Moonstone Beach Tide – Cambria Seascape Plein Air Oil Painting by Karen Winters

Moonstone Beach Tide
11 x 14
Oil on linen panel

See more of my Cambria paintings here

This painting was actually completed on location last spring on a paint out with the California Art Club, and due to an overload of work (and probably some forgetfulness on my part) it has been sitting in a dry box waiting to be discovered. In the process of cleaning up and organizing for the holidays I have uncovered more than a few paintings which I’ll be posting over the next few days/week.

This painting of Moonstone Beach was done on a day when it was raining heavily inland in San Luis Obispo. One of our fellow painters, Karl Dempwolf, told us that the beach was clear up in Cambria, so we loaded in the car and headed for the beach. The wind was blowing heavily and my new EasyL easel had to be weighted down to keep from blowing over. It all worked out.

Happy New Year to everyone. We’re staying in and staying safe tonight. It’s a very cold day in So. Cal, which is unusual even for December, so I’m catching up on my record-keeping and looking forward to some TV-watching later. Our kids gave us a beautiful new widescreen TV for Christmas and we’ve been completely entranced with it!

Descanso Gardens Teahouse Watercolor Painting – California Landscape Art Gallery

Descanso Gardens Japanese Teahouse
22 x 30 watercolor on Arches paper
SOLD (painted on commission)

This painting has a history. Several years ago, I painted a smaller version of it, and it was exhibited for sale at a local store in La Canada. One day in April a few years ago, a car transport trailer lost its brakes on the Angeles Crest Highway and crashed through the store. Two people lost their lives in the accident, and one of the most minor casualties was that watercolor painting, of which I still have a remnant.

A very lovely woman contacted me a few months ago and asked if the original painting was for sale (it was not) but I offered to paint it again for her in a size to suit her home, and this is the result. She and her husband were married at Descanso Gardens many years ago, and the painting will be a memory of that very special day. And it makes me especially happy to know that the destroyed painting survives in a unique way. It became a study for this one, which will be in their family for years to come.

Because of my concentration on oil painting, I haven’t been painting watercolor as frequently. But I enjoyed this return to the medium so much that I will probably try to devote a little more time to it in the coming year.

Merry Christmas to all those who are celebrating it tonight and tomorrow.

Mammoth Snowcreek Landscape Oil Painting – California impressionist oil painting snow scene

Snowcreek at Mammoth
6 x 8 inches oil on canvas

More Sierra Nevada paintings here

The combination of autumn russets and deep mountain blues at Mammoth was a compelling late fall image to paint. The soft scattering of melting snow brought an interesting texture that reinforced this transitional season. Soon the glittering golds will be gone and all will be covered in a gentle white quilt. I’ll have to return to paint that scene, too.

Willows are blazing with color everywhere there is a stream or creek in the Sierra. The Inyo National Forest is glorious to behold right now.

Autumn Enchantment – La Canada Flintridge – California landscape oil painting

Autumn Enchantment
11 x 14 oil on canvas


See more La Canada area paintings here

Autumn. My favorite time of year. It reminds me of back to school, fresh pencils and crayons, an imminent coolness in the weather, Halloween, football games and the bluest skies of the year. Here in southern California, at least when I was growing up, the summer heat trapped a layer of haze in the sky. But spring and fall were crystal clear. When you put the blue of the sky against the warm complements of orange and gold – well, it’s just magical, and who could resist painting it. By December, the sycamores have turned and the first rains bring forth new green grass. Autumn comes late around here.

Update: This painting was done a few years ago, but I just drove through the area a few days ago and it looks exactly like this.

Colorado Street Bridge Painting, Pasadena, “Below the Arch”

“Below the Arch”
Colorado Street Bridge, Pasadena
11 x 14 painting
oil on canvas

See more Pasadena paintings here

This painting of our iconic Colorado Street Bridge went home yesterday with a new collector. I always enjoy painting the bridge, and hope to appreciate its beauty from many new angles in the coming year. This was a larger painting based upon a 5 x 7 study I did a few years ago.

Lone Pine Plein Air Study – Sierra Landscape painting

Lone Pine (study)
6 x 8 oil on linen panel

More Sierra Nevada paintings here

I had hoped for a sunny day when we visited Lone Pine on one of our many Sierra trips last fall. But that time a storm was on its way in, wrapping the majestic peaks in shades of gray. But I was there and I wasn’t about to be discouraged. The muted tones actually added some interesting color that I wouldn’t have had any other way, and provided a soft contrast to the vivid yellow rabbitbrush which blooms that time of year.

I’m working on Sierra studio paintings based on this and other fall studies, and they’ll be posted over the next month or so.

By far the most annoying part of that day’s paint out was the swarm of flies that appeared as soon as I set up. I’m guessing there must have been free range cattle out there at some time – or where did they come from?

Sierra Landscape Oil Painting – Bishop Windbreak, Owens Valley by Karen Winters

“Bishop Windbreak, Owens Valley”
California Sierra Landscape Oil Painting
16 x 20 oil on canvas

More Sierra Nevada paintings here

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.

Twin Lakes Bridgeport Sierra Oil Painting – Autumn Cottonwoods

“Twin Lakes, Bridgeport, California – Autumn Cottonwoods”
12 x 16 Sierra oil painting
oil on canvas

More Sierra Nevada paintings here

These backlit cottonwoods at Twin Lakes in the Sierra Nevada were a perfect frame for the cool blue scene beyond. Although we didn’t take the time to fish (too many things to paint!), there were a lot of fishermen out in boats and fishing from the shore. An absolutely beautiful spot, and popular, I’m sure, with many looking for rainbow and brown trout. We checked out the little village at Twin Lakes Resort and will no doubt be back for a longer stay.

This has been an exciting few weeks with openings of several small works shows, at the Segil Gallery in Monrovia and the Silvana Gallery in Glendale, California. Our local sycamores are now turning color and it’s time for me to get out and paint some studies while waiting for layers to dry on my commissioned paintings.

Tomales Bay, Marin County Plein Air Landscape Painting by Karen Winters

Tomales Bay Twilight
Plein Air Oil Painting
8 x 10 inches
Oil on linen panel

The Monday after Thanksgiving, we drove up into Marin County to enjoy the landscape, seascapes and the vineyards. As the day was drawing to a close, we drove around Tomales Bay and I was captured by the serene beauty of the fading light on the water. Small birds floated by and it was a magical sight. My husband knows when I get that “call me crazy” look in my eye – so we quickly set up my easel and I tried to capture as much of the scene as I could before the color was completely gone from the sky.

Bishop Sierra Painting – First Snow – California landscape art by Karen Winters

“First Snow at Bishop”
9 x 12
Sierra Nevada oil painting – Bishop, California


More Sierra Nevada paintings here

The first snow of the year falls on Mt. Tom and Basin Mountain, west of Bishop, California. The cold crisp morning was unforgettable as the storm clouds lifted to reveal a white mantle over the peaks. Alpenglow …. ahhhh. The wildflowers of the Owens Valley seemed to shiver in the predawn chill – and so did I!

My main outdoor show season is now over as I make plans to do winter plein air painting throughout the state – and to burrow into the studio to do some large paintings based upon previous plein air studies. These are good times, feeling creative and energetic.

I’m finishing up several commissions right now, but will have time to start on new ones as soon as these are complete.