Posts Tagged ‘Johnny Burnette’

I’ve been revisiting a lot of very old work lately here in the studio, taking little walk down memory lane. Some of the memories  are pleasant enough with “oh, yeah, I remember that” coming up periodically in my mind. Some are  cringeworthy, making me glad I moved past that time. Some please me greatly and some make me smile. Such is the case with this  little piece done in 1994.

Called Rockin’ Billy, it was done quickly in crayons. It’s rough-edged and kind of crude but has movement. I think I was listening to a bunch of old rockabilly at the time. Johnny Burnette, Warren Smith, Jerry Lee Lewis, that kind of stuff– rough-edged and a little crude with some real movement.

But I am pretty sure that this piece was a direct result of Billy Lee Riley and his distinct guitar playing, especially in a couple of my faves from that time, Flying Saucer Rock and Roll and Red Hot. Every time I stumble across this piece I have to break out the rockabilly for at least a few songs and that’s how it is on this Sunday morning. Here are those two songs from Billy Lee Riley.

Oh, what the hell, let me throw in Johnny Burnette’s Rock Billy Boogie. I can see Rockin’ Billy dancing across the stage now. Hope this helps you have your own rockin’ good time today.

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GC Myers - Train Kept A Rollin smEvery so often I try to break things up with my work, go a bit away from my typical subject matter.  Usually these are pieces that are mainly for myself, pieces that give me a different sort of satisfaction.  They’re not always my best work but just the process of painting them and the pleasure they give personally give me makes them some of my favorite pieces.  Such is the case with the painting shown here, a smallish 4 1/2″  by 6″ work on paper that I finished yesterday in the studio.

I have done a number of guitar pieces through the years.  While I think it has to do with my love for guitar music, I think it has as much to do with the shape of the instrument and the manner in which it is held, almost in a loving embrace.  As I have noted here in the past, the guitar has been a frequent subject of artists through the ages for just this reason.  So yesterday, while trying to clear my artistic palette a bit, started my day set on painting a small guitar painting,  I had no idea how it would proceed or even the feel that it would hold.  I just started with the idea of a guitar.

rockin-billyIt wasn’t until  late in the game that it broke free and became a dancing piece, mainly because I came to a point where I wanted to have the entire figure, feet included, in the frame.  Without this , it would be too stiff, too formal, and the manner in which the guitar was painted was anything but that.  It’s cartoonish, more like a cardboard prop, especially in the way it was being held.  But in order to get the feet in frame I would have to have them askew, in motion.

He suddenly became another Rockin’ Billy, like the oil crayon piece here on the left that I did  for myself many years ago. and featured here several years back. At this point, my memory of this piece kicked in and I even modeled the feet in the same fashion.  I also kicked up the colors a little more to create a little higher contrast, making it more stylized.  It reminds me of  a cartoon or a stained glass window.

As I said, it’s not my typical work and probably won’t leave the studio.  But I find great enjoyment in this type of work, finding purpose and direction in them that propels me ahead in my other work.  I think that makes these pieces memorable for me, makes them stick with me.  Plus, it gives me a chance to play a song from Johnny Burnette, one of the early Rockabilly kings, probably a little less remembered than some  others.  Here’s a song and frantic video that would make my Rockin’ Billy dance, called Train Kept A Rollin’.

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