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One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. Which road do I take? she asked. Where do you want to go? was his response. I don’t know, Alice answered. Then, said the cat, it doesn’t matter.

–Lewis Carroll

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GC Myers- The Moment of Decision smMaybe I should call this new painting The Cheshire Cat Tree instead of The Moment of Decision, which is the title I  gave to it.  There is a sort of  built-in grin in the curve of the lower path, as though it is all that remains after the Cheshire Cat has disappeared and the advice he offered Alice in the quote at the top seems to fit so well with anyone coming to any fork in the road.  And the Red Tree offers only, like the Cheshire  Cat, enigmatic advice and guidance at best for it knows that we alone are responsible for our decisions and the path that we will ultimately follow.

For me, this painting also has an interesting interplay between the direction of the two paths,  the lower one being more earthly and the other heading upward  toward a light filled horizon and the heavens above.  It seems to break the painting in two parts, opposing forces that co-exist in harmony.  Yin and yang.

Just a thought.

The Moment of Decision is 24″ by 36″ on canvas and will be part of my show at the Kada Gallery in Erie, PA opening December 5.

Project Yosemite

Project Yosemite Night ImageYosemite National Park is an elemental place, one formed from a beautiful union of stone, wood, water and light.  There is a wonderful time-lapse film project, Project Yosemite, filmed by Colin Delehanty and Sheldon Neill,  that  attempts to capture this elemental beauty.  It has stunning vistas showing the changing light of both day and night set against the backdrop of some of the park’s iconic landmarks.

The night scenes with the heavens moving above as shooting stars fire across the starry sky are pretty incredible as are the movements of the climbers on some of the massive rock faces.  They appear as bug-like figures and at night they become fireflies as their lights cast tiny but bright specks of light against the granite monoliths.

There are two great films.  Take a look and definitely check out the Project Yosemite site.  Just beautiful work.

Yosemite HD from Project Yosemite on Vimeo.

Yosemite HD II from Project Yosemite on Vimeo.

Merry Cemetery

Merry-cemetery-Sapanta-RomaniaIt’s a few days before Halloween which conjure up all sorts of macabre images, especially those of creepy cemeteries.  I am not one of those people who are repelled by the thought of cemeteries and I am sure I have mentioned my fondness for cemeteries on this blog.

I’ve always been attracted to the peacefulness of them, the shape of the stones and the names inscribed on them.  I try to imagine the lives behind those stones and names, trying to somehow connect with their essence.  I even speak to them sometimes, especially those that I know or those who have become my favorites in the cemeteries where we regularly walk.  For instance, I always say hello to one couple with  what I consider  wonderful names– Arthur and Flora Greengrow.

Grim Reaper Figure at Base of Tombstone

Grim Reaper Figure at Base of Tombstone

While many of us here are scared a bit by cemeteries, there are place where that is not the case.  There is, for example, Merry Cemetery in Sapanta, Romania.  It is filled with brightly colored wooden tombstones that are carved with a sometimes humorous limerick and naively painted images depicting the deceased at work or play .  Sometimes, however, the stones show how the person died.   These images can be a bit gruesome but even then there is a lightness about the tombstone.  You see, they are aligned with the Dacian culture which is associated with the Zalmoxian religion which has a differing view on death compared to most, seeing it as a moment of great joy filled with the anticipation of the better life that is waiting.

With the bright blue tombstones and descriptive and often humorous limericks  ( there is a very funny one about a woman where the  voice of the limerick is her son-in-law who hopes she is happy now because he doesn’t want her back), Merry Cemetery has become a worldwide tourist attraction with crowds traveling to see the 800-some tombstones.  I guess it’s always a Happy Halloween in Sapanta.

Here a few views of some of the tombstones:

Merry Cemetery Tombstones  Romania

Merry Cemetery Tombstones Romania

Merry-Cemetery-Romania- Tombstones showing means of death

Tombstones with a boy drowning and a girl being hit by car

Merry-Cemetery-Romania- Young Man being hit by train

Young Man being hit by train

Merry-Cemetery-Romania- Decapitation Tombstone

Decapitation Tombstone From WW II Era

Merry-Cemetery-Romania-25

Top of Tombstones, Merry Cemetery

Shake Your Hips

Addams Family DancerI love this little GIF of Wednesday Addams busting out some James Brown-like moves as Lurch looks on.  As we’re approaching Halloween in a few days, it seemed like a fitting accompaniment to this week’s Sunday music.  It also fits the music as well.  I found myself watching her feet intently as the song played and it just seemed to mesh perfectly with the click-clack of the percussion.  You be the judge.

This week’s song is from the Rolling Stones‘ classic 1972 album, Exile on Main Street.  The song is  their enhanced  cover  of the  song,  Shake Your Hips, from bluesman Slim Harpo.  This was not the first time the Stones (along with many other rock bands) had covered a Slim Harpo song.  They did a great version of his I’m a King Bee on their debut LP in 1964.  But in 1972 the Stones were at their peak and this song just became part of who they were, feeling like it was their own work and not a cover.

Anyway, give a listen and keep your eyes on Wednesday’s feet.  Hope this gets your Sunday rocking.  After all, it is, as every rock radio station in the world will remind us, still Rocktober.

Have a great day.

Georgia O'Keeffe-Cow's Skull  Red, White and  Blue -1931

Georgia O’Keeffe-Cow’s Skull Red, White and Blue -1931

I don’t know if I have talked much about Georgia ‘OKeeffe (1887-1985) here on the blog.  Her work was a big influence on me when I was starting, especially with her use of  bold, clear color and in the way she pared away detail in her compositions, leaving only the essential.  Her lines and forms were always organic and natural, something in them almost creating a harmony or vibration that easily meshed with the viewer on a gut level.

I was looking at films of artists at work earlier and came across a short segment from a 1977 documentary by filmmaker Perry Miller Adato that was aired on PBS at the time to mark O’Keeffe 90th birthday.  I was immediately captivated by the film of her as younger woman early in her time in New Mexico set against her at 90, listening to talk about paintings that were based on the bones she found in the high desert, telling a bit about the iconic painting shown here.

Her words were direct and plain-spoken in a mid-western voice that reflected her mid-western upbringing.  There’s an interesting juxtaposition of her speaking in very simple terms about her work set against a curator speaking in a bit of artspeak.  I’m not saying his point wasn’t valid.  It was just interesting to see how she spoke easily on the subject, it all being just a part of who she was.

It was just a neat clip that reminded me of why I liked her work so much in those early years.  As I said, this is just a clip and I am sorry that I don’t know where you can see the entire film.  But enjoy this and perhaps you’ll stumble across the whole film some other day.

Many Ways to Wander

GC Myers- Many Ways to Wander smWandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the universe.

-Anatole France

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On Monday,  I showed  a work-in-progress at an early stage of a painting that is bound for my December show at the Kada Gallery in Erie, PA.  Above is the resulting painting,  a 24″ by 48″ canvas that I am calling Many Ways to Wander.

For me, the title connects with the many paths that show themselves to the eye, from the fragmented white roads going in what seem to be several directions among the rolling foothills to the observatory’s relationship with the sun and space.  There is also the Red Tree’s posture which represents a spiritual questioning of the universe.  I also see it in the depth created by the distant hills and valleys, which create a sort of visual portal, representing for me an inner wandering.

There is a lot going on in this painting, with direction, color and shape.  But despite this it remains a quiet contemplative piece, with a sun that oversees all and acknowledges our need to search with a cool and non-judgmental eye, knowing that each will find their own path to follow in their own way.  And that is as it should be.

I’m enjoying this piece in the studio over the past few days.  There always seems to be a new angle to see it from, something new to glean from the details and forms, and that seems to pull m eye to it on a regular basis.  I find myself wandering in it throughout the day and I am calmed by it.  And that is all I can ask of it…

Family Lines

In different hours, a man represents each of several of his ancestors, as if there were seven or eight of us rolled up in each man’s skin, — seven or eight ancestors at least, — and they constitute the variety of notes for that new piece of music which his life is.
―Ralph Waldo Emerson

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GC Myers- Family Lines smThis is another newer painting that is headed to Erie for my show, Into the Common Ground,  in December at the Kada Gallery.  This 30′ by 40″ canvas is titled Family Lines with the Red Tree serving as the symbol of a family tree and the Red Chair acting as an offspring of it.  The broken segments of the winding path leading up to it represent for me the often arduous task of finding your connection to this tree while the light of the sky represents ultimate discovery and illumination.

I’ve often felt as though I had little definition of myself or my connection to the world through my ancestors.  My work as an artist has helped change this in many ways, giving me a portal for displaying who I am or  at least aspire to be in definition.  But my connection to my ancestors was always vague and hidden away beyond my knowledge.  I wondered who they were, what their stories held  and what traits they fed forward  through time to me.  I began to study my genealogy, hoping to discover some form of connection with the past that might help me better understand who I was in the present.  To discover what worlds the winding path that led to my own life traveled through.

It’s been a wonderful process that has given me greater connection with the past and with the history of this country and with those countries that gave birth to my ancestors.  Naturally, I am always drawn to the grand stories that are uncovered, the heroic and celebrated ancestors that I find myself hoping have somehow contributed some of their positive traits to my DNA.  But I am equally intrigued and touched by the simple and sometimes tragic tales that are uncovered.

I had earlier written of a great grand uncle who had lived his whole life in a county home for the infirmed. He was described in the censuses during his life as “feeble-minded” and he was unceremoniously buried  in an unmarked grave there at the county home.  I recently came across his death certificate and they listed him as a lifelong sufferer of epilepsy.  It made the story even more tragic in that this was perhaps a person who had a condition that would be treatable today.

I think of this person quite often.  His story is as much a part of that tree as those of  its more celebrated members.  It may not be the most beautiful leaf on the branch but it is there.  As Emerson says, we represent in some form a number of our ancestors and whose to say what part this ancestor plays in that piece of new music that is my life.

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