Obata, Chiura (1885 - 1975), "San Francisco From The Berkeley Hills"
|Title||San Francisco From The Berkeley Hills|
|Medium||Original Watercolor on Silk|
|Series Title||Berkeley and Surrounding Areas|
|Size||15 -1/2 x 20 -1/2 "|
Notes: Signed in black ink with artist red seal; lower right.
A scenic view of San Francisco, includes Treasure Island (Yerba Buena Island) and both the Golden Gate and Bay Bridge. The Shipping docks are also captured in the lower portion of painting, with towering eucalyptus trees dominating the right portion of the work.
As noted in the book, Obata's Yosemite: 'The color of water he used might be called "Obata blue," so frequently does it appear in his paintings. Obata looked to the Tosa School, whose artists he considered the finest colorists of Japan, for selecting and dissolving pigments. Following formulas some of which were more than a thousand years old, Obata ground his own paints from a variety of materials, including precious and semiprecious stones, flower petals, and oyster shells. For his blues, Obata ground lapis lazuli; for greens, he ground malachite, turquoise, or peacock stone. He is reputed to have used ruby dust for special reds - at a cost of seven hundred dollars for a tiny vial.
In one respect Obata never wavered; he insisted until his death on employing the best materials Japan had to offer. His sumi was of a type made in the mountains of Japan from a secret slow-burning carbonization of pine; his brushes were constructed by hand with animal furs such as rabbit, fox, sheep, badger, and bear. Even Obata's water came from the purest sources he could find, preferably mountain lakes and streams. In the 1930's he made pilgrimages to Fern Spring in Yosemite Valley to collect its crystalline water, which he used to mix with his sumi.'