After visiting the Santa Ynez Valley, California, for a couple of days, the next stop on the “art” tour was the city of Santa Barbara, which is literally down the coast from Buellton on Highway 101. It’s a fast ride down through the pass with nice views of the mountains whizzing by on the curving roadway. It’s only about a 40-minute drive, and you’re in Santa Barbara. Since we only had the one day to look around, we chose to visit the Old Mission Santa Barbara and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Today’s image is a shot of the Old Mission Santa Barbara.
Mission Santa Barbara is not an art museum, rather it is an old mission and church that is a now an historical museum with art. The ‘queen of the missions’ as it’s called, dates from December, 1786, and is the oldest of the California missions and still holds daily masses. There is a collection of ‘colonial’ art that is described as rich and varied and from the baroque or neoclassical eras—most imported from Mexico and South America. The paintings in the museum and church depict angels, saints, and Bible stories. For your viewing pleasure, I’ve included a photo of a huge painting of St. Francis of Assisi that was so big, you had to stand back in the doorway of the small room in which it was hung so you could see the whole painting.
Other noteworthy works include large paintings of the crucifix and Jesus suffering on the cross. There are also sculptures of St. Dominic and St. Francis which were beautiful and described as intense and typical of baroque art. You will also want to see three stone statues carved by a Native American from the mission of St. Barbara and the virtues of faith and charity. The brochure mentions these are the only existing large sculptures done by Native American Californians.
Next blog I’ll tell you about the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.
In the Studio
I’m still in the studio working on the acrylic I mentioned in the last blog. It’s a view looking back on Santa Barbara from the Stearns Wharf. I have ‘completed’ it several times over the last few days, but I keep seeing things in it that I think can be improved, and so it’s not really finished yet. I’m still trying to get that hazy late afternoon light just right, and it’s not easy. I’m guessing this happens to many artists who have an image in their head of what they want to portray, and will just keep at it until it comes close to that. Or maybe it’s just me. I will let you know how it’s going.