Introducing: “The Pacific Coast Highway”
Bixby Bridge in Big Sur, California, and the Pacific Coast Highway.
Completed in 1932 for just over $200,000 (equivalent to $3.12 million dollars today), the Bixby Bridge is still one of the highest concrete bridges of its kind in the world. It soars 260 feet above the bottom of a steep canyon carved by Bixby Creek which dumps into the Pacific ocean in northern California, along the coastal scenic Highway 1, otherwise known as the PCH.
Before the opening of the bridge, residents of the Big Sur area were virtually cut off from the rest of the state during winter due to blockages on the often impassable Old Coast Road. Even now with the retrofitted bridge, the PCH struggles with frequent landslides and constant erosion due to the harsh weather conditions the highway receives from the nearby surf. Consequently, the winding highway with vast views of the rugged coastline and this iconic bridge are some of the most photographed places in the world which of course beckons tourists from all over the world during the summer season.
The Road Trip:
Now as an honorary Texan (hey, I’ve been here for ten years!) this place in California, is still important to me for many reasons. As little kids, my parents would drop us off at our grandparents house and take a week to adventure in and around the California coast line. They would come back with intriguing stories of massive waterfalls, big trees, and sea lion covered beaches! When we were old enough, my parents took my brother and I on our first road trip up the PCH to go camping at the beach. From touring a real life castle in the clouds (Hearst Castle), to picnics under the coastal arches carved by the waves, to spotting whales from the top of a light house, this road trip was where my love for the California coast began. As my brother and I got older, we took frequent road trips on our own to camp along the PCH.
When I moved to Texas for school, I met my husband, a born and raised East Texan who had only been as far west as Austin, Texas! After about two years of dating and a couple of trips to California to visit my family, he surprised me by flying out and driving to the camp site where my family and I were staying along the Pacific Coast Highway. There, he asked me to marry him at the point of the Hearst Beach peninsula.
The entire composition of this painting was designed around a photograph taken by Adam, with Lucky Devil Pin-Ups, of Alli Hamilton, a modern day, American pin-up model. When I first saw the crisp colors of this photo, Alli’s beautiful smile, and the retro vibes of her bathing suit, I knew I wanted her to be the focal point of my California inspired landscape.
The art is hand painted in Alpha 6 automotive enamels on a 12”x24” canvas. As with every painting in this collection, the landscape is made up of a collage of images that I feel truly represent the reason this place earns a spot on the map of America. A combination my own family photos along the PCH and some vintage inspired travels posters allowed me to create a slightly imaginary scene that showcases a red woody classic car and the orange California poppies that represent all things “California Coast” in my opinion.
In this post I have shown limited photos of the completed painting. The final “Pacific Coast Highway” painting and the 9 other Americana inspired paintings in this collection will be fully revealed in person at the “She’s Been Everywhere, Man!” Gallery Show and online in Spring, 2022. For your chance to purchase an original piece in the collection or snag a signed and numbered print, become a “She’s Been Everywhere Insider” here, and subscribe to my newsletter!
What is “She’s Been Everywhere, Man!”:
“She’s Been Everywhere, Man!” is an innovative collection of ten original paintings, in automotive enamel paint, that depict women driving vintage classic and custom cars to some of our county’s most historic and iconic locations. The series title was originally inspired by the lyrics of the Johnny Cash song, “I’ve Been Everywhere”. After restoring my 1966 Jeepster with my dad, and traveling cross country in it with my family, I realized that America’s rich history is ONLY defined by our willingness to maintain the things and preserve the places that established our unique, cultural identity in the world that is AMERICANA! Through my art and personal story, I want to start a conversation on the importance of maintaining and preserving the things and places of our past, to inform and ultimately benefit our future generations.
My image inspiration for this series stems from WPA travel posters, old school paint-by-numbers, aviation nose art, and my own favorite photos from family road trips. You can check out these images and more over on my Pinterest.
To see more artwork and stories from this unique series of paintings just click here!
“She’s Been Everywhere, Man!” Collaborators