The “artistic interpretation” of Yosemite, a place steeped in visual mythology and hewing tradition, is not to be taken or enacted lightly. As a summation of this long standing relationship between park and art, local painter Penny Otwell has said: “Drawing and painting in Yosemite all these years has taught me to see well!” Pages upon pages of graphite, ink and gouache laced paper that turn into canvases caked with oils and acrylics have directly participated in the invention, reinvention and even rejuvenation the ideal of the National Parks. And helping to advance this historical path is Ms. Otwell – who has been painting Yosemite since 1964. Otwell says, “The rhythm found in a “cooled granite flow” is what I’m after in my paintings. Nature’s rhythmic design offers the most interesting shapes for a painter, along with unusual negative space, color, angles, and most important, the very fine light found at higher elevations.”
The exhibition “Mountain Rhythm,” featuring new work by Penny Otwell, is on display at The Ansel Adams Gallery through November 2nd. This show includes en plein air and studio paintings that began as a field sketches which outlined the structure of geologic forms at work in Yosemite National Park. We hope you have an opportunity to visit The Gallery in Yosemite Village to see Penny’s work in person. See Penny Otwell’s current artwork.
Penny Otwell Artist’s Statement
The rhythm and design in the natural world motivates me to paint Yosemite’s granite forms left in the path of ancient glaciers. Since 1964 I have been drawing Yosemite and over 50 years of experience in this remarkable place has had a profound emphasis on my work today.
I am a self-taught painter inspired by Yosemite, but the real joy comes from painting it. I feel a deep connection to this place and a specific curiosity about the landscape. Hiking the trails over the years has given me confidence being outdoors. I “show up” most days to paint. Works are started with drawing or painting “en plein air” either on a linen support or in a field sketchbook. Some paintings are painted entirely outdoors from start to finish.
Being a painter is like being a scientist: the facts are in front of you, the arrangements are endless, conditions, premises, and conclusions all determine each painting. The “what if?” is constantly pulling at my sleeve! Conducting these experiments culminates in a collaboration of materials for a painting style uniquely my own.
What starts outdoors slowly changes into a carefully edited composition with many paint layers. I push back and forth, adding and subtracting with some reality, some abstraction, design, line, rhythm, value, and color. I love my job!
It was the Deep Water Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that inspired two friends to create IMA’s newest show. Curator Jeanne Falk-Adams and Barbara Cox, artist agent, created Fragile Waters at IMA April 23 – Sept. 5.
“We need water, clean water. It isn’t possible to live without it,” said Falk-Adams.
The idea behind Fragile Waters, Falk-Adams said, was to connect people through the arts, portraying the beauty of water, from rivers and wetlands to the oceans, letting them draw their own conclusions. To accomplish this, the show combines the work of her father in-law, Ansel Adams, Ernest Brooks II and Dorothy Kerper Monnelly, interspersed with quotes to give people what Falk-Adams describes as breathing room, to process the information.
Presented by Jeanne Adams – January 7, 2016 @ 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM.
The Mariners’ Museum’s Liquid Light exhibition is a pioneering look at the world beneath the ocean. It would not have been possible without the efforts of world-renowned photography expert Jeanne Adams. Adams, the daughter-in-law of noted photographer Ansel Adams, is a strong advocate for the power of the photograph in telling nature’s stories. Her relationships with underwater photographers are helping to bring this beautiful, emerging art form into the global spotlight. Get an insider’s perspective of the making of Liquid Light from Adams in this presentation. Cost: $5 for Non-Members. Free for Members.
Beginning in 1958 The Ansel Adams Gallery began selling Special Edition Prints. In the early years, Ansel signed each photograph after they were printed by his assistant. These full signature versions ended in 1972, but we currently have a few available for purchase from this era on our website. These would make a truly extraordinary holiday present for a collector of Ansel Adams photography.
On his first trip to Canyon de Chelly in September 1937, Ansel was drawn to the “beautiful, flowing patterns” of the solidified sand dunes clearly visible in the lower left corner of this photograph. He wrote to his wife, Virginia, “The Canyon de Chelly exceeds anything I have imagined at any time!” Available as a Modern Replica
Modern Replicas are very high quality reproductions of Ansel Adams images, available in multiple sizes, made using the most advanced digital technologies today. Each one is individually produced and inspected, assembled with the best materials, and designed to provide the most elegant presentation possible. Available exclusively from The Ansel Adams Gallery.
The technology begins with imaging, but the entire process begins with image selection. The Modern Replicas are reproductions made from original photographs hand printed by Ansel Adams, rather than from the negatives. This allows us to accurately capture Ansel’s intent when he made the photograph, including all of the choices he made in the darkroom – paper selection, burning, dodging, and toning – to achieve his “visualization”. We have chosen prints from the collections of the Ansel Adams family and the Ansel Adams Archive at the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona. The exact print is selected based on the tonal values and clarity.
The imaging technology we are using is not generally available. It is currently in use by only three entities in the US: ourselves, the Getty Museum, and the Smithsonian Institution. Every element of the image capture is carefully controlled and characterized – the image capture device, color temperature of the lighting, how light falls on the print, and colorimetric readings of the print itself. These elements are then processed with the raw image file using a specialized software program to produce the most accurate baseline image file possible. There is some modest ‘cleaning’ done after the scan is made, but this process provides a nearly 100% color accurate file across 100% of the image area.
The image capture is done in full color, because all gelatin silver prints will have subtle hues of cyan, magenta, and yellow that the eye renders as gray or black. It is only recently that the technology has advanced to the point that these hues can be replicated on paper without creating noticeable (and disagreeable) color shifts. Prior to these advances, gray scale reproductions could look good, but simply did not have the right tonal qualities to be acceptable for Ansel’s work. The printers are constantly self calibrating, and use 12 different inks, including 4 shades of gray. They offer a consistency from Modern Replica to Modern Replica that is unmatched.
Even in, or perhaps especially in, a mechanical process, quality control is critical. Sometimes the technology provides a level of QC that is acceptable, such as printers constantly self calibrating. Regardless, we eye-match every single print to a master and take colorimetric readings on a regular basis to validate the tonal qualities of the Modern Replica. Each one is inspected for other aberrations – scratches, paper dust, paper flaws, or general hiccups. Our standards are very high, and we will not offer anything less than superb.
The “archival-ness” of a medium has become a very important in the world of photography and digital imaging and printing. Many types of color photographs have had a tendency to deteriorate quickly, and early digital printing technologies could only expect to last 5 to 8 years without noticeable deterioration. Recent advances have lengthened the “archival stability” – measured by the length of time that a medium would be expected to retain its tonal characteristics – of certain printing media to over 100 years. The paper and ink used in the Modern Replica have been estimated to last over 180 years.
Display and Design
The design of the Modern Replica starts with the choice of paper. This is a heavy paper that mimics the look and feel of gelatin silver paper. We found in testing that it provided the richest feel and carried the image the best.
This month, in time for the holidays, we have reached into our archives for the first time to present two images by Don Worth (1924-2009): “Succulent, Mill Valley,” and “Shrubs and Snow, Yosemite Valley.” Traditionally, Mr. Worth’s respective prices ranged between $4,000 and $6,000, but you can now add one to your private collection for 25% off of our original retail price.
Ansel Adams made this image on a chilly late autumn morning in 1939 with an 8″ x 10″ view camera and 10-inch Kodak Wide-Field Ektar lens. The Cathedral Rocks loom in the background. He took the photo from west side of the El Capitan bridge over the Merced River in Western Yosemite Valley.
Over time, Adams printed the negative of ”Merced River, Cliffs, Autumn” in different ways, initially printing it very brightly and later using more dramatic tones as in the Yosemite Special Edition version. In Examples: The Making of 40 Photographs , Adams writes that he had “not yet made a print that fully satisfies” and goes on to consider how he would have visualized the image in color:
“I can imagine a very quiet and luminous effect of subdued hues; the elements here that made a black-and-white image difficult would be most favorable to color photography. The low contrast of the subject would be compatible with color processes. … Few subjects lend themselves to both black-and-white and color image concepts.”
Though Ansel Adams claimed to dislike color photography, he did produce an accomplished body of work in color and even tested color films for Eastman Kodak. A selection of his color photographs appear in the posthumously published Ansel Adams: In Color. (Ansel had a love-hate relationship with color photography, primarily because he could not control it)
Merced River, Cliffs, Autumn appeared with the title “Merced River, Cliffs of Cathedral Rocks, Autumn” in “Portfolio III, Yosemite Valley” published by the Sierra Club in 1960. It was included in the 2001-2003 traveling museum exhibition Ansel Adams at 100 and companion book. The photograph also appears in Ansel Adams Monograph (out of print), entitled Autumn, Yosemite National Park, Yosemite, Yosemite and the High Sierra, Yosemite and the Range of Light (out of print), Examples: The Making of 40 Photographs, Our National Parks, and Classic Images, the book based on the Museum Set Collection, a retrospective portfolio of what Adams considered his strongest work.
In the 1970s, photographer Mike Mandel asked his famous colleagues to pose for a pack of baseball cards. The results are as amazing as you’d imagine.
orget that 1989 Ken Griffey Jr. Upper Deck card or your 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle, the real baseball card prize is the Ansel Adams rookie. How many of you can say you have that in your parents’ attic?
The Adams card is one of 135 cards in the “Baseball Photographer Trading Cards” set, a whimsical and unique collectible that’s equal parts art and spoof.
An exhibition of work by Ansel Adams, an American photographer known for his luminous and detailed black-and-white nature photographs, will open at Reynolda House Museum of American Art on March 11, 2016 and hang through July 17.
THE ANSEL ADAMS GALLERY
YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, CA 95389