It was a pleasure to review this new book – a collaboration between Thomas Steinbeck and Benjamin Brode – for the Santa Barbara Independent.

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They live in the misty hillsides of Big Sur. The early Spanish explorers and Mexican ranchers and their vaqueros who followed, called them “Los Vigilantes Oscuros.” The Dark Watchers, as they came to be known, are migratory beings, possessed of incredible hearing and impeccable eyesight. Like crows they can sense the presence of gun oil and the smell of plastics and weatherproof coatings, therefore they are immune to high-tech detection and only reveal themselves to trekkers simply equipped with sticks and hats. Who or what the Watchers are, no one knows. Where they came from and where they go is a mystery. They leave without a footprint.

Discover their meaning in an exquisite new book that is part adventure, part history, part legend, filled with illuminating sketches and lavish oil paintings that are flush with mystery, shadow, and light. In the process you may learn more than you ever expected about the legendary Dark Watchers as well as the origins of landscape painting itself.

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