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.

Winter’s Here Owens Valley Sierra California landscape oil painting

“Winter’s Here”
8 x 10 inches
oil painting of Sierra peaks

This small oil painting reminds us that sometimes the Sierra really is packed with snow, bringing water to all of California. I sure hope we get some rain soon – the drought is terrible now.
The location of this part of the range is in the upper Owens River Valley, not far from the Owens Gorge. The dry grasses and the cool snow shadows create a natural complementary color scheme.

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Snowy sunset landscape oil painting 6 x 6 inches

Snowy Sunset
6 x 6 inches

Warm sunset light drifts over a wintery scene in this miniature oil painting.
The warmth of the sun complements the coolness of the snow. There is no watermark on the original.
Available framed or unframed.

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Sedona oil painting – Trail to Bear Mountain

Trail to Bear Mountain
Sedona Plein Air Oil painting
9 x 12 oil on linen plein air panel
(Along Boynton Road, Sedona Arizona)

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I painted this in February, just a few weeks ago, so the grasses are winter-white. The day I was there the Sedona Marathon was going on, and I believe this was part of the route. I painted late in the day after all the marathoners were finished. There is a trailhead in the meadow in front of me, which goes to Bear Mountain. I’d like to try that hike some time. I’ll bet it’s beautiful.

Below, painting by the roadside, while the sun played peek a boo all afternoon. It looks like I was standing in the middle of the road, but I was actually safely off to one side.

Grand Canyon plein air oil painting El Tovar view

View From El Tovar
Grand Canyon plein air oil painting
9 x 12 oil on plein air panel

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December 2012

Another of my plein air paintings from Grand Canyon, South Rim. This one was painted near the El Tovar Hotel, the majestic old inn on the edge of the canyon. The time of day is near sunset. Below, some photos of the work in progress

Grand Canyon plein air oil painting by Karen Winters

Maricopa Point View
Grand Canyon Maricopa Point south rim plein air oil painting
8 x 10 inches
Oil on linen plein air panel

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Just a few days ago we returned from a holiday trip to the Grand Canyon, one of the great natural wonders of the world. I had never seen it covered in winter snow, and I had planned ahead with all my plein air gear. It was near freezing that morning on the South Rim, which kept the snow crisp and fresh. Later in the day a cold wind moved in and I had to layer up even more. It’s surprising how cold you get when you aren’t hiking or moving around.

I set up my easel near Maricopa Point, on the South Rim, along the Rim Trail. In the distance you can see a bit of Wotan’s Throne, an enormous mesa that is adjacent to the north rim at Cape Royal. My husband shot some video of me working on this painting, which I’ll post when we get it edited.

Because I’m almost as passionate about nature and learning as I am about painting, I found it fascinating to know that the top layers of the Grand Canyon (from the Jurassic period) have already been eroded away, so the only fossils embedded in the rocks are from the pre-dinosaur era. One finds trilobites, ferns, dragonflies, etc. but no T-rex bones.

Can Spring Be Far Away? California Landscape Painting Oaks and Chapparal

La Crescenta Park plein air oil painting of oaks, sycamores, buckwheat and the San Gabriel Mountains, by California impressionist Karen Winters

“Can Spring Be Far Away?”
8 x 10 plein air oil painting on linen panel
San Gabriel Mountains, California native plants
Near La Canada Flintridge

These days the sycamores are beginning to show a little color. (Those trees in the background with white trunks.)
The buckwheat is putting on green growth (the shrubby bushes in the foreground) and the live oaks even look a little fresher around the edges, even though they never really lose their leaves like their deciduous friends. (Oaks are on the right side.)
Yup, the signs are all there that spring is on the way – which arrives earlier in California than most of the country, sorry about that. The joggers have abandoned their heavy sweatshirts, and a few souls are running in shorts.

Grand Canyon Oil Painting – Sculpted by Time – Yavapai Point – by Karen Winters

“Sculpted by Time”
Yavapai Point, Grand Canyon
9 x 12
oil painting on linen panel
Available from Hueys Fine Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico, Feb. 11 – March 2011

I was happy to be learn that this painting, Sculpted by Time, will be included in the 2011 Canyonlands Show at Hueys Fine Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico. The show celebrates the beauty of the Grand Canyon and Canyon de Chelly.

I’m looking forward to visiting the canyon again sometime this winter season – perhaps combining it with a trip through northern Arizona and/or Utah. I love California but there’s a whole lot of west to explore and paint, with new vistas and new painting challenges.

One of the many things I love about the Grand Canyon is the way it naturally provides complementary colors to work with – from the red rock chiseled cliffs to the blue of the sky and distant mountains.

Rose Bowl Pasadena January Painting by Karen Winters


Rose Bowl, with San Gabriel Mountains, in January
8 x 10 inches
oil on linen panel

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The Rose Bowl is an imposing structure any time of year, but when the San Gabriel Mountains are dusted with snow, as they often are in January, it provides an extra-special backdrop. When the air is cold enough, the snow falls at altitude, but down in the Arroyo Seco, it provides welcome rain. Welcome except on January 1, that is.

I thought about putting in some people in red or purple or gold or blue jackets, but it occurred to me that if someone wanted this painting as a keepsake of a special bowl game that they might prefer to have a few people in THEIR colors, rather than the, um, rival team. Sound fair?

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California plein air landscape painting – Eaton Canyon Waters – Karen Winters

Eaton Canyon Waters
9 x 12 in.
oil on archival linen panel
SOLD but I have more Pasadena Paintings

This morning, after days of gray skies and pouring rain, we woke up to bright blue skies and snow in the San Gabriel Mountains above us. I knew the watershed of Eaton Canyon would be filled with flowing streams, and I was determined to go see for myself. My original intention was just to get a few photos (my ankle is still healing and long standing is uncomfortable) but I knew I would kick myself if the scene looked highly paintable and I had left my plein air gear at home. So I packed the car and headed out, and was not disappointed. The mountains were a palette of soft blues, grays and violets and water was coursing among the big boulders. I resisted climbing down the bank – I don’t want to sprain myself again – but set up my easel along one of the trails.

A photographer came by on a hike and kindly took a photo of me with my camera. (Thanks, Miguel!) He shot a batch himself with his Canon – I’m looking forward to seeing them.

Days like this are just made for plein air painting. Although I was plenty weary toward the end of the afternoon painting (#2 painting for the day) I was in my element.

I used a hand-held palette today instead of my usual glass one. I found it easier to match color when I could hold it up parallel to the plane of the canvas.