ThirtySeven: Missions, Creeks, Trees, Bubbles, and Painting

Continuing the ‘Creeks and Rivers of Silicon Valley’ year long quest.

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Mission San Jose
Mission San Jose

Mission San Jose, founded in June 1797, is in Fremont California. Since most mission towns in California grew up around the mission, I could never figure out how the mission ended up in another city, and not San Jose. The answer is rather simple: both the mission and the pueblo (city) were named in honor of St Joseph, and there was no other connection.

As the fourteenth mission built in California, the site had been inhabited by the native Ohlone Indians for centuries. Built on a slope overlooking the plain on the east side of San Francisco Bay, the area was very fertile for agriculture, and the wild game plentiful. The adobe church was destroyed in an 1868 earthquake but in the early 1980’s was restored as it appeared in the 1830s.

Mission San Jose was built close to a spring fed creek which runs year round. You’ll never guess the name of the creek…yep, Mission Creek. It’s headwaters is a spring located on the north slope of Mount Alison, flows out of the hills past the mission, through the town of Fremont, and feeds Lake Elizabeth in Fremont’s Central Park. From there it feeds Laguna Creek and on to San Francisco Bay. Over the decades suburban sprawl had greatly damaged the creek, and Joyce Blueford along with groups of private and civil groups has in recent years restored some sections. The part I saw today looked pretty good.

Click on the below thumbnails for larger pictures***

As Mission Creek passes through Fremont, in places, large stands of Eucalyptus trees line it’s banks. Just about every artist I know enjoys painting Eucalyptus with its varied bark color which reflects a lot of the local reflected color, and it’s large, distinctive shape and hanging branches.

California, however, has had a love hate relationship with the Eucalyptus. Before 1850 there were no Eucalyptus trees in California. They were imported from Australia. Being fast growing, a number of enthusiasts convinced farmers to plant millions of the trees in the early 1900’s in a get rich quick scheme to sell the lumber. It soon grew into a speculative bubble in eucalyptus timber. The bubble burst in 1913 when many discovered what others had long known: that the wood cracked, warped, and twisted as it dried and is basically useless for building. Many investors were ruined. Some now call it the worlds largest weed. More history can be found here and here.

Click on the below thumbnails for larger pictures***

I painted along Mission Creek Drive right in the middle of Fremont suburbia about a mile downstream from the mission. (It would have been nice to paint the creek by the mission, but it is separated by numerous buildings and there just were no good viewpoints.) The flat area in the middle ground is Mission Creek trail. Mission San Jose High School is in the background. Flowers were growing along the bank which were backlight by the morning sun and just glowed. The creek was running very well, and I certainly enjoyed the gurgling and babbling while painting.

Missions,Creeks,Trees,Bubbles & Painting,  8x10, oil on board Missions,Creeks,Trees,Bubbles & Painting, 8×10, oil on board[/caption

After I got home, although I painted the brightly lit bank and flowers as it was, I had to tone it down as it detracted from the trees.

Click this link for a map of all painting locations along with each painting.
Click on this link for a Pinterest catalog of all paintings so far.

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