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Opulenta

GC Myers-Opulenta 2021

Opulenta“- Now at the Principle Gallery



I know that I am mortal by nature, and ephemeral; but when I trace at my pleasure the windings to and fro of the heavenly bodies I no longer touch the earth with my feet: I stand in the presence of Zeus himself and take my fill of ambrosia.

― Ptolemy, Ptolemy’s Almagest



This is a new painting that is part of my current solo exhibit at the Principle Gallery. It’s called Opulenta which refers to the richness of its colors which I see as a reminder of the richness of the world in which we live. A richness which we often overlook in our haste to get through our days and lives.

We are blessed with the infinite wealth and beauty of the universe always within our reach if only we pull ourselves away from the trivial and take notice of this miracle. It lightens our load and, as Ptolemy points out, lifts our feet from this mortal earth and takes us to higher planes of being.

You know, partying with Zeus and scarfing down some sweet ambrosia. That kind of thing.

I kid about that part but I understand his intent. I am as guilty as anyone in sometimes overlooking the opulence in which we exist. But I do know the experience to which he refers.

We might be better caretakers if we could understand the treasure entrusted to us in this world.

Now, where is that Zeus? I haven’t had my breakfast yet and that ambrosia sounds pretty darn good.



9921069 Opulenta Principle Gallery 2021 Catalog Page

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Dad Christmas Party 1940 closeupAnother Father’s Day. This year is the first since my dad died this past October. It’s not that other Father’s Days were big sentimental celebrations. It was never like that in our family.

But this year just feels a bit different. More retrospective than those in the past, I guess, which is how the time since his death has been, sorting through memories and the very few artifacts of his life he left behind. Trying to find small hints of his reality.

I say that because he was sort of an enigma. I got the feeling that you never knew the whole story about him, that he was always holding something back. Probably from all those years he played poker, not wanting to show his hand too early for fear of losing his advantage. He grew up tough and poor so anything he could do to hold onto an edge over anyone was important. 

As a result, he wasn’t quick to share feelings or memories. You only gleaned glimpses and facets over time and would have to stich them together like a quilt. Even then you couldn’t be sure if you were getting the full picture.

The quilt I have assembled of him is surely different than those of my sister or brother. Though we shared many memories and experiences with him, we all had many unique ones that shaped our individual perspectives of him.

The picture shown here is the only photo of him as a child that I know of. Taken from an old newspaper that I came across a few years ago, it’s from a Christmas party put on by the student nurses at St. Joseph’s Hospital for the neighborhood kids on Elmira’s eastside in 1940. He died not more than a block from where this photo was taken. He was seven years old when he was part of this makeshift group of carolers.

Still wide-eyed and innocent.

Like I said, he was an enigma and will most likely stay that way in my mind, at least. I knew him well but wish I could have known him better. But I have my distinct quilt of memories and experiences, good and bad, to hold on to and that will have to be enough.

Here’s a version of the Beatles‘ song In My Life from Diana Krall for this Father’s Day edition of Sunday morning music.



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GC Myers- A Time For Reckoning sm

A Time For Reckoning“– Now at the Principle Gallery



White in the moon the long road lies

White in the moon the long road lies,
The moon stands blank above;
White in the moon the long road lies
That leads me from my love.

Still hangs the hedge without a gust,  
Still, still the shadows stay:
My feet upon the moonlit dust
Pursue the ceaseless way.

The world is round, so travellers tell,
And straight though reach the track, 
Trudge on, trudge on, ’twill all be well,
The way will guide one back.

But ere the circle homeward hies
Far, far must it remove:
White in the moon the long road lies 
That leads me from my love.

–A.E. Housman, A Shropshire Lad, 1896



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Without Diversion

GC Myers- Between Here and There

Between Here and There“- Now at the Principle Gallery



A man must find time for himself. Time is what we spend our lives with. If we are not careful we find others spending it for us. . . . It is necessary now and then for a man to go away by himself and experience loneliness; to sit on a rock in the forest and to ask of himself, ‘Who am I, and where have I been, and where am I going?’ . . . If one is not careful, one allows diversions to take up one’s time—the stuff of life.

― Carl Sandburg



I think I need to take Mr. Sandburg’s advice today and avoid some of those diversions that take up my time, that stuff of life. I urge you to do the same and to that end will stop writing so as not to create a diversion from your own stuff of life.

See you on the other side.

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Comforter Blues

PG GCMyers-- Comforter sm

“Comforter”- At the Principle Gallery

There’s a lot to do this morning between errands and the fast approaching deadline for my show next month at the West End Gallery. Just doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day.

But it all seems insignificant and downright trivial when thinking about a good friend of mine who is in pretty bad shape right now. He is in the position many folks have found themselves in the past year or so. Though he doesn’t have the coronavirus, he has contracted pneumonia and is currently in a local ICU, where he is intubated and heavily sedated.

It’s a scary situation for him and his family and friends. Like I said, its a situation that has been way too familiar for too many people this past year, one that leaves one feeling unable to help or even comfort properly.

I am going to leave it at that. I hope you’ll think of my friend today. Maybe your thoughts will somehow help him. Maybe they will also provide an example to each of us of how tenuous our health and welfare can be, that we should not take tomorrow for granted. It may not come in the form we think it will.

Here’s a song I am playing for my friend. It’s Bell Bottom Blues from Eric Clapton during his time with Derek and the Dominos. Hope you’re up and around soon, Brian. Next breakfast is on me.



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Happy

GC Myers- Song of Joy  2021

Song of Joy“- Now at the Principle Gallery, Alexandria, VA



There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice.

― John Calvin (1509-1564)



Lots of work to get at this morning so I’m just going to leave the words above from Calvin, who basically states that to not see the joy in color and creation is a moral failing, along with Song of Joy here with the hope that you’ll find something in your day that will make you rejoice a bit. Here’s Happy from the Rolling Stones‘ classic album Exile on Main Street.

Maybe that will get your day started on the way to joy, much to Calvin’s delight.



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The Waking/Roethke

GC Myers-  Symphony of Silence  2021

“Symphony of Silence”- Available at the Principle Gallery



Tired this morning, in need of a waking so I can get on with my workload. Feels like this would be a good time to share a reading of the poem below from Theodore Roethke, The Waking. I think it pairs well with the new piece above that is part of my current show at the Principle Gallery. You decide while am trying to wake up and get moving.

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.   
I learn by going where I have to go.
 




9921065 Symphony of Silence in situ GC Myers

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GC Myers-  Symphony of Silence  2021

“Symphony of Silence”- at the Principle Gallery



Don’t feel like saying much this morning so I will just send out many thanks to those folks who were able to attend the opening of my new show at the Principle Gallery last night. Lots of thanks also to Michele and the rest of the gang  there who do so much good work on my behalf and for their patrons. It is very much appreciated. Sorry I couldn’t be there to help.

Saturday is my unwind day after an opening so here’s a song that sets the right mood for easing into whatever comes next. It’s a bit of bossa nova written by Antonio Carlos Jobim in 1960. This version is from Stan Getz along with bossa nova legends Jobim and Joao and Astrud Gilberto. The song is Corcovado, also known as Quiet Night of Quiet Stars.

Enjoy. And thank you again to those who were able to make it to the show. And thank you for reading.



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Memorial Day 2021



Civil War Soldier DageurrotypeAnother Memorial Day weekend. The day we remember our fallen soldiers, those who gave their lives to serve and protect this country, this democracy. I’m no historical anthropologist so I can’t be completely certain when I say that I don’t believe there is any one group of people on this planet who have not been touched by war in some significant way.

The history of this world has been written in the bloody ink of war.

A few years back, when I began doing genealogy for the families of my wife and myself, I was surprised at the many, many generations in each of our lines who had taken part in the wars of their times, putting their lives aside to give so much of themselves– in some cases, their very lives– for causes that often might have been mere abstractions to them. I was surprised at the number of our relatives who had died in combat on the soil of this land. In some cases, some were buried far from their homes near the battlefields of the American south.

Part of me is proud that these people have answered the call to be a small part in something bigger. But another part of me is simply sad to think that they were called on to give so much in order to satisfy or deny the baser motives of those in power. War has usually been about greed and acquisition, nationalistic pride or ethnic and religious hatred– in each instance proposed with the greatest conviction and certainty by the leaders of each side of the cause.

And on Memorial Day, we remember the people who actually fulfilled the pleas of these leaders, be they right or wrong. These citizens did what they were asked and what they felt was necessary in their time and place.  And I have nothing but respect for that.

For today’s image, I chose the daguerreotype of the Civil War soldier at the top because there was something in him that seemed to show the sacrifice of war. Maybe it’s the steely stare of his eyes. Or maybe it was his belt that is cinched in to what looks to be a ridiculously tiny diameter, showing how emaciated he appears to be. I’m not exactly sure but there is something in him that seems contemporary, less dated. He looks like he could be the guy behind you in line at the local convenience store.

And for today’s Sunday musical selection, I have chosen the song Ben McCulloch from Steve Earle. It tells the story of two brothers — the guy above was no doubt like them– who enlist in the Confederate Army in the Civil War and discover the hard realities of war as they serve under General McCulloch, who was a real person who died in battle in 1862. The chorus probably echoes the sentiments that many soldiers through time held for their commanding officers as they face overwhelming odds.

I hesitated when choosing this song because I didn’t want it to be seen as glorifying the Confederate dead. I read a couple of Frederick Douglass‘ speeches given in the 1870’s and in that time, there was a growing movement to create an equivalency between the two sides of the Civil War, an effort that continues, unfortunately, to this day.

Douglass pointed out that it was acceptable to honor the courage of the fallen Confederates but it should be forever remembered that they were trying to destroy everything this nation had stood for since its formation and that it should be clearly noted that there was no equivalence between the two sides. Morally, there was a right side and a wrong side.

As Douglass put it:

It was a war of ideas, a battle of principles and ideas which united one section and divided the other; a war between the old and new, slavery and freedom, barbarism and civilization; between a government based upon the broadest and grandest declaration of human rights the world ever heard or read, and another pretended government, based upon an open, bold and shocking denial of all rights, except the right of the strongest.

We should never become a country where the rights of the strongest outweigh those of the weakest among us. Hopefully, fewer folks will have to sacrifice their lives to ensure this. So have a good Memorial Day, hopefully one filled with some appreciation of what the day really encompasses.



 



This post was adapted and added to from one that ran several years ago.

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GC Myers The Peaceful Silence 2021 PG Catalog page



Didn’t get around to writing my regular blog this morning but I did want to let folks know that the full catalog preview for my annual solo show is now available by contacting the Principle Gallery. Just send them an email at info@principlegallery.com and they will set you up. This year’s show, titled Between Here and There, opens next Friday, June 4 at the Principle Gallery located on historic King Street in lovely Alexandria, VA.

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