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Posts Tagged ‘Gillian Welch’

Snowing like made still. Been out plowing for a couple of hours already this morning, just trying to keep the driveway open, and there is definitely a few more hours of plowing ahead. But I thought I’d take a break, drink some coffee and try to throw out some music for a snowy Sunday morning.

Came up with an old song, Valley of Tears, written and performed originally in 1957 by Fats Domino and covered by a number of other artists over the years. Buddy Holly did a version that charted in 1961 that had a skating rink/ magic organ quality to it but I really like this version from the late great Solomon Burke accompanied by one of my favorites, Gillian Welch, and her husband David Rawlings.

Solomon Burke was one of the early greats in the transition period between R&B and Soul. He was a real preacher and blended the spiritual and the physical aspects of soul– the sex and the salvation– into his music. He never got the acclaim as some of the other big names of 60’s Soul but he is is revered.

This is a great, heartfelt performance of the song. Give a listen while I get back to my own valley of tears. If you consider the falling snow tears, that is. Have a good day.

 

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I stop every time I go back through old posts on the blog and come across this photo. It makes me think about how we constantly take in information in many forms and what we do with that input– how it affects our perception and vision as we move forward. As an artist, this is the fuel that feeds my furnace. 

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I was listening to music this morning as I read email and puttered around. My iPod was docked and in random mode so anything could come on.  At first one of my favorite pieces, Tabula Rasa from composer Arvo Part, played. It’s a modern classical piece that I have always identified with. Tabula Rasa translates as empty slate and was actually very influential in a lot of my early painting, helping me visualize the feeling of wide space as I painted.

Next up was Highway Patrol from Junior Brown, which is worlds away from Tabula Rasa. It’s clunky and chunky and throttles along on Brown’s deep twangy voice and his unique guit-steel guitar licks. I began to think about how the mood shifts so quickly between the two selections, how the mind is suddenly thrown from silence to chaos and how in the vacuum of that contrast something new is being formed

Something very interesting in this contrast. I began to wonder if this has an effect on my painting, on strokes and color selection.  Am I looking for different things in my work when different types of stimuli are present? It’s something I’ll have to examine further.

The picture shown is of a visual/psychological phenomenon called the contrast triangle. Just above the reflected light on the water is a dark triangle in the sky, tapering from the area above the lit reflection on water up to the moon/sun in the sky.

This triangle is not really there.

If you cover the water, the darkness fades away. Go ahead, try it.

The triangle only exists in our eyes and minds. Our reaction to the reflected light creates something new, a different form. Don’t know why I put this in today except that maybe this little area of created vision is similar to the influence of other stimuli on a person’s creative work.

I don’t really know.  I am working off the cuff here, you know.

Here was the next song that came up this morning, perhaps the third leg in my own personal contrast triangle.  It’s another favorite, Gillian Welch performing with her husband David Rawlings, with Miss Ohio.  What this triangle will produce in my eyes is yet to be seen but I am sure it is something.  We’ll see…

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I thought I’d replay the post below.  Sometimes there are days when nothing seems to work and I’ve had quite  a few of them.  Early on, I took these days as an indication of a lack of talent.  But time teaches that bad days are temporary and that there are lessons to be learned from even those bad days.  Knowing when to throw in the towel and start over is such a lesson.  Here’s my post from several years back:

gc-myers-studio-march-2011I’m sitting in my studio looking at an empty canvas. Not too long ago it was not empty.  No, I spent the better part of the afternoon yesterday working on this canvas, a 36″ square that was prepped beforehand with gesso and a first layer of black paint.  Several hours spent and not a minute of it felt smooth or in rhythm.  The paint didn’t come off the brush in the way that I expected or desired.  The composition seemed to just go nowhere ,leaving bland and lifeless  bits of nothing littered all over the canvas.  I never felt a flow, which is that quality I have described before where one mark leads to the next as though you are reading the lines and strokes on the canvas like they were revelatory tea leaves.

No tea leaves here yesterday.  Everything led to nothing.   After a few hours, I was exasperated and I knew deep down inside that I had betrayed my own words by trying to force the work rather than let it flow out organically.

That was the lesson and I knew what had to be done.  I  laid the canvas flat on the floor and broke out the black paint, covering the offensive marks that had been there moments before.  Blackness filled the space where there had been color just moments before.

It felt good, actually.

Time reveals many things and after tens of thousands of hours spent in the studio I have learned that  failure is no big deal.  It’s like the weather– temporary.  It comes and goes.  A failure like yesterday doesn’t make me happy but knowing that sometimes things just don’t work out makes me take such a temporary failure  with a philosophical shrug.  And instead of struggling ahead with this horror show that was unfurling before me, trying to somehow cobble it back to life, my experience has taught me that it would be best to retreat and start anew.

Tabula rasa-  clean slate–so to speak.

So here I sit this morning, a new day,  with a fresh canvas waiting for me and there is a new air of anticipation around it.  Yesterday is but a lesson and there’s no telling what the time spent today will reveal.  Can’t wait.

Here’s one of my all-time favorites which sort of ties in with today’s post.  It’s Time (The Revelator) from Gillian Welch.

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GC Myers- Two Sides  Aww, change the channel.  It’s a rerun…

Wait, it’s not another rerun, just another mass shooting/ terror event in Anytown, USA.

Another episode of America- The Series.

Same basic script– crazy ideologue(s) with automatic weaponry goes into a school/church/community center and kills multiple people before dying in a firefight with responding police forces.  Insert a montage of non-stop cable news network coverage with “experts” and politicians  praying and posturing in clips of some saying there are too many guns and others who say we need to be even more armed.

You could even insert a clip here of a nutty bible college president — let’s have him played by Jerry Falwell, Jr. of Liberty College–saying he wanted the students on his campus to have carry/conceal permits so they could “shoot the Muslims.”  Because that’s the kind of measured rational response we expect from those entrusted to lead our kids.  Besides, nothing says safety like an arena filled with armed college age kids.  Kids with inflated self-images emboldened by being raised on a diet of action movie heroes who are somehow never hit by the hail of bullets from their enemies and in a culture of video games that cheapens life.

Seems reasonable to me.  There certainly won’t be any confusion or problems with law enforcement agencies when some of those young armed students are of  African or Middle Eastern descent.  I see a spin-off in the future.

The script plays out for a few days of hand-wringing and funerals but little real action before fading to black.  Hit replay and do it all over again.

That’s seems to be the gist of it.  I wish whoever is writing this crap would come up with a new storyline.

996-226 Elvis in the WildernesssmI am going to change the channel now.  It’s time for Sunday music and I’ve been singing this song all week.  It’s the Tom Jones version of Elvis Presley Blues which was written and performed originally by Gillian Welch.  I am a big fan of Gillian Welch and love her version but I really admire Tom Jones’ take on it as well.  It’s pared down accompaniment really highlights the power of his voice which is still formidable even at age 75.

The images shown here are from my Outlaws series from back in 2006.  The one at the top is Two Sides and the one to the left is Elvis in the Wilderness.  I thought they fit today.

Enjoy the song and have a good Sunday.

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gc-myers-studio-march-2011I’m sitting in my studio looking at an empty canvas.  It wasn’t empty not too long ago.  No, I spent the better part of the afternoon yesterday working on this canvas, a 36″ square that was prepped beforehand with gesso and a first layer of black paint.  Several hours spent and not a minute of it felt smooth or in rhythm.  The paint didn’t come off the brush in the way that I expected or desired.  The composition seemed to just go nowhere ,leaving bland and lifeless  bits of nothing littered all over the canvas.  I never felt a flow, that quality I have described before where one mark leads to the next as though you are reading the lines and strokes on the canvas like they were revelatory tea leaves.

No tea leaves here yesterday.  Everything led to nothing.   After a few hours, I was exasperated and I knew deep down inside  that I had betrayed my own words and had tried to force the work rather than let it flow out organically.  That was the lesson and I knew what had to be done.  I  laid the canvas flat on the floor and broke out the black paint, covering the offensive marks that had been there moments before.

It felt good, actually.

Time reveals many things and after tens of thousands of hours spent in the studio I have learned that  failure is no big deal.  It’s like the weather– temporary.  It comes and goes.  A failure like yesterday doesn’t make me happy but knowing that sometimes things just don’t work out makes me take such  a temporary failure  with a philosophical shrug.  And instead of struggling ahead with this horror show that was unfurling before me, trying to somehow cobble it back to life, my experience has taught me that it would be best to retreat and start anew.

Tabula rasa, so to speak.told

So here I sit this morning, a new day,  with a fresh canvas waiting for me and there is a new air of anticipation around it.  Yesterday is but a lesson and there’s no telling what the time spent today will reveal.  Can’t wait.

Here’s one of my all-time favorites which sort of ties in with today’s post.  It’s Time (The Revelator) from Gillian Welch.

 

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I recently was asked  if I ever painted any landscapes from a bird’s eye  perspective and this piece immediately came to mind.  My records on it are sketchy but I believe it was a 6″ by 9″ image on paper painted sometime around 1996.  It’s long been a favorite in my mind.

There’s something in the way the blue of the barn’s roof and the red of the silo stand out against the stripes of the fields that does something for me.  I know that’s not very deep analysis  but, hey, it’s early on a Sunday morning.  Also, there’s something about this image that  always brings to mind a song, the old gospel favorite I’ll Fly Away.  Maybe that’s the connection here.  The song is about a final release from the earthly bonds of life and this piece is definitely about  a freedom, a release of some sort.  Maybe not about  the final departure but definitely about being freed and moving from one state to another.

Transformation?

I don’t know.  But I do know that I like this version of I’ll Fly Away from Gillian Welch accompanied by her husband, David Rawlings.  Enjoy and have a great Sunday, the last of this summer.

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Tuesday morning and now that I’ve started on the big canvas I showed in yesterday’s post  I find myself obsessed with getting at it.  It’s moving slower than I want but the size makes every decision have more variables to weigh and more angles to inspect.  I’m at the part of the process where I am roughing in the structure of the painting in red oxide paint and even though I am about a quarter of the way through this segment, I can see it starting to take shape and can now see several steps ahead.  Although I don’t yet know where it will finally come to rest, I now have at least an inkling. 

 As I said yesterday, the difficulty is in not trying to hurry the process,  letting it grow slowly and not rushing for my own instant gratification.  And as we all know, that can be a difficult thing to rein in.  But so far, so good and I’m liking what I’m seeing on the canvas and in the forward looking part of my mind.

That being said, I’m going to work now.  I think I need some music today and I think I’ll listen to some Gillian Welch, one of my favorites.  This is a beautiful song with a Neil Young feel called Throw Me a Rope that she’s performing with her husband, David Rawlings.  Oh, and the painting at the top is called Audience, which I will now become.

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