I recently visited an ancient place called Acoma Pueblo at Sky City, NM, about an hour west of Albuquerque, NM.  I went with my girlfriend and her family by the way, so no private pilgrimage this time!  What makes it so unique, is that it was inhabited by the Acoma Indians at least 500 years on top of a 300 foot mesa.  We received a great tour of the pueblo from a native tourguide named Conrell.  Great sense of history and humor.  We toured and saw the adobe dwellings and fast forward to the last part, went to visit the San Esteban Rey Mission, a church that was built in 1629 and still standing today.  That’s where my new painting comes in (glad you were patient up to this point!).

First of all, there were no photographs allowed of the church inside, and I couldn’t bring my easel along to paint on these sacred grounds, so I took some pics, in which I had in mind what would complement this image, how would I paint this magnificent church?

After I went home, I studied my photos.  Sometimes you can’t always paint on location, and I certainly didn’t want to copy every last detail.  I usually go for capturing the essence, mood and color of the subject, so I found the best photo that moved me.

So now I found my photo to paint from.  I painted it directly from my I-photo page on my Mac, I put a rock on the spacebar so the image wouldn’t fade.  I was focusing more on values, figuring the colors would take care of itself.  I used to do it the other way around, but I believe it’s important to establish certain values, the lightest and darkest part of the painting.  And the best part, is that I completed the painting in one session, with my limited palette of water-soluable oils.  Here’s the results.


So there’s the final painting, and I did varnish it too! (see last post about varnish), which made it even more glossy, but most of all it’s more protected from the elements.

This original painting is in my gallery and is available for purchase.

Acoma Church 9.25″ x 11.25″  x 1″ oil on plywood $195 USD