At age seven, Chiura Obata (American, b. Japan, 1885–1975) began studying art. For two years he practiced drawing a circle and two straight lines. For seven years he was allowed to work with only black ink on white paper, expressing tone and texture through the flow of pigment in his brushes. At age fifteen he moved to Tokyo and expanded his studies, and in 1903 he came to the United States.
Obata never abandoned the tools and teachings of his native Japan. He worked with ink and watercolor and made block prints, and he wrote spare, image-filled poetry, combining the ideals of his homeland with the energy of his adopted West, particularly the mountains of California.
In the summer of 1927, he traveled to the High Sierra of Yosemite where he made sketches and watercolors of the “Great Nature” he found there. This respect for nature is the spiritual foundation of his work. Obata followed the Zen Buddhist principle of kiin-seido, or “living moment,” in the immediate, intuitive expression of his subjects’ essential nature.
Contains 5 each of the following images:
Evening Glow at Yosemite Waterfall, Yosemite National Park, California, 1930
Upper Lyell Fork, Near Lyell Glacier, High Sierra, California, 1930
El Capitan: Yosemite National Park, California, 1930
Eagle Peak Trail, Yosemite, California, 1930