On Day 6 of my Yosemite Renaissance artist residency in Yosemite, I’m joined by artists Vicki Thomas and Terry Robinson. Photographer/artist, Kerby Smith, has decided to stay over another night, so he’ll be with us on the last two days of the residency. Kerby’s wife and my artist friend of 25 years, Lura Schwarz Smith, will be joining us tonight and painting with us tomorrow. I actually met Lura (and Kerby for that matter) through my wife, potter/fabric artist, Betty Tikker Davis. Lura and Betty have been part of a small quilting group that have been getting together, once a week, at our house for 25 years. Anyway, this promised to be the largest group visiting me all week.
We’re traveling to Yosemite Valley to finally paint that elusive perfect view of El Capitan. Kerby had a scheduled photo shoot at Glacier Point, in the morning and will join us when he’s done. Terry was running late, so he plans to meet us at the painting location.
On arrival, the Valley is packed. Traffic is backed up near Bridal Veil Falls and visitors are double parking at the areas designated for cars, along the roadways, waiting for a slot to open up. We’re painting at a little known location, so chances are we’ll have a place to park. Trying to find the spot on my own, I realize I didn’t landmark it well enough and circle around twice, without success. I call both Kerby and Terry, who both know the location well, from my cell for guidance. We catch Terry as he’s entering the Valley and he guides us in.
As hoped, crowded as the Valley is today, parking alongside the road is wide open at our location. We’re good to go.
We want to avoid blocking the trail, which limits the perfect point of view to a small patch of semi-flat ground in which to set up, so we’re going to be a tightly packed group today. The setting offers us something from all the major food groups: a Yosemite monument, a rushing river and a blooming dogwood in the foreground (there was also a fallen redwood framing the scene in the foreground, but none of us included it). We paint until about 5pm.
The best of settings, great weather, good friends, an ideal plein air painting day!