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GC Myers- Song of Joy  2021



The same stream of life that runs through my veins night and day runs through the world and dances in rhythmic measures. It is the same life that shoots in joy through the dust of the earth in numberless blades of grass and breaks into tumultuous waves of leaves and flowers.

― Rabindranath Tagore



Titled Song of Joy, this 18″ by 24″ painting on masonite panel is included in my annual solo exhibit Between Here and There, opening Friday, June 4, at the Principle Gallery.

This piece really struck me in a powerful way while it was in the studio. There is something in the brightness and clarity of the colors that just feels joyful to me. And the orange sun rising adds a sense of forward-looking hope to this joy. Even the shapes of the rich green forms in the foreground had a happy, joyful feeling.

It might be one of the more optimistic paintings I have done in some time. There is a positivity that I think reflects the thought above from the great Nobel Prize winning poet/writer Rabindranath Tagore. There is real joy to be found in the recognition that we are all filled from the same stream of life, that the lifeforce of all living things and the atoms of which we are all comprised are from that stream.

This sense of unity, this joyfulness in simply being, also makes the natural sorrows of this world, the inescapable realities of our lifetimes, somewhat easier to absorb. It is, after all, simply part of the stream’s flow. And for all of the joy and brightness of this painting, it has an underlying darkness showing through.

By its very nature, it is brightness built on darkness. It’s something I always want and seek in my work, this sense of visible darkness which contrasts and heightens the light.

Joy in life despite the its hardships.

And in this painting, that is the source of the Red Tree’s Song of Joy.

Here’s a song that sort of expresses this type of joy. It’s Feelin’ Good Again from Robert Earl Keen. It’s a favorite song that I’ve played it here before. It always reminds me of my dad and his bar buddies, many who he had known most of his life. I remember stopping at the bar with him on a number of times on Saturday mornings, a quick pitstop on the way to the horse track, and how all these guys would be so happy in seeing one another, laughing and shouting. It might have been as close to real joy as I ever saw in my dad. This song always feels like it’s a song of joy he would understand.



9921063 Song of Joy Catalog page

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GC Myers- In Rhapsody  2021



My soul is a hidden orchestra; I know not what instruments, what fiddlestrings and harps, drums and tamboura I sound and clash inside myself. All I hear is the symphony.

― Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet



The idea of a union between music and painting has long been a theme in my work. I think my new solo show, Between Here and There, at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria probably explores that idea more than most of my prior shows.

The painting above might be the best example of this. It is titled In Rhapsody and is 24″ by 30″ on canvas. I see all sorts of musical equivalencies or analogies in it. I see the Red Tree here as a conductor of sorts, standing in a sort of spotlight of brightness amidst an orchestra composed of the landscape and the skies and the mountains as he pushes them to a loud crescendo. Something very Beethoven-like or Wagnerian to that, probably due to the influence of Bugs Bunny cartoons in my childhood. I most likely know more about Warner Brothers’ cartoons than I do about classical music but that doesn’t dampen my appreciation for either.

Or I see whole painting as a musical score, the layers of the landscape moving back into the picture plane as movements in a musical piece, each with their own emotional content and inflection that leads to the next, with which it blends and meshes into a building harmony. It builds more and more as the layers move deeper culminating in the movement from land and water up into the red-violet of the sky. The sky here feels like the crescendo here for me.

Everything builds to the drama contained in the color and clouds of that sky.

For me, it has an ethereal, timeless quality that reminds me of a fine piece of music, one that moves people in any time in which it is played. Music and art are emotion-based and while everything in this world is forever changing and the circumstances might be completely different for generations of listeners or viewers, our emotional responses remain very much the same. We coo in love and rage in hate, we laugh in joy, we cry in despair, and so on.

Our emotions are fields of constancy and music and art work their magic in those fields. I hope this piece does that, as well. Of course, this is simply how I personally see and feel the piece and that doesn’t amount to much more than small hill of beans when you get right down to it. How this painting or any other piece of mine works it way into the future is well beyond my control. It has to prove itself.

Below, is an example of a piece of music that I think fits well with In Rhapsody. It is a section from Beethoven‘s famous 5th Symphony, one that builds to crescendo beautifully. The video is a composed of a graphical score with multiple colors and forms that is fascinating to watch as it scrolls along with the music. I thought it was also interesting how the colors of its beginning screen match so well with the painting as you can see in the image below the video.



My annual solo show, Between Here and There, opens this Friday, June 4, at the Principle Gallery at their King Street location in Alexandria, VA. Unfortunately, I will not be in attendance this year. We are hoping for some sort of event, a gallery talk, later in the year as circumstances allow. You can see the show catalog here. Thank you!



GC Myers- In Rhapsody Principle Gallery 2021 Catalog page

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GC Myers- Symphony Serene sm



O Lord, my heart is not lifted up;
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me.

-Psalm 131, I Have Calmed and Quieted My Soul



The painting at the top is titled Symphony Serene and is, of course, from my solo show, Between Here and There,  opening this coming Friday, June 4, at the Principle Gallery. The preview for the show is available by clicking here which takes you to the gallery site.

I have a lot of fondness for this piece and others like it that are spare and inward reaching landscapes with the broken sky, short-hand term that I use for the mosaic-like construction of the skies in these paintings. I believe its the peaceful nature of these pieces that does it for me. There is a serenity achieved in both the end result of the final work and in the process of painting it.

I believe I have spoke of this in the past but painting pieces such as this often have a meditative effect, one where the mind feels as though it is running on a parallel track, completely apart from the conscious. While working on these, everything but the surface in front of me feels blocked out and far away. My mind moves endlessly in and out of the composition, constantly balancing and weighing each individual block of color in a way that creates its own rhythm.

I barely notice but I am constantly sitting then standing then pacing back and forth before the piece. Without thinking, I often walk backwards across the room with my eyes fixed on the painting, sometimes stumbling over other paintings or lightstands in the process. I barely notice and my eyes seldom leave the painting when I stumble. 

Time slips away in the blink of an eye during the process and I will sometimes only stop when the phone rings, breaking the trance that I have been under for five or six hours. It’s only when I stop that I notice the fatigue in my eyes from being so locked in on the surface of the painting. But its a wonderful fatigue, one brought about by being totally in a serene place for hours, a place that I am creating in my mind and on the surface of the painting.

It’s as close to absolute calm and quiet as I ever get.

I wish I could explain it better. 

For this Sunday morning music, I am linking this painting with a choral piece from a favorite composer Arvo Pärt. This is from his work Da Pacem Domine, which translates as Give peace, Lord. This piece below is based on Psalm 131, I Have Calmed and Quieted My Soul, which is shown above.

I am not a particularly religious person, as I have mentioned in the past. But there is something in certain sacred music of almost any religion that touches something in me, something more basal, more rawly attuned to the spirit than anything the liturgy and clerics of the churches have to offer. It reminds me of a book from the late 1970’s, The Dancing Wu Li Masters from Gary Zukav. He wrote about the similarities in the worlds of the spiritual and of physics. How theologians and religious scholars and theoretical physicists sometimes met and, stripped of the dogma of the theologians and the math of the physicists, spoke in very much the same terms about the same concepts. They found much common ground and agreement in concept and theory once they were far removed from the politics of their respective establishments.

I find that interesting. Anyway, here is Psalm 131 from Arvo Pärt as performed by the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir. For me, it matches up well with my Symphony Serene and is a fine way to start off what looks to be a gray cool day here.



9921029 Symphony Serene Catalog pg

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GC Myers- Blue Haven sm



From my spirit’s gray defeat,
From my pulse’s flagging beat,
From my hopes that turned to sand
Sifting through my close-clenched hand,
From my own fault’s slavery,
If I can sing, I still am free.

For with my singing I can make
A refuge for my spirit’s sake,
A house of shining words, to be
My fragile immortality.

― Sara Teasdale, Refuge



Today, I am sharing the painting at the top, Blue Haven, which is another from my annual show, Between Here and There, that opens a week from today, June 4th, at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria, VA. Previews of the show become available today by contacting the gallery.

I thought I’d pair this painting with the short poem above, Refuge, from Sara Teasdale, the great and tragic American poet. Teasdale (1884-1933) wrote a poem, Strange Victory, that remains a favorite and was the inspiration for a group of my early paintings. Her poem and the painting both deal with creating a refuge or safe haven from the forces of the outer world that so often make us feel as though we have been pummeled without mercy. Finding a way or a place in which we can  hunker down and endure is sometimes all we are left.

Sometimes, just enduring is a form of triumph.

I believe that is what this painting says for me.

I hope it shows itself properly here, so that you can see it for what it is. It was a very difficult painting to photograph with its multiple contrasts and shades of blue, which has aspects and depths that are especially hard to properly capture. After a quite a few attempts I am still not sure that this image fully captures it. The difficult ones, those that are hard to capture and those that deal with complex emotions, are often my favorites. I think it’s because the viewer has to work a bit to fully understand the piece in their own way. It doesn’t offer its rewards easily.

I am also sharing a choral piece that is based on this Teasdale poem. It is surprising how much of her work has been the basis for musical works. I had no idea until I did a quick search this morning and found that there are several different compositions based on this poem alone. The one below spoke most clearly to me. It is  short piece for solo piano written by Edward Enman during the early days of the pandemic using Teasdale’s poem as inspiration. There is also a choral selection from composer Audrey Snyder that is lovely as well.

Give a listen to one or both, if you have a few moments.



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GC Myers- Full Moon Fever smHere is another new piece from my solo show at the Principle Gallery that opens next week, on June 4th. This is another of the interior scenes showing a room in the aftermath of some sort of to-do.

Myself, I don’t know exactly what took place and can only imagine.

I think that’s the point of these paintings, to give an endpoint where the viewer has to use their own imagination as to what has occurred. A final paragraph for a short story that gives you the results but not how it got to this point. It can be as vibrant and wild as your imagination allows.

This painting, a 10″ by 20″ canvas, is titled Full Moon Fever. My own story for what has happened is that this is a cabin where Larry Talbot tried to hide from the moon, to no avail. Larry Talbot was the name of Lon Chaney’s character in the original 1941 werewolf movie, The Wolf Man.

Now, that’s my take. Your own story may not line up with this at all and that’s means you’re using your imagination. That is usually a good thing so long as you realize it’s your imagination and not reality. Wild imaginings that folks perceive as reality are not a good thing as we have all seen in way too many instances in recent times.

I borrowed the title of this painting from a Tom Petty album that bore the same name, Full Moon Fever. Here’s Free Fallin’ from that album to honor the memory of Larry Talbot’s howling freefall that came under every full moon.



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GC Myers- Between Here and There



If the path be beautiful, let us not ask where it leads.

― Anatole France



The new painting above is the title piece for my new show, Between Here and There, which opens next Friday, June 4 at the Principle Gallery. It is 22″ high by 28″wide in size and is painted on linen.

Like many of my paintings, its meaning lies in a moment captured in a symbolic journey. That moment when one stops to look both ahead and behind and to also savor the moment of pause.

I have sometimes this journey as being like a labyrinth whose twists and turns sometimes gives you glimpses of your far destination even though there is so much more of the pattern to be traveled before reaching it. Soon, you might be at a point where your desired objective seems a million miles away though it seemed so close not so long ago.

The way I see this piece is that the closer Red Tree is at such a moment and sees itself at a future time on that distant hilltop, with an even better view forward into the distance and back into the past. It sees itself there as being a fuller being, wiser and more attuned to the world, than it sees itself here.

That is its desired destination.

But between here and there are obstacles to overcome, hills and mountains to climb and rivers and seas to cross. Battles to be waged and wounds to be healed. People to be found and people to be lost.

Moments of elation and moments of utter despair. Sometimes, the despair so dark and hopeless that the journey seems at an end.

But then, like a twist in the maze, the objective you so desire comes back into view and you stop to take it in. And in this moment as you look forward then look back at all that you have endured, you savor once more this pause.

You are what you are and one day you may be what you desire to be. It may be dark now but tomorrow offers the possibility of light. You remember then that this is how the journey goes, that the trek between here and there is never easy.

Nothing worth having ever is.

That’s my take on it. Your own may and probably should be different. We are, after all, unique creatures.



 

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9921066 The Admiring Pause sm

“The Admiring Pause”- At the Principle Gallery, Alexandria VA



It may be important to great thinkers to examine the world, to explain and despise it. But I think it is only important to love the world, not to despise it, not for us to hate each other, but to be able to regard the world and ourselves and all beings with love, admiration and respect.

Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha



Even though I am writing this on Saturday morning, this is Sunday and for the first time since last year I am back on the road, delivering my new show, Between Here and There, to the Principle Gallery. The show, my 22nd solo effort there, open June 4.

Maybe because I have become so used to being ensconced in the studio, the idea of any sort of trip, even a daytrip like this, feels unusual. Strange, like I have somehow forgot how to move among people or talk or act around them. In a way, I feel like a convict who has been in solitary for the past year and is suddenly back among the general population.

Just hope I don’t have to shank anybody.

Just kidding, of course. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

Okay, time is fleeting and I still have much to do today (yesterday for those of you reading) before I am ready to do anything tomorrow (today) so let me point out the new painting at the top, The Admiring Pause, which is part of the show. There’s a lot I like about this piece. There is a sense of stillness and fullness that I find very satisfying. Makes me want to sit back and admire it for just a brief moment.

The pause that refreshes, as the old Coca Cola slogan goes.

For this Sunday morning music I thought a piece from Dave Brubeck would go well with this painting. I am going with Koto Song. A koto is a Japanese zither-like instrument and this song was from Brubeck’s 1964 album Impressions of Japan. It’s a nice piece of music that has that elemental stillness that marks much Japanese art. Something I have long admired and desired for my own work. You judge for yourself.



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GC Myers-  Symphony of Silence  2021



Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.

― Rumi, 13th century Persian poet



The new painting at the top, titled Symphony of Silence, is an 18″ by 36″ canvas. This weekend, it is headed down to the Principle Gallery as part of my solo show, Between Here and There, which opens June 4th.

I have written in the past about what I see as the connection between painting and music, how I see some of my pieces as simple songs and others as more intricate compositions. Perhaps symphonies or concertos.

This, in my eyes, is one that seems simple at a first glance. It is sparse and without great details. But the more I look at it, the more I see in it. How each element and color plays off the next and how they are fortified by each. It feels like there are rhythms and melodies running through it, from side to side as the terrain flows and up and down with rise of the moon.  There is inward and outward movement with the light of the stars and the undulation of the trail. The blocks that make up the night sky seem to swirl and rotate in all directions. The far mountains appear almost as sound waves. 

There is seemingly constant movement throughout the landscape and the skyscape. Almost a cacophony.

Almost.

It is silence.

Somehow the movements, the rhythms, and contrasts all run together at some point.

Harmony. Made up of the stars in motion countless lightyears away and the ancient wisdom contained in the stillness of the land and water. Always there but in silence. 

It is a simple piece but one that constantly shares something more than it lets on with a mere glance.

Here’s a piece of music to accompany it, a longtime favorite of mine and one that has played a large part in how I came to view my own work. It’s from composer Arvo Pärt and his composition Tabula Rasa. This is the second movement, fittingly titled Silentium. It feels right with this painting.



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GC Myers-  Una Semper 2021



The title of this new 20″ by 30″ painting is Una Semper which translates from the Latin as Always One. It’s part of the group that will soon be heading down to the Principle Gallery for my annual solo show there. This year’s show is called Between Here and There and opens June 4.

This would be what I would call one of my Baucis and Philemon pieces based on the Greek myth that I have documented here on a number of occasions. I have done a number of iterations on this theme over the past decade or so and they remain among my favorite pieces to paint. There something in the dynamic of the two trees intertwining and pushing upward that stirs a feeling within me.

For some reason, the pair tends to bring most any composition to a satisfying fulfillment. These pieces always feel complete and self-contained. And I like that.

This piece has these elements and has a brightness and pop that is really appealing to my own sensibilities. It just seems alive which is a big deal for me.

I thought I’d pair this new piece with this week’s Sunday Morning musical selection. which is from the 2005 album, Devils & Dust from Bruce Springsteen. It was his third acoustic album, and like the other two, Nebraska and The Ghost of Tom Joad, remains a favorite of mine with memorable songs throughout, including the title track.  This song is titled All I’m Thinkin’ About and features a falsetto over a driving melody. I am always surprised at how effective his falsetto is in his songs. This is one of those songs that always grabs my attention when it comes on while I am working.

Okay, got to get going because there is still lots to be done as I prep for this show. No rest for the wicked as they like to say. I would like to believe it’s the other way around — no rest for the righteous— but that might just be quibbling.



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GC Myers- The Peaceful Silence sm

“The Peaceful Stillness”



I want to be quiet this morning. No, I need, not want, to be quiet this morning.

Need to be quiet.

It’s one of those days when I wake up in the dark of the early morning. My dreams, which evaporate as soon as my feet touch the cool floor, have somehow dashed any facade of confidence I may have been wearing and I am already a bit glum before I have even seen the first light of morning. I slip on my jeans that are covered with paint and as I slide my right leg in, my toe catches a small tear in the pant leg. For some reason, my jeans always tear in this same spot, just above the right knee.

But this morning my toe catches that tear and in the darkness I hear it rip even more. I feel anger and frustration layering on top the glum blueness I woke up with and I want to just let my toe rip the hell out the jeans then throw them across the room in the dark. And scream so hard that my diaphragm aches and my throat burns from the effort.

But I don’t. I restrain myself and just stand there in the dark stillness, taking a long breath of cool air. Then I calmly ease my leg into the torn jeans. My eyes adjust a bit to the dark and I can see out the window that morning light is beginning to sift through the trees. The sun will soon be up.

I tell myself there’s still time for hope. I just need to be quiet and let it find its way here this morning.

I make my way along the path through the woods to the studio and I feel much of the frustration and anger slip away. I am still a bit glum and blue but lying on the kitchen floor with my Hobie, the faithful and loving cat with which I share my space, helps. Her loud purrs of satisfaction are like an elixir. I am tempted to click on the news to catch up and immediately turn it off after about 45 seconds of it make my blood pressure tick up a few notches.

I need quiet but I need some music. I remember this piece from the great jazz pianist Bill Evans, Peace Piece. I put it on and its quietude and gentle tone bring me back. And the music keeps playing and I know I have dodged a bullet of sorts. My blue is okay now. It’s like an old grouchy friend who I know how to deal with.

I can manage this. All I need is some quietness, some light, some hope.

I am showing a new piece at the top, one that I call The Peaceful Stillness. It’s 18″ by 24″ on aluminum panel and is part of Between Here and There, my solo show at the Principle Gallery which opens on June 4.

I wasn’t planning on writing this blogpost for this painting but it seems to work with it. I know I felt an easing of my angst and frustration on seeing this painting. It mirrored my attempts to find that quietness within. So, while I should probably talk about the process or meaning or symbolism in it, I am going to let it stand as is this morning.

It did what I wanted it to do. No, what I needed it to do.

Here’s Peace Piece from Bill Evans if you need some help on your end.



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