Posts Tagged ‘Normandy’

GC Myers- UnforgettableTonight is finally the  opening for this year’s exhibit of my work at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria, VA.  Titled “Traveler”, this show marks fifteen years that I have been fortunate to have been asked to exhibit a solo show at the Principle Gallery, a fact that I wear as a badge of honor.  It’s something that I would never had expected when I began doing this and it pleases me that I have been able to maintain a level of consistent growth through this time.  It makes me want to continually surpass each past show and this year is no different.  I feel that  group of work is as good, if not better in its own way, as any group I have put in display there in the past.

So if you’re in the Alexandria/ DC area tonight, please stop in at the Principle Gallery.  I would love to see you there.  The piece that is shown here, Unforgettable, is from the show.  I am showing this painting because in a way it relates to a much more important aspect of this day – it is the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion on the beaches of Normandy during World War II.

Many people, myself included, are in awe of the tremendous sacrifice and courage of those men on that day and rightfully so.  I can’t sit here and even believe for a second that I could do what they did on those beaches that June day in France in 1944.  But I can honor the memory of those who didn’t make it off those beaches and honor the lives of those who did.  So many who survived are now giving way to death in old age– as it should be–so it remains to us, the living, to maintain the memory of that day and the blood they gave to the land.  And hope and pray that such a day should never again come in our lives.

I see this in this painting.  Let their memories be unforgettable.

On this day, I think it is fitting that Taps be the music for this day.  Here is a version from Arlington National Cemetery ( just a few miles down the road from Alexandria) performed by United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own” bugler,  SSG Drew Fremder  in the starkness of winter.  It is a song that never fails to bring a tear to my eyes.

Hope to see you tonight at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria.

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chapel-oak-allouvilleMaybe it comes from painting so many trees but I find myself with a number of books about trees.  One of my favorites is a set from Thomas Pankenham containing Remarkable Trees of the World and Meetings with Remarkable Trees, containing  pictures and descriptions of some truly beautiful and astounding  ancient trees from around the globe.  There are some magnificent specimens that choosing a favorite would be impossible.  But one that always makes me stop as I leaf through is the Chapel Oak in Normandy, France.

Legend has its age as being 1000 or 1200 years although scientists estimate it at about 800 years.  It began its career of note in the the 17th century when lightning struck the already old and grand oak, sending a bolt down through its center that smoldered and burned until it had hollowed out a large cavity within the tree.  The village priest determined that there was some divine intent in the lightning strike to this tree and built a chapel in the hollow of the tree along with a small room above it suited  for a hermit.

chapel-oak-allouville-bellefossePerhaps the priest’s belief in the tree was deserved because, though badly wounded by the lightning and inner fire, the tree still leafed and maintained year after year until the present day.  Of course, it has been lovingly nursed and reinforced through the ages.  It has cables and straps and two steel supports that give it the look of a creature on two crutches.  The large section of the trunk damaged by the lightning lost its bark ages ago and the tree’s caretakers covered the exposed wood with shingles and a spire roof, giving the look of a fairy tale castle.  The inner chapel and the room above it have been renovated in recent years, refitted with paneling and mirrors to create more  light with the dark hollow.

Chapel oak interiorOf course, it is a place of great interest to tourists and pilgrims alike.  I am always torn when I look at the pictures of this tree.  Part of me is simply fascinated with the image and the way its caretakers have prolonged its existence.  There seems to be a grand reverence in this.  But another part of me wonders if the tree should be allowed to simply succumb in dignity to its natural ending without the assistance from humans.  I suppose it comes down to how one views all trees and this particular tree.  Perhaps, it’s continued life is proof that it desires to endure.

Whatever the case, it remains after enduring the many pages of history that have turned around it.  Interesting…

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