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The Revitalizing Time

GC Myers- Solitary Song- 2022

Solitary Song— At the Principle Gallery, Alexandria, VA



“And what, you ask, does writing teach us?

First and foremost, it reminds us that we are alive and that it is gift and a privilege, not a right. We must earn life once it has been awarded us. Life asks for rewards back because it has favored us with animation.

So while our art cannot, as we wish it could, save us from wars, privation, envy, greed, old age, or death, it can revitalize us amidst it all.”

― Ray Bradbury, The October Country



Sunday morning and it’s still dark here as I write.

A cool and sleepy autumn morning in October.

The perils of the world seem far removed on such a morning. It’s a welcome respite, this time each morning when I devote a small bit of my day to music and words and art.

Maybe that is the revitalization that Ray Bradbury refers to in the passage above. It certainly lends a small sense of purpose, maybe one that allows me to pay back Life for its given gift.

I don’t know. Maybe.

Anyway, I’ve been sitting here for a while listening to music and now the clouded light is starting to filter in through the trees around the studio. It’s time to take this bit of regained vitality and face the world again. Here’s a song, a favorite from Neil Young that I thought I had played recently but discovered that it has been eight years since it last played here.

Time creeps away, don’t it?

Here’s Neil and his Harvest Moon from a performance from some time back at the venerable Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. Good stuff.



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A Tour of Wrigley



Since baseball time is measured only in outs, all you have to do is succeed utterly; keep hitting, keep the rally alive, and you have defeated time. You remain forever young.

–Roger Angell, Once More Around the Park: A Baseball Reader



Just wanted to share a drone tour of Wrigley Field, the fabled home of the Chicago Cubs, that was released yesterday. The team produced this video as an end-of-season gift to their fans and it gives every fan an intimate and fascinating view of the park, inside and out. I would have to believe that this required a tremendous amount of planning and expertise to produce such great results.

It’s a fun watch for even non-baseball fans.

I thought I might try my hand at generating some AI (Artificial Intelligence) images through one of the free online generators. These were from deepai.org. You basically type in a short description of what you would like to see, and they pop up moments later. Sometimes the results surprise you.

I made two requests, one a Picasso painting of Babe Ruth and the other a baseball player in a Van Gogh landscape. I’m kind of partial to the Van Gogh ballplayer.

Anyway, take a tour of old Wrigley this morning.



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Resurrection Shuffle

Hurricane Ian Ft Myers



We’re coming up on two years since my dad died and watching the coverage of Hurricane Ian brings back a lot of memories. The last place he lived was in Fort Myers Beach, about a mile down San Carlos Blvd. from the Sanibel Island Causeway that was totally devastated by the storm. I look for images that might show his old home there but it’s so hard to determine what is what in the massive destruction shown.

I found one mention of the park in which he lived that said that, early into the storm, the water was up on to the roofs of the homes there. I can only imagine that it is gone or, if not, will soon be as it would be unlivable and most likely beyond repair.

I also can imagine that some of the people in that same park refused to leave.

Though I wasn’t fond of that place or the reasons for being there several years back when we had to go down to bring hm back to this area as his Alzheimer’s worsened, this makes me a little sad. Just another example of how traces of people are wiped away.

And now the storm is headed up to the Charleston, SC area where my parents also lived for a couple of years. Maybe they lived in those places just so their family would be reminded of them whenever the inevitable natural disasters struck these vulnerable areas?

I kind of doubt that factored into their decisions.

But seeing these images of these places I somewhat know being so decimated is striking on a human level. I can’t imagine having to try to rebuild a life in those places. I am tired now as it is.

But it will be done in some form. People somehow persevere.

It’s all we can do.

I have a piece of music to share that might seem out of place and irreverent to the tragedy taking place. If you are offended, I apologize. However, coming across it this morning made me smile and people need to be able to do that if they are to persevere. This is an old clip from the Cher show in 1975 that has Cher, Tina Turner and Anthony Newley performing a medley of songs including The Resurrection Shuffle, in a revival tent-type setting. It’s a classic example of kitschy, overdone variety TV that ruled the early 1970’s. I

It’s so bad it’s good.

Again, sorry if this seems out of place but, hey, they’re going to need this kind of energy for their own resurrection.



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Songs of Solitude

GC Myers Solitude and Reverence

Solitude and Reverence



Solitude is the profoundest fact of the human condition. Man is the only being who knows he is alone, and the only one who seeks out another. His nature – if that word can be used in reference to man, who has ‘invented’ himself by saying ‘no’ to nature – consists in his longing to realize himself in another. Man is nostalgia and a search for communion. Therefore, when he is aware of himself he is aware of his lack of another, that is, of his solitude.

-Octavio Paz, The Labyrinth of Solitude (1950)



I am in the midst of getting ready for a solo show at the Kada Gallery that opens on November 4. I am thrilled to have another show at this gallery that has represented my work since 1996 and this will be my first there since 2019, just before the pandemic.

I am eager to put together a super strong show and have about a month to finish up the new work for this show. So, time (and solitude) is once again a limited and valuable commodity.

Saving a little time here this morning, I am sharing a favorite painting of mine from several years back, Solitude and Reverence. It’s one of those pieces that speaks to me so strongly and personally that I find myself mystified, even a bit offended, that it never found a home. But that is the nature of art and I have truly enjoyed having it here over the past few years. Maybe this is the home it deserves.

Continuing the theme of solitude, I have included the words of Octavio Paz on the nature of solitude as he sees it along with a classical violin piece from contemporary composer John Harbison. This is Song 2 from his 1985 work, Songs of Solitude.



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Motivator

Wales_national_football_team_logo.svg

Logo of the Welsh National Football Team



Instruction does much, but encouragement everything.

–Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Letter to A. F. Oeser, 1768



I am not a huge soccer fan, so I don’t know much about its history or the intricacies and subtleties of the strategy of the game. But I do like watching the game very much. There’s a flow and rhythm to the game that attracts me. When it is played at its highest level, with great speed and precision in the ball movement, there is a grace and beauty that is hard to beat.

I guess that accounts for it being called The Beautiful Game.

In November the World Cup, which is played every four years, begins and this year the national team from Wales has qualified for the first time since 1958.

Welsh folks my age have never seen a team wearing the Red Dragon of their national flag in the ultimate tournament. So, it is understandably a big deal in that part of the world.

I thought I would share a clip of Welsh actor Michael Sheen in a recent appearance on a popular British sports quiz show, A League of Their Own, which was originally hosted by James Corden for quite some time. Sheen is asked what he might say to the team in the locker room to motivate before their matches. In the tradition of the other great Welsh actors, such as Richard Burton, Anthony Hopkins and so many more, Sheen does not disappoint.

It has me rooting for those Red Dragons in the Cup. Go, Dragons!



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True Stability

GC Myers- Between Order and Chaos

Between Order and Chaos– At the West End Gallery



True stability results when presumed order and presumed disorder are balanced. A truly stable system expects the unexpected, is prepared to be disrupted, waits to be transformed.

Tom Robbins, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues



I like this definition of stability from author Tom Robbins. I think it can be applied to any sort of system– political, economic, societal, environmental, etc.

Even our personal psychology.

In any system, to have this balance between order and chaos results in a stability that can absorb the blows and hardships that inevitably come to every being, as well as being able to adapt and change in response to that which is new.

Balance keeps the world spinning on its axis.

And when it is out of balance, the world wobbles then struggles to regain that balance, that stability.

A lot of wobbling taking place in this world right now in a lot of ways. The question remains: How can balance be found again?

As someone who has wobbled more than once in my life, I wish I had an answer to that question for everyone. But I don’t and don’t believe anyone else truly has that magic one-size-fits-all answer.

I might offer: Be Kind and Honest with others and yourself.

I find that this works in most situations. Kindness softens the blows and honesty enables the insight needed to adapt and transform.

Beats a stick in the eye, right?

Anyway, to complete today’s triad on stability, here’s a song, No Rain, from Blind Melon. It’s hard to believe this song is about 30 years old. Released in 1993, it was written about the songwriter’s girlfriend who struggled with depression, sleeping through the sunshine and complaining when it didn’t rain. The video here brought the featured tapdancing Bee Girl a bit of fame. Her search for acceptance and a place to fit in connected with a lot of people.

Maybe that’s the answer– just keep those feet moving.



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Breton’s Optimism

Jules-Adolphe_Breton_-_Le_Soir_-_Arnot_Art_Museum

Jules Breton- Le Soir, 1880, Arnot Art Museum



I have always had a passion for the beautiful. If the man in me is often a pessimist, the artist, on the contrary, is pre-eminently an optimist.

Jules Breton



This quote from painter Jules Breton (1827-1906) is a favorite which pleases me since the painting of his above, Le Soir (The Evening), was also a favorite of mine growing up.

It hung in our local museum, the Arnot Art Museum, and I would often stand in front of it after school when I was in the junior high school just several blocks away. The painting, with its wide beckoning horizon, has a glow and depth in its sky that isn’t captured in this photo. It always pulled me in.

As for his words, I certainly find some association with them. While I sometimes see myself as a bit cynical and misanthropic, my work is usually more aspirational and forward facing. 

Maybe it has to be that way in order to balance things out. Otherwise, I might not get out of bed in the morning. 

And I’m not ready for that…

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Someday Never Comes

GC Myers- The Homecoming sm

The Homecoming– At the West End Gallery



Obsessed by a fairy tale, we spend our lives searching for a magic door and a lost kingdom of peace.

Eugene O’Neill, More Stately Mansions



There are so many things we seek to understand.

Answers to long held questions.

It can be maddening but we always hold out hope that answers will be somehow revealed to us but at some point, we realize that might not happen. Oh, you still keep an eye out for a hint at some sort of illuminating evidence. But it as rare as a winning lottery ticket so you resign yourself to dealing with what is at hand, those things you do know.

Or so they say.

I can’t say that this is the right or wrong way to live one’s life. To each his own.

But maybe it’s that hope for understanding that keeps us alive, that gives our sometimes-drab lives purpose.

However, I do think we need something to live for and the search for some sort of understanding is as good as many others. Hopefully, someday we might find understanding of our existence.

But, as this week’s Sunday Morning Music points out, someday may never come. This is Someday Never Comes from Creedence Clearwater Revival.



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Democracy

democracy1



It’s coming to America first
The cradle of the best and of the worst
It’s here they got the range
And the machinery for change
And it’s here they got the spiritual thirst
It’s here the family’s broken
And it’s here the lonely say
That the heart has got to open
In a fundamental way
Democracy is coming to the USA

Leonard Cohen, Democracy



Not going to say much this morning. Just wanted to share a song from the late Leonard Cohen called Democracy. I am also including a reading of the lyrics by author Neil Gaiman with backing piano from his wife, musician Amanda Palmer, over wonderful watercolor illustrations, such as the one above, from David Mack and Olga Nunes.

I see this as just a simple reminder that this coming election is different than almost any election in the past. It is not about the cyclical changes of the economy or taxes or things like that. You know, the ephemeral matters that go back and forth among the parties most elections.

This election is about a lot more. This is about keeping the concept of democracy and the rights of all fundamentally intact. This election has dire ramifications, some that could be long-lasting– even permanent– and possibly set a much different course for this country than most can imagine.

Okay, I said I wasn’t going to say much and I want to keep my word. Here’s Democracy from Cohen first and the Neil Gaiman reading just below it.





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Lindner Redux

Stranger No. 2 1958 by Richard Lindner 1901-1978

Richard Lindner- Stranger No. 2, 1958



“An artist must remain a child, with an interest in unimportant things.”

“I never do colour sketches. I do colour on the canvas. I have always felt that in order to be a good painter one should be colour-blind because the colour doesn’t have to be seen. It only needs to be felt.”

–Quotes from Richard Lindner



Richard lindner Double PortraitI’ve been going through some books on my shelves that I haven’t looked at for some time and came across a smallish book on the work of Richard Lindner (1901-1978), who was a German born painter who fled Hitler and moved to New York at the beginning of World War II. He worked as an illustrator for Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar before embarking on his painting career. Lindner also taught at the Pratt Institute then later at Yale before his death in 1978.

His work was obviously a big influence on the Pop Art movement of the 60’s. If you remember the artwork for the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine film, you can easily see how Lindner’s work Richard Lindner The Coupleguided the hand of the film’s artist. While most people think was Peter Max, the artist was actually Heinz Edelman. This misconception probably shows Lindner’s influence on Peter Max as well.

I also can see Lindner in some of Terry Gilliam‘s animations for Monty Python. The Beatles paid tribute to Lindner by inserting his image in the group of figures on the cover of their classic Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album. He is between Laurel and Hardy in the second row from the top in the image at the bottom of this page.

Probably no surprise that I am really attracted to Lindner’s colors and use of forms. His colors have gradations and complexities that give his work added dimension. His shapes and lines are strong and sure. It is work that demands an immediate response, even if it’s negative, and I really respect that.

Richard Lindner  FBI On East 69th StreetOne of my favorites is shown to the right here, FBI On East 69th Street.  I have no idea whether he was influenced by Lindner’s work (although I wouldn’t be surprised), but when I look at this painting I can only think of David Bowie, especially in the early 70’s in the Glam era of rock.

Again, the strength of the color and shapes as well as how his figures fill the picture frame, excite me.  How I might take this excitement and make it work within my own work is something that remains to be seen.  It may not be discernible but seeing work that makes your own internal wheels spin will show up in some manner.  We’ll have to see if this comes through in the near future.



The post above first ran back in 2013 and I’ve added a few things including two quotes from Lindner, the image from Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper album cover, and a video compilation of Lindner’s work that is curiously set to Brahms. Seems like it should have been the Beatles or something with a Pop Art feel. But it still works.

I love the quote about maintaining a childish interest in unimportant things. I can relate to that…



Richard Lindner The Meeting

Richard Lindner Rock-RockRichard Lindner Telephone

Beatles Sgt. Pepper Full Cover Shoot

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