California Landscape Painting – Central Coast- Sycamore Breezes

Sycamore Breezes
8 x 10 inches oil on linen panel

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A fully leafed out sycamore dances with the passing breeze in California’s Central Coast ranchland, near Jolon. A distant barn provides shelter for the herd. But if I were a cow, I’d rather be lazing around under one of these big, beautiful trees.

California Central Coast Plein Air Oil Painting – Farm near Nipomo

“Farm Near Nipomo”
8 x 10 oil painting
Central Coast, California, San Luis Obispo County

to a collector in Buffalo, NY

See more of my California Central Coast paintings here

This is the 2nd of three plein air paintings I did last spring in Nipomo, near the Dana Adobe. If you look at my previous painting posted a few days ago, you’ll see some trees and buildings in the distance. This is a “closeup” of one of those clusters of habitation. Because I wasn’t inclined to move my whole setup, I simply changed my point of view to “zoom in” so to speak, and continued with a new field study.

Cambria Ranch – California Central Coast Plein Air Oil Painting by Karen Winters

“Cambria Ranch”
12 x 16″ oil painting
Oil on linen panel

See more of my California Central Coast paintings here

Eucalyptuses, how I love them, with their multicolored patchy bark like a coat of many colors. When I saw this stately old tree I knew I wanted to take some time with it, to appreciate the many grays along its flanks. The transparent underlayers of burnt sienna and red peek through here and there, just as underlayers of color are visible as outer bark layers peel off. I think that I will never tire of painting these majestic trees that seem to glow when side lit. We have a lot of them around LA but they are at their best when given a setting like a spring field, bathed in light. I want to paint another really large one, soon. My to-do-list grows daily …

Some of my other favorite eucs:

Cambria Sunset Oil Painting – Central Coast California landscape painting by Karen Winters

Cambria Sunset
9 x 12
oil on linen panel

See more of my Cambria paintings here

One of my newest paintings, “Cambria Sunset,” has been selected for inclusion into the Segil gallery Holiday Small Works show.

The painting features a rural scene along Santa Rosa Creek Road in Cambria (near San Simeon) and includes one of the dramatic eucalyptus trees so typical of that region.

The festive reception for the artists will be December 4, from 5-7 pm. The Segil gallery is at 110 West Lime Avenue
Old Town Monrovia CA 91016
(626) 358-5563

Bishop Peak Oil Painting, San Luis Obispo, Central Coast California Art

“Farm at Bishop Peak”
San Luis Obispo, Central Coast
oil painting
14 x 18 inches

See more of my California Central Coast paintings here

When I was painting in San Luis Obispo County earlier this spring with the California Art Club, I was especially attracted to the numerous large peaks that rise from the city of San Luis Obispo out to the sea, the last of which is Morro Rock. Bishop Peak (sometimes called Bishop’s Peak) is one of the Nine Sisters. Technically they are “volcanic plugs,” and the volcanoes that rose above them are long gone. Bishop Peak is the tallest of the formations, and it was noted in the diary of John Muir who wrote:

“The trail brings the traveler suddenly in sight of
Bishop Peak … The town is fairly encircled with beautiful hills…
the one just named being most conspicuous.”

The soft afternoon light and atmospheric mist from the sea made this a picture of rural tranquility that held great appeal for me.

California Landscape Painting – Cambria Farm – Central Coast California small format oil painting

Cambria Farm
6 x 8 oil painting on linen panel
Plein air field study

See more California Central Coast paintings here

An old farm building is surrounded by lofty eucalyptuses in Cambria. The marine layer had started to roll in, softening the contours of the landscape that day. Another quick study from our Central Coast California trip, with the California Art Club.

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Sierra Oil Painting – Grazing at Lone Pine, California

Grazing at Lone Pine
(Eastern Sierras, California, near the city of Lone Pine)
12″ x 16″ oil on linen panel
Sierra Nevada oil painting


See more of my Sierra Nevada Oil Paintings at this link.

This new painting will be exhibited at Gale’s Restaurant in Pasadena beginning tomorrow as part of the Art for the Animals Group Show and Sale. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Pasadena Humane Society and SPCA. A select group of artists were invited to explore the theme of animals for this special event. The reception will be June 27 from 3-6 pm. I hope that some of my local friends will be able to attend. The animals show will be on exhibit until September.

The eastern Sierra is a subject that I am especially fond of, and most particularly in the fall when the cottonwoods and aspens turn into deep shades of orange and gold – the perfect complement to the blue-violets of the Sierra under cloud shadows. I had been wanting to paint this scene for awhile, and Gale’s animals show gave me the perfect incentive. Between the Sierra range and the foreground (Owens valley ranch in Lone Pine) lie the Alabama Hills. The weathered reddish-brown rock formations are volcanic in origin, but have undergone metamorphosis. Scientists suggest they’re between 150-200 million years old. Early California miners named these hills for the warship, the USS Alabama.

Thanks to those of you who came out to Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden this past weekend for the annual Artists in the Garden show and sale. I enjoyed seeing old friends and collectors and making new friends, too.

Lundy Creek Cabin – Sierra Nevada California impressionist oil painting – Karen Winters

Lundy Creek Cabin
5 x 7 oil study

It was last fall when I started this small study of a cabin, closed for the winter, up Lundy Creek in the Eastern Sierra. But I put it aside for awhile as I thought about some changes I wanted to make with regard to the color temperature and how it affected the shadowed mountains and the brilliant fall leaves. As we arrived at the scene, the sun was close to the horizon and every moment brought color shifts and changing shadow patterns. This cabin, which seemed to be owned by the campground, was boarded up for the winter. The tin roof captured the cool light of the sky, which I liked a lot, seeing it contrasting with the golden colors of the trees. There are two pairs of complements working in this little study: red/green and yellow/violet. It was painted with red yellow and blue primaries and a little white – nice and simple.

When I returned to this study to rework it a bit, I made some decisions about where I wanted the light to fall, and I like it much better now.

This week, starting Wednesday, I will be painting in the Arroyo Seco for the Casita del Arroyo paint out and sale sponsored by the California Art Club and benefitting both the club and the Casita del Arroyo Foundation, with its beautiful display of drought tolerant plants. I may not be there all day, every day, so if you want to know where I’ll be painting, email me ( and I’ll let you know.

California tonal landscape oil painting – Tin Roof, Bishop

Tin Roof, Bishop
9 x 12 oil on panel

Just north of Bishop, California there is a ranching area where the barns have tin roofs that have weathered wonderfully through the years. This scene attracted me as a subject to paint, but the cool light of the afternoon I was there didn’t appeal to me – it made the scene look cold and sad. I wanted a warm look that suggested the radiant beauty of fall, and which struck less melancholy notes.

This painting takes the basic elements of the scene, but translates them to a warm (monochromatic) color palette consisting mostly of yellow, ochre, and small amounts of burnt sienna, tempered with gray. These small studies with varying color experiments have been useful in thinking of alternate ways of painting a scene. What you see isn’t necessarily all there is.

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California impressionist landscape oil painting – Bishop Byway – rural scene

Bishop Byway
9 x 12
oil on canvas panel

Today’s painting is a rural scene from Bishop, California, focusing on the beauty of fall in this eastern Sierra community. The warm color palette suggests afternoon light. Bishop receives little rainfall during the year (the Sierra catches most of the precipitation on its high peaks.) Temperatures can swing wildly, with hot days and cold nights. 50 degree changes from day to night are not uncommon even within a day. (Dress appropriately, as we’ve discovered.)

Yesterday we had a storm blow through that mostly saturated us with drizzle. No pounding rain, but enough precipitation to wet the ground and freshen the foliage. It had to be gone by today, of course, being New Years Eve, so that the skies would appear blue and sunny for everyone watching the Rose Parade. Look for our La Canada float if you are tuned into the coverage – it features a wizard and a large green origami dragon.