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Posts Tagged ‘New Years Day’

All Is Quiet

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All is quiet on New Year’s Day
A world in white gets underway
I want to be with you
Be with you, night and day
Nothing changes on New Year’s Day
On New Year’s Day

U2, New Year’s Day

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Found myself beginning the new year this morning walking to the studio through the woods in the dark before 6 AM.

Like the song says: Nothing changes on New Year’s Day.

I always think of this song on New Year’s morning because there is always a preternatural quiet on these mornings.

Today was no different.

It’s an absolute stillness free of all noise. Even the deer whose eyes glow green in the light of my headlamp as I scan the forest, make no sound. They are motionless and when they finally move there is no snort of alarm, no crunch of leaves, no breaking of branches.

Just a stealthy movement of shadows against an empty void of blackness. It makes me stop for a moment just to listen, trying to absorb as much of that quietude as I can with the hope that I can recall this glorious absence of sound when I need it at some point later.

It makes me think of the old Elvis song If Every Day Was Like Christmas with its lyrics that ask: why can’t every day be like Christmas? I think a more appropriate question would be why can’t every day be like New Year’s Day?

The pressure of the holidays is past. No concerns about gift giving. It’s a fresh start, with the old and worn last year fading into the grainy grayness of the past and the new year stepping in, all shiny bright and full of potential. Even the most pessimistic and jaded of us most likely feels at least small glimmers of hope on this day.

And why not? It’s a clean slate, a tabula rasa, on which anything can written. It is a time, a moment, that assures us that there are no limits on what we can do in the coming year and the coming decade.

Of course, the pragmatic part of me knows that it is just as the song says: Nothing changes on New Year’s Day. 

But this morning, at least for a while, I will try to hang on to the belief that there is change coming in this shiny new year. For the better, I hope.

Here’s the song New Year’s Day from U2 from way back in 1983. Time flies so enjoy this quiet morning.

Happy New Year.

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NewYearsDay NC Wyeth

Painting by N.C. Wyeth

New Year’s Day 2016. Thought I’d start 2016 with a few takes on New Year’s Day from some of my favorite illustrators.  Wishing everyone good health and good news in the New Year.  I’m getting ready and  am kind of looking forward to coming back to the blog on a regular basis in a few days.

NewYearsDay Ben Kimberly Prins

Painting by Ben Kimberly Prins

NewYearsDay Howard Pyle

Drawing by Howard Pyle

NewYearsDay Norman Rockwell

Painting by Norman Rockwell

leyendecker- new year1930-c

J.C. Leyendecker 1930

leyendecker New-Years-Baby-1940-Saturday-Evening-Post

J.C. Leyendecker 1940

leyendecker-new-year-1942

J.C. Leyendecker 1942

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 GC Myers- Brighter Days Ahead sm

GC Myers- Brighter Days Ahead

It’s New Year’s eve tonight and we’ll shake off the dust  of yet another year and move into the next, all clean and shiny with that new year smell.  Well, that’s the popular belief.  We are, of course, who we are and no amount of calendar voodoo will alter that.

But that’s okay.  We should be okay with ourselves and just ride along on the tides of time.  Good and bad things happen along the way and both can be tolerated if we just can understand and accept who we are.

I think that’s why I chose this painting at the top and the song below to end 2014.  The painting is titled Brighter Days Ahead and has a brightness and optimism that jibes well with its title.  But the darkness underneath gives it some balance that keeps it from being too giddily gleeful.

Yes, there are brighter days ahead but there are some darker ones as well.  But having a belief in who we are, believing that we have the balance and strength to withstand troubles and accept the good with grace makes this brightness seem more tangible and less wishful thinking.

The song, New Year’s Prayer, is from the late Jeff Buckley who in his short life left us a remarkable version of the Leonard Cohen song, Hallelujah, and much more.  This song has a mantra-like feel to it with the phrase … feel no shame for what you are… as a refrain.  It doesn’t look forward or back with any hope or regret– it is just in the moment.  And that’s how I feel about the turning of this year.

Wishing you all a good New Year with the hope that feel no shame for what you are.

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GC Myers-  "Observers" 2013

GC Myers- “Observers” 2013

Well, it’s New Year’s Day  2014.

I normally wax somewhat philosophically about the challenge and potential of the coming year and about the lesson of the past twelve months.  But this year I don’t feel the urge or need to do so.  Maybe I’m just tired or maybe its that I am ready for whatever this year holds in store and am satisfied with what I have done over the last year.

Whatever the case, I wish each of you great happiness and peace over the next year along with the strength and wisdom to overcome whatever challenges you might face.

While I said I wouldn’t look back at the last year, I never said I wouldn’t look back 30 years.  Here’s a promo video from the studio of U2 performing New Year’s Day which was released in January of 1983 as  a single from  their War album.   The years have stripped away much of the song’s original association with Lech Walesa and the Solidarity labor movement  taking place at that time in Poland.  Most younger listeners probably don’t have an much more than an inkling of what this even was but that’s okay– the song is still great and appropriate for today.  Plus there’s the bonus of seeing Bono and the boys looking so 1980’s.

Anyway, enjoy and have a happy New Year.

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Allendale Parade, Northumberland Homer Sykes 1972I came across some photos online some time ago from British photographer Homer Sykes.  They were taken in the early 1970’s and were images of traditional British countryside celebrations throughout the year.  One in particular  from  Northumberland  caught my eye.  In black and white, it showed a group of people in capes and cloaks and all manner of costume carrying flaming short barrels as they marched.  Without knowing anything about what or where it was from, you had the sense that this was derived from some sort of pagan ritual celebration.  It piqued my interest.

Turns out it was from the village of Allendale and, while it has the appearance of some Norse festival of fire, dates back to 1858.  It turns out that a band used to  parade on New Years  and used candles to light their music.  But the winds of the season made this impractical and someone suggested using these tar lined barrels which would give off great light and be portable as well.  Plus, it looked a  pretty kickass thing to do to bring in the new year.

Allendale Tar BarrelsOver the decades it has turned into tradition.  There are 45 marchers, called guisers,  who maintain their positions hereditarily.  They assemble early in the evening, adorned in all manner of costume,going  from pub to pub in a Mummer-like procession.  In the hour or so before  midnight , they gather in the town square to have their annual roll call and prep their barrels.  At 11:30, the barrels are lit and they begin their fiery march through the village, led by a small band of drums and brass.  It is said to resemble a river of fire moving through the village.

They return to the town square and gather around a 14 foot  mound of  fir branches and with  the words “Be damned to he who throws last” hanging in the air, they heave their 45 flaming barrels into it, setting it into a giant bonfire as the last seconds of the old year pass away.

Maybe this tradition doesn’t date back to the ancient times but the idea of  of the old being burned away and the new rising from its ashes certainly is timeless.  Set the past afire tonight.  Have a happy New Year.

 

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The new year is in and with it comes a new start.  A clean slate of sorts.  I wrote a few days back about the final painting I completed in the last year so obviously there will be a first painting for this new year.  This painting shown here is it and very much holds to the theme of new starts.  Called New Day, New Start, this is a 10″ by 20″ canvas and was finished yesterday on the first day of 2012.

The hazy sun breaking through the strong colors of the sky sets the tone here. new light bringing in the opportunity of the new day.  The landscape has several layers here with the foreground field rows slightly separated from the deeper set fields by  trees on either side which act as a sort of stage curtain, a detail I often employ.  As usual, I see the field rows as  representing our daily labor, our day-to-day responsibilty.  The layers behind represent different aspects.  I see the orange as symbolizing the joy we find in life and the yellow as representing a placid state of being, of an understanding and acceptance of our place in this world.  The distant and dark hills are, for me, the inevitable future. The Red Tree is , of course, the individual here. 

As always, I point out that this is simply how I see this, how I translate it for myself.  Your interpretation could be very different and no less correct. 

Overall, I’m really pleased with this painting as a start for the new year.  While it is not a large painting, it has weight and depth, feeling  larger than its physical dimensions.  I am hoping this serves as omen of things to come, painting-wise.  But that is in the future, beyond those blue hills.  For now, I will bask in the light of this new day.

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Resolved…

The new year is started.

As far as resolutions, I’ve never really believed in people’s abilities to suddenly change the behaviors that have been a part of themselves for most of their lives.

For the most part, we are what we are.

However, I do believe that we can change our attitudes, our perceptions of the world and ourselves.  And that is where the life-altering changes occur.

At least that’s my belief.

When I was younger, I thought I needed to leave a scar on this world to let it know that I was here.  I saw myself as a large, sharp-edged piece of rock ready to bludgeon the world into submission.  But as time passes I see myself as a much smaller, smoother stone that simply lets the world simply flow over, creating the barest ripple on the surface.

Perception.

My resolution is to end this year 2010 with a different, more positive view of this world than the one with which I am starting.  If I can do that, I will have done more positive things for myself and others. If I have to effect the world, let it be in a positive fashion.  In the grand scheme of things, what more can I ask?

Happy New Year…

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