Laguna Sunset – Crescent Cove – Oil Painting – Karen Winters

“Laguna Sunset (at Crescent Cove)” – 16 x 20 oil on canvas

Although this painting is sold, I have others. Click this link to write me.

This is another of the paintings I’ve taken to the Huntington for the Art Matters event this Friday night, Saturday and Sunday. The inspiration was the small beach called Crescent Cove or perhaps Crescent Bay in Laguna Beach. I’ve seen people refer to it by both names. We were there in late March and stayed until the sun went down, enjoying every last bit of the beautiful sunset.

Pink Magnolia painting – Huntington Gardens Art – Karen Winters

Pink Magnolia – Huntington Gardens
16 x 20 oil on canvas

This is another new painting I’m taking to the Huntington for Art Matters (see yesterday’s post for information on the event this coming weekend.

In the spring, the Huntington magnolias are a sight to behold. Their delicacy reminds me of the inside of pink conch shells. They are the very emblem of the new season. My objective in this painting was to focus on one unfolding blossom – a plant portrait, so to speak. By using different edge softness and manipulating color it was my goal to make the bloom look as though it was 3D, breaking through the picture plane, enticing the viewer to draw closer.

One of these days I’m going to have to get a small pink magnolia for our garden. We used to have a huge tree that bore white blossoms, but it died due to an oak fungus that must have been dormant in the soil.

So, magnolias are very dear to my heart. I hope this one will go to another magnolia lover.

Magnolia Flowers – Huntington Gardens Oil Painting by Karen Winters

“White Magnolias” 16 x 20 oil on canvas
SOLD at the Art Matters show

The moment I saw these beauties at the Huntington Gardens and Library, I just knew that I had to paint them. They were luminous in the morning light – exactly the kind of subject matter that excites me. This will be one of the paintings that I am bringing to the Art Matters show, which opens this Friday night, May 2 at the Huntington in San Marino. Friday night is a special ticketed event. The show will be open to the general public with gardens admission on Saturday and Sunday. This is also a lot “tighter” than many of the paintings I’ve been doing of late, but the subject matter seemed to require it. I have another botanical which will be there for the show and I’ll post it soon, along with some other paintings.

Last Saturday night I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Gold Medal show of the California Art Club at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. What an exquisite treat to be around such beautiful works. I will be returning many many times in the next few weeks to savor the show while it is still hanging. A number of my painter friends have works in the show. Almost everyone who attended said it was the best one ever.

We Two – La Canada Flintridge Trail – Karen Winters Oil Painting

“We Two” – (La Canada Flintridge Trail) – 12 x 16 oil on canvas

UPDATE … I took the painting to the show today (Saturday) and was happy to find out that it won Best in Show. So I think I made a good decision to choose this one to enter.

Like the study that preceded it (Fall in Winter in La Canada), this painting was inspired by a walk my husband and I took last winter along the Flint Canyon Trail in La Canada, our home town. The sycamores were blazing with autumn color, even though winter was on the way. I am keeping this painting for sentimental reasons, but if anyone is interested, I can make prints. I’m entering this in an upcoming show, one of the many I’ve been preparing for.

If you live in or near La Canada, the location of this painting is very near the little old stone bridge at Berkshire which goes over the Flint Canyon creek. This is a part of the equestrian trail that is to one side of the creek.

Poppy Paradise – Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve – Karen Winters Oil Painting for Make A Wish

“Poppy Paradise” 8 x 10 oil on canvas

Yes, this plein-air style painting is for sale. And for a very good cause. It will be delivered tomorrow to the Make a Wish Foundation of Greater Los Angeles for their 15th annual wine tasting and auction at the Barker Hangar, Santa Monica Airport on Saturday, May 3. One of the organizers saw my work and asked if I’d participate with a donation, and I was delighted to give her a big YES, absolutely!

So, if you are in the LA area and planning on going to the fabulous festive event – keep a lookout for this painting and put a bid on it, OK? The Make a Wish Foundation helps grant wishes to children who are very ill. I hope that this poppy field will go to help make some little kid’s dream come true.

I chose the subject matter for this painting because it is peak season for poppies in the high desert of the Antelope Valley. And if there’s any time that people will be thinking about poppies, it’s probably now. To me it also has some nice associations with the Wizard of Oz and Dorothy and her friends’ journey through the poppy field and her dearest wish, to get back home.

Here’s to the children … may they all be happy and may all their good wishes come true.

Malibu Creek Afternoon by Karen Winters – oil painting – Santa Monica Mountains

“Malibu Creek Afternoon” 16 x 20 oil on canvas

See more of my Malibu paintings here

A few weeks ago we had the pleasure of visiting Malibu Creek State Park, deep in the heart of the Santa Monica Mountains. While our children were growing up we made many visits to ponds and hiking trails throughout the range, but we never visited this beautiful place. Sycamores line the banks of the creek (they’re all green now) but I’m planning return visits in the summer and fall to see how the landscape changes. This point of view is from the bridge by the visitor’s center, if you know the area. The scene depicted is about 3:30 in the afternoon.

Last week I enjoyed taking a watercolor workshop from Dale Laitinen, which was excellent. I learned a lot not only about different watercolor techniques but about abstract design and composition. I’ll be posting some of those in the next few days. Right now I’m trying to compile a list of paintings to enter in various shows, and to prep for a number of sales.

More later

Poppy Patch – Pasadena – Karen Winters Daily Painting

“Return to the Poppy Patch” 9 x 12 watercolor

It’s another walk around the Arlington street poppy garden, but this time in a more decorative, somewhat abstract mood. I abandoned any attempt to be realistic and considered the landscape as a decorative tapestry, with different colors and textures woven through. With some modifications, this might scale up well into a larger painting. But then I’d have to fight the temptation to put in all sorts of fiddly realistic details. Can’t you just imagine Dorothy, Toto and the gang taking a nap back there between the poppies and the irises? We’re not in Kansas anymore. We’re in Pasadena.

Sandstone Peak – near Malibu – Karen Winters Plein Air painting

“Sandstone Peak”
12 x 16 oil on canvas

Here’s the result of last Saturday’s paintout, with a very nice group of painters who specialize in the Santa Monica Mountains area. This location is at Circle X Ranch, high in the mountains above Malibu, actually a little closer to Ventura, just north of “County Line.” We arrived around 9 am – a problematic time for plein air painting as the face of the mountain was completely front lit. We’re talking full frontal eastern sunlight, which pretty much wiped out any chance of getting strong shadows. I knew this was going to be difficult, but we didn’t drive over an hour to paint some trees and bushes in the shade, so I figured I’d give it a go anyway.

When I got home from the paintout I discovered that I had to alter some of the colors to make the hillside recede, and to punch the foreground wildflowers to make them come forward. I could have done it on the spot but by the time I finished (around noon) the light had changed enough that there wasn’t much point in painting more. A reference photo allowed me to put on the finishing touches at home.

I was talking with pastellist Bruce Trentham while we took a break, and it turned out that we had both seen the same Ansel Adams PBS documentary which aired within the past week. One of Adams’ principles was to create a photograph not exactly as it WAS but how it made him feel. In other words he didn’t just photograph the scene he photographed his personal experience. That experience might have been a feeling of awe, rapture, serenity or other strong emotion. Sometimes he would use special filters to darken the sky unnaturally, the better to express what he was feeling. That, I believe, is one of the differences between fine art photography and just taking “a picture.” And it is the difference between merely copying a scene, either en plein air or in studio … and expressing a personal reaction. And that is why we paint more flowers than were really there (or that close), or we change colors, or soften and sharpen edges and so much more. Did I faithfully copy every nook and cranny of the rocks? Of course not! I got the general shape and enough crevices to say rocks, but more really isn’t necessary nor even advisable.

After the paintout we drove up and down the coast, stopping at several pocket beaches which were swarming with people. Little did we know that it was a hot day in the valleys and everyone had headed for the beach.

Here’s the work in progress shot. To answer a question I received a week ago (sorry, it’s been crazy busy) I use a Yarka easel and an easelmate which is like a wooden box with two “wings” that unfold to hold brushes, paper towels, etc. I have sheet of 12 x 16 glass (mounted to foamcore) which slides into the easelmate when I paint out. Under the painting in progress you can see a small sketchbook in which I did a composition before blocking in my color.

Poppy Garden – sketchbook watercolor

“Poppy Garden” – approx 9 x 12 watercolor

Tuesday afternoon I had the opportunity to join my friend Wendee for some sketching and painting in a nearby garden that is filled with billows of California poppies. Do you detect a seasonal theme here? I didn’t have time for a big painting but I wanted to do a reference sketch that I could take home to use for a larger watercolor or oil painting. It contains just enough information to describe the scene without being too detailed. I can paint the smaller touches from memory. Or leave them out, as the case may be.

Poppy fields forever – Karen Winters Daily Painting

“Poppy Fields Forever” 9 x 12 oil on board
SOLD, but I have more wildflower paintings at See more here

All over Southern California the golden poppies are in bloom. In the Antelope Valley, in Pasadena, and even a few in my yard.