California landscape oil painting – Across the Poppy Fields

Across the Poppy Fields
6 x 8 inches, oil

How about a little brightness and color as we’re approaching winter? This miniature poppy painting will cheer up a quiet corner in your home or office. Perhaps a gift for a flower loving friend? This impressionistic landscape was inspired by a spring trip to the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve, near Lancaster, California. What I love about painting poppy fields is the natural complementary colors (orange and blue) that are always present in this area. Framing available!

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High Water at Devil’s Gate Dam – California landscape oil painting

High Water at Devil’s Gate Dam – Arroyo Seco
20 x 24 oil on canvas

I painted this to memorialize an area near and dear to me, not far from where I live. This is the boundary between La Canada Flintridge and Altadena – the upper Arroyo Seco, once known as Oak Grove Park and now known as the Hahamongna Watershed Area. Because of the silt that has accumulated above the dam, the dam has lost much of its capacity. There are plans underway to dredge this entire area, but one of the plans will remove not only the silt, but a great number of the trees and habitat that has grown up in the area. To read more about the devastation that will be caused by the County plan, visit It makes me sad to think that views such as this may soon be gone, and probably won’t return in my lifetime, unless a more thoughtful, conservation-oriented plan is adopted.

#arroyoseco #hahamongna #watershed #DevilsGateDam #lacanada #oilpainting #landscape #california

San Luis Obispo Creek Oil Painting

San Luis Obispo Creek
9 x 12 inch oil painting

(this view features a bridge over the creek. I chose an angle that did not show the cement walkways, as I prefer the natural look.)

Interested in this painting? See more of my California Central Coast paintings here

See more of my paintings on my website

San Luis Obispo Creek winds through the Central California city of San Luis Obispo, before emptying into the Pacific Ocean near Avila Beach. Numerous restaurants line the banks of the creek, and if you eat on one of their patios during the summer, you’ll be treated to the sounds of a chorus of frogs. Occasionally steelhead trout can be seen in the waters. An annual cleanup day keeps the creek in good condition, a source of pride for the community.

Sycamore Shimmer – California landscape tree oil painting by Karen Winters

Sycamore Shimmer
8 x 10 oil on linen plein air panel

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See more of my sycamore paintings here
See more of my California Central Coast paintings here

This painting was painted for the 2012 San Luis Obispo Plein Air Festival and hung in the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art.
The official festival stamp is on the back side. Sycamores are among our most beautiful California trees, and in the fall they are especially radiant as the colors change.

The active brushwork indicates the way the breeze stirs the leaves of the tree. The use of transparent color creates a luminosity that makes the leaves glow as though light was shining through them.

Breath of Springtime – Central California Spring Wildflower Oil Painting by Karen Winters


Breath of Springtime
11 x 14 oil on plein air panel

See more of my Wildflower Paintings here

Eucalyptus and Goldfields flowers growing in fields in the Western foothills of the Sierra, southeast of Visalia. Spring brings intense color to the rolling hills that form the western slope of the Sierra Nevada. Other flowers, like poppies and “popcorn” flowers join the party in a festival of spring color.

Interested in this painting?
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San Gabriel View – California impressionist eucalyptus painting – Oak Grove Park, La Canada

“San Gabriel View”
Original 9 x 12 oil painting of eucalyptus trees in
Oak Grove Park, AKA Hahamongna Park
between Pasadena and La Canada, CA

See more Pasadena and La Canada area paintings here

The San Gabriel mountains provide a backdrop to a riparian environment where eucalyptus, willow and other trees and shrubs grow in the watershed area known as Hahamongna Park. Formerly known as Oak Grove Park, it is a popular recreation area for hikers, frisbee players and mountain lions. (Just kidding, but they have been spotted occasionally in the area.) This view features one of the beautiful eucalyptus trees and the wildflowers and grasses that flourish in the springtime.

Many thanks to my lovely collector who took home “All on a Fine Spring Day” today.

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


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

California impressionist oil painting Chapparal Bloom by Karen Winters

“Chapparal Bloom”
San Gabriel Mountains
8 x 10 inches oil on plein air panel

California is colorful all year long, not only in the springtime. Summer and fall wildflowers include buckwheat and other chapparal natives. It’s an earth-tone palette, full of greens, russets, umbers and golds. The buckwheat, when it dries, is a good match for burnt sienna.

I never tire of painting the tapestry of plant life that covers our rolling hills and mountains. The California Native Plant Society is a good resource for learning about our drought tolerant beauties.

Here’s how the painting might look in a dark frame that picks up the colors in the painting, with warm touches of coppery-gold.

I haven’t talked about framing too often here, but it’s true that the frame can have a big impact on how a painting looks. Compare how the same painting, on the same colored background appears in a gold carved frame. The dark frame creates a more rustic look, which might be appropriate for a home with western accents. The gold frame creates a lighter, more elegant appearance. Which do you think works best? Do you like seeing one of my paintings with framing suggestions, as opposed to just seeing the painting by itself?

Eaton Canyon painting – California landscape oil painting by Karen Winters

“The Canyon Calls”
(Eaton Canyon, Pasadena/Altadena area)
9 x 12 inches oil painting on canvas

See more Pasadena area paintings here

Nourished by the waters gushing out of the San Gabriel Mountains, Eaton Canyon explodes into delirious bloom – the wild mustard in shades of yellow and purple duking it out with penstemon and purple nightshade. With each bend of the trail – through the nature center area or up in the wilder parts, new vistas are revealed. Watch out for rattlesnakes and poison oak, though. This is wild country – and only partly tamed by trailbuilders.

Carpinteria Bluffs Painting – Central California landscape by Karen Winters – KWinters

Carpinteria Bluffs Sunset
Oil Painting 8 x 10

See more of my California Central Coast paintings here

The end of the day at Carpinteria bluffs provides an opportunity to work out with the secondary colors – orange, violet and green. The Santa Ynez mountains glow in the fading light.

Ecologically, this is described as a coastal sage environment. Typically you will find black sage, white sage, California buckwheat (the reddish brown plant, in fall) as well as toyon and brittlebrush.

The Spanish colonists named the area Carpinteria because this was a place where Native American Chumash people once built their sea-going canoes (using tar which oozes naturally from the sea bed.) Carpinteria is spanish for “carpenter shop.”