Peppertree Road – Karen Winters Daily Painting

Peppertree Road – watercolor sketch

Here’s another watercolor vignette from my sketchbook while I’m working on another large oil seascape. (To be posted as soon as it’s done.) My cold/flu bug is gone (at least enough) that I can contemplate painting in oils again, and so I am.

This little sketch was derived from color notes and photos I took on a trip to northern California. No matter what the season, peppertrees are evergreen here – always brightening the scene with their greens and yellows gleaming in the sun. I see them lining our highways and rural roads, gracefully nodding with every breeze. I love to paint them!

Here’s something I’d like you painters to think about: before you started painting did you look at trees and bushes, mountains and clouds in the same way that you do now? Do you find yourself drifting into a reverie when you see the sun coming out in a certain way and thinking … hmmm … is that sky blue cobalt or more toward cerulean? Do you paint with your eyes even when you’re away from your easel?


  1. Shea
    January 15, 2008

    I love this sketch. This would be an awesome larger painting.
    I’ve always seen things differently. I agree, that when you really take notice of detail that you think wow, there’s so much more here than I thought at first glance.

  2. Pat
    January 15, 2008

    I suppose I have thought of color for as long as I can remember. But applying those thoughts to paper is yet another thing. For many years I tried to put my observations on canvas with oil, but due to allergies could not continue. And I was never at one with the medium. I could not achieve the colors and thoughts that were in my head. Also, I believe that I saw too much, as most of my instructors made me concentrate more on simplification. This was very hard, but hopefully I have conquored that. With my new interest in acrylics, I find that I have so many color choices that I often associate the colors I am seeing in reality to what is available on my palatte, and I do not mix as many of my colors as I used to. I learned this in watercolor, that there are so many prepared colors to chose from it becomes mind boggling. Now I try to pick very different colors,that I know I can not mix from the different manufacturers.
    Some are better than others and there are brands that I like better than others. Thanks you for the question, so the answer is so long. Guess I just got carried away, but great question. Pat

  3. Rob Burkhard
    January 15, 2008

    The more I plein air paint, the more I find myself in non-painting situations, finding basic value and color shapes in the trees, sky and landscape elements.

  4. Wendee
    January 16, 2008

    Oh-ho, more than you know, Karen. My mind meanders: Oh, I wonder if this would look better painted in opaque or transparent W/C? Look at all those fantastic colors!/textures! It’s worse for designers, you know: I wonder how they made this. I wish I could open the packaging to
    sneak a peek at it. Oh look at that contour, how beautiful. Wow, this is hard to use: @#$% designer!
    Some days I wish I could turn off the internal musings and on-going critique of all of it; but we are what we are, eh?

  5. Cre8Tiva
    January 16, 2008

    oh how inspiring your work is…i m glad to have found you and your blog…blessings today, rebecca

  6. Cat
    January 17, 2008

    Oh yes, drawing and painting have had a major impact on how I “see.” Drawing has been training me to really look and learn the shapes and details of how even familiar objects are, and painting (I’m a watercolorist, primarily) has had a huge impact on my “seeing” of colors everywhere. Just as you describe. Photography does it too, but not nearly as intensely, unless I am looking through the camera and thinking of drawing and painting.

    I think this experience is fairly universal and is a reason why EVERYONE e is enriched by drawing and painting. You learn to SEE. We are rolling back the evolutionarily practical, even “wise” habit of severely editing what we look at to winnow out what is “important,” i.e., a car or a lion coming at us or a friend or enemy in the distance.

    Drawing and painting something is an exquisite act of love. You not only are learning the form and coloring of what you are seeing, you are loving it. Doesn’t matter that it might be a mushroom or an old bucket. When I draw and paint something, part of the act of “seeing” them so intensely is an opening of myself. Can’t help but be moved. I think that’s another of the great values of drawing and painting.

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