Nancy Yaki, Holding Stratus Pose, Tenaya Lake (Yosemite), 2023, Acrylic on canvas | Credit: Courtesy of the artist

Water — that essential and often-elusive element so critical to our very existence — is the subject of a new juried exhibition focusing on California national parks at the Wildling Museum of Art and Nature in Solvang.

Titled California National Parks: Stories of Water, the exhibition explores various impacts of water — and sometimes the lack of it — in our national parks, with artists using through a wide range of media and techniques, from acrylic, oil, and watercolor paintings to photography, mixed media, and textile art. The exhibit features 37 artists and 39 selected artworks juried from a pool of more than 240 submissions by artists across the U.S., competing for $4,000 in awards. 

“It is a great exhibition, focused on an important and worthy subject. I have a deep appreciation for our national parks and the part that art has played in raising awareness of these treasured places,” said Nathan Vonk, owner of Santa Barbara’s Sullivan Goss, An American Gallery, who judged the impressive number of entries.

“The submitted work was really extraordinary, making it wonderfully difficult to pick the final pieces. I’ll be very excited to see them all installed in the Wildling,” he said.

For Lompoc artist Nancy Yaki, her work “Holding Stratus Pose, Tenaya Lake” represents a personal connection with water as a symbol of adaptability and enduring balance in embracing change. Her inspiration came from Yosemite, where, “amidst the beauty of nature’s canvas, I embarked on an afternoon paddleboarding 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.”

Michael Miner, Water Study Part I (Redwood National Park), 2015, Fiber-based silver gelatin print struck from 8 x 10 in. sheet film negative | Credit: Courtesy of the artist

Seattle-based artist Suze Woolf explored the resilience of giant redwoods as well as their reliance on water. “As an artist preoccupied with climate and fire, it was miraculous to visit the Redwood National and State Parks — to be among such giants, aware of how much water they need, to be in such deep and damp shade in a dry state, to see that fire had touched but not harmed them,” said Woolf.

The list of featured artists includes: Allegra Bick-Maurischat, Bob Canepa, Chris Chapman, Vicki Conley, Trevor Coopersmith, Michael Blair Davies, Jym Davis, John Evarts, Nancy Fint, Irwin Freeman, Jan French, David Gardner, Kevin Gleason, Patricia Gould, David Gregory, Kelly Hildner, James Hodgson, Christine Huhn, Ray Hunter, John Iwerks, Larry Iwerks, Christine Kierstead, Diane Lamboley, Margaret Luo, Susan Makov, Michael Miner, Jennifer Morgan, Eric Newnam, Bill Saltzstein, Laurie Schafer, Séraphine Segal, Nic Stover, Denise Taylor, Gary Wagner, Nina Warner, Suze Woolf, and Nancy Yaki. 

The exhibition opens September 23 and awards will be announced at a reception at the Wildling on September 24, from 3-5 p.m.

All works featured in the exhibition are available for sale with 40 percent of proceeds going to benefit the nonprofit Wildling Museum, where the work is on view through February 19, 2024.

Wildlimg Museum of Art & Nature is located at 1511-B Mission Drive, Solvang. For more information, see


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