High Desert California Landscape Painting – Owens Valley Grazing

“High Desert Grazing”
5 x 7 inch
oil miniature

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This small oil painting is a memory of our recent trip up into the eastern Sierra. Looking westward one sees the mighty Sierra Nevada range. Looking eastward (this view) is the Owens Valley, a high desert area where cattle and sheep grazing is common. I love the serene look of these wide open spaces, especially when storm clouds billow in the late afternoon light. This will be a study for a larger painting yet to come.

I hope that everyone had a great holiday with family and friends. We certainly did – it was wonderful seeing our children for such an extended period of time – always a treat to look forward to. We played games, feasted, toasted and enjoyed time together. One of my favorite gifts was to my husband and me from our kids – a getaway to a snowy place where we can take pictures, paint and enjoy the beauty of winter. We’re thinking maybe a return to Yosemite or perhaps the Sequoia area. Any good suggestions for accessible California places with cozy cabins and snowy scenes? We don’t ski anymore so that’s not a priority.

Scotland Oil Painting – Blackfaced Highlanders

Blackfaced Highlanders
14 x 18 oil on canvas
Gift, not for sale

This painting depicts one of our family’s ancestral homelands – the Isle of Skye looking toward the mainland of Scotland on the southeastern part of Skye. Many years ago we had the opportunity to visit there and, looking up the records in the Clan Donald museum, located the place where my 9g grandfathers and mothers lived and worked in the 1700s. The blackfaced sheep is one of the most common in the UK, and they still graze on these lands once occupied by crofters. Nowadays tourism is also a thriving industry.

In the 1730s, there was a large migration from that part of Skye to America, primarily to the colony of North Carolina, where our forbears, the McIvers, settled and married McKinnons, McClouds, McKenzies and many other immigrant Scots. If you come from that area, we are probably distant cousins.

This painting is a birthday gift to our daughter.

Santa Anita Racetrack – Arcadia equine

Before the Race
12 x 16 inches
acrylic on panel

I don’t paint in acrylic too often and I’m thinking that I have overlooked a very versatile medium. I painted this scene recently of the Santa Anita racetrack in Arcadia because I needed another painting for a show featuring the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and the San Gabriel Valley area.

I didn’t have time to do an oil painting – because it needs to be shown this Friday afternoon in Bradbury, near Duarte. For show details, visit my events page
But acrylic gives a more opaque look than watercolor, and allows the same sort of brushwork that I’m used to with oil.

The Bowers Museum show was rewarding in every way. One of my paintings got an Honorable Mention award and sold to a new collector who also took one of my Falllbrook landscapes. One of my spring wildflowers went home with another couple. It was fun to meet new artists and enjoy the company of some of my regular painting buddies.

This weekend, Saturday the 26th and Sunday the 27th, I’ll be showing a large number of California impressionist landscape and seascape paintings at the Eagle Rock Plein Air Art Sale at 2222 Laverna Ave. in Eagle Rock.

Here’s a google map to the location

Show hours are 9 to 3 daily, and I will be there most of the time and probably painting. A significant percentage of the proceeds go to support the Collaborative Eagle Rock Beautiful and its projects. Come learn about drought tolerant landscaping, buy some art, support a great cause and have a good time.

It’s on the grounds of the GLAD center – Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness. Plenty of free parking!

Painting a kildeer from life in Dana Point California – oil painting study

Kildeer on ground nest – plein air painting
“6 x 8” oil on canvas board

The paintout continues in San Clemente. Today, I had a rare opportunity, very unexpected, to do an oil painting of a bird from life. We were walking along a bluff in Dana Point and suddenly saw a kildeer guarding its nest – only a few feet from where we were walking. The brave little bird stood its ground even though we were very close. I found a place to sit down about 6 feet away and my husband brought me a small 6 x 8 inch canvas panel and a palette and my plein air bag. I didn’t want to take the risk of standing up at an easel and scaring it – and besides, I was closer to it on the ground. For more than an hour the bird sat motionless except to occasionally turn its head. Eventually it stood up and called to its mate for a break. It is a kildeer behavior to take turns incubating the eggs. I have never had the privilege of painting a wild animal (not caged) from life before and hope that sometime it will happen again. Although the eggs were completely under the bird, I took the liberty of showing one partly exposed. They are speckled black and gray and blend in perfectly with the rocky sandy ground where they are laid in a shallow depression.

I won’t be entering this painting in the San Clemente competition although I will have it for sale in my booth. I doubt that anyone would believe it was “plein air” – imagine a bird sitting still for an hour. And yet, it happened!

Foo Dog

While I work on some large paintings, here’s a small watercolor sketch of a lion dog, also known as a foo dog. It is one of two guardians of the new Chinese garden, opening very soon at the Huntington Library and Gardens in San Marino. According to this article the one I drew is the female because she has a cub underneath her paw. The pair of foo dogs stand by the pathway that leads to the new feature of these beautiful gardens.

Blue Heron – Karen Winters Daily Painting

“Blue Heron” – 5 x 7 watercolor on paper

SOLD

There’s an eBay activity going on right now Feb 1 – Feb 7 called SFA (Small Format Art.) The monthly theme is “bird” so I painted this and will put it up for auction tomorrow unless I get it done tonight, which I might. It will be listed under seller karencwinters, or click the eBay button in the left sidebar. You’ll find the link there.

This was drawn freehand and painted directly, freehand, with no masking. I think it just might be one of my favorite nature illustrations. Do you know someone who loves herons and would love a luminous and regal friend for their wall?

The bird is from a photo taken by my husband while we were painting at Newport Beach, California. He (she?) was sitting on a dock looking around for fish. To isolate this beautiful creature I made the background deep blue, which seemed for fitting for a blue heron.

Oh, and I just got back from a local art association meeting where I got some VERY good news about the results of the current Focus on Oils show. I’ll post that news tomorrow.

San Pasqual Stables – South Pasadena – Arroyo Seco

“San Pasqual Stables in the Morning” 9 x 12 – oil
SOLD

This morning I had the wonderful opportunity to visit the San Pasqual Stables in South Pasadena, California for a group paintout. The location was challenging because I don’t frequently do architectural subjects, and morning light is hard to catch because it changes so fast. So, I decided that I was mostly concerned about getting the “color notes” right for the barn, shadow, distant trees and foreground. If I happened to get those spots of color into good shapes, all the better, but I kept my expectations low just in case.

I liked how this came out and do think it represents the feeling of hazy light between 9:30 and 10 in the morning. After that time I worked on refinement of the image rather than trying to “chase the sun” and continue modifying the shadows, color etc. That means that the “bones” of this were laid down in 20 minutes, more or less, and then as I changed shapes and edges I mixed more of the same colors that I already had.

It would have been nice if there had been some people and horses standing around outside the stables, but mostly they were inside or moving through the scene quickly and I didn’t fancy trying to fake one, so I left it alone.

There were two somewhat exciting incidents while I was there 1) a golden eagle was spotted in the vicinity, slowly gliding over the area near a few crows and 2) a big male stallion got loose and came running right near where I was standing, at the side of a corral. Now I don’t know about horses, but I think they usually have people with them – they’re not like dogs that you can just let loose to find their way home. I saw this big guy running toward me and I just froze at my easel, not wanting him to see me as threatening in any way. In a few seconds he turned and went into a corral. A groom came running after him but was clearly keeping his distance so he didn’t spook him. The groom chained the horse in the corral and then he and a few other wranglers approached him gingerly and got a halter on him to lead him back to the barn. That stallion had a lot of attitude – I’m glad he didn’t decide that I was someone to have “issues” with.

Goldie


(detail)

Goldie 9 x 12 oil on panel

Today’s painting is a portrait of an anonymous golden retriever I’ll call Goldie, although she looks like a Molly, too. The portrait is actually head and shoulders but I thought I’d take a picture of a closeup of the face since that’s the part I worked on the most. The background is really a bit greener than it appears here, which I think is a nice balance to the warm tones of the fur. Pretty soon I’ll attempt a painting of Ripley (our American bulldog) in oil.


(The whole painting)

Ripley and Shadows – Daily Painting

Now that spring is here, Ripley spends more time outside in her doghouse than under my feet in my studio. I miss the company but I can understand the call of fresh air, birdsong and the opportunity to bark at the gardeners when they visit our neighbor’s house.

I did this quick painting yesterday as an exercise in negative painting and patterning. My objective was to describe Ripley’s shape by using dark background shapes. My other objective was to use more linked shapes rather than painting separate things. For example, her chin blends into her collar and her flank color blends into her chest.

Ripley sez: Did you miss me?

Two koi

Two Koi – 8″ x 8″ watercolor on Stonehenge paper

Two little Descanso koi, looking for some fish chow. Look out for the racoons!
At Mulberry Pond at Descanso Gardens, they have created some ledges and shelves out of rock for the koi to hide under. I heard from one of the volunteers that the racoons will actually wade in the water to fish. But apparently they won’t swim into deep areas. Racoons, herons and egrets are a problem for pond owners who treasure their living jewels. To the predators it’s just an easy meal.