Recent Paintings Blog

Gold Hills and Happy Sheep

8×10″ oil on canvas panel

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.)

Living Rooms #3

14×18″ oil on canvas

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.

Shelter in Place

Spring Waves–Ellwood–20×48″ oil on linen

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

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

Changing Light–Backpacking Sketches

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. ​ 

 #changinglight #pleinairpainting#landscapepainting #lospadresnationalforest #sanrafaelwilderness

Anticipating Sunset

12×24″ oil on canvas

Ahhhh…. you are beautiful Ellwood an hour before sundown. You make me use every color in the paintbox– the cadmium yellow mustardseeds, the reds in the ice plant, the golden light in the sky and on the water, the phthalo blue ocean, the deep rich greens of spring, and most important– the lovely grey in-between colors that support the others and allow them to shine.

Creek Sketches

The creeks are flowing beautifully after that last storm and I saw that there is a chance of rain in the forecast for this weekend. These sketches are from Cold Springs and Rattlesnake Canyons.

I’m happy to see that many of you fellow Coronavirus recluses are finding more free time to appreciate the simple pleasures in life: hiking up creeks, dusting off old hobbies, playing games with family… How are you making the best of your corona-experience?

Living Room

Living Room– 12×12″ oil on canvas

I love this chair. I found it broken and abandoned a couple of years ago and patched it up with some wood glue and nails. It reminds me of the chair Van Gogh painted when he was in Arles. I think I might do a series of paintings of it in different locations. I like how having the chair in the image gives the viewer a place to rest. Here viewer– have a seat in my backyard living room and I’ll make you a cup of tea from that hummingbird sage under the peach tree.

Beautiful Flowers or Free Food?

I turned my recent plein air study of Lake Lose Carneros into a larger studio painting. I’m including a photo from in the studio of the two next to each other so you can see what can be changed when you have more time to think about shapes and colors. The purple flowers growing on the fields out there are wild radish and the yellow flowers are of course mustard greens. Both are delicious and in this time when people are stocking up on food rations, it’s good to know that there are always fresh greens growing around. I like to eat the pods and flowers of the the radish plants and the young mustard leaves and shoots can be sautéed with a little garlic and lemon like you would their domesticated cousin, broccoli. I hope you are all staying healthy and finding ways to connect with nature.

Spring Bloom—Lake Los Carneros— 15×30” oil on canvas

First Days of Spring

6×12″ oil — Lake Los Carneros Wildflowers

I’ve been out painting small studies a couple of times this week. I feel like I see way more people out hiking an walking than usual, which is one of the silver linings of the crazy situation we find ourselves in. People are home from work and doing things they haven’t had time for in a while. It’s easy to practice “social distancing” on a hiking trail or by the beach, so if you haven’t yet, get out there and see the creeks flowing, the wildflowers blooming and listen for bird songs you haven’t heard since last spring.

#socialdistancing #pleinairpainting #kevingleasonart #landscapepainting #lakeloscarneros #ellwood #santabarbara

6×8″ oil– Ellwood after the Rain