For every map commission, I synthesize a number of commercial, scientific, and/or legal maps to fashion a base map that yields the appropriate geographic information. In the case of properties, however, such resource maps provide broad strokes: to render the property with all its special and personal locations, I pay a house call for a few days. While there, I explore the property with the owner or property manager, noting walking paths, special rocks, pet cemetaries, impressive ancient trees, stone walls – features that don't register on existing maps. Beyond that, walking the property gives me a sense of its personality, and that sense informs the look of the map.
Terra Rosa Ranch, located in the Texas panhandle, is named after the rosy red soil of its property. I scooped a handful into a baggie and brought it home (prompting no TSA suspicion) so I could mix a matching paint hue for the map's landmass color.
Some particulars of this canvas: it's a contour map, the elevations distinguished by various intensities of Terra Rosa Red; it's designed in nineteenth century Western styles; the directional arrow is punctuated by the Terra Rosa brand; the inset map pays homage to Stephen Austin's famous 1839 map of Texas; finally, its list of ranch animal species contains one mythical beast.