Big Sur Impressions

18×24″ oil on linen

This is painting paradise for me. It is actually so beautiful it is dangerous… big cliffs and unbelievable views combined. My knee is all skinned up from walking around on wet rocks with my eyes up on the view. The design possibilities are endless here… every few feet I want to start a new canvas.

The Malibu Coast

The Sea’s Sculpture–El Matador State Beach– 12×24 oil on linen panel

I love the ocean’s rock sculptures, carved by centuries of erosion, that are arranged on El Matador State Beach… I’m guessing the beach is named because this big one looks like an enormous bull charging out of the surf? The bull’s back is a big elevated garden on stilts for the gulls to look down on their beach from.

This second painting was painted from high up on the ridge above Corral Canyon looking out towards Point Dume. There’s nothing more fun than hiking on a trail I’ve never been on before or painting a beautiful view for the first time.

Corral Canyon to Point Dume– 12×16″ oil on linen panel

Big Views, Small Works

These are a few recent small 6×8″ paintings made while hiking on our local trails. ($250 each) It is fun to work on this scale… you learn how to simplify an image to its most essential parts. I’m looking forward to some rain this next week to get these creeks flowing well again and hydrate the landscape. Enjoy your weekend everyone!

Foothill View– 6×8″ oil on panel– $250
San Ysidro Sycamores– 6×8″ oil on panel– $250
Canyon to the Sea— 6×8″ oil on panel– $250

Bill Wallace Trail Oil Sketch

I hiked the Bill Wallace trail loop above El Cap recently… the views are spectacular if you’ve never been. I could see the whole coastline practically to Ventura. Here is a 6×8″ painting I made along the way. The topmost point reaching out is Devereux, Coal Oil point. #pleinairpainting #kevingleasonart #landscapepainting #billwallacetrail #elcapitanstatebeach #santabarbara

Beach Days

Ledbetter Surf–12×16″ –$750

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.

Ain’t no Place Better– 12×24″ oil on panel–$800
Mesa Lane Atmosphere– 12×16″ oil on linen panel– $750

Snowmelt Journey

Snowmelt Journey— 15×30” oil on panel— This is the result of the other canvas that I hiked up to Lamarck Lake.  I loved the way the warm morning light on the cliff wall reflected into the rocks across the creek and the meandering path the water takes on its journey to the lake.  

#lamarcklakes #landscapepainting #pleinairpainting #oilpainting #outdoorpainting #backpackingartist #kevingleasonart 

Work in Progress
Scouting Sketch

Wind on the Water

24×36″ oil on linen

This is probably the hardest earned outdoor painting I have made yet… It started with carrying all of my backpacking gear, oil painting gear, easel and two large canvasses a couple thousand feet up to Lamarck Lake. It wasn’t the most practical venture, but I had romantic visions of standing before this breathtaking view with a two foot by three foot canvas over two afternoons of painting. The first day, the wind nearly blew this sail of a canvas and my entire easel into the dirt. I lashed the easel to a heavy rock below and a pine tree windward and held onto it with my left hand (to keep myself from blowing away.) It wasn’t the peaceful experience I was imagining to say the least and the painting made a very effective mosquito trap, with hundreds of the little guys finding themselves impaled in shades of blue and turquoise. In the future, if they ever need to clone a foolish artist, they can extract my DNA Jurassic-Park-Style from this painting.

Day two I spent exploring the tributaries to this lake and anticipating painting like a storm tossed sailer again. Rather, there was a pleasant breeze all afternoon… the experience I was hoping for. To top it off, I made it back to the trailhead without tripping and face planting on my wet painting once.

Day 1 Mosquito Trap (Detail)
Lovely Afternoon Number Two
Gouache Preliminary Sketch

Sierra Nevada Backpacking Paintings

Lamarck Lake

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?

Skipping Stones– Darwin Basin
Transparency– Evolution Creek
Stone Rafts– Evolution Lake

Change and Resiliency

18×24″ oil on canvas panel– $1250

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.

Sun and Fog

Light Crossing the Stream– 8×10″ oil on panel– $400
Fog Filled Canyon– 8×10″ oil on panel– $400

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.

Dissolving Clouds– Lizards Mouth– 6×6″ oil on panel– $200
Cold Springs Tavern Bar– 8×10″ oil on panel– $400