Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Otis Redding’

 

Let Us Now Praise...

 

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.

      – Thomas Edison

**************

I was going through old blog posts recently and I noticed that I had used the painting above a number of times in my earliest posts. It’s part of my Exiles series from back in 1995 and is titled Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, borrowed from the title of a group of Depression-era photos of sharecroppers in the American dust bowl shot by photographer Walker Evans.

I never really wrote about this painting except in what I saw as it’s similarity to what I saw in those photos of Depression era workers. I always felt a connection to this piece but thought it was an outer connection, one that simply had to do with my reaction to form and color and not with anything I might see of it in myself.

Maybe that was my hope.

But it is a painting that I find has more meaning for me than I might want to let on. It’s a piece to which I always return, again and again, to study closely. While I sometimes see it as apart from me, more and more as I live with it, part of me feels like I am that man, standing alone in his landscape.

A sometimes self portrait.

It’s not a flattering self portrait. I used to see this figure as sad or regretful, world weary. But that has changed over time.  There is some sadness, some regret but more than anything, I now see him as resigned, neither happy or sad. He is in his place with work behind him and much more work to do. It still has a weariness in it, but not from a physical standpoint. It is more a sense of tiredness from working to stay ahead of the world’s constant encroachment, the world’s constant erosion. But while it appears tired there is also a sense of implied strength and determination to stay on task.

The hand here is important to me, a symbol of the bond of a working mind and working hands. Ideas set in motion and realized.

It’s a painting that means more and more to me as times passes and the world works its erosive qualities on my self and my world, my landscape. Maybe I am that dirt farmer, looking back with pride in his work along with an apprehension that it will someday be carried away like dry soil in the wind.

I am not going to be around Sunday so here’s a little music for the morning, a day early. It fits pretty well in tone and substance to the painting above. It’s the immortal Otis Redding with I’ve Got Dreams to Remember.

Have a good weekend.

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

civil-rights-marchI have been struggling with the prospect of this coming week for some time.  I thought at one point after the election that I would just sit back and just watch the whole thing unfold, maybe give them a chance to prove that my doubts were unfounded.  For a short period of time –actually, several fleeting instances– he-who-shall-not-be-named-here acted almost conciliatory and I thought I might just keep this wait and see attitude.

But in the two months since, he-who-shall-not-be-named-here has shown with his words and actions just what he is and will continue to be. And that is an absolute reflection of our worst self in every possible way.  There is nothing he has done or said that I would advise a child to emulate. Try as I might, I can not come up with a single quality in his shown character that is admirable in any way.  Every aspect of this person is ugly in spirit.  Even his limited acts of charity are done selfishly, done only because it somehow benefits him and is seen as a cost of doing business.

This is not a person who is taking the weight of this nation upon his shoulders so that all in this nation will benefit. He doesn’t care about you or me.  He doesn’t care about coal miners in Kentucky or farmers in Iowa– they were simply a cost of doing business.  No, he’s putting this country on a butcher block in front of him and is trying to figure how to carve off an even larger and juicier portion for himself and his money buddies.

I agree with John Lewis when he says that he-who-shall-not-be-named-here is not a legitimate president and applaud his courage for saying those words.  But John Lewis is a man of courage and a man who has always worked to lift others.  This is a man who has truly worked to change America for the better and who has consistently stood on the right side of history.

And he is seeing a person coming to power who seeks to weaken the rights and freedoms for which he has bled.  A person who is poised to push us on to the wrong side of history, who is willing to trade away the idealism that has long been our strength and foundation for the benefit and self interests of a precious few.

So, on this weekend marking the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday I thought my Sunday morning musical choice should reflect that.  It’s A Change is Gonna Come from the great Sam Cooke, a song that was written by Cooke at the height of the civil rights struggle in response to his arrest in Louisiana after protesting a Holiday Inn‘s refusal to honor his reservations at that hotel.

It’s a great and powerful song with a message that resonates for both then and now.  I am also including the Otis Redding version just because I absolutely love this performance.  Give a real listen and try to have good day.

Read Full Post »

GC Myers-- On the Dock smWhat a time, what a time…

Watching the news it seems like we live in a time of chaos, in days and nights of division and anger.  To a certain extent I believe that’s true.  But for the majority of us– and I believe this includes people of every color, ethnicity and religion– we simply want to live a hassle-free life, one without rancor and hatred.  One where we can be ourselves as we wish ourselves to be and move through our days without fear.

One where chaos is a distant thing that doesn’t find its way to our guts.

Can we get to that point?  I believe we can.

How? That I don’t know.  Perhaps it to be found at first in small ways, in acts of kindness and tolerance towards others.  In not rushing to judgments and showing empathy.

It can’t hurt.

The painting at the top is in my upcoming show, Contact,  at the West End Gallery, opening July 22.  It’s an 8″ by 24″ canvas that is titled On the Dock.  There’s something very pacifying in this piece, something that definitely reminds me of the great Otis Redding classic, (Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay.  I have heard this song literally thousands of time and it never gets old for me.  It’s always calming and that is something I need these days.

It’s hard to believe that Otis Redding was only 26 when he cut this track not long before his death.  His life may have been short but he gave us so much to enjoy.  So, give a listen and have a peaceful Sunday.

Read Full Post »

GC Myers- Beyond the Blues smGreat opening night for my show, Into the Common Ground, this past Friday at the Kada Gallery in Erie.  Great crowd with a nice mix of people, old and new to my work.  Good questions and conversations.  Just a very successful show opening all the way around.

Many, many thanks to Kathy, Joe and Morgan at the Kada for making it such a wonderful night and making me feel like a part of the family there. Also, many thanks to everyone who came out and took part.  I can’t tell you how much it is appreciated.  And thanks to the weather for being relatively mild, a sometimes rare thing on the shores of Lake Erie in December.

Thank you!

Well. that being said, it is time for a little Sunday music.  I was thinking Otis Redding and that voice that I could listen to sing almost anything.  It’s hard to believe that in a few days it will 47 years since he was killed in a plane crash in 1967 at the age of 26.  Hard to imagine what might have come from this huge talent.  But he did leave behind an impressive legacy of music, including this great version of the Sam Cooke classic A Change is Gonna ComeIt gives you something to think about on this Sunday morning.

Have a great day.

Read Full Post »

This is a new piece that I just completed for my next show which opens in a scant three weeks at the West End Gallery in Corning.  This is a smaller painting, at just over 6″ by 14″ on paper that I’m calling Island of Memory.  It incorporates two of my icons, the Red Tree and the Red Chair, in a simple composition that recalls much of my earlier work.  It also is divided into two large blocks of color with a ribbon of white between the two parts, also like the earlier work.

I have mentioned the Red Chair signifying memory for me and in this painting it takes on that role.  It seems that often our memories become unique through time and  a memory of an event might only exist for one single person even though others might have witnessed the same event .   The event may not have etched itself as deeply in the minds of the others or may not have much significance.  Or they may remember it in a much different way, perhaps a differing aspect of whatver happened, if they remember it at all.  That is what I see here– the idea of a recollection exisiting in one small place.  I know I’m not doing this justice with this explanation.

It also reminds me of the classic Otis Redding song, (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay, a song which fills my own island with memories.  I listened to that single hundreds, maybe thousands of times growing up yet I’ve avoided using it on this site.   I always felt a protective attachment to it and it’s always bothered me when other singers (and non-singers– I’m reminded of a hysterical George Hamilton version of it from the late 60’s) covered this song through the years.  It seems like these other versions somehow pulled from the special nature of Otis Redding’s version, making it less special.  The awful histrionics of Michael Bolton come to mind.  But all I have to do is hear the simple ease and strength of Otis’ rendition and those thoughts fade to nothing.

It is a special song.  And it seems to go along in tone with this small painting.  Give a listen…

 

Read Full Post »

#1 Full Silence-- Current High Bid $650

#2- Seems Like a New Sun - Current High Bid $800

Here are the paintings and current high bids that are up for bid in an effort to raise funds for the Japanese relief effort.  The winning bidders will receive the painting and a signed copy of my book and I will also add $5oo to each of their bids for the donation to the Red Cross.  Bidding ends at 12 noon EST on Monday, March 21 A note:  Please make any new bids at least $10 above the current high bid

Many, many thanks to all who have participated.  It is most appreciated and will hopefully make some sort of difference, if only a small one.

Here’s a little bit o’ soul from the immortal Otis Redding.  I think that, with this disaster and a looming war in Libya, we should all try a little tenderness.  This is a great version from the Stax Tour of Europe in 1967.

Read Full Post »

Just thought on a Sunday morning I would throw out a small bit of Johnny Cash, someone who I have unabashedly idolized for over forty years.  This song, though earlier in the decade, reminded me of Cash’s TV show of the late 60’s and the the incredibly diverse talent that would appear.  The very best of rock, pop, soul and country would show up every week.  It reminds me how our explosion of media access has separated everything into niches, neatly labeled and put apart.  As a kid living in the country, I remember being glued to my little radio, listening our local AM station, WENY, and hearing guys like Johnny Cash one minute then the next the Rolling Stones and after that the Doors then Otis Redding, all topped off by Frank Sinatra. Or maybe Barry Sadler singing “The Ballad of the Green Beret”.  Or the 1910 Fruitgum Company.   What great diversity!  And the funny thing is that it seemed to make complete sense, that the transition and flow from one song to another was not abrupt or shocking. It forced the young mind to find the common thread and grab it.  

This is not to condemn today or glorify yesterday.  Each is what they are.  Just a memory.  It’s Sunday, so relax and give a listen to the Man in Black.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: