George moved to San Francisco, where he began using the name 'Leslie' for the first time. There he became a member of the bohemian community of artists, writers and poets. His earnings from work as an illustrator for magazines and books paid for a visit to Paris in 1904. This trip inspired him to try his hand at oil painting. Back in San Francisco, in 1905, he compiled a portfolio of work to be exhibited the following year in what would be his first solo exhibition. However, this would never come to pass, as all of his work was destroyed by the fires that followed the 1906 earthquake in the city.
This was a disaster for Hunter and led to his return to Scotland. He settled in Glasgow later in 1906 but continued to make visits to France from time to time (except during the First World War when travel was restricted). Hunter developed a group of friends based on the east coast of Scotland, who introduced him to Fife. The county's rural architecture and colourful landscapes became an important source of inspiration to him. Ceres and Lower Largo in particular were favourite haunts. In a letter to one of those friends Hunter wrote "Fife is ever a delightful thought on my mind with its beautiful valleys and villages".
"The little town of Lower Largo provided another favoured painting ground for Hunter. This tiny stretch of the Fife shoreline - its cottages and large, square granary block (now part of the Crusoe Hotel) backing in to the sea, its sandy shore dotted with large outcrops of rock, its jetty and small harbour at the mouth of the Keil Burn and people enjoying the sea air - provided a constant source of challenge for Hunter."
The painting above is 'Summer's Day, Lower Largo' dated 1921 which depicts a bustling beach scene. Below are a few examples of the many artworks that survive by Leslie Hunter depicting Largo (more to appear in future posts).