Painter of the good life

Driving a 1965 VW Bus, 21-window, down the Baja Peninsula Highway is a spectacular ride. With the Sea of Cortes on the left and the fish taco stand you wish was there on the right, this traveler is ready to pull over for lunch. Bing Copeland surfboard, fishing rods, diving fins, "guard dog", and the open road sets the scene...

I first discovered the paintings of John Ramos when I was a student in Long Beach. I went into a gallery in Seal Beach and was struck by this style of painting I’d never seen, calming colors and visions of a life I wanted to be pasted into.

Put your feet up in the hammock and enjoy this view of Matachen Bay, San Blas, Mexico. Commissioned by Jose Cuervo Int'l for their 200th Year Anniversary, Ramos traveled to the state of Nayarit on the Pacific Coast of Mexico to the village of San Blas and the famous surfing beach of Matachen Bay.

Driving up the California Coast in a 1947 Ford Woody with your Hawaiian shirt on, listening to the music on the radio, and your Fender guitar riding shotgun. The town of Cayucos is in the distance while the rear view mirror shows the famous "rock" of Morro Bay.

Ramos, originally from Chihuahua, Mexico, paints the coastal towns of Baja California, where he traveled, surfed and found inspiration. But he also paints California’s Highway 101, particularly near San Luis Obispo. After spending a lot of my teenage years in the same area, I was excited to see a painter who could translate the freedom and beauty of that special part of California. (I also feel connected to him because he’s a Cal State Long Beach alum, too; though he was there four decades before me 🙂 ).

My favorites of his paintings are each of the ones that seem as though we’re viewing them from someone else’s eyes: The interior car shots, the bathtub scene and the sitting-in-a-hammock-with-a-cold-Corona scene. They all just make you want to be right there, on the beach doing nothing. Don’t you agree.

A classic 1965 VW Bus is parked at Refugio Beach just north of Santa Barbara. This tranquil setting captures the essence of one of the most popular surfing & camping beaches on the California Coast.

Next time I make a trip down Highway 101, I’m for sure going to visit his gallery in San Luis Obispo. I probably won’t be able to buy his art until I get out of the money-less profession known as journalism, but at least I can dream.

Let me know what you think of Ramos and his paintings. Who are your faves?

Thirty-2, Thirty 4Ú A scene from everyday life! Levis on the bathroom floor next to a set of keys to a 1955 Chevy truck...

In a tub…with a Corona beer, rubber ducky and the transistor radio. Just relaxing next to the palm tree shower curtain and sea horse tiles.

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4 Responses to Painter of the good life

  1. Lucy says:

    That picture is the coolest pictuer ever! That is exactly like my bus, color and all (well its original color.) As soon as its done we will take a roadtrip and you can sit next to me just like that little doggie 🙂 You can even hang your head out the window, or ragtop for that matter! When its done of course. OH, Jen can sit in the far back seat, and pretend we are chauffering her around. Thanks for the introduction to this artist, ive never seen him before! I love him.

  2. Becca says:

    I love these! Especially the bathtub one. Oh, and the hammock one! It totally reminds me of Costa Rica. Wouldn’t I just die to be able to return there and lounge in a hammock for the rest of my days….

  3. John Ramos says:

    Great writing! Thanks for your kind words and hope to meet you sometime.
    John Ramos

  4. R. Eskes says:

    Hey John,
    I like your VW bus picture would you have a bigger (HQ) picture of it..?

    pls contact us at: or on Facebook under Rafael Jeans

    yours sincerely,

    R. Eskes
    Rafael Jeans LTD. Europe

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