Watched the news just now and they featured clips from around the nation that had shoppers pushing and shoving one another at department stores early this morning. Black Friday, of course. Scenes of a guy being taken away in a police cruiser after a fight with a lady over a $5 Barbie at some distant Walmart just don’t seem that unusual on this day.
Good grief, as Charlie Brown might say.
I only mention this because I am urging you to shop locally and shop small this holiday season. Tomorrow is Small Business Saturday where shoppers are urged to do just that– support their local, small businesses. It’s a concept that is very important to me as I am a small businessman, as is every artist. I create work that is art first. But after the creation, the distribution of this out into the world is not unlike that of all other products, requiring packaging, shipping and advertising, among other things.
And every gallery that I sell my work through is a small business and all have been anchors in their local business communities for many years. For example, the West End Gallery has been a fixture on historic Market Street in Corning, NY for 38 years now. They show the work of over 50 local artists and craftspeople– glassworkers, jewelry makers and fine woodworkers. All are small businesses who buy most of their materials locally and who spend the bulk of their income locally, supporting other local small businesses in both ways.
It is this cycle of small business that gives communities like Corning that vibrancy makes them beautiful places in which to live. This is a purely speculative statement but I would guess that most comfortable and livable communities, big and small, around the country feature a foundation of strong small businesses. After all, who can best serve the local needs? The answer is small businesses with a stake in the community.
So, this year, please try to shop locally and shop small. You are feeding the lifeblood of your community when you do so. Besides, is a $5 Barbie really worth a beatdown or an arrest?
Posted in Current Events, Opinion | Tagged Barbie, Black Friday, Corning NY, Market Street, Shop Small, Small Business Saturday, Walmart, West End Gallery | 1 Comment »
It’s Thanksgiving and hopefully you haven’t waited all year to express a little gratitude for the good things in your life. If that is the case, get on the stick and start giving out the thanks, pronto. If you have been grateful throughout the year, relax and listen to a little Thanksgiving-inspired music. It’s pianist George Winston‘s version of the theme from A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. The cartoon itself is not quite up to the level of A Charlie Brown Christmas but the music of Vince Guaraldi always shines.
And I am thankful for that. And for Snoopy.
PS: The original YouTube clip with the George Winston version has been taken down but I have inserted Vince Guaraldi’s original below. You can hear the Winston version on YouTube by clicking his name above or here.
Have a peaceful and happy Thanksgiving.
Posted in Favorite Things, Music | Tagged A Charlie Brown Christmas, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, George Winston, Music, Snoopy, Thanksgiving, Vince Guaraldi | 1 Comment »
When I was delivering the show to the Kada Gallery on Monday, I tried to describe the joy I sometimes found in apparent imperfections– a visible paint edge or an embedded bristle from a brush, for example– in some of my pieces, how they were a reflection of our own humanity, our own inherent imperfection. These imperfections and the experience that ultimately shows in the wear and tear exhibited on our physical being are the things that make up our character. The things that tell our tale and give evidence that we have lived.
Early this morning, I stumbled across this term from the Japanese, wabi-sabi, that describes this feeling and very much embodies much of what I hope for my work. There is obviously more to this concept than this simple definition but for now I am just enjoying this as it is.
Posted in Favorite Things, Motivation | Tagged Erie PA, KADA Gallery, wabi-sabi | 1 Comment »
In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.
My show, Into the Common Ground, has been delivered to the Kada Gallery, well in advance of the December 5th opening. While it is a relief to complete the task and have the work out into the world, there are always those pieces that I wish I could spend a bit more time with. This is especially true of the paintings that were completed in the final weeks.
These pieces usually are done in the midst of a deep groove that has developed over the months leading up to the show and often feel effortless in their creation, a culmination of purpose and effort coming together. But they are done and suddenly gone before I have fully taken in their fullness for an extended period of time. And I am left wishing I could have spent more time absorbing their essence a bit more.
Such is the case with this painting, Blaze, a 20″ by 24″ canvas. It was one of the last pieces completed and made quite an impression before it left soon after.
It is a simple piece, one that relies on its color , lines and texture to carry the weight of it. For me, the Red Tree here is an example of the the inner fire coming forth and displaying itself to the world. I felt that the quote at the top from Schweitzer was very fitting. Most people have something inside that inspires passion, sets them ablaze. It often goes untended, sputtering with that person left feeling that there is no one with which to share it — no one to take in the warmth of the fire.
I know this is true for my work, that thing which is an emanation of my own inner fire. Without sharing it, without feeling that it is tended by others, it would likely sputter and go out. Without the eyes of those fire-tenders my work, my fire, would not exist.
So in this week of giving thanks, I send out a sincere thank you to those who have kept my fire alive through the years. To my family and friends, to those who work with me at the galleries, to the collectors and the readers of this blog, I extend my deepest thanks for kindling this fire. I have enjoyed the warmth and hope it has warmed you as well.
Posted in Quote, Recent Paintings | Tagged Albert Schweitzer, Erie PA, Into the Common Ground, KADA Gallery, New Paintings, Quotes | 4 Comments »
I thought I’d play some music for this Sunday music with the theme being giving thanks. Looking around, I found there weren’t a lot of choices and none that really were explicitly about the holiday. I guess the circumstances of the original event didn’t lend themselves to really interesting holiday music, certainly not on the level of Christmas songs and carols. But whenever I think of songs that mention thanks in them, even in a way that barely grazes the idea of Thanksgiving, I always immediately come back to the song of thanks from the magnificent funkiness that is Sly and the Family Stone.
Of course, I am talking about Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin.) Love the wordplay.
I wrote about Sly Stone back in August on the 45th anniversary of his epic Woodstock appearance. I mentioned then that whenever I hear something from him I find myself wondering why I am not listening to him all the time. It seems to always perk me up, make me feel invigorated. And this song is no different.
So, while it might not be on the playlists of any Pilgrims, here is a little Sly to kickstart your Sunday. Have a great day and give some thanks to someone or something today. Why wait until Thursday?
Posted in Favorite Things, Music, Video | Tagged Funk, Music, Sly and the Family Stone, Sunday Music, Video, Woodstock | Leave a Comment »
Pablo Picasso- Self Portrait 1907
I am really busy this morning with the last details of preparation for the upcoming Kada Gallery show. I am a little hectic but felt compelled to put something up on the blog out of a sense of obligation to the regimen that has been formed over the six years that I have been writing this blog. I always feel somewhat guilty if I miss more than a day. Five years ago, I shared a video of female portraits throughout the art of last 500 years that was put together by video enthusiast Philip Scott Johnson. It was a well done assemblage with portraits morphing from one to another and was immensely popular with over 14 million views on YouTube.
I came across another of his morph films, this time featuring the portraits of Pablo Picasso. I thought I would share this short but interesting film today.
I sometimes think that Picasso’s immense worldwide fame, especially around the 60’s and 70’s, kept me from fully appreciating his work. I never thought of him as an artistic inspiration for my own work but over time I have found that his work almost always captures my attention when I come across it. There is usually something in it that has that sense of rightness I often struggle to explain here. I have become, more and more, a fan of his work over the years.
Take a look at the film and see for yourself in this great little film that features the laying of Yo-Yo Ma.
Posted in Favorite Things, Music, Video | Tagged KADA Gallery, Pablo Picasso, Philip Scott Johnson, Video, Yo-Yo Ma, YouTube | Leave a Comment »
According to its Wikipedia entry, Memento mori (Latin ‘remember (that you have) to die’ ), or also memento mortis, “remember death”, is the Latin medieval designation of the theory and practice of the reflection on mortality, especially as a means of considering the vanity of earthly life and the transient nature of all earthly goods and pursuits.
I was originally going to use the term for the title of this new painting, a 16″ by 20″ canvas. It has that sort of feel, from the Red Tree’s skull-like shaped crown ( the skull is the classic symbol of a memento mori) to the darkly clad figure in the field looking downward. It surely could be a reflection on our own mortality and the transient nature of earthly pursuits.
But I instead opted to use the flipside of this term, memento vivere which means remember to live. I see the Red Tree here acting as a vibrant symbol of life, of glorying in the moment despite the constant specter of our inevitable mortality.
Actually, it just occurred to me that there is a yin/yang thing working here with the Red Tree and the figure acting as opposing forces. I hadn’t noticed this before but it appears even in their physical relationship in the composition. The Red Tree is the light, the imperative to celebrate life and the lone figure is the dark, the admonition to remember the ephemeral nature of our existence.
And with most things, treading the middle path between two opposing forces is the healthy way to go. And maybe that is the message here– that we must remember our own mortality in order to live each day as fully as we can.
This painting, Memento Vivere,is part of Into the Common Ground, my solo show at the Kada Gallery which opens December 5, 2014.
Posted in Painting, Recent Paintings | Tagged Erie PA, GC Myers, KADA Gallery, Memento Mori, Memento Vivere, New Painting, Red Tree | 4 Comments »