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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.

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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.