This is an oil portrait of a fabulous Big Sur pup named Xena. She lives on a ranch here owned by a rock’n’roll family of legendary fame. I lived there for year and a half, part time family chef, resident painter, and took care of the horses and piggy, and frequently the crowd of cats and dogs, real animal lovers (and you should see the gardens and orchard!).
Xena always wore this expectant look of shivering anticipation, tinged with annoyance at the time it took to load up the ATV with alfalfa for the horses. She’d sit behind the wheel or pace the barn while apples and carrots were being chopped and wild fennel found and medicines mixed in various identifying pots for horsie ills like a cut or cough or hoof trouble. They had 80 acres of pasture to roam and explore and sometimes Xena, the grownup, would lead the pack astray right down to the beach. We’d get calls from the ranger or tourists, or more often they’d get back in time for supper on their own. Even the pig managed episodes of breaking out of his stall and paddock next to the barn, to head for the beach! What was he thinking? Or worse, would wander the hills for a view and have to get rounded up miles away in moon and starlight. There’s a challenge I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
Xena, like most Labradors, has a disposition that would turn a saint green with envy, all sweetness, light, and joy at discovering she was part of a phenomenal universe. Which sometimes included a dive in the pond after rats and fish and egrets. A dog who couldn’t wait to tell you what she’d just been up to. Along with the , Come ON! Let’s GO! look, that’s who I painted.