Junípero Serra Ferrer,
(November 24, 1713 – August 28, 1784) was a Spanish Franciscan friar
who founded a mission in Baja California and the first nine of 21 Spanish missions in California from San Diego to San Francisco. He began in San Diego on July 16, 1769, and established his headquarters near the Presidio of Monterey, but soon moved a few miles south to establish Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo in today's Carmel, California.
The missions were primarily designed to bring the Catholic Christian faith to the native peoples. Other aims were to integrate the neophytes into
Spanish society, and to train them to take over ownership and management
of the land.
Serra was beatified by Pope John Paul II on September 25, 1988, and Pope Francis expects to canonize him in September 2015 during his first visit to the United States. Since this is timely, I thought it would be a good time to post the painting that I did of Father Serra's garden this past summer.
Whenever I visit California, it is almost a must for me to visit one or more of Father Serra's missions. They are all tranquil and lovely. My favorite of the missions is Mission Capistrano, which I've painted numerous times, but the Carmel Mission in Carmel, where Father Serra established his residence and is buried, is a close second.
The painting above is of Father Serra's Garden at the Carmel Mission, also known as Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo. It was close to closing time when I was there that day, and the long shadows added an air of mystery to the little garden alcove. Adding to the enchantment, the statue of Father Serra had the smallest slice of butterlike light cascading over his head and down his shoulder, an almost seeming continuation of the rapidly melting late afternoon sunshine that was snaking down the terra cotta roof, where it made a nose dive and finally came to rest over the figure of Father Serra.
I wish the fountain had been on, as the fountain itself was still bathed in that lovely light and a little running water would have added additional drama.
To inquire about this painting, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.