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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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