Ghost Ranch

Ghost Ranch Rod Jones Artist

Ghost Ranch

Oil on Canvas


“My heroes have always been cowboys and they still are, it seems.” – Willie Nelson.

It’s hard to say, if my painting Ghost Ranch was influenced by the music I listen to when I paint. After all, I listen to music like most artists when I paint. Truth is, I mostly listen to classical music. Used to favor Jazz, but I found the melodic cadence and rhythm a little too close to the way I paint. After all;  jazz music can be pretty abstract with lots of notes juxtaposed into and melody. The “Patternism” in my art can look like a metaphor of Jazz Music. 

“ I am a member of the country club because country music is what I love.”  – Travis Tritt. 

It’s certainly not typical of me to paint while listening to country music, and those who worship classic country music know why. If you’re not wanting to form a line dance to “Achy Breaky Heart”, then you just want to head out to the desert in your truck set up a campfire, and pop open a drink or two, while wishing you were a member of the “Highwaymen”, like Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and Kris Kristofferson. ( I have to admit while writing this section, a bunch of country songs popped into my head, which made it difficult to continue). 

Like most artists; I guess music listening while painting can have an influence on your art. It’s terribly hard to say what I was listening to when I painted Ghost Ranch.

This is not customary of my style, even though it has some of the elements that are pervasive in virtually all of my works.

The story of “Ghost Ranch” from my archives.

Ghost Ranch was an area where cattle rustlers in the 1800’s hid their stolen cattle in its canyons. They spread the rumor that that land was haunted by evil witches, and soon the place was known as the Ranch of the Witches, in time it evolved into Ghost Ranch. This was to discourage anyone from investigating the area and finding out about their stolen cattle. 

Now the area is more notoriously known as the home of Georgia O’Keefe. Note the many “cattle brands” from the various pilfered herds in the painting. 

Music seems to influence my mood, and I suspect that’s why it is such a popular complement to painting. I have learned from history that it wasn’t terribly uncommon for artists and their subjects to have musicians playing during long portrait settings. I also suspect that, En plein Air artist stop and reflect on the sounds of nature, from babbling brooks to the wonderful symphony of birdsongs. 

Us studio painters have to make do with Spotify— carefully and most often cheerfully curated music, that sets the tone of mood. Painting receptively, as I do, can be tedious. I don’t allow outside influences to be the catalyst for inspiration I paint from my head with guidance from a much higher source. I have to guess that Ghost Ranch, may have to do with childhood memories and growing up throughout the South West. Did Studio music influence the work? I sincerely doubt it. It is one of those works the magically and transformatively can change your mood. If nothing else it transfigures contemplation. Does it have the “WOW” factor? For some maybe.

I write a story to go along with each painting I create, and post once a week. Most often Sunday.  If you like what you You see and read? Please follow my blog.

“I write about what I paint and I paint about what I write, motivating myself and hopefully others.” – Rod Jones Artist