Richard's Blog

Profession Close-ups Cripple Creek  

Wednesday, July 8, 2009 8:12:00 PM


I just got my digitized close-ups back of Cripple Creek:

This is the bottom right with the the main scene. That's actually a cameo of me on the right. The difficult thing with Cripple Creek was the canvas was not very big 24 by 30. Painting the details is impossible so you just let the mind fill them in.

I like the shadows on the water and painting the creek.


Here are the lyrics: Bottom Left. I decided to darken them and make the sheet a shade close to the rock colors. You can see the banjo player's feet, but it sure doesn't look like a banjo player! Love that swirling water.

There's the banjo picker! He playing Cripple Creek! The vegetation and plants growing on the rock are bright.

Top right. I like the tree in the middle it really stands out!

Here's the full view (below)





Anatomy of a painting- Pretty Polly 

Wednesday, July 8, 2009 12:15:06 PM


I thought I'd show you the process of how I do my bluegrass paintings. First let me say there is nothing more difficult than painting for me- it is not easy. This painful process starts with the lyrics and an idea and slowly progresses to a finished work.

I've been working on Pretty Polly for a week now and it seems like a year. I deliberate over every tree, every plant, every blade of grass. Here's the main scene:

Pretty Polly is murder ballad. The scene takes place in a valley after Willie has "led her over mountains to the valley below." Polly is begging in vain for her life. Willie is standing over her with a knife. The spade (shovel) is pointing toward her. The far background is roughed in- it took forever. The open grave is behind them. As you can see the figures aren't complete nor is the foreground where grass and forest plants grow in the shade of a giant oak tree.

What is interesting is the shovel. It looks real and I haven't even painted it- I just painted around it!

In the foreground is grass and leafy ground cover that grows in the shade. I got some plants from under a tree and set them in cup of water. This is going to take a loooong time. There's a large foreground area, whew! I've made the plants larger near the viewer to add prespective, it's hard to make it look real- I'm struggling.

The banjo player is playing and singing Pretty Polly. The singer actually is based on B.F. Shelton. He's a ghostly figure emerging from the tree trunk. Crazy I know! The main difficulty was drawing the tree bark- it was hard. I've got to finish the background trees (sketched in) on the left behind the giant tree. Nothing is easy...


Cripple Creek- Professional Pic 

Thursday, July 2, 2009 12:44:08 PM

I got the profession digital pic back on Cripple Creek.

I'll have copies (or the original available next week). Please email me at if you're interested.

Here are the painting lyrics:

Cripple Creek

I've got a gal and she loves me,
She's as sweet as she can be.
She's got eyes of baby blue,
Makes my gun shoot straight and true.

Goin’ up Cripple Creek, goin’ in a whirl,
Goin’ up Cripple Creek, to see my girl.
Goin' up Cripple Creek goin' in a run,
Goin' up Cripple Creek to have some fun.

My gal lives at the head of the creek,
I go up to see her ‘bout twice a week.
She’s got kisses sweet as any wine,
Wraps herself ‘round me like a sweet pertater vine.

Cripple Creek's wide and Cripple Creek's deep,
I'll wade old Cripple Creek before I sleep.
Roll my britches to my knees,
I'll wade old Cripple Creek when I please.

Cripple Creek- Rough Pics 

Friday, June 26, 2009 9:37:07 AM


I've finished Cripple Creek and have a few rough pics. I thought Cripple Creek would be easy but it wasn't. Painting the creek took some time and I wanted to have a banjo picker in the painting but not distract from the main scene so he ended up being part of the rock wall.

This is the main scene: "Goin' up to Cripple Creek Goin' in  a whirl, goin' up to Cripple Creek to see my girl." My camera had a blue tint to it but you can see the painting. The colors are poor with this camera. Note the man: "Roll my  britches to my knees, wade ol' Cripple Creek when I please."

Here's the whole painting. It's smaller than most of my other bluegrass paintings 24" by 30."

Close-up of the banjo picker. This pic is taken from a picker in Louisville circa 1900. The perfect age for a song that dates certainly back to the 1800s.

The lyrics:

Salty Dog: Professional close-ups 

Thursday, June 25, 2009 12:22:48 AM

Salty Dog Close-ups

Here are four close-ups of my painting Salty Dog C 2009:

Here's the lyrics posted on an metal sign and pole; also the salt shaker and dog

Sittin' on the corner with the lowdon blues, great big hole in the bottom of my shoes. The guitar is an old Silvertone. The girl eating the hot dog on a stick was supposed to be a sand sculpture, I decided to fade her out a bit so not to distract from the main images in that area.

The old maids are saying, "I wish we had a beach umbrella like the one in front of us." Miss California is the focal point of the painting. As usual my sense of humor tends to be ironic: God made woman, made her kinda funny..." I like the little girl lifting up the ocean to get her red ball. The wave she lifts up turns into a green field with a hog running across it. 

The close-up by itself could be an entire painting. I created my own meat grinder after looking at several on-line.


Salty Dog Professional pic- whole painting 

Thursday, June 25, 2009 12:09:27 AM


i just got the professional reproductions of my paitning Salty Dog. You can really see the blue sky and the low lying clouds. I tried to make the colors a bit over the top considering the subject matter. The sky needed to be  ultra-blue and the ocean was even darker as dark of a shade of blue as I could get.

I decided to make the sand bright yellow with some orange. I figured it would be a good contrast to the blue. Since I had several white colors (salt shaker) bikini, old maids bathing suit, plus I needed some contrast for the meat grinder. The whole painting is over-the-top.

More Salty Dog 

Thursday, June 18, 2009 9:02:28 AM


Here are more close-up pics of my painting Salty Dog Blues. The pic below has the lyrics. I painted a salt shaker and a dog above the lyrics almost like it was a game of pictionary. The lyrics are posted on a metal sign and post similar to one that might have posted "beach rules."

The lyrics

The two old maids sitting in the sand are probably saying, "Next time we're going to get a beach umbrella like the one in front of us."

This was supposed to be a bizarre sand sculpture: A girl eating a hot dog on a stick

And of course no painting would be complete without a cameo by Miss California:

God made woman he made her kinda funny,
Lips 'round her mouth a sweet as any honey
Honey let me be your salty dog.

She lost her title but is forever immortalized in my painting- no one can take this away from you, not even Donald Trump!

Salty Dog: Rough pics and close-ups 

Wednesday, June 17, 2009 12:14:45 PM

Salty Dog: Rough pics and close-ups

This is a wild painting featuring a variety of scenes including a little girl lifting the ocean to get her ball- the ocean turning into a giant wave and then becoming a green pasture with a wild hog running on it. A hunter standing on a giant hot dog and lifting his gun, has a finger on his trigger and is eyeing the hog. Two old maids are sitting in the sand...each one is wishing the other was a man. It also features cameos of Miss California and Mel Gibson as well a hog running above a meat grinder! What did I leave out???

Entire crazy painting (shot at an angle but you can see everything)

Close up Two old maids; a giant hot dog on a stick; salt shaker and dog; Miss California; the girl lifting the ocean

Watch out for the meat grinder Mr. Hog!

Sitting on the corner with the lowdown blues. Great big hole in the bottom of my shoes!


Reflections: Close-ups 

Thursday, June 4, 2009 11:54:16 AM


Close-ups (both are upside down!):

The painting may be viewed upside down and you can see the purple horse and rider are part of a painting on an easel (the easel legs run off the frame. So from the upside down vantagepoint it’s a painting on an easel in front of a painting. 

She's being followed by the man with the umbrella who appears in two other scenes.

Here (below) is the actual location in England where she rode her horse.


Thursday, June 4, 2009 11:38:35 AM


I just got the images for my painting Reflections:

Reflections. 54” by 54” Acrylic on canvas. Painted Frame C 2006. 

This complex painting is a series of reflections. A modern day setting of the fabled ride by Lady Godiva down a city street, there are nine different reflections and twelve different scenes. One of the scenes is the actual location in England where Lady Godiva rode her horse.

The experiment was to place the horse image reflections on the canvas and then make them make sense to the viewer. The painting also has to tell a story about an event that had relevance today. Quite a challenge!

The reflections come not only from the glass buildings on each side but also from the water puddles on the City Street. The background was based on an actual city street in downtown Winston Salem, NC.

The models for the onlookers and the man carrying the umbrella were my guitar students and families.

The painting may be viewed upside down and you can see the purple horse and rider are part of a painting on an easel (the easel legs run off the frame. So from the upside down vantagepoint it’s a painting on an easel in front of a painting. 

Each scene has a different theme with a mysterious meaning. For me the painting is essentially a statement about nudity and art; about censorship, and about the essential role art plays in the betterment of humanity.

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