it.

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