ranch cows 2

I recently returned from a great painting trip to California, where I've been itching to go for a while. I wanted to get an American twist on the cows theme and to see that legendary coastline, the Big Sur. I had hoped that both would be worth a long haul flight and thankfully, I was right.

I headed to a ranch in a remote town (population 12) near San Robles in mid California which was hosting a local rodeo and I spent a couple of days amongst the steers and ranch horses and the cowboys that work them. Of course a cow's a cow at the end of the day, wherever it is, but when you introduce the strong sun, dust, sun-bleached fences etc. and the horses working around them, it becomes a very different subject. I'm not entirely sure what shape the resulting paintings will take but I've certainly got lots of ideas to explore and that was always the point of the trip.

The Big Sur was slightly disappointing in that it was difficult to get down to sea level in most places, which is where I like to be. However, It's an amazing 70 mile drive along the cliffs with many 'vista points' to stop and take in the view, and the areas where I could access water were amazing bits of coast. I was completely blown away at one point  when I dropped over a sandbank and stumbled onto a beach full of elephant seals! 

Finally, San Francisco, where I spent the last couple of days before flying back, was an unexpected bonus. The steep hills running throughout the city in every direction, coupled with the distinctive architecture, make it absolutely unique. I hadn't intended this to be a subject but it's definitely worthy of it!

Really enjoying working on the new stuff anyway. Look out for the finished pieces soon.