Artist: Moira Donohoe

Artist Moira Donohoe presents her portfolio filled with plein air landscapes. She speaks about inspiration and her background.


"El Capitan Oblique" pastel on paper,18" x 24" by Moira Donohoe. See her artist profile at

“El Capitan Oblique” pastel on paper,18″ x 24″


ABI:  What drew you to paint the Western landscape?

MD:  I have been immersed in the Western landscape since my mother brought my siblings and me to play on the riverbank of the Merced in Yosemite Valley. The river was just a stone’s throw from our home near the chapel in the Valley, and beside it, we grew out of childhood to young adulthood. Sometimes, like the river, we overran our banks. Young and unruly, with an unfettered love of our surroundings prompted excursions farther and farther afield, but the river and our home were always at the center.


"Early October, Yosemite Valley" plein air oil on canvas, 18" x 18" by Moira Donohoe. See her artist profile at

“Early October, Yosemite Valley” plein air oil on canvas, 18″ x 18″


ABI:  How are you inspired to use color in your paintings, and what do you achieve by this?

MD:  There is an underlying thread to my paintings, and it is related to emotion. It reveals itself through color and energy. The color is the feeling and the energy is the brush or knife strokes.

Sometimes color is very saturated, and strokes are thick and buttery. Often I am influenced by being out in the elements, the breeze, the sun, the cold, the warmth. The place itself may dictate the mood. When I am in a place with which I am intimate, what flows from brush to canvas is an inner visual recording.


"Yosemite Valley Elm" oil, 12" x 12" by Moira Donohoe. See her artist profile at

“Yosemite Valley Elm” oil, 12″ x 12″


This tree has inspired me over the years through the seasons. It stands alone in the meadow, contrasted against dark conifers. In summer, it invites a respite from the heat, and deer love to rest in its shade.


"Estuary, Mendocino" plein air oil on canvas 18" x 18" by Moira Donohoe. See her artist profile at

“Estuary, Mendocino” plein air oil on canvas 18″ x 18″


Color is a language, as are texture, mood, and movement. All are present in the painting “Estuary, Mendocino”. The northern California coast is beautiful. Spending a week with friends painting outdoors with no distractions is centering and relaxing.


"Steps Above the Sea" plein air oil on canvas 18" x 18" by Moira Donohoe. See her artist profile at

“Steps Above the Sea” plein air oil on canvas 18″ x 18″


Making connections is one of the greatest things about being an artist. I have wonderful friends through the love of art and the outdoors. Former students, Yosemite lovers, seekers and more become interested in my art through shared values and passions.


"Cloud’s Rest from North Dome" oil on gallery-wrapped canvas, 40" x 30" by Moira Donohoe. See her artist profile at

“Cloud’s Rest from North Dome” oil on gallery-wrapped canvas, 40″ x 30″


ABI:  What response do you get from collectors?

MD:  I know I am not alone in loving Yosemite and the High Country. Hiking, climbing, reflecting and painting bring me closer to the source, and if what I do resonates with kindred spirits, it’s all the more powerful and affirming. Yosemite Valley is a world hub for rock climbing. Many a climber was fueled with doughnut holes and chocolate milk I sold them from Degnan’s, my family’s business. That struck a chord with a certain climber from Texas, who now owns Cloud’s Rest from North Dome.



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