I turned my recent plein air study of Lake Lose Carneros into a larger studio painting. I’m including a photo from in the studio of the two next to each other so you can see what can be changed when you have more time to think about shapes and colors. The purple flowers growing on the fields out there are wild radish and the yellow flowers are of course mustard greens. Both are delicious and in this time when people are stocking up on food rations, it’s good to know that there are always fresh greens growing around. I like to eat the pods and flowers of the the radish plants and the young mustard leaves and shoots can be sautéed with a little garlic and lemon like you would their domesticated cousin, broccoli. I hope you are all staying healthy and finding ways to connect with nature.
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
These are a couple of recent small 6×8” paintings of architecture in downtown Santa Barbara. The first is of the Presidio adobe. I love how the windows in the tower were open so you could see through to the mountains behind. The other is of the Santa Barbara Courthouse at dusk catching the warm colors of the setting sun.
24×30” oil on canvas— Cave painting always feels really elemental and makes me think of the first artists thousands of years ago creating the first art galleries. That’s the railroad trestle above Gaviota State beach below the horizon. If you’ve never taken the hike up here there are several caves to explore and its well worth the climb.
Imagine walking this path through Cold Springs Canyon and feeling the warmth of the sun, then the cool of the shade and then the radiance around the bend again… I love that feeling and its what this painting is about: passing through shadow areas and experiencing the coolness and dark and then stepping again into the sunlight.
I was running on Camino Cielo early a couple of weekends ago, high above the fog and overcast and happy to watch the sun spill over the top and warm the east sides of the mountains. I was struggling with the sunlit sides of the mountain on this painting, trying to put too much detail in but losing the feeling of the radiant warmth. In the end, I just wove some strokes of pure color that I’ll include a detail of. I always appreciate paintings that look somewhat lifelike from a distance, but upon walking up to them image dissolve into abstract strokes of paint.
For my last painting of 2019 I hiked a large canvas up San Ysidro Canyon. It makes me optimistic to see how well nature heals. This area has been hammered with drought, then fire, then flood and debris flows and yet here it is recovering beautifully. Trees and chapparal shrubs have sprouted from their roots and new pools and falls are being carved out in the new stream path. The insects, lizards, birds and deer are all tending the wilderness and stitching it together. The community of Montecito downstream is also recovering from the tragedy of those slides and like nature is showing love and resiliency.
I’m optimistic for healing, resiliency, connection and love in this new year… they are clearly characteristics found in nature and so, as living strands in the web of life on this planet, are characteristics of our selves.
12×24″ oil on panel– The city was washed clean and sparkling after the last storm. Out on the wharf was a great place to take it all in. A magnificent rainbow appeared and I was tempted to paint it in, but usually paintings of rainbows look about as convincing as paintings of unicorns. I went with the unicorn instead– can you see him hiding behind the palm tree?
The deep bell chimes were ringing in my chest and counting 8 on the morning when I made the sketch and took the photo that led to this painting. I love the perspective from the clock tower… since 1929 people have climbed the steps to see the horizon and watch present moments tick away one by one.
36×48” oil on linen— I was thinking about hiking and painting and the delicate art of knowing when to continue and knowing when to stop. Just like a mindful hiker enjoying each bend in the creek, I tried to be very intentional on this painting, minding each stroke and color that I mixed. The trick is finding the time to stop while there is still some freshness and sketchiness, before overworking the painting into something that looks labored and tired.
It is a new thing for me to have people, in this case my daughters, in the canvas. I realized how much they give the painting scale and help the viewer understand the size of the boulders and falls.