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!
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.
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 making instructional videos for my high school art students the past few weeks as we’ve been in remote learning mode. So far we’ve done things like drawing self portraits and making Zentangles. This week I have them going outside and creating plein air landscape paintings, so I went up to Elings Park to demo the steps of designing and creating this painting. If you’d like to watch and learn more about my process, you can watch the ten minute video here.
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—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
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.
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.