Artist Moira Donohoe

An example of fine art by Moira Donohoe

Photo of Moira Donohoe

The Artist Says:

I was born in Yosemite National Park, on a bright day in May, to a loving and creative family. Are there any accidents? In all the realm of possibility, of places to be born, a family to be born into, a life view, and in all the realm of choices, this remains.  An earlier generation of my family, Irish Emigrants, came to that beautiful Valley in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains, and made a life there. With them came a love of the land, of the mystical, of poetry, song and legend. They followed a dream of a new and abundant life for themselves and their children. My Great-Grandparents, John and Bridget Degnan, established a bakery, dairy, and eventually a café and grocery store in Yosemite Valley in the early 1880’s. She baked bread and made cheese, helping sustain the family’s’ finances, and hungry travelers who came overland by wagon or mule to the then isolated but world famous Valley. He built trails and buildings, planted apple trees and lilac, which are still used and enjoyed today. It was a strong foundation for the children that came, and grew up amidst the wild and rugged mountains there, including myself and my siblings. Against this vivid background, I painted my child paintings in the granite blues and river greens. They were encouraged and admired, and set me on a course that I follow today, wherever it leads…a life in painting, a landscape of discovery.
I paint for the joy of finding colors on the canvas I didn't really put there. They somehow merge and blend and become something I had been thinking about, or dreaming about.  It is a mystery how globs of paint, thick and sumptuous globs of paint, become a metaphor for essential things, deeper things. It’s like looking at the surface of water. At first maybe you see a bit of reflections, ripples, things floating on the surface….pretty soon you are mesmerized by all the layers of stuff…last years’ leaves, a bit of mud, a water skeeter….infinite. It isn't something that is seen at first glance.
Painting to me is as natural as breathing. It is sensuous, nourishing, and wonderful. Sometimes an inkling of knowing something comes in a flash, like a thunderbolt, brief and electric. More often it is an exploration. Whichever, I am driven to paint it. I am interested in the poetic. Anything in this physical world has connections to a world of spirit I believe. A forest in early morning mist can become a meditation, a prayer. The physical effort in painting is like stepping on stones across a river to the other side. Some paintings become markers, or reminders of who we are. That is what I aspire mine to be. Not a pretty scene, but a transcendent experience.


A Heritage of Western Landscapes: Moira Donohoe
By Chelsea Koressel
A love for the outdoors and more specifically, Yosemite National Park, has been the greatest inspiration for landscape painter, Moira Donohoe. Her early years growing up in Yosemite in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains, instilled an appreciation and a desire to paint the majestic scenery that surrounded her. The artist has developed a technique involving thick layers of paint and vibrant color, inviting us all in for a wilderness adventure.
Donohoe’s family has a long and rich history in Yosemite. They first arrived in the area from Ireland in the gold rush era, to Coulterville, about 35 miles from Yosemite Valley. John Degnan, her Great Grandfather, was new to the country when he walked to Yosemite Valley from Coulterville, and was so taken by the place, he soon brought his family to settle in Yosemite Valley in the early 1880’s.
They established a home, dairy, and bakery, which later expanded to include a restaurant, deli, gift shop, and grocery store. John helped build many of the trails and structures in the Valley, while Bridget (Great Grandmother) refreshed weary travelers with her delicious homemade bread, milk, and cheese. The family was friendly with Ansel Adams among many other pioneer painters, photographers, and other historic figures that drew inspiration from the area.
Moira was in love with painting, and it was actively supported by her large and loving Irish family. The children, eventually numbering seven, were outdoors all summer long; from dawn until dusk every day. Drawing and painting the world of nature came naturally, and they happily did this often. Mary Ellen (Great Aunt) even collected some of their paintings and hung them in the gift shop of the family business for sale. Other favorite pastimes were hide and seek in the meadow, climbing [...]

Read the rest of this bio on the artist's website >>

Content Copyright - Moira Donohoe Fine Art