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.

California Poppy Landscape with Oak Trees – Karen Winters

Poppies on the Hill
11 x 14
oil on canvas
SOLD, but I have more poppy paintings

Interested in a poppy painting?
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See more of my wildflower paintings here

I can’t think of a landscape more quintessentially Californian than spring’s poppy covered hillsides – and when you add oak trees it’s downright iconic. In this painting my objective was to capture the feeling of the radiant hillside, crowned by sprawling oaks. The Fresno Bee reports that this is one of the best years for wildflowers in a long time. I don’t know why – we haven’t had an abundance of rain, but whatever conditions brought about this abundance, I’m glad.

More California spring landscapes to come …

California Desert Landscape Oil Painting – Anza Borrego Yucca

Yucca at Anza Borrego
(San Diego County)
9 x 12 oil on canvas

A visit to the Anza Borrego Desert State Park inspired this painting of yucca and desert wildflowers. When the rainfall is sufficient and in the right quantity and at the right time, the color is breathtaking, even though short-lived.

Tomorrow is the spring group show and sale of Allied Artists of the Santa Monica Mountains and Seashore, and I’ll be showing about 15 paintings including many that have not been exhibited before. The show starts at 11 and goes through 5 pm at Headwaters Corners, at the intersection of Topanga and Mulholland Drive in the Santa Monica Mtns. If you get a chance come on out. I’m going to be finishing up my framing and packing for the rest of today. Come on out if you’re in the area. Art, beautiful weather, friendly artists and refreshments.

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California Mountain Landscape – San Gabriels – Arroyo Seco Oil Painting

San Gabriel Vista
(from the Arroyo Seco)
14 x 18 oil on canvas

This view of the San Gabriel Mountains is from a familiar viewpoint along a trail in the Hahamongna watershed area, formerly known as Oak Grove Park. These days it’s the home of a frisbee golf course, and I have to stay heads up when walking through the zone to get to a painting location. The golfers are pretty tolerant of us hikers and painters, and I try to stay out of their fairways. In the summer my husband and I call this area Snaky Acres and tread carefully among the high grass. Bobcats, mountain lions and other wildlife have been seen here, along with deer, rabbits and abundant bird life.

I started on this painting last fall, when the willlows were starting to turn yellow and the summer grasses were dusty and dun-colored. But the storm clouds rolling in promised the first rains that would germinate the mustard seeds for their spring surge. Now, the whole area is lush and green.

If you’re a walker who likes doing the loop from the Rose Bowl up through the upper Arroyo Seco, or are a Rose Bowl rider who frequently takes your horse for an outing, then I’ll bet you know this view well.

Thousand Oaks Conejo Valley Sunset Oil Painting – Karen Winters

Sunset Splendor
Thousand Oaks at Satwiwa Park
9 x 12 oil on linen panel painting

Last weekend we enjoyed a beautiful sunset out in Thousand Oaks, in the Santa Monica Mountains near the Satwiwa Village Cultural Center and Boney Mountain. Slight rainfall has made the landscape green with a down of annual rye grass, but the wildflowers have not yet emerged. The sycamores (not seen here) are already pushing out small green leaves. The color was just stunning in the Conejo Valley as twilight came.

Today my dear husband and I are celebrating 35 years of marriage. What a wonderful adventure it has been, and will continue to be. He is my best friend and love, outstanding father to our two grown kids, supporter of all my wild dreams and ambitions, and romantic sharer of sunsets (like this one.)

California Desert Landscape – Owens Valley Oil Painting

Owens Valley Morning
12 x 16 inches
oil on canvas

The eastern Sierra Nevada is a place of many different textures, moods and biomes, depending where you look. Just a short distance from some of the cottonwood groves I’ve painted is this desert like area with sagebrush and other desert wildflowers. Being an Angeleno, I have to confess that the Owens Valley was not a desert before Mulholland secured (grabbed) the water rights for Los Angeles. And it is true that the DWP is restoring water to the area, which is helping to bring back some of the native flora and fauna.

If you look carefully in the background of this painting, off to the right, you’ll see some brushy trees. That’s where the Owens River is flowing in this location. The range in the background is the White Mountians.

Eaton Canyon Landscape Oil Painting – Eaton Canyon Springtime

Eaton Canyon Springtime
16 x 20 oil on canvas
SOLD to a collector from Pasadena

Interested in this painting? Please write.

This spring, be sure to mark your calendar to visit Eaton Canyon in Altadena when the wildflowers are in bloom. There has been enough rain that we should probably have a good show again.

Eaton Canyon is one of my favorite painting spots within an easy drive of my home. Sometimes if I see that there are interesting clouds in the sky I try to get over there to have a look or paint a little.

Yesterday I enjoyed visiting the LA Art Show, sponsored by FADA (Fine Art Dealers Association.) Several of the dealers featured paintings by Edgar Payne and William Wendt, both of whom are icons of California impressionism. If I had a spare 80 or 90 thousand dollars maybe I’d buy a small one. But since I don’t, I contented myself with gazing at them longingly, and making mental notes about the painting. At home, I’ve been reading Nature’s Temple, a catalog of Wendt’s work and Edgar Payne’s classic book on composition. It’s a good thing I enjoy being a perpetual student of art in all its manifestations. There is always something new to see and to learn from.

Owens River Fishing Spot – California impressionist oil painting

“Owens River – A good day for fishing”
14 x 18 oil on canvas
SOLD to a lovely couple relocating to Montana

This new panting features what I’ve been told is one of the best fishing spots on the Lower Owens River. It’s near Highway 168 close to a place known to the locals as “Black Rock.” In the background you can see the Eastern Sierras and the Alabama Hllls, the choclatey brown lower range, still glowing in afternoon light. For many years, the water in the Owens River was diverted for Los Angeles. Now, some of the water flows again through local steams in the Owens Valley, and the landscape is recovering. I understand that some of the best bass fishing in California can be had in this spot. The day we were there a fisherwoman was doing well. I don’t have much experience with freshwater fishing, but this place looks like a little bit of heaven.

Because the painting is wet, it’s hard to get the look of the clouds without excessive reflection. There is detail in them; it’s just hard to see. I’ll try shooting this again when it dries.

Here’s a detail of just some of the native grasses:

California Sycamore – Tranquility – Ink Brush Painting

“California Sycamore – Tranquility”
18″ x 18″
SOLD (commission)

This is the matching painting which pairs with the California Live Oak which I posted yesterday. Together, the two frame the dining room door of gentle lady who commissioned their creation. There is always some serendipity with painting. You never know exactly what is going to happen when you put brush to paper, and this is no exception. I knew that I was going to do an ink brush drawing with wash, but when the ink separated on this particular type of paper, the component elements of the black ink separated into shades of gray and taupe … and the taupe is the exact shade of the paint under the wainscoting in her room. I took advantage of this characteristic of the ink to simulate the gray, white and taupe patches which are so characteristic of the California sycamore, but maintaining the feeling of an ink drawing.

Conceptually, the oak tree (seen yesterday) represents strength, stability, fortitude, structure, endurance. I painted the sycamore to represent shelter, grace, resilience and flexibility.

This Saturday night I’m looking forward to going to her Christmas party and seeing them hung in the room, all decked out and lit by candlelight.

California Oak Tree – Strength

18 x 18 ink and ink wash on paper
SOLD (commission)

This painting was done as a commission for a client and I have posted it here to show an example of my work.
Please do not use it without my permission. It is protected by copyright and is not “free” to use as you wish.
If you wish to use it commercially, it may be possible for you to license it.