El Capitan Yosemite Valley – California Plein Air Oil Painting – Sierra Landscape

El Capitan
Plein air oil painting
9 x 12 inches


See more of my Yosemite paintings here

This was painted en plein air Friday, July 17 in Yosemite Valley.
If you’re interested in this painting, please write

Well, I’m back from our whirlwind tour of Northern California. I didn’t have the time or energy to upload paintings every day, but now that I’m back I’m going to try to catch up. This was painted on the last day of our trip, late in the afternoon. If you are a new visitor to my blog, one of the people who saw me painting this in progress, welcome! Now you know how it turned out.

Yosemite Valley was spectacular, as always, but it was very hot, as it currently is in Los Angeles. But just looking at the cool water of the Merced River seemed to help. Those distant thunderheads, which rose as I painted, tell you how much moisture and humidity there was in the air.

As always, people gathered around to watch me tackle the scene. They are always very polite and ask if they can watch. I let them know that if I wanted to be alone, I’d be in my studio! I truly enjoy having observers, as long as they are ok with me continuing to work as we chat. My husband took the picture below as I wrapped up. You can see by the painting compared to the final photo how much the light changed during the time I was painting. But it’s a no-win game to keep chasing shadows. You just have to draw them in at the beginning and then stick with the plan.


  1. Susan
    July 20, 2009

    The morning light. So much richer than at pack-up time. Absolutely, majestically beautiful Karen.

  2. Timaree
    July 21, 2009

    That’s a good picture of you with your painting and it helps us see just what you were seeing as you painted. Very nice and impressive painting.

  3. Ann
    July 22, 2009

    The light in this is lovely. You really captured the majesty of this scene.

  4. Lynn
    July 23, 2009

    That is exquisite, Karen. I really like the soft, dreamy reflections in the water.

  5. nancy tasker
    July 24, 2009

    It’s lovely – and it’s great to see the painting along with the subject. Well done! nancy

  6. Linda T
    July 29, 2009

    Wow, very nice! I love the shadows in the mountain and the reflection of the trees in the water. Excellent, as always.

  7. wendy
    August 4, 2009

    What inspiring landscapes you find for your paintings. You must live in a gorgeous part of the country. Excellent!

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