Santa Ynez River Flow


20×24″ oil on linen– It is so good to see the Santa Ynez River flowing again and knowing the thousands of gallons of sweet water that flowed past me as I painted this are on their way to Lake Cachuma.  I really hope people use the drought as a learning experience and keep conserving water even though the storms have been good to us.   This was made just before the first crossing on Paradise Road, which is completely washed out at the moment..

Oak Group Benefit for the Carpinteria Bluffs

I’m excited to be part of this show… I hope you can join us next Thursday evening!

Oak Group Benefit for Carpinteria Bluffs

Circling back to their original benefit shows decades ago, The Oak Group once again supports The Land Trust for Santa Barbara County with “Coastline,” an exhibition in Santa Barbara’s Faulkner Gallery in the Central Library, 40 W. Anapamu.
The exhibition will hang from March 1 through midday, March 30, 2017.
Artists look forward to meeting the public at a reception during First Thursday, March 2, from 5:00 to 7:30.

Guest artists Kevin Gleason, Kaaren Robertson, Nicole Strasburg, and John Wullbrandt contribute their work along with members of The Oak Group for this event.

Forty-five percent of proceeds will directly benefit acquisition of 21 more acres of the Carpinteria Bluffs, through The Land Trust for Santa Barbara County and Citizens for the Carpinteria Bluffs. These groups have been working together to preserve the rest of the undeveloped coastline.

The Land Trust has preserved 25,000 acres over its 31 years. Along with Citizens for the Carpinteria Bluffs it purchased its first 52 acres of the bluffs in the late 1990s. Together the groups turned what is now the Carpinteria Bluffs Nature Preserve over to the city of Carpinteria.

Central Library hours:

Monday through Thursday, 10:00 to 7:00
Friday and Saturday, 10:00 to 5:30
Sunday, 1:00 pm to 5:00

Kevin Gleason  “Ellwood Morning Light,” 18×36 in., oil on canvas

Nicole Strasburg, “Twilight Estuary,” 14×36 in., oil on birch panel

William Mitchell, “Jalama Creek,” 16×20 in., oil

Rattlesnake Canyon Creekflow


22×28″ oil on canvas–  I’m savoring the sound of raindrops on the roof right now and smiling knowing we have more boulder hopping and creek painting days ahead of us this spring!

Santa Barbara Golden Hour


18×36″ oil on canvas (sold)– What a romantic seaside town for smitten, starry-eyed couples to  be walking around in, enjoying a nice walk in the late afternoon light before dinner… Happy Valentine’s Day everybody!

Succulent Window Garden


8×10″ oil on Canvas– In the shelter from the rain under our front porch I painted these pots of succulents a week or two ago.  Although the grey sky removes brilliant lights and shadows, somehow the overcast makes the colors more saturated, no pun intended.  It is like putting a dry pebble in a wet creek, I love how rain enhances colors and the smells of the earth…

Cold Spring Creek Pools


16×20″ oil on canvas– I am so grateful to have water flowing in our local creeks again.  This painting started with the small casein sketch below that I made hiking with my family last weekend.  creekpools-gleason-2

A plein air sketch is much more useful for me when making a painting than a photograph which can be a lot harder to interpret.  Photos aren’t as true to our experience as we think they are.  Here is a photo of the scene.


And here is a sketch of the abstract concept… the bones under the image that help me simplify the concept and focus on the essential shapes that make it easy to read.



Rained out in Romero Canyon


12×24″ oil on canvas– You can see a lot of the raw canvas toned with raw sienna at the bottom of this painting.  I was painting Romero Creek yesterday when the rain began to fall and I had to abandon painting.  Lauren, my best and most important art critic said “leave it unfinished, I like it that way.”  Usually her advice is more along the lines of “why didn’t you paint all the way to the edges and could you add more flowers or butterflies or eyelashes on that bird?”  I like how the few expressive strokes at the bottom help guide the eye to the focal point without demanding too much attention.  What do you think?  Is it done?