Sycamore Creek

Sycamore Creek – 11 x 15 – watercolor on 140# paper

Now this is a little more my speed. Some abstraction and impressionism, but some realism, too. I painted this picture twice today. The first one used more glazing, more overlapping patches of color in the main tree. I put that aside and tried another where the leaf patterns were painted more wet in wet. This seasonal creek is really at the Placerita Canyon Nature Center. The trees are beautifully green now, but I liked them better when they were decked out in reds and golds along with the green.

Thanks to everyone for all your thoughtful and insightful comments about the abstract exercise and the experience of coming under the influence of a teacher, or a artistic friend with a distinctive style.

A propos of that, today’s art advice is a quote from Frank LaLumia, plein air painter, as quoted in the January 2006 American Artist magazine.

“When you are responding to the subject rather than painting in a preconceived manner, you will find yourself doing things spontaneously, differently. In this way, every year your painting will look more like itelf and less like that o your teachers or other influences.”


  1. wendy
    April 14, 2007

    Wow! Super. Splendid. I really like it. You are on a roll at present. So prolific but producing some very fine work.

  2. Fanta
    April 14, 2007

    Wonderful work! I feel like I’m right there before these trees.You have created an amazing atmosphere with your brush strokes.

  3. nik
    April 14, 2007

    Karen, this is wonderful. Also it is abstract it makes the impression to be a naturalistic painting. Fascinating.

  4. Felicity
    April 14, 2007

    I liked the abstract tree but I like this loads better! It’s so vibrant and looks like you really had fun doing it!

  5. carole
    April 14, 2007

    Karen, I do prefer this to the abstract one. I think it shows that you enjoyed yourself with it. And what you do so very well is to capture sunlight and shade in a way that feels like being there for me as a viewer.

  6. Jana Bouc
    April 14, 2007

    I said Wow! when this opened. Its so lush and vibrant!

  7. Ronell
    April 15, 2007

    Love this Karen, and exactly for the “bit of everything” you have going here, a perfect demonstration that a marriage between different styles can be as beautiful!
    Also love the quote.

  8. Linda
    April 15, 2007

    Yes, yes — this is more YOU! :-) This is vibrant and loose, and yet accurate. I much prefer it to the abstract version!

  9. hfm
    April 16, 2007

    What colours!

  10. vivien
    April 16, 2007

    I really like your work in both watercolour and oils = there’s a lovely sense of place and a lovely free touch. I’ve now bookmarked your site to visit often :)

  11. teric
    April 16, 2007

    Really gorgeous Karen. Natural with a great bit of impressionism.

  12. Deborah Lowe
    April 18, 2007

    You are producing some very, very fine work! They’re all stunning! I’m with you though – your abstraction is amazing, but I have to have some
    realism too. Just enough in this sketch – it is fantastic! You already have a style. I can recognize your work right away. That’s something we all
    strive for – our voice – you have yours, and it sings.

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