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3948 Valley Vista Dr
Camino, CA, 95709
United States

Plein air landscape artist David Yapp paints scenes of California in oils. Subjects are as diverse as the California landscape itself and include the Sierra Nevada mountains, the oak covered hills and scenic coastline. David uses palette knife and brushes in a style that is reminiscent of impressionism.

David Yapp Blog

David Yapp's blog of plein air painting in oils of the California landscape.

Filtering by Tag: canvas

Painting Pinnacles

David Yapp

Painting the peak—working with a palette knife.

Pinnacles National Park is a group of rock spires and crags that rise out of the Gabilan Mountains in central California. Tectonic plate movements and the subsequent erosion of of the rocks caused these monolithic forms.

I camped on the eastern side of the park and on the Friday morning with backpack, canvas and painting paraphernalia, I hiked the gradual ascent up the Condor Gulch trail. About a mile along the trail I found this view of Hawkins Peak framed by some raggedy pines.

On the first day of painting the weather was slightly overcast, which lent a brooding atmosphere to the scene. On the second day, in which I resolved the painting, the sky was a more typical Californian clear blue sky. Fortunately I had pretty much laid down the sense of light I was after on the first day, so the second day was more about refining the details. Below you can see the stages as I worked on the painting.

I met some interesting folks on the trail, including some mountain climbers, a park volunteer and a photographer. But the grand finale to the painting trip at the end of the second day was the sight and sound of the california condors as they flew over the gulch which is so aptly named in their honor.

The painting in process

 
Blocking in the composition.
 
Adding the color masses.

Refining the forms.

The final painting—Hawkins Peak from Condor Gulch.

Painting Hope in the New Year

David Yapp

 
The view across Hope Valley to Stevens Peak.


The summer that I had visited Hope Valley I was taken by the wide alpine meadow, cradled among the mountains and bisected by its boulder strewn creek—it had a very pastoral feel. Here I was again, now in the New Year experiencing a very different valley. 

The sky was a crisp blue, with the sunlight bouncing off a carpet of snow. As I dropped down into the valley I was taken by the view of the mountains to the south and how they were veiled by a screen of trees in the foreground. A tracery of bare metallic aspens with a  strong vertical emphasis and the wave like forms of the pine branches complemented the blue shadowy mass of the mountain in the distance.

Early stages.

 
Mid-way along.


The final painting.


Snow, Ice and Sunlight—Painting the American River

David Yapp

The interplay of sunlight and ice on the American River

The Saturday after New Year's Day I headed east on Highway 50 and pulled over 6 miles west of Kyburz to paint the South Fork of the American River. A layer of frost covered the ground, much of the river was frozen, and overlaid on the ice was the remains of the first of the season's snowfall. The early afternoon sun caused the bank on the north side of the river and its trees to glow with light, bringing into sharp contrast the cool ice-bound river and the deep shadows of the cliffs above it on the river's southern side.

I scrambled down the bank, found a secluded spot overlooking the river and set myself up to paint.

I worked swiftly with a palette knife, gradually building up thick swathes of paint. The blade enables me to apply paint quickly and to manipulate it on the canvas to create form and movement.

The light that had so inspired me began to shift and the illuminated branches soon became enveloped in the encroaching late afternoon shadows.

I wrapped up around dusk, pretty pleased with my afternoon's work. Then off I drove up the mountain to Strawberry, for dinner at the lodge that was once a stop on the Pony Express. 

At work on the river bank.

A snapshot of the final painting.