The May Grey and June Gloom can be really nice. They make for moody, misty beach walks like this one north of Haskell’s.
I love the high elevation pockets of pines that hikers can find in the Los Padres National Forest. Just an hour and a half drive from Goleta and a few miles of scratchy chaparral and a couple thousand feet of elevation gain and you find yourself above six thousand feet and wondering if you are in the Sierras. When I got to the top, I waved across the valley to my folks in Tahoe at the same elevation, but 300 miles away.
I’ve been fortunate to go backpacking almost every weekend this past month. These are all small (about 5×8″) gouache sketches made during hikes in the Sespe Wilderness. It has been so good to be experiencing all of the wildflowers and flowing creeks of spring.
What a wonderful thing to do to take out a golf course and redesign a wetland. It is a story I’d love to hear more as it is almost always the opposite that you hear these days. (And the reality is that this was a trade-off for a massive building project.) But still, the result is beautiful. The water flows in a more natural way and the wildlife seems happy about it. Maybe as we re-story our world after this time of reflection and isolation we will restore more of our landscapes…
I’ve been making instructional videos for my high school art students the past few weeks as we’ve been in remote learning mode. So far we’ve done things like drawing self portraits and making Zentangles. This week I have them going outside and creating plein air landscape paintings, so I went up to Elings Park to demo the steps of designing and creating this painting. If you’d like to watch and learn more about my process, you can watch the ten minute video here.
You can’t see the sheep, but I could hear the sweet sounds of their munching and bleating down around the corner up the path. I saw the dog run them up the hill to their latest salad bar, surrounded by solar powered electric fences. I thought the beautiful sustainability of this operation which is working with rather than against nature. The sheep, in doing what sheep do, give us so much: fire prevention and defensible space, fertilization and carbon sequestered in the soil, wool, a pastoral view and at the end of the season they are selling free-range organic fed lamb. (If you are interested in the later, you can get in touch with the folks at Cuyama Lamb.)
My favorite chair has inhabited its latest living room, situated on the edge of More Mesa. It is a lovely room– very spacious and airy, with high ceilings and lots of natural light. The atmosphere is lovely and the rent is free… just bring your own chair.
My daughter asked, “Dad, did you really carry that chair all the way out there? Couldn’t you just make it up out of your head?” I heard a dad speech coming from my lips explaining authenticity and the value of taking pride in your work.
It is so healing to be under a big sky in an expansive place. I’m thinking of people in cities with shelter in place orders and hoping the residents are getting outside for their share of fresh air and sunlight. It’s a big sky and a big planet– there’s plenty of space for all of us to stretch a bit if we’re smart about it. I’m hoping for health, peace and the opportunity to connect with nature for all of you.
Creekflow—Tunnel Trail—18×36” oil on canvas— Canyon creeks are such wonderful painting subjects— I love the transparency of the water, the spotlights and shadows and the natural flow of rocks and trees and water. They beg to be painted as a vertical panorama so that you can hike up the creek with your eyes.
#tunneltrail #pleinairpainting #landscapepainting #santabarbaraart #kevingleasonart #hikingsantabarbara
My family and I snuck away to get into the back country this weekend. I made a couple of gouache sketches in my sketchbook of the same rock formation… one on a misty, grey afternoon and the other on the clear sunny morning that followed it. It is remarkable how much the atmosphere and light conditions affect the colors we see.