This Land is My Land

This Land is My Land


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Friday, May 31, 2013

Flamming flowers that brightly blaze - demo

Good day blog buddies,

Recently I've done a series of 6 paintings based on the lyrics written by Don McLean in his award winning song Starry Starry Nights. The lyrics were based on the paintings and the life of Vincent van Gogh which McLean studied.

My paintings are based on those lyrics.

"Flaming flowers that brightly blaze"

9 x 12 on heavy linen paper - done with gusto - emotion - and spontaneity of stroke and form.

Using a 2 inch brush I put in the sky applying lots of paint

Next I start putting in the visual representation of the ocean in the BG at the horizon line 

I now start putting in foliage at the horizon using a "dry brush" technique which produces a very realistic appearing distant evergreens.  I also am using "dry brush" to start putting in the distant grasses

I continue to build on the grasses adding shadow areas as well as brightness 

Dry brush work takes a long time but it allows the artist to have great control over the appearance 
of the area being developed.  It is a series of upward strokes as well as jabs and stabs of staccato type motions.  So I just continue putting in the the grasses both in shadow and light.
The lyrics "Flaming flowers that brightly blaze" refer to the sunflower paintings that Van Gogh is well know for.  Van Gogh painting mostly landscapes but the few still life pieces he did are those of   

I need to go back into the painting a do some tweaking in the shadows and the light areas as well as develop some brightness to the colors in the field of sunflowers.

We now have a finished painting.


I hope you enjoyed this  - as I can say that it is one of the most enjoyable painting sessions I've had in a while - for some reason this one was special.

Creating a painting from the lyrics written by someone who studied the life of a  Master artist as well as the paintings of that Master ( who lived a very troubled life - ending in  the artist's suicide ) was a new venture for me and one that proved very creatively rewarding for me

JR    :>)

Friday, May 24, 2013

Colors changing hue, morning field of amber grain"

Hello blog buddies,

In doing research for a painting, I discovered that Don McLean songwriter extraordinaire- read some books on the life of Vincent Van Gogh and then wrote many songs with Van Gogh's life and paintings in mind. One very famous one was released in 1971 on his famous album AMERICAN PIE. "Starry-Starry Night."

Starry, starry night.
Flaming flowers that brightly blaze,
Swirling clouds in violet haze,Reflect in Vincent's eyes of china blue.
Colors changing hue, morning field of amber grain,
Weathered faces lined in pain,
Are soothed beneath the artist's loving hand.
Now I understand what you tried to say to me

This morning I did a painting which represents to me the above words:

"Colors changing hue, morning field of amber grain"

6 x 24

6 x 24 piece of heavy linen paper with the horizon line drawn in

The first thing I do is apply a generous amount of white paint to the sky area using a 2 inch brush

I've darkened the photo so you can see the application of the white paint

Next using the 2 inch brush again, I throw in some blue for the sky - letting the undercoat of white dilute the blue as I move down to the horizon line

We now have a sky with some fair weather clouds

The next series of photos will be showing how I build up the layers of "grain" starting from the horizon line forward

The important part of this of course is to vary the height and color as I move forward into the FG.  The process I use for building the "grain" is that of "dry brush" - no moisture on the brush what so ever and I use quick upward strokes 

I now start to build in a darkness to the grasses that are in the foreground - this will give contrast to the lighter grasses in the BG as well as "push" these lighter grasses back further to the eye of the viewer

We now have a finished painting

I hope you enjoyed this DEMO as much as I enjoyed painting this.  I am very moved by the song writing of Don McLean and believe I have tried to bring the emotion of his words into my painting.

JR   :>)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Let there be light

Good morning blog buddies,

Did a quick painting the other day sort of semi abstract and highlighting and celebrating the bright sun light that we get to enjoy most of the the time here on the Gulf coast of Florida.

12 x 9 done with lots of gusto - spontaneity in color and form and done very - very - very quickly with free flowing strokes and emotion.

JR    :>)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Light through the canopy No. III

Hello Blog Buddies

Just did a quick painting this morning for # III in a short series I'm working on.  I figure maybe 4 or 5 paintings in the series.

This is 12 x 9 on heavy linen paper - I start out with a quick sketch of tree trunks - 5 of them.  Always work in odd numbers - an even number does not register well with the eyes of the viewer.

I start putting in the BG - painting around the tree trunks - no need to be accurate as I'll paint in the tree trunks with my palette knife so I can make any adjustments necessary to the width and shape of the trunks

OK - BG all painted in - with a slight indication of the downward shinning light coming through the canopy

Tree trunks all put in using my palette knife .

I now start putting in the "black mark" indications found on aspen trees using a small round brush

OK - time to finish this painting up -   I add more cascading light indication on the ground as well as in the BG between several of the tree trunks as well as indications of other trees in the BG.
In order to accentuate the cascading light I put in a very dark FG to surround the cascading light


Friday, May 17, 2013


Hello Blog Buddies,

Today I will demo the creation of "PATH TO THE WOODS"

This is a 9 x 12 painting on heavy linen paper done with Chroma Interactive acrylics, very quickly with emotion - spontaneity and gusto.

I put in the sky using a 2 inch sky flow brush loaded with lots and lots of white and blue paint 

This painting will be done using 2 brushes the 2" for the sky and a small brush for the rest of the paint using for the most part a "dry brush" technique to develop the foliage

I develop the sky so I have a combination of clouds and sky that to my eye presents the type of day that I see in the piece

Using the small brush - which is completely DRY I continue to generate foliage using quick upward strokes and dab s & jabswith just a small amount of paint on the brush.
The next few photos will show the generation of the foliage - keeping in mind what scrub type foliage looks like and through the quick upward strokes with a perfectly dry brush I keep working until the foliage has a realistic look to it

I now finish up the foliage giving it a tweak here and a tweak there to complete the painting

I hope you enjoyed this demo and picked up a hint or two of some of the procedures I use to develop a painting.  

I'll be back next week with a demo or two - in the meantime - enjoy life - smile at those who cross your path and most importantly when you smile - say "HELLO!!"

JR   :>)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Behind the Mangrove Swamp

Yo my friends,

After visiting a Mangrove Swamp on Sanibel island I became (almost) obsessive in my desire to paint these.  The Mangrove swamps throughout Florida have many functions some of which are to act as a barrier to the winds that storms such as hurricanes bring to our area.  These swamps can receive the brunt of the high winds which in turn acts to slow them down somewhat before they reach the mainland.

This will be a demo on what one can see behind the Mangroves.  This is 12 x 9 on heavy linen paper - using Chroma Interactive acrylics - wet into wet - alla prima - with brushes and a fair amount of gusto and emotion in strokes.

First I throw in the sky.

This demo will be mostly about developing the land mass which in most cases is behind the mangrove swamp and along the coastal waterways out in front - becoming a very unprotected piece of land.

It is truly a swamp with the vegetation sitting (standing) in salt water for most of its existence.  The next series of photos will show the development of this "swamp" 

In order to push back the swamp land I will generate a palm tree in the foreground using both brush and palette knife.  I like to mix the use of brush work and palette knife work in the same painting as I feel it gives the painting life and movement.
I will also "tweak" the "ground clutter" in around and in front of the palm trunk.


I hope you enjoyed this demo as much as I enjoyed painting it.

I'll return next week with another demo - in the meantime Google MANGROVE SWAMP
it is a fascinating subject and there is a lot in information on the web.

Did you know that the mangrove tree has a built in desalination system in its roots that extracts the salt from the water before it enters the root system.
Did you know that mangrove trees are not very solidly positioned in the "MUCK" that they sit in so they send "ROOT SHOOTS" straight down from the branches above that in turn root themselves into the "MUCK" thereby giving the tree a much stronger "foot hold" with which to withstand the hurricane force winds.

As I say, Google"MANGROVE SWAMPS" there is a lot you can learn.

JR       :>)