Landscape Oil Painting Outdoors/Landscape Painting Plein Air

Port Costa’s St. Patricks Mission Church

Port Costa St. Patrick's Mission


After gusts of wind blew dirt in my face,  a couple of trains roared by, and a bunch of motorcyle guys on Harleys rode up to have a nice morning beer at the saloon (below), I decided to move from where I originally set up in the unpaved parking lot at the end of the road in Port Costa. One of the motorcycle guys was wearing a DayGlow orange T-shirt that proclaimed, “Can you see me now ASSHOLE?!”

Porta Costa is a tiny town (pop. 250) founded in 1879 as a port for merchant sailing ships, with warehouses, saloons and hotels on waterfront wharves. A few of those original buildings are still there and (except for the church) appear not to have been painted or maintained much since then. This is the hotel that I was originally going to paint, which was originally a bordello and is supposed to be haunted:

I headed up the tree-lined street a couple of blocks and set up behind a watercolor painter from my plein air group who was also painting the church. Halfway into the painting session, automatic sprinklers turned on beside us, spattering the watercolor painter’s full-sheet painting, creating interesting textural effects on her church.  The occasional sprinkle was a welcome relief from the muggy heat for me, since water doesn’t affect oil paintings.

About the painting:

Oil on panel, 12×9″

I ran out of time before our group critique at 1:00 and didn’t get to paint in the beautiful tree that was in front of the church. I figured I could finish it from a photo at home, except that I forgot to take a picture of the church (duh!) I put in a few details from memory and skipped the tree.  The painting was done between 11:00 a.m. and 12:45 with the  sun straight overhead so there wasn’t much modeling or shadows except under things.

8 replies on “Port Costa’s St. Patricks Mission Church”

What a lovely painting – the sharp straight lines and the loose section on the right. You are going with the flow at present
You must do the haunted bordello too some time – a few versions of it eh?


Don’t you just get the feeling that sometimes the universe is trying to tell us something! 😉

That bordello looks a really great subject – looks like you need to go back!


I love your use of colour here Jana, somehow it accentuates the “church” feeling, the calmer quiet, softer blues and the vibrant and joyous sun catching hills!
Your last pic isn’t showing up..maybe it does show up on your own computer…it happens sometimes.


Boy what an interesting typo… Robery instead of Robert.
Well yes your painting could be seen as robbery of The beautiful Church, because created a Perfect reflection of same….


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