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Posts Tagged ‘Graveyards’

Merry-cemetery-Sapanta-RomaniaIt’s a few days before Halloween which conjure up all sorts of macabre images, especially those of creepy cemeteries.  I am not one of those people who are repelled by the thought of cemeteries and I am sure I have mentioned my fondness for cemeteries on this blog.

I’ve always been attracted to the peacefulness of them, the shape of the stones and the names inscribed on them.  I try to imagine the lives behind those stones and names, trying to somehow connect with their essence.  I even speak to them sometimes, especially those that I know or those who have become my favorites in the cemeteries where we regularly walk.  For instance, I always say hello to one couple with  what I consider  wonderful names– Arthur and Flora Greengrow.

Grim Reaper Figure at Base of Tombstone

Grim Reaper Figure at Base of Tombstone

While many of us here are scared a bit by cemeteries, there are place where that is not the case.  There is, for example, Merry Cemetery in Sapanta, Romania.  It is filled with brightly colored wooden tombstones that are carved with a sometimes humorous limerick and naively painted images depicting the deceased at work or play .  Sometimes, however, the stones show how the person died.   These images can be a bit gruesome but even then there is a lightness about the tombstone.  You see, they are aligned with the Dacian culture which is associated with the Zalmoxian religion which has a differing view on death compared to most, seeing it as a moment of great joy filled with the anticipation of the better life that is waiting.

With the bright blue tombstones and descriptive and often humorous limericks  ( there is a very funny one about a woman where the  voice of the limerick is her son-in-law who hopes she is happy now because he doesn’t want her back), Merry Cemetery has become a worldwide tourist attraction with crowds traveling to see the 800-some tombstones.  I guess it’s always a Happy Halloween in Sapanta.

Here a few views of some of the tombstones:

Merry Cemetery Tombstones  Romania

Merry Cemetery Tombstones Romania

Merry-Cemetery-Romania- Tombstones showing means of death

Tombstones with a boy drowning and a girl being hit by car

Merry-Cemetery-Romania- Young Man being hit by train

Young Man being hit by train

Merry-Cemetery-Romania- Decapitation Tombstone

Decapitation Tombstone From WW II Era

Merry-Cemetery-Romania-25

Top of Tombstones, Merry Cemetery

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GC Myers WIP- Final Stages 2013I am getting closer to completion on the piece that I have been showing over the last week here, a 24″ by 48″ canvas.  After taking the photo shown here, I was able to spot several areas that need small touches to bring it to a possible finish.

The painting has changed considerably since the last stage  I showed of it in the prior post.  The everpresent Red Tree has appeared on a rise overlooking the lake.  The sky and sun (or is it a moon?) have unified in color.  The trees and fields have taken on more color which gives them shape and depth.   The lake that was last seen as a black pool has transformed into a surface of teeming blue brushstrokes.

It may not be very obvious in these photos but I lightened the most distant hills which moved the horizon deeper into the picture and gave the whole piece more depth.  It’s one of those things that doesn’t register when you first look at the painting.  You see the closer images – the lake, the houses, the graveyard, the bridge and roads– or maybe you focus on the sun/moon and the Red Tree stretching up into the sky.  Those are all important elements that make the painting vibrant and certainly are the stars of the show.  But, for me, it’s this extra perception of depth beyond the scene that gives the piece a real sense of wholeness.  This depth attaches the fantastic to reality.

GC Myers WIP Detail 2I spoke in the last post about the graveyard which is a new element for me in my  landscape paintings.  Another new element is located in the area around the covered bridge.  Now, I have used bridges  a number of times in my work and even a few covered bridges have popped up so it’s not that.  It’s the simplified gas station, a one-pumper that recalls rural gas stations of the past where the pump was just off the shoulder of the road.  I don’t know how that came to be in this painting except to say that I wanted a strong distinct element that would balance the graveyard and like the way it breaks up the space in which it is located.  Plus, the addition of the it and the graveyard give this piece a sense of real place, of community, for me.

There is a lot for me to like in this piece.  It’s as strong  and appealing as I had hoped it might be, with great rhythm and flow through its many elements that gives it a sense of harmony.  I had mentioned that I might use this piece for a Name That Painting contest but now I’m not so sure.  I have a title in mind and am strongly leaning toward using it, although I want to mull it over.  However, I would love to hear any other titles you might have in mind.

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