Creek Sounds– 12×16″ oil on linen panel– Do you know what time of year it is? Duck season? Wabbit season? No… it’s creek painting season! (If you are under thirty you probably missed that reference… sorry). It is so nice to hear all the echoing watery sounds reverberating through the canyons– I love to paint creeks! It is also the season when I get to use more shades of the color green here in Santa Barbara where the summer and fall palette is more in shades of tan and gold. I hope you all are finding some time to play outdoors!
Whatever your hobby or love is, I encourage you to try a month of doing it every day. These are things I’ve learned making a painting a day this month of September:
Some of our best ideas come when we don’t overthink and just respond to what we are experiencing in the moment.
You don’t have to wash your brushes if you use them every day– they don’t have a chance to dry out.
There is something worth painting no matter where you are.
Painting is a little more like running than it is like riding a bike… You know how people say “its like riding a bike” which means you never forget how to do it. This is somewhat true with painting, but if you do it more regularly, it is kind of like you get into art shape and it is much easier.
These are the subjects of some of my recent paintings. I have been enjoying the challenge of creating a paintings every day for the month of September. If you want to see all of them, they can be found here on Instagram. I’ll share brief stories about each one below.
When I asked the Captain of the Sal-C if his boat was going to be parked for a while so I could paint it, he joked, “I painted it last week!” It is an awesome fishing boat that I learned has been out fishing in the Santa Barbara Channel for 91 years.
My favorite feature of our local mountains is Arlington and Cathedral Peaks, the rocks on which can be interpreted as an immense sleeping dragon.
Part of painting every day is sometimes having to squeeze in a quick session into a busy life. Often I don’t have time to be picky about a scene, but just pull out the easel and take what nature throws at this me. If I’m lucky, the wildlife cooperate.
I committed myself to the challenge of making a painting a day for the month of September. Each day I’ve been heading out and working on a variety of sizes depending upon the amount of time and energy I have left in me. (I’m not posting them all here because I don’t want to overwhelm people’s inboxes, but if you’d like to see them all they are on my Instagram and Facebook Artist pages.).
I’m hoping that the experience will take my technique to a new level. Already I’m seeing things a little differently and addressing canvases with a looser, more cavalier style. I always tell my students that there aren’t many things like painting that you can do your entire life and continue to improve. And just when you think you’ve figured it all out, the next day you are thrown for a loop and feel like a beginner again. Painting is a constant challenge and joy.
This is the view looking out towards Santa Cruz Island from near the San Marcos open space. It is striking on a hot day how much cooler it is beneath an oak tree, with its thick dappled shade and its leaves transpiring. I had fun stylizing the leaves, trying to get the variety of warm and cool greens they contain.
It was fun to be back in “class” today (online of course) and see my students again! I hope the school year is starting off well for everyone! This was a recent commission that was given by their kids to a couple that tied the knot at the Santa Barbara Mission 40 years ago. I wish them 40 more years at least!
I’ve been going out and painting architecture this past week. I’ve realized there are so many great buildings in this town that I’d like to paint at some point. Here are a couple highlights from this week…
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!