Santa Ynez River Flow

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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..

Rattlesnake Canyon Creekflow

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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!

Cold Spring Creek Pools

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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.

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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.

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Rained out in Romero Canyon

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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?

Flowing Water

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12×16″ oil on canvas board– My family and I hiked up San Ysidro Creek last weekend.  I have missed flowing water in our local creeks deeply.  When I first moved to this area, the creeks would flow year round… these days it seems we need to wait for winter.  It is so nice to see, hear, smell and feel this one trickling through the canyon again.

Trout Creek in Winter

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9×12″ oil on canvas– My brothers and I were lucky kids, growing up with national forest for a back yard and this oxbow in the creek about a quarter mile from our back deck.  It’s so fun to take our kids up there now and play hide-and-seek again.  Happy Holidays everybody!