During a gorgeous summer, four of us artists were fortunate to paint in “nature’s cathedral” speak Yosemite Valley. On a warm summer afternoon we picked out a perfect spot across from the wedding chapel.
As we approached our location, we noticed a small group of children pointing at … a brown bear!!! They were just a few feet away from the tagged bear, who was casually nashing on vegetation. One of the kids innocently asked “is it a pet?,” refering to the wild animal’s collar…our hearts must have skipped a beat, until thankfully “Ranger Rick” stepped in to usher the kids to safe distance. The bear ran off, with camera toting tourists following.
And then we peacefully painted in ths sacred place. I still vividly remember the golden glow of the meadow and the purple majesty of (I believe..?) Cathedral Rocks. Can’t wait to return to this place of bliss!
Morning at Olmstead Point
During that same trip, we got up early, and headed to Olmstead Point. Crisp morning air, beautiful distant shadows, and the quiet before the (tourist) storm was precious indeed. The early morning sun softened these impressive rock formations with rosy pastel hues.
Alas, the peace was not to last ~ we were painting in one of the worlds most famous spots afterall! People from all over the world soon swarmed the parking lot. While some painters can’t stand the crowds ~ and I have my moments, too ~ most of the time I enjoy being surrounded by folks who are in awe of nature. And I love hearing languages from all over the globe. It gives me hope, that in the face of great beauty, we can come together and “worship” in nature’s cathedral. Our differences are not so vast afterall, in the end, what we share is greater than what divides us.
Along those philosophical lines, while I was entranced in painting the breathtaking scene, an tourbus filled with Aussies pulled up in front of me. Going in and out of my painter’s trance, I noticed a lot of commotion and Aussie accents right next to me. I am quite fond of that charming accent and the friendly Australians. My husband and I took a trip there a few years ago and just LOVED it. Well, finally I realized what was going on: they were arranging to take a group picture right next to me, capturing themselves, the painter and the scene all in one fell swoop!
The Magic of Tuolomne
This whole Yosemite adventure actually started in the pristine high country of Tuolomne Meadows. At about 8000 ft, this beautiful sub-alpine land supports a high variety of late spring and early summer wildflowers. During late summer and fall, the vegetation displays gorgeous saturated hues.
Towards Soda Springs, the colors of the Tuolomne River, reflecting the azur skies and rich greens, range from deep purples to warm gold tones. Breathtaking! I moved my brush as fst as I could to capture the high mountain brillance, the kaleidoscope of the water and the soft lavender hues of Lambert Dome in the morning light.
Once back home, I translated my small plein air sketch into the more refined studio painting above.