A few weeks ago we went to the town of Sonoma for the afternoon, to have an outdoors lunch with my wife’s mother. It was nice to get out of Davis and I took the opportunity to go and do a sketch of the Mission, above. If you don’t know about the Missions of California, here is a good site for you to find out about them: https://californiamissionsfoundation.org/the-california-missions. The one in Sonoma, called San Francisco Solano, is the most northerly one, the end of a trail that leads all the way down to San Diego. This little adobe building dates back to 1823 as the culmination of three hundred years of Spanish-Mexican settlement in California, going back to 1523. It was actually badly destroyed in the 1906 earthquake but was rebuilt and restored. I have drawn it twice before, but it turns out it was a really long time ago: 2007 and 2006!
The very first time I came to California, in 2002, we spent a couple of days in Sonoma housesitting at my (future) wife’s friend’s place. I really liked Sonoma best out of all the places I went to on that trip, and I remember the delicious wine and the great cheeses from that cheese shop. Now during the pandemic there are still people out and about but the cheese shop was closed, and seating at restaurants and cafes was all outside. We had an early dinner in one of our favourite spots, Hopmonk Tavern, and I sketched my son on his device while the ladies talked. This is one of only a few occasions we have eaten out since the whole pandemic started. This was a brief respite form the terrible smoky air in California, but that soon came back. That very night there were enormous fires that erupted near here in Napa Valley, destroying some historic wineries and lots of homes, raining large flakes of ash down on all the towns around. I hate this awful year, and I really hate fire season. It’s never been so bad, and it’s terrible on all the industries around this way.
3 thoughts on “Sonoma”
I think we all share the sentiment of wanting to see the back of this year for various reasons. Your experience with the fires must be making a bloody awful year feel even worse. Sonoma is one of my favourite places in California too. I try to visit it any time we are road-tripping in CA. I just really like the atmosphere of the place and I have very fond memories of it. Your illustration of the Mission is superb. I have visited a few of the missions (an obsession triggered by visiting the one that features in Vertigo) of the El Camino Real. I wonder if, when normal travel becomes a thing again (I hope!) if you will create a whole series of 21 Mission drawings.
It;’s something I’ve always wanted to do, draw all the Missions. I drew Carmel Mission (again) recently and have drawn the one in San Francisco, but that’s it (though I like seeing the bells along the Camino Real, we’ve gone along that a few times). My son did a school project on the California Missions a couple of years ago, he knows more about them.
Your son could write the accompanying text for your illustrations.