Posts Tagged ‘Guitar’

“What geomancy reads what the windblown sand writes on the desert rock? I read there that all things live by a generous power and dance to a mighty tune; or I read there all things are scattered and hurled, that our every arabesque and grand jeté is a frantic variation on our one free fall.”

― Annie Dillard, An American Childhood

I have a lot to do this morning as I prep several new small pieces for delivery to the West End Gallery later today. I enjoy working on the small works. There’s something about their compact nature and the challenge of trying to make a larger statement in such a limited space. I know I have previously used the comparison of these small pieces to a haiku, a lot being said with few words or in a small space.

The piece shown here is one such new small piece and I think it achieves that goal. I really like its atmosphere. I had another title– The Sun Worshipper— but felt it was too direct yet didn’t capture the feeling of this piece. Instead, I went with a word for the title that was more open to interpretation. I call it Arabesque.

It’s a word that can be interpreted in many ways. It is a dance move– in ballet where the dancer stand on one leg with the other extended backwards. I could see that here.

It is also an ornamental element in architecture with patterns of rhythmic linework often used in Moorish structures. I could see the Red Tree here as being in that fashion.

It also applies to a musical composition that, like the architectural arabesque, uses rhythmic repetition and ornamentation of the melody. I can also see that here.

Plus, there’s the connotation of warmth that comes with the word arabesque. It has the feel of the sand, the wind, and heat of the desert.  I see those things here, as well.

So, Arabesque it is.

Here’s an example of a musical arabesque from guitarist Roxane Elfasci performing Arabesque #1 from Claude Debussy.

Enjoy and have a good day.

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Back in the studio this morning after returning yesterday from Alexandria. The show opening went very well with a highly positive response that I will say was most gratifying and affirming. This was where I wanted the work to be from a creative standpoint and to have folks respond so well just feels good, to put it plainly.

I can’t say thank you enough to the many folks who showed up including some old friends who I only get to see once in a great while or only through this site or other social media. There were some there who I unfortunately couldn’t get to at the opening and I hope to be able to speak with these folks at some other point.

I’ve written here before about how fortunate I have been to continue to do this annual show after so many years. I have to say it is these people who continue to show up and respond so well to the work that make it possible. I am so appreciative of their continuing interest in the work and the vast amount of inspiration they provide. Thank you.

And to everyone at the Principle Gallery, I offer a simple thank you. You know how I feel about you all and the gratitude I feel for all you have given me over the years. It has been a great gift.

I am going to cut it short while I recuperate this morning. Want to keep things quiet so for this week’s Sunday morning music I offer a contemplative piece from concert guitarist Anders Miolin. It is a traditional Chinese composition called High Mountain & Flowing Water and is played on his unique 13-stringed guitar, an instrument he designed along with master luthier Ermano Chiavi. Give a listen and relax. It’s the kind of music and feeling I hope for in my own work.

Have a good day…

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I was looking for an image to pair with the music I want to share today  and thought this old piece might work since I’ve been showing a lot of older unseen work lately. It’s a watercolor piece from 1995 or 1996 that I never felt secure enough about to show, one with a guitar dominating the front of the picture plane and a dark character propped in the doorway.

There are a few things wrong with this piece, most notably the way the fretboard  just ends at the body of the guitar. And the dark character is just, well… a little strange. He’s either smoking a cigarette or has been recently on fire–which might explain his charred appearance– and is still smoldering.

But even with these obvious flaws, for some reason I still find myself looking fondly at this piece and liking it. Still not sure about showing it to anybody but liking it, nonetheless.

The music I wanted this to accompany is from Australian fingerstyle guitarist Alan Gogoll who is being hailed for his technique that creates bell-like harmonic tones. I came across a couple of his videos and was drawn in by the way the filming focused on his hands. I am fascinated by watching the hands of musicians when they play and his technique has a grace and poetry in the movement of his hands.

He also has a series of short Instagram videos and one very long Youtube video in which the camera is inside the guitar facing out through the sound hole. You see his fingers picking and the vibration patterns of the strings as each string is plucked. Called Stringscapes, they are pretty mesmerizing.

I am showing a short song called Mulberry Mouse first, followed by the Stringscapes video. As I said, this video is long, coming in at 28 minutes. But it is worth at least taking a look for a minute or two. Or longer. Actually, while I was writing this I took a look and about four minutes passed. I said they were mesmerizing.

You can see more on Alan Gogoll’s website by clicking here.

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 GC Myers- The Song We Carry smIt’s a gray winter morning and what better way to shake off the cold blahs this Sunday than with a little flamenco guitar music.  I am featuring a performance by guitar master Juan Martin of a piece titled Rumba Nostalgica that has a little heat to warm any old bones.

I was talking with someone at the Little Gems opening the other night who commented on the fact that I often show guitarists in my work.  I explained about how I thought the shape of the guitar and the way the player cradled it had a very sensual feel, something very emotional in the way the player’s hands almost stroked the instrument to create its music. Its form and the inherent emotional weight it carried made it a wonderful subject.

I think you’ll see this if you watch the hands of Juan Martin in this performance video.  I myself love watching acoustic stringed instruments being played– everything is right there for you to behold.  The movement of the hands.  The snap of the strings. The rhythm of the two hands working to create something quite extraordinary.

Take a look and just enjoy the moment.  Hope the rest of your Sunday is as bright…



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Boss Guitar

Wes montgomery- Boss Guitar album coverIt’s a frigid winter morning with  temperatures below zero and a fine gray mist of snow filling the view from my studio windows.  It would be easy to mope around on a morning like this but I am in the mood for something light.  Airy and alive.  I flip around looking for something thta fits the bill and settle on a little Wes Montgomery, the late jazz guitarist who died way too early and was one of the most influential players ever, spurring on guitarists of many genres with his distinct playing.

You can easily see the unusual stance of his right hand as he plays, splayed out and set in one position against the body of the guitar while his ultra-flexible thumb does all the dancing on the strings.  It was said that he had a corn-like callous on his thumb that acted as a pick, the hard parts of providing sharper tones and the softer parts the more mellow sounds.  It’s the style of a self-taught artist, which I appreciate.  That and the fact that he, much like BB King, could not read music. Amazing.

Wes Montgomery died in his home in Indianapolis from a heart attack in 1968.  He was only 45 and at the peak of his career.  Makes you want to take advantage of every moment, not knowing what you will leave undone when your time comes.

Here’s a track called Jingles from Wes Montgomery in 1965.  Enjoy!




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man-plants-guitar-shaped-forest-for-wife-in-pampas-argentina-5I came across these images and this story on a site pointed out to me by my friend , Scott in Ohio, that features wonderful visual imagery, TwistedSifter.   This particular story was about a couple in the Pampas region of  Argentina who had been flying over Argentina in the early 1970’s when the wife noticed a farm that looked to her like a milking pail.  The husband told her that they could do even better by making a large guitar, her favorite instrument,  on their farm for all to see from above.

A few years later, the wife died unexpectedly from a cerebral aneurysm and the husband and their children set about creating that guitar in her memory.  What they created is quite remarkable.  It is about 2/3 of a mile in length, formed from over 7000 trees that they planted and nurtured.  The outline of the body of the guitar and the star shape around the center are cypress  trees and the area making up the fretboard are eucalyptus trees which give it a beautiful blue tint.

It’s a magnificent tribute, a grand piece of land art.  I was struck by the satellite images that show the guitar from various altitudes.  The middle one below, in particular, is my favorite, looking as though it would be a great painting or quilt  with a simple guitar shape woven into its patchwork, with the varying colors laying out in front of it as though they represented the sound of the guitar’s music coming from it.

man-plants-guitar-shaped-forest-for-wife-in-pampas-argentina-6 man-plants-guitar-shaped-forest-for-wife-in-pampas-argentina-3 man-plants-guitar-shaped-forest-for-wife-in-pampas-argentina-2 


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