This Land

ArtByDrew

Joined September 2008

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*This land is your land
This land is my land
From California
To the New York Island
From the Redwood Forest
To the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me

As I went walking
That ribbon of highway
I saw above me
That endless skyway
I saw below me
That golden valley
This land was made for you and me

I roamed and I rambled
And I followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of
Her diamond deserts
While all around me
A voice was sounding
Saying this land was made for you and me

When the sun came shining
And I was strolling
And the wheat fields waving
And the dust clouds rolling
A voice was chanting
As the fog was lifting
This land was made for you and me

This land is your land
This land is my land
From California
To the New York Island
From the Redwood Forest
To the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me*

- Woody Guthrie – 1940 -

This is a multimedia digital painting that was inspired by the first song I ever learned to play on the guitar, ‘This Land Is Your Land’, over forty years ago. It is also a tribute artwork to the great artist that wrote the song, Woody Guthrie. The artwork was done for ‘Earth Day’, and portrays what I think Woody would have meant by his lyrics if he were alive in todays world.

The goal of the artwork is to bring to mind that the Earth is our one and only land, and we should take great care with her as the stewards of her treasures that we have been given the responsibility to protect. May you never look upon an image of Earth after this again without the words ‘This Land was made for You and Me’ reverberating through your mind and spirit.

Woody saw the country, and the world, as a place where there should be no private boundaries or borders… a place of freedom. This is the symbolism of the Earth from space in the artwork, as there are no borders or boundaries when Earth is seen as a whole from space. He stated these feelings in some less known verses contained in the earliest known recording of the song, which is known as the ‘private property’ verse. This version was confirmed by several archivists for the Smithsonian interviewed as part of the History Channel program ‘Save Our History – Save our Sounds’. The 1944 recording with this verse can be found on Woody Guthrie: This Land is Your Land: The Asch Recordings Volume 1, where it is track 14.
It goes as follows…

*There was a big high wall there

That tried to stop me
Sign was painted
It said private property
But on the back side
It didn’t say nothing
That side was made for you and me*

Guthrie also had a variant of this verse

*As I went walking

I saw a sign there
And on the sign
It said ‘No Trespassing’
But on the other side
It didn’t say nothing
That side was made for you and me*

You can listen to the song on the YouTube Video link below

This Land Is Your Land Video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XaI5IRuS2aE

You can also read more about the history of this song at the Wiki page below
History of ‘This Land Is Your Land’
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/This_Land_Is_Your_...

Now a few details about the artwork. The first step was in creating the components for a photo composite. The photo of Woody Guthrie is a public domain image I obtained from the US Library of Congress at the link shown below. You will need to cut-and-paste it to your browser, as the URL contains special characters that disallow a conventional link due to Redbubble formatting constraints.

Original Image of Woody Guthrie – US Library of Congress
http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?ils:8:./t...

I spent a great deal of time restoring the photo of Guthrie, removing scratches, specks, hairs, blemishes, and cracks. I then worked with the image quite a bit to improve the contrast and tonal qualities. The image of the Earth came from a well known public domain photo at NASA. I also spent a great deal of time restoring it in much the same way as the Guthrie photo. Those folks with the government should do a more careful job scanning and archiving these treasures, as the quality of their images is usually very poor. Once the Earth photo had been restored, I created a black and white image, and lightened the density to help give the Earth depth in the composite.

The two restored photos were then used as layers in Photoshop. The shadow cast from Guthrie was hand-painted in Photoshop between the Guthrie and Earth layers. Once the composite was done, I proceeded to create the painting in Photoshop. The borders and text were added to the painting in Photoshop. I was very pleased how this came out, as well as, pleased to probably have one of the best images ( my restored photo ) of Woody Guthrie that exists. I haven’t decided yet whether I am going to make the restored photo available.

The original finished artwork is 4800 × 6600 pixels at 300 pixels per inch. I have included a few detail cutaways below so you can see the detail. The detail cutaways are at 50% of the original size of the artwork.

Artwork Comments

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