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Monday, December 14, 2015

Day 61: Mirror Lake & Taft Point (8/4/15)

A few notes about this day. I read more from Yosemite: Art of an American Icon and learned that the valley's native inhabitants were pictorially portrayed as "exotic decorations," which established this dynamic between visitors and Native people (Bierstadt took part in this by frequently showing native camps in the foreground of his paintings). I think it's a tricky subject...were they being exploited in his paintings? Were their depictions educational? Were the renderings accurate or did they perpetuate stereotypes for people back east? What is the best way to represent native peoples in paintings of landscapes they inhabited long before the "white man" came? Perhaps it was an homage to the native Miwoks for their work maintaining the health and diversity of the valley's ecosystems. I'm not sure if Bierstadt was aware of their role in the landscape or how much he interacted with them during his visits (I'm sure more reading will tell me). What was John Muir's relationship with the Miwocks? 

"In the Yosemite envisioned by painters and photographers, the region's native population is cast aside, relegated most often to the corners of pictures as decorations in an otherwise 'untouched' wilderness; in this Yosemite, Indians inhabit the valley without affecting it, and they exist primarily for the viewing pleasure of whites."

I've looked into several artist residencies that have an emphasis on environmental stewardship, performing a labor of love to preserve and maintain a landscape. Our park rangers and volunteers do this every day for our parks...anyway, maybe that's a good way to better understand the landscape as native people did, to labor for it. I am again reminded of a take away from the National Parks documentary...people called this land home long before the national park was a national park.

Painting today, I met Joe and Natalie from Sydney, Australia. They were so nice and told me Dan and I should visit Australia, not New Zealand for our honeymoon. Photographer Jim and I talked shop about Hudson River School painters. Early photographers didn't have the technology to capture detail in the sky, so paintings still helped (and still do) tell the whole story of a landscape. He was doing some last minute training for the JMT. An Italian family walked by and the mom told the little boy that I was painting for my profession, and the boy looked at me and said "professionale!" Super compliment! Another man walked by and said "It is going to be classic." One couple tipped me $10. All in all, a pretty hopping place to paint today.

The Taft Point photos are worth thousands of words...the edge of the earth, stunning view of the valley, so many visual layers to the landscape. And even more quality time with mom and dad. 

Ready to go!

I was worried the lake would be dried up - but still enough water for mirror-like reflections.

Basket Dome.

A friendly visitor.

One of my favorite pictures from the trip. Yosemite is an epic place to paint.

Happy my Paparazzi Parents are here to get some action shots!

Tricky to find a good spot to paint where I could see both mountain and reflection.
Taft Point.

On the hike to Taft Point.
The edge of the world...
What a view!
Hi, mom!
Wishing I had time to paint here.
Yosemite valley.
Boot selfie. Bootfie? 
Such rugged rock.
Had time for a quick sketch.
Spent more time just observing and absorbing the scene than sketching.
That little speck is me with my arms thrown in the air at the magnificence of it all!

1 comment:

  1. Spectacular! My caption for the one photo which asks for a caption: Wow! Such splendor!
    A joy to paparazzi you!
    Love, mom