Behind the Canvas: Yosemite in Blues (12/2023)

Behind the Canvas: Yosemite in Blues (12/2023)

Yosemite is where dreams are born, followed, and achieved. Where walls are scaled without fear, miles are hiked to stand atop summits, and where all that matters is the present moment. 

As a rock climber, I’ve long looked to the legacies established within the park- particularly Lynn Hill’s first free ascent of the Nose on El Capitan, which paved the way for women in the male dominated sport. History is held within the towering granite walls, from the beginnings of formation through erosion and glaciation, to the humans whose names and achievements are intertwined with Yosemite. 

In “Yosemite in Blues” I intend to capture these stories, the energy within the park, and the relationship we as humans cultivate with nature. The process of this piece began years ago when I first stepped foot into the park and was immediately humbled with the sheer beauty and dramatic geologic formations surrounding me. In December of 2023, I revisited these moments; slowly climbing up Pohono Trail with El Cap and Half Dome in view as pines rustled around me, powering through cruxes on sand bagged granite boulders near camp 4, the fading light casting orange and purple hues onto the cliff faces below, watching little dots of big wall climbers make their way up El Capitan as I hoped to do the same one day. 

In acrylic on canvas, I began this piece with a deep blue background, then building up layers of shape, color, and lines, methodically painting each detail as the piece of a larger puzzle. Spiraling line work is used to display movement and depth, with color palette choices intending to communicate the dreamlike view of Yosemite under moonlight. 

I revisited my own dreams, moments, steps over miles in Yosemite -all that felt so big to me- and how the 3.5 million people that walk through the park every year, just the same as I, had their own. “Yosemite in Blues” came from my own singular experience, though I can only hope it contributes to a collective, as an ode to the dreams that are born, followed, and achieved, to the glaciers and granite that shaped the range, the people who dare to be challenged here, to the those who observe, and to the landscape that cultivates it all.  

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