Friday, April 3, 2009

An Afternoon in San Juan Bautista

"San Juan Bautista Mission"
"11 x 14"

San Juan Bautista is a very special tiny town about 30 miles south of my home. It is the location of one of the original chain of missions established by the Spanish. This mission remains a parish church, unlike the other original missions taken over by the state of California park system. The mission bell tower played a prominent role in Alfred Hitchcock's movie, "Vertigo." The mission sits on a corner of a large, grassy plaza, surrounded by historical buildings maintained by the state.

I met a church friend who was recently widowed for lunch. We ate at the Jardines de San Juan on the sweet historic main street of the town. They have a lovely patio and the day was sunny, though breezy. While we ate, a rooster kept crowing. Jan explained that the town has many feral roosters and chickens that free range the streets. Later I met one of those beauties in the front of the mission and tomorrow, when I put the finishing touches on the piece, I will post the picture of him.

I planned to remain in San Juan painting near the mission and then drive north to Gilroy to hit the outlets for a few essentials, pick up Bob from work, and rapidly drive north 40 miles to take Argentine Tango lessons, as we always do on Wednesday evening. The mission was buzzing with school childen on a field trip, but they left shortly after I arrived. I set my little three-legged stool up in some grass and drew the mission, then retreated to a picnic table on the green to paint. I had a light jacket on because of the wind. The scene was tranquil with gardeners working around a very lovely bronze statue. I painted this sketch of the mission, a somewhat different orientation than an earlier painting done on a field trip with Bob. I sold that piece a few years back. I found this a lovely way to spend the day and avoid adding more carbon to the environment by driving an extra 50 miles had I returned home immediately after lunch.


Nancy said...

Mary, this is so serene and lovely! How exciting to be taking tango lessons! I always wanted to learn ballroom.

Mary Paquet said...

Thanks, Nancy. Yes, I am very fortunate now with retirement and having time to do these things. Bob asked for the lessons to test his artificial knees with dancing. Ballroom is great exercise.