Changing Moods- Ellwood Bluffs

14×18″ oil on canvas– Every day of the year is a sunny day…  if you can only get above the clouds.  I love days like this when just a few luminous spotlights find their way through the overcast… little patches of brilliant sunlight on an otherwise grey landscape.   Just like with moods, you can appreciate the sunny even more when you also know the melancholy.

Sign Post–Santa Cruz Island

16×20″  oil on canvas– I had a Georgia O’Keefe moment painting this cow and Channel Island Fox skull I found on a fence post on a damp and misty morning on Santa Cruz Island last spring.  I love this area– just a short boat ride from the mainland and it feels like you are transported back in time a hundred years.  I’m getting a couple of Channel Islands paintings together for an Oak Group benefit show for the Nature Conservancy next month.

Between the Mountains and the Sea

36×48″–oil on canvas- At twelve square feet, this is the biggest painting that I’ve made in a while.  I made the sketch for this one from the breakwater looking back towards Stearn’s Wharf.  I really wanted to emphasize the scale of the mountains that rise behind our city and the atmosphere of the ocean air.  We’re so lucky to live in a place that you can easily hike up a wooded canyon to a peak and then play in the surf in the same day.

The Taste of a Place

20×48″ oil on canvas– I sketched this from a random dirt road up in the wine country near Los Olivos.  One nice thing about wine is people really stop and savor it at the end of a day and to really try to experience the flavor.  It could only taste better outdoors where it was grown and wine tasters are probably trying to bottle the location as much as the beverage… like this bottle which will surely have undertones of bitter oak, dry autumn grass, a rolling mellow smoothness  and some notes of bright golden sunlight.

My most detailed painting yet…

My family and I recently visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Gallery.  I went looking for the best art that I could find and for inspiration to turn in a new direction with my work.  The impressionists excited me with their colorful light effects as usual and Joaquin Sorolla and John Singer Sargent dazzled me with their expressive brushwork, but the paintings that knocked my socks off this time were those of the Frederic Edwin Church.  In particular, the painting “Dream of the Andes,” has me staring for… well, I don’t know how long but, thank you Lauren, Ellie and Quinn for being so patient with me in art museums.  What blew me away was the incredible detail. He beautifully designed every fern in the forest, every termite in the trees, and the painting goes back into space at least ten miles.  Now I’m trying to paint a painting with exquisite detail.  I’m not at his level yet, but I’m happy with how it is progressing.   Here are the sketches for now… one from memory in the sketchbook and then a plein air color study.  MoreMesaBreathe-Gleason - 2

Summer Beach Day-Campus Point

18×24″ oil on canvas panel– We’re so lucky during heat waves like this to have the ocean so near.  The water today at Campus Point was filled with people cooling off in the surf.  I hope you are all finding ways to stay cool today… Here is a watercolor sketch from the same site down below on the beach a couple of weeks ago.  

The Path to Sands Beach

Towards Devereux Point-Gleason - 115×30″ Oil on Canvas Panel– The weather has been perfect for heading to the beach lately once the morning marine layer evaporates off…  When the grey clears today I bet it will find hundreds of people off work for the Fourth of July playing in the waves.