Saturday, January 8, 2011
Mission San Gabriel Arcángel
I chose to paint at this location today, not, as you may imagine, because I was remembering my pastel drawing of years ago (and the prior post.) This is very close to the San Gabriel Fine Arts Association Gallery, where I dropped off paintings today for a plein air show. It's my first painting of the year. I can tell I'm rusty.
There were many fourth graders exploring the Mission today with their parents and their cameras. Little Californians study California history in the fourth grade. The missions are a huge part of California history. The little Californians build models of missions and visit actual missions and take pictures to prove they were there.
After Europeans located California and explored a bit, they set about colonizing it. The Spanish monarchy used Catholic clergy to settle what is now the State of California. The clergy used the native Californians as their workforce and their proselytes. They built and populated several missions. The missions and their land holdings took up a substantial fraction of California, and the rest was claimed for Spain. Approximately fifty years after the American Revolution, Mexico, which included California, won its independence from Spain. Not long after, the United States was looking to expand its territory. In the Mexican-American War, the United States Army conquered what is now California; a treaty at the end of the war secured California for the United States.
The Spanish Colonial influence remains in California, explaining the names of our cities - San Francisco, San Jose, San Diego, and El Pueblo de la Reyna de los Angeles - and our red tile roofs.