In 2006 I took a Road Trip from San Francisco to New Mexico and back over the course of a month, writing and taking photos all the way. Two years later I had a show of paintings based on those photographs. This is one of a series of twenty-nine posts of those paintings accompanied by the relevant diary entries.


West Coast, oil on board, 8 x 20 inches

24. May 17th, 2006

Drove to the Ventura Highway via the numerous highways and byways that snake around LA and I am very proud of my navigation. I am keeping LA for another trip..

Which hasn’t happened yet…

There are some beautiful hills and mountains around here, big and muscular and covered in velveteen green and bobbled with oak trees…and no hedges…what a difference!

I think the lack of hedges makes the landscape look wilder and stronger. In Ireland the land is held down by the netting of hedges that splits it into tiny fields.

You could spend a lifetime in California, driving, cycling, hiking, in the heat and the cold and the rain. Lunched in Santa Barbara. It was grey and damp, like Ireland. It’s the one thing they don’t tell you about the California coast. It can be wet and cold.

The coast of Namibia has the same weather system, hot desert land meets colder sea creating bands of mist and fog all along the coast.

039 peach tree inn, san luis obispo, CA

The Peach Tree Inn, oil on board, 8 x 9 inches (approx.)

Then I drove to San Luis Obispo where I booked into the BEST MOTEL IN THE WORLD! Free movies..

..this was pre-Netflix and all that…

…free tea, biscuits, sweets, breakfast and the softest yet firmest bed in the world (pillow-topped). The manageress was called Claire and she gave me a lovely room. Outside there is a wooden bench swing hanging from the tall oak trees and a little creek that tumbles down from the velveteen hills. To top it all of one of my favourite movies was on TV-The Princess Bride.

I was so chuffed particularly because the next day was my birthday, the whole impetus for the trip.

This evening I went out to do my laundry and ended up having a lovely drive.

Tomorrow Big Sur..

037 skate park, santa barbara, CA

Skate Park, Santa Barbara, oil on board, 9 x 6 inches (approx.)


038 late night laundrette, san luis obispo, CA

24 hour Laundrette, oil on board 9 x 8 inches (approx.)




  1. I think it was the first President Roosevelt who said he’d never known a day as cold as the one he spent in San Francisco in the summer.

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