Donna Moser and Rick Steres tackle an amazing view in the Sierra Nevada.

Painter Jean LeGassick’s recent workshop required a significant level of fitness for its participants. Are you up for it?


Leigh Sparks settles in for a painting session.

She and 14 other artists arrived at a lodge at an elevation of 9,400 feet in the Sierra Nevada in California, and painted a day there to become acclimated to the lower oxygen level. Then each participant packed all the gear and supplies they needed for the entire day, put it on their backs, and hiked up another 1,100 feet to paint Little Lakes Valley, an area in the John Muir Wilderness with great views of the Sierra Crest.


The intrepid artists painting en plein air at a high elevation, from left to right: Rob Impellizzeri, Rick Gallego, Jean LeGassick (with hiking poles), Dorene White, Jane Hurd, Kerri Hedden, Lynn Mehta, and Bob Rowley


Participants in Jean LeGassick’s workshop found views at every turn.

The painters were so enthusiastic, LeGassick plans to return next year and stay in the rugged country of Little Lakes Valley, packing tents and other overnight gear on mules for the tough upward hike.


The crew hold up their work.


LeGassick painted a demonstration on one of the workshop days. Photo: William Hull

“Each evening everyone ate dinner together in the lodge’s dining hall and shared the day’s experiences and anecdotes with each other, which fostered good camaraderie among the group,” reports LeGassick. “Although a distant fire caused smoke to drift through the area occasionally, it was otherwise perfect weather for a visit to the high country. The area is spectacularly beautiful, and very inspiring; wonderful paintings were produced by the hard-working painters. All agreed it was a great experience!”


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