When Carl Barks - especially after
having retired from his comic book work in 1966 - started to
produce paintings in gouache, watercolour, or oil on different
media such as canvas, illustration board, or Masonite one of his
first general motifs were those of churches in his community. At
the time he lived in the hamlet of Hemet in the San Jacinto area
in California, and the motifs were 'at hand'; he could easily get
there with his artist's materials and start working. Another
contributing reason for choosing these motifs might have been
that structures such as buildings are fairly easy beginner's
motifs once you have mastered the basics such as perspective.
Barks probably had no specific personal reason for his decision
to paint churches as he was not especially religious; he rarely
attended services, he 'just' owned a Christian bible which was
When Barks first moved to Hemet in 1942 the population was only about 10,000 slowly rising to 60,000 in 1969 when he moved, which means that Hemet was still a relatively small community at the time of the paintings. Still, it would seem that Hemet had quite a few churches, and Barks depicted at least some of them.
In the sub-pages you are presented to some of Barks' work from sketches to finished paintings and they have been roughly grouped in two sections: Identified and unidentified churches in or around Hemet. As for the first section you are furnished with exact information as to where the churches are situated enabling you to find pictures of them on the Internet. For instance, Google Earth is a fine tool which can show you all the churches seen from the streets. You will notice how much the buildings as well as the immediate surroundings have changed since Barks' visits! As for the latter section you are welcome to contribute relevant information on the churches' names and whereabouts if you can.