Archive for May 29th, 2022


GC Myers- Paradisium  2022

Paradisium– At the Principle Gallery Show, Opening Friday

Only add
Deeds to thy knowledge answerable; add faith;
Add virtue, patience, temperance; add love,
By name to come called charity, the soul
Of all the rest: then wilt thou not be loath
To leave this Paradise; but shalt possess
A paradise within thee, happier far.

John Milton, Paradise Lost

I had a lot of choices when I went looking for a blurb to start this post. Lots of words written about paradise over many past centuries. However, I thought the lines from Milton and his Paradise Lost were the most appropriate, however. I like the idea of Paradise being a potentiality within each of us and not some actual physical destination that we have to seek and gain acceptance from external authorities.

My definition is certainly not the stereotypical Heaven of organized religions with clouds and winged angels with harps and an all-knowing robed god on a throne. A place here you have to wait to die before gaining entry, if you are a member of the club.

No, I prefer to believe that Paradise is always within our grasp, that we determine our own definition and mind’s perception of it. As Milton also wrote in Paradise Lost:

The mind is its own place, and in it self
Can make a Heav’n of Hell, a Hell of Heav’n.

I think Milton is on to something. In our minds, I think we all live within a stone’s throw of both heaven and hell. We can go either way at any time.

And, unsurprisingly, the route to either aligns pretty much with how we embrace traditional virtues. As Miton points out, we can reach Paradise here and now with good deeds, virtue, patience, love, charity and faith. I might be a little sketchy on the faith part here, but I do have faith in the belief that adhering to these other virtues calms the mind and creates an environment in which one’s personal Paradise can flourish.

Maybe that’s faith enough.

On the flipside, I believe that shunning virtues and embracing selfishness, greed, hatred, lying, or any of a host of other negative traits, can create a personal hell within us.

Been there, done that. Both sides of the coin.

And let me tell you, while I may not be fully in Paradise, I much prefer the journey and the scenery that leads that way.

The new painting at the top is titled Paradisium. It might well be a hope and vision for my own personal Paradise. It certainly calms my mind, makes me think better thoughts. Perhaps it represents that journey and scenery along the way to whatever Paradise is within me.

Not sure but I feel better for it.

Paradisum is a large painting on canvas, coming in at 36″ by 36″ in size. It is one of the centerpieces of my annual solo show that opens Friday, June 3, at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria.

Now, let’s follow up with a selection for this week’s Sunday Morning Music that goes hand and hand with this blog and painting. It’s a longtime favorite song, close to 50 years, from the late John Prine titled Paradise, of course. I looked it up and found, much to my surprise, that I last played it on this blog way back in 2009. It’s one of those songs that is so ingrained from years of both listening and singing that it feels like I must have shared it just yesterday.

This is a wonderful version from a variety of musicians, some who are among my favorites, who came together to record this song for The Hello In There Foundation which was started by John Prine’s family with a mission to identify and collaborate with individuals and communities to offer support for people who are marginalized, discriminated against or, for any reason, are otherwise forgotten.

Sounds like a path to Paradise to me.

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