Lompoc artist Nancy Yaki took first place in The Wildling Museum of Art and Nature’s third juried exhibition — California National Parks: Stories of Water — showcasing all nine of the state’s national parks — Lassen, Joshua, Redwoods, Pinnacles, Channel Islands, Yosemite, Kings Canyon, Sequoia, and Death Valley.

Artist Nancy Yaki poses next to her winning entry 'Holding Stratus Pose, Tenaya Lake,' showing waves of white clouds mirrored on the water.
Artist Nancy Yaki poses next to her winning entry ‘Holding Stratus Pose, Tenaya Lake.’ Credit: George Rose/The Wildling Museum

The exhibit features 37 artists and 39 selected artworks that were juried from a pool of more than 240 submissions by artists across the U.S., competing for $4,000 in awards.

Yaki, who won for her work “Holding Stratus Pose, Tenaya Lake,” said she was surprised and pleased, particularly since the painting represents a personal connection with water as a symbol of adaptability and enduring balance in embracing change.

“Amid the challenging times during my chemo treatments, my soul craved the soothing presence of water — driven by longing.

“I drove to Yosemite, where I discovered Tenaya Lake,” Yaki said. “There, amidst the beauty of nature’s canvas, I embarked on an afternoon paddle-boarding excursion and welcomed the serene lake, experiencing an indescribable connection — a profound realization of the interplay between the ever-changing currents and the unyielding essence of my life.

“As I held a pose, captivated by the moisture in the atmosphere, the clouds mirrored in the water, and the body of water that held me up, I found a surreal harmony — a moment of clarity that resonated with the core of my being,” she said.

The winning artists come from nine states — Georgia, Pennsylvania, Utah, Oregon, Arizona, Washington, New Mexico, Nevada and California. Mediums used are oil, acrylic, watercolor, graphite, textile and photography.

The exhibit explores various impacts of water — or the lack of water due to drought — in California’s national parks. Other works capture water’s abundance, particularly in the aftermath of this year’s heavy rains, through a range of waterfalls and rivers.

Nathan Vonk, owner of Sullivan Goss – An American Gallery in Santa Barbara, judged the entries. Stacey Otte-Demangate, executive director of the Wildling, announced the winners.

“It is a great exhibition, focused on an important and worthy subject,” said Vonk. “I have a deep appreciation for our national parks, and the part that art has played in raising awareness of these treasured places.

“The submitted work was really extraordinary, making it wonderfully difficult to pick the final pieces.”

More than 120 attended the opening reception including the museum’s founders, mosaic artist Patti Jacquemain and her husband David Gledhill, along with supporters Pete and Beck Adams, Judy and Jack Stapelmann, board president Kevin Patterson and board members Margaret Weiss and Richard Nagler.

The event featured live music from Michael Holland, and photographer George Rose documented the event.

All of the artworks featured in the exhibit are for sale with 40 percent of proceeds benefiting the Wildling Museum.

The exhibit was made possible through the support of sponsors: The Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Foundation, Pete and Becky Adams, Penny and Joseph Knowles, The Poomer Fund for Anne Smith Towbes, George and Denise Rose, Margaret Weiss, and donors to the Patti Jacquemain Exhibition Fund.

For more about the exhibit, email the Wildling Museum at info@wildlingmuseum.org, call 805-686-8315, or visit www.wildlingmuseum.org/news/2023-ca-national-parks-exhibition.