My Love of Missions and Barns


A brightly colored fake mission sketch.

Everybody has some doodle they come back to when they are needing comfort in their sketchbook, and mine is drawing building parts.  Call me a used-to-be-architect.  Cubes and squares and circles and the symbol for earth (seen in ALL my doodles) is a constant because it is comforting.  A stepping stone for the days when I am not quite there.

My love of missions and barns comes from childhood, growing up around both.  Neewbies to California don’t realize that waaaaay back when I was a kid we had farm stands and farm lands and every frigging bit of California (even the beach communities) wasn’t filled with track homes.  There were fields of strawberries and corn and squash and fruit trees and horse farms and barns a few miles from the beach, so that was all mixed up in memories of shells and exploring sea life for an entire day (talk about getting lost in minutia) before Dana Point became a man-made harbor for boats. (Don’t get me started.)

Photo taken by Mark Weston: See end for credits.

Photo taken by Mark Weston:
See end for credits.

I was raised Catholic and my best memories of that religion were at the San Juan Capistrano Mission, mass said in mexican and latin, lighting the bright red candles, and sneaking a pat on Guadeloupe’s statue.  Bright colors and the shapes.   My mom and I often went to midnight mass on Christmas Eve.  Another of my favorite memories was horseback riding with my brother Stephen next to the orange groves in Capistrano.  So the smell of oranges and horse sweat and incense and salt air are all mixed in my memory or sepia tones and bright pink and orange and turquoise.  Home.

I’ve been drawing missions and barns this month, experimenting with mediums outside my comfort zone, and decided to share one of my “fake missions” with you, mission shapes that are from my imagination.  I usually start with pencil sketches in one of my sketchbooks that are buried in a yarn bag next to the bed or sit at my work desk.  I tend to work shapes out in pencil and pen, then move to color.


Final Fake Mission: pencil and pens on shellacked paper.

A total comfort, these drawings.  Takes me home!


My images/blog posts can be reposted as long there is a link back to zenkatwrites.
Lovely photo of the inside of Mission San Juan Capistrano courtesy of Mark Weston:

About dkatiepowellart

hollywood baby turned beach gurl turned steel&glass city gurl turned cowgurl turned herb gurl turned green city gurl. . . artist writer photographer. . . cat lover but misses our big dogs, gone to heaven. . . buddhist and interested in the study of spiritual traditions. . . foodie, organic, lover of all things mik, partner in conservation business mpfconservation, consummate blogger, making a dream happen, insomniac who is either reading buddhist teachings or not-so-bloody mysteries or autobio journal thangs early in the morning when i can't sleep
This entry was posted in art, autobiography, creativity, journal, process and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to My Love of Missions and Barns

  1. susanissima says:

    I grew up Catholic in California, too, Katie, and in this post you’ve really touched my inner child with the warm golden glow of your sweet drawings. Thank you!

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