by Rick J. Delanty
Rick J. Delanty was an August 2022 winner in the PleinAir Salon for the “Best Plein Air Landscape” category with his painting, “String of Pearls.”
Painting at the Mission San Juan Capistrano, “The Jewel of the California Missions,” is always both an historical and artistic experience.
The mission was built in 1776 under the direction of Padre Junipero Serra, with construction by native Americans of the Acjachemen nation, the 7th of 21 missions statewide.
Its small chapel is beautifully moody in the light of the windows and prayer candles surrounding the hand-carved golden altar. The grounds are nearly always abundant with a variety of flowers, plants, and succulents. Birds flit in and out of the adobe-brick arches, and the tile roofs provide warm accents in any composition.
I’ve painted the fountains on the grounds several times because I love the sound of the falling water, and the sight of the koi fish gliding in and out of the lily pads. The shadows of long brick hallways make for interesting darks in architecturally-centered paintings, and the light reflecting off white plastered walls adds attention-getting bright accents.
The Mission entertains 300,000 visitors a year, many of them schoolchildren on field trips, studying their California history. I’ve talked to many pint-sized aspiring artists during my painting sessions there.
My most recent painting of the Mission is a tribute to a larger painting by Arthur Grover Rider that he did on site here in 1930. It was part of a solo exhibition entitled “Inspired by History” presented by the Casa Romantica Cultural Center in San Clemente. Twenty-two of my paintings were paired with historical masters of California Impressionism, including Rider.
Like Rider must have done, I find that painting at the Mission brings a peace to painting that one does not normally experience when painting in the center of town. I have an annual membership for repeat visits, as it’s only ten minutes from my studio. All-in-all, in my view, this historical site is one of California’s perfect places to paint.
Connect with Rick J. Delanty at www.delantyfineart.com.