There is delight in singing, though none hear beside the singer.
—Walter Savage Landor
The British poet, Walter Savage Landor, who wrote those words above knew what he was talking about: Sometimes you do something that is filled with pleasure for yourself yet it might not stir the soul of a single other person. The delight comes in simply doing it.
Not that Landor, who lived from 1775 to 1864, was without accolades. He had an incredibly long career–almost 70 years— and was held in the highest esteem by his peers. But he never gained widespread public popularity or love for his work in his life or after.
His poetry was his singing and sometimes only he and perhaps a few others could appreciate that voice.
I chose these words from Landor for this painting not only because I felt that he was writing about his own work in a way. I used it because of the great pleasure I took in painting the painting above, an 18″ by 18″ canvas that I am fittingly calling In Delight. It was one of those paintings that gave me a lot of joy at every step of its growth, each stroke making it come more and more to life for me.
It’s that fulfillment of joy that makes me not worry about how it is received. If not a single person sees a thing in it, I do not care. It pleased me to simply make it and even now it makes me smile when I look at it from my chair in the studio.
For me, I felt like I was singing with a rich and full voice. But again, that’s just my ear. You might hear fingernails on a chalkboard when you look at it. And that’s okay– the delight was in the singing.
Posted in Favorite Things, Motivation, Quote, Recent Paintings | Tagged GC Myers, New Painting, Poetry, Quote, Red Tree, Walter Savage Landor | 2 Comments »
The painting above is titled Paradise-The Land of Men, Birds and Ships. It’s actually a mural that was painted on a building outside of Paris in 1950 by artists Friedensreich Hundertwasser and René Brõ. It was saved from demolition in 1964 although I have no idea where or in what condition it now stands. I’ve featured Hundertwasser’s work, with it’s rich colors and organic shapes, here on the blog a few times in the past. I like his work, I like this and thought it fit well with the song I’ve chosen for today’s Sunday Morning Music.
That song is Ships and Birds from one of my favorite albums, Wilco and Billy Bragg‘s 1998 Mermaid Avenue. It’s a collection of old unheard Woody Guthrie lyrics set to new music composed by Wilco and others. This track features Natalie Merchant singing the lead and is just a lovely, simple song. A nice way to kick off any Sunday morning.
Have a great Sunday…
Posted in Favorite Things, Music | Tagged Billy Bragg, Hundertwasser, Mermaid Avenue, Music, Natalie Merchant, Sunday Morning Music, Wilco, Woody Guthrie | Leave a Comment »
Lawren Harris- Ice House, Coldwell, Lake Superior 1923
Art is the distillate of life, the winnowed result of the experience of a people, the record of the joyous adventure of the creative spirit in us toward a higher world; a world in which all ideas, thoughts, and forms are pure and beautiful and completely clear, the world Plato held to be perfect and eternal. All works that have in them an element of joy are records of this adventure.
I love this quote from the great painter (please note that I didn’t preface it with Canadian) Lawren Harris. I know that whenever I am working and am excited with the joy of what is unfolding before me, I feel closer and more connected to some sort of power that is beyond my knowledge. It’s as though I feel tapped in to that winnowed result of the experience of a people as Harris puts it. That is a great feeling, exhilarating and calming at the same time. It is ultimately the feeling that brings one to art, both as a viewer and a creator.
Unfortunately, in the course of creating, it is sometimes a feeling that is forgotten, put aside for ends other than this element of joy.
It’s easy to do, believe me.
But rediscovering that joy is like coming across it for the first time. Even though you know you have experienced it before, it feels all new and shiny, full of promise.
Effervescent– that is the word that comes to mind when I think of these moments of joy.
So, let me stop right here. I am close to my own joy and don’t want to delay it for another minute. Effervescence will not wait around too long, you know.
Hope you find some of your own today.
Posted in Favorite Things, Painting, Quote | Tagged Joy, Lawren Harris, Quote, Quote of the Week | Leave a Comment »
I wrote last year about a couple of places where my work has ended up in one way or another. Recently, I received some material from a couple of these places that show how my work is being used.
The first came in the form of a catalog from the Arts in Embassies Exhibition at the United States Embassy in Kuwait. My painting that hangs at the Embassy, The Way of the Master, was chosen to adorn the cover. This was a surprise and a thrill, especially given the quality of the work from the other artists in the exhibit, including Helen Frankenthaler.
Archaeology: Rooted in the Past
The second was a calendar from the Spanish Society of Soil Science that featured one of my Strata pieces on the cover and Archaeology: Rooted in the Past inside for the month of May. I didn’t know anything about this calendar other than the fact that my pieces were involved. I was pleasantly surprised to discover the company I was keeping. Spanish tapestry artist Carles Delclaux and myself were the only living artists involved and among the others were some of my heroes, Vincent Van Gogh and Pieter Brueghel, and some of the finest classic painters from Spain.
Besides my obvious favorites in Van Gogh and Brueghel and one of the Limbourg Brothers‘ gorgeous plate from Les Tres Heures , one of my favorites from the calendar is shown at the bottom, titled O Paraño. It is painted by an interesting character, Alfonso Daniel Rodriguez Castelao, who is better known for his political works and writing in Spain than for his obvious talent as a painter. This piece was painted in the 1920’s and it’s use of color and form really connected with me.
I realize that in the big scheme of things, these little moments of having my work included in such projects don’t really matter all that much. But on some days, when things aren’t going too well, there is something reinforcing in seeing them and feeling that my work somehow fits into the larger puzzle.
And that is gratifying.
Alfonso Daniel Rodriguez Castelao- O Parano
Posted in Favorite Things, Neat Stuff | Tagged Art in Embassies Program, Carles Delclaux, Castelao, Helen Frankenthaler, Kuwait, Les Tres Heures, Limbourg Brothers, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Vincent Van Gogh | 2 Comments »
Sometimes I will get an image in my mind that seems all fleshed out and full. It’s just a matter of moving that image from the inner workings of my consciousness into the outer world of reality. Sometimes, it goes smoothly and the final painting matches that first thought of it.
But more often, that trip from thought to reality produces something completely unlike the original vision. And sometimes that is not so good. The work shows the struggle in trying to force the vision into reality and the whole thing looks forced and without rhythm. But occasionally, one slips out that is not at all like the original vision but somehow finds its own rhythm and comes to life on its own.
I think that is what happened with the painting shown above, a small 9″ by 12″ canvas that I call Where the Winds Gather. I’ve had an image of this painting in my mind for a few weeks and as I would be doing other things it would often bounce through my mind. But it looked much different than this painting. The color was not the same nor was the manner in which the whirls of wind in the sky were painted. Some of that is the result of working in a smaller size which restricted the type of marks I could make with my brush.
There was a point when I was well into this piece that I could see that it had strayed far afield from my original concept and I began losing my enthusiasm. For a while I wanted to just set it aside or simply call it a day and paint it over. But I decided to push through and see if it could evolve into something more. And slowly it did, at least in my own eyes. There’s an interesting balance of rough and soft in this and the pattern in the sky came together much better than it appeared in its earlier form.
There’s just something I like in this piece. Maybe it’s just the fact that it came to life despite my own original misgivings. I know that I admire that kind of determination from someone in overcoming the low expectations placed on them. Grit.
Maybe that should be the title– Gritty Determination.
Posted in Painting, Recent Paintings, Technique/History | Tagged GC Myers, New Paintings, Recent Paintings, technique | 6 Comments »