Recent Paintings Blog

Nothing but Gratitude…

20×48″ oil on canvas– Feeling Gratitude at Disappointment Lake

I finished a larger studio painting from the backpacking sketches on my hike this summer I wanted to catch a moment that stood out when the sun was just setting at Disappointment Lake and trying to decide what the opposite of disappointment is. (The made-up story in my head is that the lake was named by a bitter miner who either found gold and didn’t want others to look or didn’t find gold and was genuinely bummed. Either way– its a lovely lake that I hope will continue to disappoint those who like to profit off of exploiting wilderness areas.)

Want to see it and the other paintings I’ve created this year in person? My open studio is coming up the first weekend in September and I’d love to see you!


Half Moon Lake

Half Moon Lake– Sierra National Forest– gouache backpacking sketch– I’m guessing this lake got its name for the unusual crescent shaped mountain behind it which would hold a half-moon shaped snowfield in the spring. The trail barely trodden and hard to find getting up here… most days of the year you’d probably have the lake to yourself.

Fish Dreams

Fleming Creek- Sierra National Forest gouache

This place was rainbow trout paradise and a fly-fisherman’s dream. I made a donation to the local mosquito population, which in turn no doubt fed some fish. If only I had my pole instead of art supplies the relationship could have gone full circle. This creek is a tributary to the river in the other image.

North Fork Kings River– gouache

The names of lakes…

Above Disappointment Lake–Gouache

I went backpacking for a few days last week up in a new pocket of the Sierras for me. I was intrigued by some of the lake names: Disappointment, Hell-for-Sure, Mosquito. Sometimes the less inviting the lake name, the more spectacular the lake… someone, in naming it, wanted to keep it from becoming the overcrowded Yosemite Valley. I couldn’t have been any less disappointed with Disappointment Lake and if that’s what Hell-for-Sure looks like, I know where I’m going. They were right about one thing, though. The mosquitos were hungry everywhere this season, as are all the late season wildflowers from the heavy snows this year.

Berry Creek Falls

12×24″ oil on panel

Lauren and I celebrated our 20th anniversary this month doing the thing we love most– walking in the woods. This time it was the redwoods in Big Basin and Butano State Parks north of Santa Cruz. I’m so lucky to be married to such a thoughtful, fun and beautiful fellow adventurer. I painted her in admiring the canopy from a fallen log in one of the oil sketches below.

Newsletter Sign-Up

Artists love to share what they create… I’m really grateful to you for following my work. Thanks! I’m going to be starting an occasional email newsletter for the first time later this week. It will be a place where I can share information that is not on my blog. It will include info on current exhibits, feature art lessons and demonstrations, announce special sales and highlight recent paintings and stories. If you would like to sign up, you can click on the link on my website or just send me a message with your email and I’ll add you to the list. (If you already follow my blog by email, you don’t need to sign up.)

Greyhound Rock County Park– Santa Cruz– oil on panel– 10×20″

Liquid and Light– August Art Workshop

12×24″ oil on panel– Art is a collection of illusions. Looking west on the Ellwood bluffs on a summer afternoon I was thinking about how to communicate what I love about the scene before me. As an artist, there is the challenge of creating illusions of light and deep space with two dimensional shapes and colors. There are a lot of techniques and observations that make this process easier.

I have taught art for 20 years and love to share what I’ve learned with others. There is still space in my painting workshop from August 9-11. It is designed for artists of all levels… the beauty of art is that it is a lifelong learning adventure. Send me an email from the link in my website if you’d like more details.

Eagle Lake and Markleeville Falls

8×16″ Eagle Lake– oil on panel

We had a fun time visiting my folks up in Tahoe a couple weeks ago and was able to sneak in a few small paintings while we were out hiking. The lakes and streams are high and cold this year from the nice heavy snowpack this winter. Springtime is not just a season, but also an elevation and you don’t have to climb very high to see the wildflowers blooming in July.

8×10″ Markleeville Falls 1– oil on panel
8×10″ Markleeville Falls 2– oil on panel

#eaglelake #markleevillefalls #pleinair #landscapepainting #highsierras #pleinairartist

Harbor Colors

16×20” oil on canvas— There’s so much activity and complexity at the harbor on a summer day. It’s a fun challenge to try to describe it with colors and shapes. Want to learn some strategies and techniques for doing this? Email me if you’d like more information about my workshop in August. Happy Fourth of July!

Painting Workshop August 9-11

Kevin Gleason

Plein Air Oil Painting Workshop

August 9-11, 2019

Composition and Design for Landscape Painters

Enjoy three days of exploring design concepts for outdoor painters.  This class will focus on taking the complexity and infinite detail we find when we approach a subject outdoors and simplifying what we see into a cohesive design.  We will learn strategies for dealing with changing light and conditions.  We will explore the balance between unity and variety in our paintings and will develop skills in creating a focal point. We will focus on techniques of layering oil paint in a single setting without things getting overworked.  Other concepts will include value schemes, color mixing, brushwork and finding your own individualized style and working methods.   

On the Friday afternoon we will begin at the artist’s home studying art and asking questions.  We will explore three ways of organizing values in a painting and will be drawing several sketches.  On Saturday and Sunday we will be out at different outdoor painting locations and will find a balance between demonstrations and one-on-one assistance and suggestions as we create several paintings, from small 6×8” studies to larger more resolved pieces.   All levels of artists are welcome.

Dates:  August 9 from 1 to 4 pm,  August 10 and 11 from 9am -12pm  and 1pm-3pm.  

Locations:  Santa Barbara, CA  (to be announced)

Cost: $300  

Materials list and details will be provided upon registration.

If you are interested in participating, please email Kevin at