Cottonwood breeze Owens Valley Sierra California landscape painting

“Cottonwood Breeze”
14 x 18 inches

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I recently read that because of the great deal of rain and snow the Sierra Nevada has received this past winter, that the melting snowpack may actually flood the Owens Valley, causing a different kind of disaster than the drought. Plans are being made to bring in equipment and experts to prevent flooding at Owens Lake. The surplus water may mean lower water bills for Southern California if the DWP doesn’t have to purchase extra water from the Metropolitan Water District.

I’m hoping that the extra water will bring relief to the suffering cottonwoods and aspens, which have been suffering these past years. When we travel through the area we see broken branches laying at the roots of many of these beautiful trees. I don’t remember seeing that in past years.

Yosemite Chapel in Autumn oil painting California impressionist contemporary art

Yosemite Chapel in Autumn
10 x 8 inches
oil painting

Autumn is one of the most beautiful times of year at Yosemite, and this little wedding chapel is never more charming than when framed with fall color. The deep afternoon blues of the walls are a perfect complement to the warm colors of the trees. I wonder how many thousands of weddings have been celebrated here?


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Peak Performance – Mt. Emerson, Bishop, Sierra oil painting

Peak Performance
Mt Emerson, Bishop, California, Sierra Nevada range
California impressionist landscape oil painting
9 x 12 inch oil painting

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This plein air painting was painted last spring up in “Buttermilk Country” west of Bishop, in the foothills of the Eastern Sierra. We had as our guide a friend of ours who grew up in the area and knew every back road and one lane gullied path through the sagebrush. Eventually we ended up at this beautiful wilderness location.

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For the Glory of the Skies – Sierra California impressionist landscape

For The Glory of the Skies

20 x 24 inches
Oil on canvas

This new painting was inspired by the old hymn “For the Beauty of the Earth,” a song of Thanksgiving I learned as a child. I recalled the second line … “for the glory of the skies” … the moment I saw this scene in California’s Owens Valley, in the shadow of the Sierra Nevada, near the June Lake loop. The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas seemed an apt time to share it for the first time. If you are in Southern California, you are welcome to see the painting in person in my home studio.

Mt. Tom Springtime – Bishop, California landscape oil painting – Eastern Sierra

Mt. Tom Springtime – Bishop, California
9 x 12 landscape oil painting on plein air panel

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This was the first time I’ve been up in the Sierra to paint this season. I always look forward to seeing the first wildflowers blooming as the snow recedes.
I painted this along one of Bishop’s many agricultural canals. I set up under a cottonwood tree for a little shade, but as the wind picked up, I decided to move. There were too many broken branches on the ground for me to feel safe.

Cathedral Beach Yosemite Autumn landscape oil painting

Cathedral Beach, Yosemite Valley Autumn
12 x 16 inches, oil on canvas

This painting was done last fall based on my visit to Yosemite. As many times as we’ve been there through the years, I’d never caught it at exactly this time, and it was certainly glorious.

Cathedral Beach is on the left side of the Southside Drive, just beyond the El Capitan Bridge. It’s a popular picnic and swim area, with wide sandy beaches.

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Truckee snowbank – Lake Tahoe river landscape painting

“Truckee Snowbank”
12 x 16 oil painting on canvas

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For the last several years, we’ve headed up to Lake Tahoe between December and February to take in the beautiful sights. This year we spent Christmas there with our family, and although there was a fair amount of overcast and snowy skies, the blue peeked through now and then. I am always a pushover for strong complements in landscapes and this riverside scene provided some of the colors I love best.

Bishop poplars – California eastern sierra Mt. Tom autumn oil painting

“Bishop Poplars, 2014”
14 x 18 oil on canvas

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We try to visit the eastern Sierra every fall/winter … sometimes several times if we can. One of the highlights is seeing the cottonwoods and poplars turning gold in the area near Swall Meadow/ Round Valley, just to the north and west of Bishop. In this painting, the iconic triangular Mt. Tom can be seen in the distance.

Yosemite Falls California landscape oil painting

Yosemite Falls in Summer
18 x 24 inches, vertical
Oil on canvas

At more than 2400 feet high, from the top of the upper falls to the base of the lower falls, Yosemite Falls is the tallest waterfall in the continental United States. Peak water flow comes in late spring to early summer, the time that this was painted. The falls are fed by Yosemite Creek, and after the water leaves the falls, it joins the Merced River on its course out of the valley.

The challenge in painting a waterfall is to capture the soft edges of mist that perpetually rise from the thundering flow. Paint the edge too hard and the falls look like a cutout. Paint the edge too softly, and it looks like a big cottonball.

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Yosemite Merced River miniature oil painting

Merced Road
4 x 6 inch oil painting

This miniature oil painting captures a part of the Merced River along on one of the roads into Yosemite. Last year there was a good amount of water in the stream last year – I hate to think of how dry it might be now.

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©2014 Karen Winters Fine Art