Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Good day yesterday. My Gallery Talk at the Principle Gallery went really well, with a great group of folks that made the task much easier for me. Lots of familiar faces of friends that I have seen many times before and plenty of new ones as well. They all made me feel comfortable and had lots of interesting and well thought out questions. The hour flew by and I only stumbled once or twice. We had some laughs and I hope everyone walked away thinking that it was time well spent.

I know that I enjoyed myself. That’s not something I have always said after some of these talks. I often anguish over things I have and have not said, over those folks I didn’t get to say more to, over the flop sweat that I can feel seeping out of my pores when I suddenly go blank. Things like that. But yesterday didn’t hold a lot of regrets for me.

I felt very free to be open and honest with these folks.

Thank you to everyone who was there for giving me that freedom. I can’t fully express my appreciation for the sustenance that it will provide me over the long days ahead in the studio.

And a very warm thank you to Michele and the gang at the Principle Gallery for the continuing support you offer me after the 21+ years we’ve worked together. I appreciate all you do for me but more than that, I value the friendship and trust you have shown me over this time.  Thank you, as potent as those words are, seems insufficient. But you know what I mean, right?

Hope we can do it even better next year!

For this Sunday morning music here’s something from a favorite of mine, the great Rhiannon Giddens. It’s called Hey Bébé and it has a nice, jaunty feel to kick off the first Sunday of autumn. Have a great day.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

+++++++++++++

I am a being of Heaven and Earth, of thunder and lightning, of rain and wind, of the galaxies.

–eden ahbez

+++++++++++++

The painting shown above is a new piece, a smallish 6″ by 12″ canvas, that will be going to the Principle Gallery on Saturday for my Gallery Talk there. Its title is And the Sky Cracked and is part of a small recent series that features my interpretations of lightning strikes. How accurate they are in a realistic or scientific way, I can’t say. That doesn’t really hold much sway for me, at least not as much as capturing how the lightning feels to me.

Lightning is an amazing thing, a natural wonder that inspires awe and fear like it was some sort of god. No wonder so many religions give their main gods the power to wield lightning. It can destroy yet can also illuminate, bringing clarity to a course of action. Being struck by lightning is how we often describe moments of the revelation of great truths, of moments of self-discovery that alter the lives of those who experience these moments.

Like the finger of a god pointing the way and giving light to the path forward.

Powerful stuff.

Walking through my woods I often see the traces of past lightning strikes etched in the bark of the trees. Some have splits that run from their tops all the way to the way to the ground, blackened by the heat of the electricity that surged through them. In the case of some recent strikes, the ground at the base of the tree is burnt where the cracked bark of the trunk runs into the soil.

We had one strike several years back that was like a multitude of shotgun blasts going off outside our door, so close there was not thunder to give us warning. The next morning I saw that an old, large white pine down our driveway had been hit by the lightning. A deep crack ran down one of its thick upper branches down into the main trunk.

About forty feet away I noticed a chunk of pine the size of a large brick laying in the grass. Looking back at the trunk I immediately saw the spot where it had been blown away from the tree, no doubt the boiling sap of the pine finding a weak spot there in which to explode.

About a year later, that large branch, the size of a mature tree in itself, came down in another storm. The power to destroy.

Here is another in this lightning series that will also be with me on Saturday. It is called Real Power and is an 18″ by 18″ canvas.

The quote at the top is from eden ahbez, perhaps one of the earliest hippies back in the 1940’s and the man who wrote the song Nature Boy, most famously recorded by Nat King Cole. I wrote about ahbez here back in 2009 and Nature Boy remains a favorite of mine. Below is the Nat King Cole version.

Hope you can make it to the Gallery Talk at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria on Saturday. It starts at 1 PM and there is at least one painting to be given away along with some other goodies. Oh, and some good conversation. See you there!

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

+++++++++

Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance.

–Carl Sandburg

+++++++++

I like this line from poet Carl Sandburg. I think any artform acts in that way, as an echo of the person who formed it trying to bring that created remembrance forever to life. I often write about trying to see that sense of life in my work, that quality where the work has a feeling of movement–life— and seems to speak with its own voice.

What it is saying is an echo of what I was feeling in the moment it was created. And if I have done my job well, it sets these echos, these shadows, dancing. A reverberation from the past, the creators own echo sent into the future. A voice that will continue to speak, to echo, long after its creator has gone.

Or as Victor Hugo similarly stated: What is history? An echo of the past in the future; a reflex from the future on the past.

Maybe it’s too early on a Sunday morning to try to work on logic that is somewhat circular. I think I’ve said what I want to say here but the better part of it might still be in my head. Alas, that’s the way it will have to stay.

For this Sunday morning music here’s a fittingly titled song, Echo, from the celebrated British folk trio, Talisk. It has a building intensity that I very much like. Give a listen.

The painting at the top is a new piece  whose title is A World of Mystery, an 18″ by 24″ on canvas. It is headed to Alexandria with me next Saturday, September 22 for my annual Gallery Talk at the Principle Gallery. The talk, which starts at 1 PM, features a drawing for a painting of mine as well as several other goodies. Hope to see you there.

Read Full Post »

I am running around this morning with a list of things to do. But I thought I’d share an old song that popped into my head as I was walking on the path through the woods that leads to my studio this morning. It’s kind of goofy but periodically this song shows up, buzzing its way through my head.

The song is The Laughing Song and it comes from Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks. from back in the early 1970’s. The music of Hicks, who died back in 2016, is hard to categorize. It has bits of swing, country, jazz, pop and plenty of whimsy. He and his Hot Licks made a number of entertaining television appearances back in the time of the old variety shows that were a staple of TV before the advent of reality shows.

I can’t say that this song made me laugh but it always made me smile. Give a listen and have a good day.

Read Full Post »

Another August passes by and September mercifully comes through the door. I am no fan of the month of August as I have documented here in the past. Just the saying the word brings up pangs of anxiety and unease, images of hazy heat rising under a glaring sunscape.

September, on the other hand, has connotations of coolness, shortening daylight and a quiet calmness. The cycle of life has the leaves on the trees beginning to take on color and they will soon be drifting to the ground. September has that same drifting to the ground feel that eases some of the angst of this world, at least for me.

A sigh breathed in August is different than one in September. August’s is one of frustration and in September it is one of relief.

So, as you can see, I am pleased to be in the first days of September where I can sigh freely.

As has been my habit for a number of years, I generally play a version of  one of my favorite songs, the classic September Song, at the beginning of the month. It has been recorded by so many artists that it’s not hard to find different performances of it each year. This year we are going with one from the legendary jazz singer, Sarah Vaughan. Beautiful version.

Enjoy and have a good day.

Read Full Post »

+++++++++++++

Those he commands move only in command,

Nothing in love. Now does he feel his title

Hang loose about him, like a giant’s robe

Upon a dwarfish thief.

-William Shakespeare,  Macbeth

+++++++++++++

I read an interesting article in The Atlantic  by Eliot Cohen this week that has stuck with me for the past few days. It parallels the possible fall of the current administration to that of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. How fitting that the Scottish play, as it is often called, might mirror the fall of a man with a Scottish ancestry.

The end may be brought about by those he has freely abused and those around him who serve him not from admiration or love but from fear and the self-serving nature of the position, things that will no doubt soon fall away as the downward spiral hastens and his true nature of this utterly selfish person becomes apparent to even those who still follow him with fervor.

As Cohen writes:

…his spirit remains tyrannical—that is, utterly self-absorbed and self-concerned, indifferent to the suffering of others, knowing no moral restraint. He expects fealty and gives none. Such people can exert power for a long time, by playing on the fear and cupidity, the gullibility and the hatreds of those around them. Ideological fervor can substitute for personal affection and attachment for a time, and so too can blind terror and sheer stupidity, but in the end, these fall away as well.

Who will be Macduff, the one who ends the reign of the tyrant, in this version of the play is yet to be determined. But the last words of Macduff before he is urged by Macbeth to Lay on, Macduff should be remembered:

Then yield thee, coward,
And live to be the show and gaze o’ the time:
We’ll have thee, as our rarer monsters are,
Painted on a pole, and underwrit,
‘Here may you see the tyrant.’

In case you don’t know the play, it doesn’t end well for Macbeth.

The Cohen article is an interesting read. You can see it here.

For this week’s Sunday morning music I have chosen a nice collaboration of a song from the great American songbook from Elvis Costello and the late great Chet Baker. The title fits well with an article about a man who demands love and loyalty but offers none in return: You Don’t Know What Love Is.

Take a look and a listen. Have a good Sunday.

 

Read Full Post »


This morning, I was looking at the wall in my studio that is directly in front of the desk where I write this as well as the easels where I paint. It’s a large stone fireplace that is about fourteen feet wide made from local creekstone. There are bookshelves built into the wall, the shelves formed by thick slabs of bluestone. There are also three half round ledges that jut out from the wall that were obviously placed to show off tchotchkes.

I have a number of personal things littering the wall. There are several of the carvings from the years before I began to paint. An old snowshoe. A carved crow from a well known regional sculptor shares one of the half round shelves with a cheap carving of Don Quixote that my sister gave me as a Christmas present when I was still a kid . There’s a Buddhist prayer wheel given to me by a friend along with a thumb piano made from koa wood, picked up on a trip to Hawaii many, many years ago.

But in the center is a painting from a few years back, an abstract comprised of colorful blocks. I knew when I did this piece that it was strictly mine and wasn’t surprised that it didn’t find a home. There are several such pieces here in my main painting space. Maybe it’s the fact that I did them just for my own satisfaction that make them favorites of mine. I know this painting catches my eye several times a day and there is definitely a sense of satisfaction in each glance.

Even with that, I don’t know that I would do such a piece again. If I did, the scale of the painting would be much larger, maybe four or five feet square, so that its colors and forms had the size to make a real statement. A bold yelp whereas this small painting is a whispered wish. But that whisper is mine and I wish on it every day.

Below is a post from back when it was made. The quote totally aligns with how I see the key to creativity– finding that medium and process that corresponds with the way one thinks and feels.

____________________

GC Myers- Jazz ( Song One)The artist is a man who finds that the form or shape of things externally corresponds, in some strange way, to the movements of his mental and emotional life.

Graham Collier 

****************

I have been working on dream inspired patterned forms, as I’ve noted here several times recently. I have been incorporating into the layers that make up my skies in simple landscapes where they serve to give added depth and texture. It works really well in that context and it would be easy to just use it in that way.

But there is something about some of them that make me just push them to the forefront alone without masking them with any representational forms over them. Something beyond narrative. Elemental. Like it is somehow tied to my own internal shapes and forms and patterns.

I was thinking this when I came across the quote at the top from the late jazz musician/composer Graham Collier. It made so much sense because I think that is, in general, the attraction of art  for me– it’s an external harmony of internal elements.

I didn’t know much about Collier who died in 2011. He was a bassist/bandleader/composer who was the first British grad of the Berklee College of Music. He played around the world and also wrote extensively on jazz but he still wasn’t on my radar. While I like jazz, my knowledge, as it is in many things, is pretty shallow. So I decided that I should listen to some of Collier’s music.

The first song I heard was titled  Song One (Seven-Four) and it just clicked for me. It was so familiar and seemed to be right in line with the piece at the top, a 12″ by 12″ painting on masonite panel. It made me think about the connection with music, how sounds often take the form of shapes and colors in the minds of both musicians and listeners.

Again, very elemental.

So I began to think of these newer pieces as music. It creates a context that makes sense for my mind, one that gives me a way of looking at the work without seeking representational forms. It’s an exciting thing for me and I look forward to some newer explorations in this realm in the near future. For Graham Collier’s clarification, I am calling the piece at the top Jazz ( Song One).  Here it is :

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: