I spent a little over a week tramping around the sierras with my family and then solo for a few nights. Here are some of the gouache backpacking sketches made in a watercolor sketchbook I brought along. Is there any place on earth as stunning and magical as the Sierras? I know there are– we live on a planet with such amazing diversity and beauty and everybody should have their own favorite environment. We’re lucky to be alive with this awesome earth to explore, aren’t we?
I painted this over a couple of afternoons at the spot where the east and west forks of Cold Springs Canyon converged. I have been hiking here for well over twenty five years now. Some of you fellow lovers of this trail might have the same experience as me know where we hold two images of every bend in the creek in our heads… the ones before the fires and debris flow and the new ones we are experiencing as we scramble up new boulders and pools. It is really amazing how resilient our local wilderness is. I’m amazed at how quickly the landscape has healed. It will take many years for it to become the mature, rich riparian wonderland that it was, but in the meantime there is beauty in all of the stages of succession.
These are all small recent paintings. They say you can’t cross the same creek twice and you certainly can’t paint it. Every time I go out the light and colors are different. Not only do I love the fog for cooling everything down and making things mysterious in the mornings– it also makes for some fun subtle grey colors to try to paint.
I plan to do a lot of painting this summer (hopefully almost every day.) I really appreciate you all for following my work and don’t want to overwhelm your mailboxes. My plan is to do a weekly digest of a couple favorite paintings from the week like this. If you would like to see more regular posts or don’t want to miss any images, I will post more regularly on Instagram (@kevingleasonart) and on my Facebook Artists’ page, which you can follow by “liking” the main page.
Thanks again for all of your support… I hope you are enjoying the final days of Spring!
My youngest daughter and I have been going out painting together a couple times this past week. She and her sister are very creative and have always loved to draw. It has been so fun seeing how she interprets things with paint. Every artist’s style is an extension of their personality– it will be fun to see what she accentuates over the years.
The say you can’t cross the same river twice and I think it would also be true to say you can’t watch the same sunset twice from this trail on the edge of the Ellwood Bluffs. This particular afternoon, the water was shimmering and I was squinting… letting in just enough of the brilliance to not see spots before my eyes.
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…