Big Sur Vista oil painting – seascape

Big Sur Vista
8 x 8 inches
oil on canvas plein air panel


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This is a scene I’ve enjoyed painting before, and will no doubt return to again. The location captures the majesty of the Big Sur coastline, along with the serenity of the water at a quiet moment. This is a little south of the Monterey Peninsula.

See more of my California Central Coast paintings here

San Simeon – Big Sur California Seascape oil painting by Karen Winters

“Cloudy Day at San Simeon” (Big Sur, California)
12 x 16 oil

See more of my California Central Coast paintings here

Interested in this painting?
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See more of my paintings on my website

The southern part of Big Sur, California is at San Simeon, the site of Hearst’s Castle. The dramatic ocean cliffs frame the always changing sea. The day I painted this the sun was peeking through from time to time, but overall the scene was moody, with blowing fog and moving clouds. I actually like these sorts of days as well as the ones with bright sunshine.

Below, a photo of me working on it on location:

Sailing Clouds at my Solo Show – Gale’s Restaurant

“Sailing Clouds”
18 x 24 oil on canvas
(Moonstone Beach, Cambria)

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This painting, “Sailing Clouds,” is one of about 30 currently on exhibit for sale at Gale’s Restaurant in Pasadena, in my 2nd solo show at the venue.
The opening reception is this Sunday, May 20, from 4-6 pm. All are welcome to come see some new art, and enjoy a wonderful wine and cheese event. Gale’s Restaurant is at 452 S. Fairoaks Avenue, Pasadena.

“Sailing Clouds” is from Cambria, California, on the southern edge of Big Sur. It’s an area where I love to paint small studies as well as larger studio works derived from those studies. The image is especially calming, and is a visual retreat for a busy, hectic day. You can almost see the clouds move if you sit quietly.

There’s a quote from Wordsworth that was the inspiration for this title, taken from the poem, “Written in March.” The phrase is “small clouds are sailing.”
Those words stuck with me as I saw these massive ships of vapor and moisture making stately progress across the horizon. I have always enjoyed reading poetry, both western and eastern, and find them to be good sources of ideas for titles of painting. Perhaps it’s because creating visual art and creating poetry are closely aligned. In both cases, the writer or the poet is pointing to an emotion beyond the literal representation of the subject. Much is suggested and implied rather than stated directly. Some art teachers describe a painting’s brushwork as being “poetic.” Conversely, we may describe a poem as “painting a word picture.” William Blake was one of the rare individuals who both painted and wrote poetry. Maybe one day I’ll post some of my old haiku here.

Coming up next: another plein air painting from the Tejon Ranch paint out last week.

Big Sur, Bixby Bridge Wedding Gift Commissioned California Seascape Oil Painting

“Big Sur, Bixby Bridge”
16 x 20 oil on canvas
SOLD – painted on commission

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This painting was commissioned as a surprise wedding gift for a very lovely bride to give to her bridegroom to commemorate the exact place where he proposed to her. She and I worked closely together to identify the exact spot where he popped the question. Then, after the painting was finished, approved and drying, the unexpected happened. The bridegroom, who also knew of my work, contacted me separately looking to buy a painting of the same location to give to the bride. Suddenly I had an O’Henry “Gift of the Magi”-type situation on my hands! I couldn’t tell him I wouldn’t sell him this painting he saw on my site– he’d think that odd. And if I told him it was sold, but he might buy somewhere else, so immediate was his need. Honesty and open communication always being the best policy, I contacted the bride and let her know about his urgent inquiry and she handled the situation gracefully with her betrothed. So he knew that there was a painting by me in their future but would have to wait to see what it was.

The painting was shipped last week and they opened their gift to each other last night —with champagne, strawberries and candlelight, I hope. Today there are two very happy nearlyweds, with a painting created with love, just for them, so they can always remember that very special day. And everyone lived happily ever after.