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Archive for November, 2014

Ruba'i of Omar KhayyamIt’s funny sometimes on Sunday mornings, when I am looking for a piece of music to feature here, how I start with an idea of what I would like to use and find myself so far afield from that original thought when I actually begin to write.  I will look up a song on YouTube and something on the list on the right will catch my eye and I will click on that and the same thing happens on the next page until after several songs I discover am nowhere near where I began this little exploration.  Sometimes it’s good and sometimes not so much.  Today I think it was good as it took me to a place and music and an artist with which I wasn’t familiar.

The artist is  Tara Kamangar, a talented young American pianist who released an album this year called East of Melancholy which examines the links between the east and west in music particularly between the works of Russian and Persian composers.  I listened to several selections from the album and, though I am not a classical musical buff, found them quite engrossing, particularly the piece I have selected for today, Homage to Omar Khayyam composed by Iranian Aminollah (Andre) Hossein (1905-1983).

Omar Khayyam , who lived from 1048-1131, is best known to us today for his poetry which were composed in four line verses called ruba’i.  The image above is one of these verses in Persian, each leg representing a line of verse.  The collection of these ruba’i is a rubaiyat from which we get the title of the work which we know best as The Rubaiyat  of Omar Khayyam.  It has survived the last almost thousand years aided by Edward FitzGerald‘s famed translation which brought it to the attention of the west as well as reintroducing him to Iranians who had lost touch with the work.

However, the rubaiyat overshadows Khayyam’s vast influence on the world.  He was a true renaissance man, several hundred years before the idea of such a thing even existed.  He was a mathematician, an astronomer, philosopher and poet.  He wrote treatises on many subjects that shaped the modern world.  Truly, a giant of the mind yet we know him mainly as writer of short verses.

This piece begins with one of these verses:

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
 Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit,
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
 Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

Something to think about on a Sunday morning.  Hope you have  a great day.

 

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GC Myers-Refuge of the Heart smMy solo show, Into the Common Ground, has been delivered and is now at the Kada Gallery in advance of its opening next Friday, December 5th.  This painting, Refuge of the Heart, a 10″ by 30″ canvas, is one of the last pieces to be completed for this show and has the same sort of warmth in its color that runs through the entire show, a warmth that permeates the scene with a feeling of confidence and security.

And that is the feeling that I think we all desire for ourselves and our own hearts.  We want to be safe and sure in our lives, to be needed and vital to other lives.

And there is something in this piece that holds that feeling for me.  It could be the color.  Or maybe it’s the light over the horizon or the rolling field rows or some other aspect that I can’t quite put my finger on.

Maybe its the shape of the small island on which the Red Tree grows that looks like a semi-submerged heart.  It was seeing this shape that triggered the title, after all.

It could be any number of things but whatever the case, it is a piece that feels like a perfect place in which to let my own heart dwell.

 

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Small-Business-SaturdayWatched 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?

 

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Snoopy ThanksgivingIt’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.

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Wabi-sabi

Wabi Sabi  DefinitionWhen 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.

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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.

–Albert Schweitzer

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GC Myers- Blaze smMy 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.

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Sly Stone gifI 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?

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