“Abode of the Desert Rat”
Mojave Desert, somewhere off the beaten path between Tehachapi and Rosamond
9 x 12 oil on linen
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:
As fall approaches, my thoughts turn to the color of the eastern Sierra, one of my favorite places to paint. I’m hoping I’ll get away for more Sierra painting this year, but show commitments might prevent that. We’ll have to play it by ear.
“Return to Golden Pond”
14 x 18 inches
Oil on canvas
Central California – Western Sierra Foothills painting
This painting was done for an upcoming exhibition at the Colony Theater Gallery in Burbank, in conjunction with the performance of “On Golden Pond.” In addition to a dozen or more other paintings which will be exhibited, I painted this one to tie in very specifically with the theme of the play. Although the play is set in the eastern United States, I decided to do my own take on it, as a California landscape painter. The location is a pond bordering the western foothills of the Sierras. I don’t usually paint in a tonalist/monochromatic style, but it seemed perfect for this project.
More details on the show will follow as the opening approaches.
“Pride Mountain Vineyard, Autumn 2010”
9 x 12 vineyard oil painting on plein air linen panel
Private Collection (sold)
Last autumn, while visiting our children over Thanksgiving, we had the pleasure of visiting this wonderful vineyard on Spring Mountain near St. Helena, above Napa Valley, California. The wines were superb and we thoroughly enjoyed the tour which was given by a very knowledgeable and entertaining man who was also a refugee from the advertising business, like me. The day was magical in every way. We picnicked on a hillside overlooking the vineyard fall color. Bread, wine, cheese, sausages, more wine, fall color, crisp air … ahhhh.
This commissioned painting evolved out of that delicious fall inspiration. I’d love to go back there again to paint in another season – maybe while the grapes are still on the vines.
Show reminder: The California Art Club 100th Annual Gold Medal show continues at the Pasadena Museum of California Art – through April 21. Check the museum website for days and hours. Be sure to see my painting, “Gaviota Springtime.” It’s in the side room where the smaller works are hung.
“The Hay Barn”
6 x 6 inches
Central California Sierra Foothills (western side)
Original Oil painting on plein air panel
While attending a California Art Club paint out in the Sierra foothills a few years ago, I came upon this scene of an old hay barn framed by eucalyptus with wildflower hills in the background. I thought the setting was a perfect representation of some of my favorite California things. Eucalyptus, of course … wildflowers in the hills … and rural agriculture. This small study will be a starting point for a larger painting on the same theme.
Fields of Peace – Los Osos Valley Road, San Luis Obispo County California Landscape Painting by Karen Winters
“Fields of Peace”
11 x 14 inches oil painting on canvas
Central Coast California, near Los Osos
(San Luis Obispo County)
In late spring, the ranch land near San Luis Obispo starts to turn from green to a dusky brown. Here and there the dried remains of earlier grasses take on hues of violet and umber. Coastal scrub plants provide a stark contrast with their fresh green foliage. Eucalyptus, of course, stay green year round – the ever-constant providers of shade and windbreaks. As the marine layer moves in from the sea to the west, the clouds catch the light of the lowering sun and turn shades of peach and apricot.
“Bishop Windbreak, Owens Valley”
California Sierra Landscape Oil Painting
16 x 20 oil on canvas
The first time that I painted this stand of trees, I thought they were aspens. The leaves were similar in shape, but the trunks are not the characteristic aspen white. The trunks looked more like cottonwoods – but the silhouette of the shape was more poplar like, and didn’t have the rounded tops.
A little net searching led me to discover that the the tree is actually a Lombardy poplar – and it is a variation of the black cottonwood. The whole botanical name is Populus nigra sp. Italia. So it’s both a black cottonwood and a poplar – and I think now my curiosity is satisfied. Whatever they are, these stately trees form excellent windbreaks along pastures near Bishop.
11 x 14 oil on canvas
Sierra oil painting
For the last few years, fall means visits to the Sierra and, at its feet, the Owens Valley. Not only do I love it for its serenity but also the exhilarating complementary color palette. This time of year everything is orange/gold and blue. Leaves tumble with every breeze that passes through. Sometimes a storm barrels through and turns a brilliantly colored tree into a sleeping skeleton in one night. My attempt in this painting was to capture a more gentle mood near Bishop – a lightly breezy day before the soon-to-arrive storms.
In a little less than 2 weeks, I’ll be taking some of my new work to the last Montrose Art Walk of the year. This will be my last outdoor show this season.
“Farm at Bishop Peak”
San Luis Obispo, Central Coast
14 x 18 inches
When I was painting in San Luis Obispo County earlier this spring with the California Art Club, I was especially attracted to the numerous large peaks that rise from the city of San Luis Obispo out to the sea, the last of which is Morro Rock. Bishop Peak (sometimes called Bishop’s Peak) is one of the Nine Sisters. Technically they are “volcanic plugs,” and the volcanoes that rose above them are long gone. Bishop Peak is the tallest of the formations, and it was noted in the diary of John Muir who wrote:
“The trail brings the traveler suddenly in sight of
Bishop Peak … The town is fairly encircled with beautiful hills…
the one just named being most conspicuous.”
The soft afternoon light and atmospheric mist from the sea made this a picture of rural tranquility that held great appeal for me.
“For the Love of the Land”
Los Osos Valley Road, California Central Coast
12 x 16 inches
California landscape oil painting
This painting is one of the works that resulted from my spring trip to the San Luis Obispo area with the California Art Club. I just got the news yesterday that it has been selected for inclusion in a special exhibition at the CAC gallery at the Old Mill in San Marino. The show, named Capturing California’s Preserved Lands and Historic Districts: Gems from the Central Coast will open August 31 and run through January 2, 2011. All of the paintings are for sale.
There will be an artists reception Thursday, September 2 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. This is the first time that I’ve been eligible as an Artist member to submit work for this gallery and I am delighted that this piece was chosen for the show.
The painting depicts a spot along the Los Osos Valley Road, toward sunset. The green grasses of spring were drying out and starting to turn that characteristic California gold.
I have more paintings which came out of that trip, and will be posting them here soon.