My first post from Mission Rally 2014 is the first mission in Alta (Upper) California: San Diego de Alcala. This mission has a classic campanario (bell wall) and a brilliant white facade which is now iconic and says “California Spanish Mission”. This is a stool sketch, which means that I sketched it from a portable REI three legged camp stool. The benefit of using a stool is that I get to choose the perspective whereas general speaking, the perspective is already chosen for me with the placement of a bench or picnic table.
I also sketched an odd Father Serra statue. Father Junipero Serra is the founder of the California missions and while he did not found all twenty one he raised the cross at this mission on July 16, 1769. Serra’s name is all over coastal California and every mission has a statue of this prominent figure. The statue at San Diego is an odd duck. I named the statue the “Kung Fu Padre Serra”, because he looks to be in some sort of early martial arts pose. Think Chuck Norris in a robe and without hair.
While I was at this mission a group of four college students were at the first stop in their own mission rally. After visiting this mission I had four more to go. On the way out to get mission #17, I wished them luck.
The Kung Fu Padre Serra reminds me of another goofy Serra statue. This one is on Highway 280 at the Crystal Springs rest stop. To some people, the priest looks like he is at the local bowling alley after releasing the ball and to others they wonder what he’s pointing at. I heard that the artist wanted to donate the 26 foot tall statue to Stanford University but they didn’t want it so it was donated to Caltrans instead. I have seen many images and statues representing the famed friar and none of them look like they are of the same person. In reality there are not that many period likenesses of Serra. This bowling alley version is perhaps the strangest.