Obata’s Yosemite

I left the Wawona Hotel before light, my destination was Glacier Point and I hoped to have the place to myself (if that is ever possible in this very popular National Park).

The view from Glacier Point is probably the best view in Yosemite, if not the entire National Park System. Right in front of you, Half Dome rises up and leaning over the rail, you look down into this famous glacier-sculpted valley.


It was a beautifuly crisp fall morning above the valley and as I sketched Half Dome, I had the point to myself for a whole six minutes! An eternity in Yosemite, these where geological minutes.


I’ve got the place to myself, well at least for another two minutes!

I chose to use a loose, brush technique, inspired by the paintings and woodcut prints of Chiura Obata (1885-1975). Obata’s images of Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada Mountains, are as iconic to me as a Bierstadt or Hill painting or an Ansel Adams photograph. I love this Japanese ascetic that he brings to a very familiar subject.

Obata immigrated from Japan to the United States in 1903. Obama became a well know teacher and artist in the Bay Area and every since visiting Yosemite for the first time in 1927, this National Park has become a major subject matter in his artist output.

Obata Half Dome

I tried to resist the urge to head to the valley floor which is usually crowded with people, even in October. One of the other most iconic views of Yosemite Valley is the one you get at Tunnel View. While all the tourists took selfies and photos, I sat on a stone wall and sketched this famous view, trying to summon my inner Obata.

Obata Tunnel View

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