Missions: Santa Clara de Asís and San Juan Bautista

If I’d looked at pictures of Mission Santa Clara de Asís online, maybe I wouldn’t be so surprised? But I was, because I went there for the first time last week and was surprised the church was pink. If you’re not familiar with California Missions, then you might not know they’re usually whitewash over adobe walls.

This piece is in a Hahnemuehle watercolor book. I like the paper, but it might be a wee bit on the thin side for me, given how much water I put on the page.mission_santa_clara.jpg

I wasn’t terribly disappointed by the pink church because I knew I’d have a go at a white mission building later that week. Liz Steel was visiting on her way to Sketchkon, and we did quite a bit of sketching all over the South Bay. San Juan Bautista is my favorite Bay Area mission. (technically, it’s outside the Bay Area, but it’s only a 45 minute drive south of where I live). It lies right on the San Andreas fault and standing in the square with the hotel and stables around it, you can imagine yourself transported back in time.

Here is my first sketch of the Mission and bell tower. This one is in my usual book, a 9×12 inch wirebound Beta Sketchbook.

I then did a quick little sketch of the bell tower in my other Stillman and Birn book, a 7×10 inch softcover Alpha. This is the book I’ve been doing my sketch journal pages in. You can see I planned to put more on the page from how I crossed over my sketch just a little bit over the fold.
On the left is Liz’ book, and on the right are my two. You can see a closeup of Liz’ sketches on her instagram feed.

Here is my Alpha sketchbook spread, finished later that afternoon over lunch. Even though sketch #2 is wonkier than #1, it does a better job of conveying that the building is white, something I worked on through the week.

Later that day, we sketched a really fun Prickly Pear cactus.

And then this Masonic Lodge on Second Street.

After that it was time to head home to head home for the day.



About Suhita Shirodkar

obsessive-sketcher. graphic designer.
This entry was posted in california, Close to home, Everyday Sketches, san jose, Silicon Valley, Sketch Journal, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Missions: Santa Clara de Asís and San Juan Bautista

  1. Peggy Bjarno says:

    Great sketches, all, but wow, the prickly pear cactus is a true winner! Thanks for sharing these.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Laurie Householder says:

    On the first mission, did you paint first then add lines? All neat!

    Liked by 2 people

    • If you look closely, you will see some loose pencil line in #1. that came first, then color, then line then back for some darks in color and last of all, white gouache. Possibly more pen. There’s quite a bit of back and forth in the piece, which is usual for me.


  3. Suhita, I’m a fan forever! Love the Prickly Pear 🙂 Sketch away girl!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I love the Stillman & Birn alpha – I use it in two sizes 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • love the book too, and now that I’m doing lots of journalling spreads, it works really well. I know the sizing is supposed to be the same on all papers, but the Alpha DOES feel different from the Beta: more watercolor paper-like


  5. fakeflamenco says:

    I have a soft spot for the California missions. I wrote an activity for a middle school Spanish textbook about them at one point. And in Texas I loved seeing the Alamo: Mission San Antonio de Valero and we attended the mariachi mass at Mission San José twice when I lived in Texas. Hmm, you’ve inspired me for a new post. : ) -Rebecca

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I sketch Missions and cathedrals when I can, love it. And so often it is a quiet peaceful place to hang out in, that makes it even more enjoyable

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Interesting Spanish Buildings, the Cacti are also very interesting.


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