Obata Weekend

It was a bit of a false start in the morning in terms of connecting with our instructor, but once that minor detail was sorted, we were off to the races. Sarah Sugarman is a Tuolumne Interp ranger in the summer and works for NatureBridge during the winter, and has been living full-time in Yosemite for about six years. She gave us a nice intro to some of the interesting tidbits of Obata’s life and art, and shared some of her favorite images with us. I liked that she was able to bring that connection with Obata to the front and center.

A few items from her talk stood out to me.

  1. Learning to spend some time before painting consciously determining what it was about the environment that captured my attention.
  2. Painting with your mind before painting with a brush and then trying to capture the scene in the fewest number of strokes possible.
  3. This wonderful Japanese paint set that a woman named Joy brought with her. They were more opaque than standard watercolor – something between watercolor and gouache and I loved the palette filled with beautifully creamy desaturated colors. She let us experiment, and I was immediately in love with the muted greens especially.

In this sketch, I liked how the bridge supports came out, and the white space in the water. The bottom of the waterfalls was a bit of a bust – I’m not sure you can even tell what it is, but I like my pointing blue person. The bright colors do a good job of drawing the eye to the figures which was what I wanted to focus on. I need to do more of this!