Kaweah River Colors

10×20″ acrylic–  I was drawn to paint here by the colors of the underwater rocks in sunlight.  The melting snow on the mountain crests is leaving the creeks and rivers downstream gushing this year.  It is still early spring as far as the wildflowers and mosquitoes are concerned.

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Cold Springs Confluence

Oil on Canvas 20×24″  — This is the crossing by “Kevin’s Bench” where the east and west forks of Cold Springs Creek meet.  The water is cold and clear and the entire canyon is green and full of life.

Santa Barbara Golden Hour

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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!

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?

Lauren Lake

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10×20″ Acrylic–  I am officially naming this small, gorgeous unnamed lake above Peter Pande lake off the John Muir trail…  It is Lauren Lake.  I felt lucky to be the only person enjoying this entire basin for a day on the trail.  After painting this I climbed up the rocks behind me and watched miles and miles of granite turn pink with alpenglow.

Cathedral Peak

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18×24″ Acrylic on Canvas–  Every mountainside town has it’s one magical, unique peak that kind of stands out from the rest.  Hokusai painted his hundred views of Mount Fuji. Cezanne caught Mt. Saint Victoire from every angle.  Growing up in Tahoe, we learned Washoe legends about Mount Tallac. It is not the tallest mountain here in Santa Barbara, but Cathedral Peak get’s my vote for most awesome.