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Posts Tagged ‘Sunday Morning Music’

GC Myers-  Una Semper 2021



The title of this new 20″ by 30″ painting is Una Semper which translates from the Latin as Always One. It’s part of the group that will soon be heading down to the Principle Gallery for my annual solo show there. This year’s show is called Between Here and There and opens June 4.

This would be what I would call one of my Baucis and Philemon pieces based on the Greek myth that I have documented here on a number of occasions. I have done a number of iterations on this theme over the past decade or so and they remain among my favorite pieces to paint. There something in the dynamic of the two trees intertwining and pushing upward that stirs a feeling within me.

For some reason, the pair tends to bring most any composition to a satisfying fulfillment. These pieces always feel complete and self-contained. And I like that.

This piece has these elements and has a brightness and pop that is really appealing to my own sensibilities. It just seems alive which is a big deal for me.

I thought I’d pair this new piece with this week’s Sunday Morning musical selection. which is from the 2005 album, Devils & Dust from Bruce Springsteen. It was his third acoustic album, and like the other two, Nebraska and The Ghost of Tom Joad, remains a favorite of mine with memorable songs throughout, including the title track.  This song is titled All I’m Thinkin’ About and features a falsetto over a driving melody. I am always surprised at how effective his falsetto is in his songs. This is one of those songs that always grabs my attention when it comes on while I am working.

Okay, got to get going because there is still lots to be done as I prep for this show. No rest for the wicked as they like to say. I would like to believe it’s the other way around — no rest for the righteous— but that might just be quibbling.



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GC Myers- Shared Joy sm



This is the true joy in life: the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one, the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap, the being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.

-George Bernard Shaw



The painting above is a new piece from my June show at the Principle Gallery. It’s a 12″ by 12″ canvas that feature my Baucis and Philemon inspired trees. There’s a brightness to it that gives me a true feeling of joy which most likely led to its title, Shared Joy. It reminded me of a blogpost from back in 2016 where I was describing another piece that brought up similar feelings. I thought I would share it today along with this Sunday Morning music which is a jazzy version of On the Sunny Side of the Street from Esperanza Spalding. It’s from a 2015 White House performance and it showcases her virtuosity on the double bass. Nice version with a lot of joy in it.

Here’s the blogpost from 2016 followed by On the Sunny Side of the Street. Enjoy.



After describing a painting that I found joyfully appealing, I continued:  There was just a feeling of realized joy and happiness throughout it, the kind that Shaw described above in his play Man and Superman.

I think the feeling he describes must be one of the greatest joy in this world: to find a purpose into which you can fully throw your whole being for all of your time on this planet.

A purpose that gives you a place to stand and rise above the selfishness and pettiness of those, including yourself, who would drag you down.

A purpose that allows you to tap into some greater force in order to gain energy for your toils.

A purpose that lets you deny the cynicism that sometimes shows up in abundance in this world.

A purpose that serves you endless joy in what seem to be empty moments.

A purpose that even finds the joy in tears.

I think there is a purpose for each of us. Finding it is not always a simple matter and some of us will never find the one purpose that is truly our own. We may not be willing to give enough of ourselves to something that is beyond our own needs and desires. We might still find some joy in our life but it will no doubt be short lived.

For me, it has been painting. At first, I found this surprising because I often viewed it as being selfish in nature. It was my perspectives. My emotions. It was even called self-expression.

But I found that there is purpose in it and that this came from having others find comfort and happiness in their reactions to my expression.

Their joy fed my joy, even more than my own satisfaction and joy from the work.

But there are days when I still find myself losing sight of this purpose, when it is a struggle both in the studio and in the outer world and I feel drawn back down to less positive feelings. But I will be somehow reminded of that purpose and that joyful feeling returns.

That happened the other day. A gallery owner called and told me of a person who had bought a painting of mine that they had desired for quite a long time. In fact, this person had come into the gallery for this painting and it was gone, having been returned to me. I sent the piece back to the gallery and when the person returned to get it, they started crying in joy. I can’t even express how this makes me feel outside of saying again that their joy fed my joy, their tears became my tears.

Those moments make my time alone in the studio seem more special and filled with purpose. They make me that joyous one, if only for a while.

And that is good enough for me…

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Esperanza Spalding Lest We Forget



Don’t have much to say this morning. To be honest, I am itching to get at a panel on my easel that is at that crucial point where it begins to fully take on life. The most exciting part of the process.

I was thinking about this the other day while working on another new painting. The initial phase of compositional layout was great but from there on it was kind of a slog. The more I painted, the more dissatisfied I was with how it looked. I thought at the time that in earlier points in my career I would have hung it up, just let it go and move on to something easier.

But I had experience now and knew that this awkward part was just how this sometimes proceeded. You had to persist and use your know-how to push it forward, trusting that the grace contained within it would at some point emerge.

That little bit of knowledge comforts me in those rough moments during the creative process. And the painting I was working on turned out beautifully, at least in my eyes. Full of grace and color and a life all its own now. 

All that I can ask of my work.

For this Sunday Morning Music, I am going with a song from the great Jazz singer/songwriter/bassist Esperanza Spalding off her album, 12 Little Spells, from 2019. On it, each song is devoted to a part of the human body. This song, Lest We Forget, is devoted to blood, how we are all united to one another and the earth and the stars.

Everything is written within us.

Anyway, it makes for a lovely way to kick off a Sunday morning, with a reminder we are related to everything and that have the ability to bring that grace to life if we simply persist.

Lest we forget.



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GC Myers- Deluge



There’s a lot to be done here in the studio this morning. I was under the weather from my second dose of the covid vaccine didn’t get much done yesterday. It wasn’t anything severe, just a general tiredness and a lousy achy feeling that was just enough to keep me from wanting to dig deep into my work.

And I find that if I am off enough that I am not able to fully commit, the work never seems to go anywhere. I end up spinning my wheels, ultimately ending up feeling frustrated and maybe even a little angry on top of feeling physically ill.

Time has taught me that it’s better to just ride it out and start fresh the next day.

And here we are. I feel good now, even refreshed, and eager to get at it. But since it’s Sunday morning, let me share a piece of new music from a favorite of mine, Rhiannon Giddens in collaboration with her partner Francesco Turrisi. The song is Waterbound.

The song reminds me of the painting at the top from a number of years back, Deluge. I am working on a piece that is similar in theme but am not ready to show it yet so Deluge will have to fill the bill this morning.

Off to work for me now, folks. Feels good to feel good again.



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Victorian Easter Cards



Thought for this Easter Sunday I would simply share a few Victorian Easter cards to go with an appropriate musical selection for the day. Much like the Victorian era Christmas cards I’ve shown here before, The Easter greeting cards from that time sometimes had a creepy edge to them or at least some sort of inexplicable sensibility that is lost on modern audiences. Take a look below and see if they make sense to you. 

Maybe next year I will share some strange photos of people dressed as Easter Bunnies posing with kids, like I have done in the past with some unsettling photos of Santas. The odd thing is that most of the creepiest Easter Bunny photos don’t seem that far in the past. A little too creepily recent for my tastes.

For this Sunday morning musical selection I am going with a song that is very on the nose for my devout friends out there. For those of you who do not observe the religious aspects of this day, it still is worth a listen. It is Sam Cooke, after all. It’s Were You There (When They Crucified My Lord) backed up The Soul Stirrers, the gospel group with which he started his illustrious career. 

Sending you Easter Greetings, maybe in the form of a chicks or bunnies wearing Pickelhauben, those old German military helmets. Seems like small animals were more militaristic then than now. Go figure.





Victorian Easter Cards 9Victorian Easter Cards 8Victorian Easter Cards 7Victorian Easter Cards 6Victorian Easter Cards 5Victorian Easter Cards 4Victorian Easter Cards 3Victorian Easter Cards 2

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If you can’t dig this, you got a hole in your soul– and that ain’t good.

–John Lee Hooker



On some Sunday mornings, the day I always choose a song to feature, it’s a struggle trying to find what i consider is the right song for that morning. I want it to reflect how I am feeling and maybe set the tone for the rest of the day. 

This morning I was in the studio at 5:30, wanting to get an early jump on my day of painting. I began looking for a song that I though might match with the painting above, River Angel. I thought of a couple of other songs with river in their titles but when this song clicked in my head, I knew it was the one.

River Deep, Mountain High as sung by Tina Turner in 1966, produced by Phil Spector. He was crazy and dangerously despicable but, man, he made some great records. Immortal recordings.

This is one of those.

It only takes about 30 seconds for Tina to reach full emotional intensity. And she never lets down from point on. It just roars and soars above the high mountaintops.

I just love this recording. My day feels like it off to the races already. Like the late great John Lee Hooker says at the top– If you can’t dig this, you got a hole in your soul– and that ain’t good.

Hope you dig it.



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We sprung forward in time tonight. An hour just swept away which for me at this time of the year always gets me a little on edge, especially on this first morning. Actually, to be fair, anything that gets me out of my routine gets me a little on edge but losing time of any sort affects me the most. It’s one of those tics that seem to get more and more pronounced with each passing year.

Time!

Came in this morning an hour later and wanted to write the blog quickly to save a little of this precious stuff, this time. Of course, my computer is running oddly and my internet connection seems to be an hour behind still, it’s running so slow. So, my time-saving has gone awry as I reboot this and reboot that. 

Darn you, time!

This is still not going well, technology-wise. Everything is glitchy as I write this so instead of fighting it and getting even more frustrated, I am going to wrap it up and introduce this week’s song for Sunday morning. It is, of course, Time from Pink Floyd off of their classic Dark Side of the Moon album. I realized this morning that I never play anything off this album, as much as I like it, or from Pink Floyd at all.

It’s probably a deep reaction to how ubiquitous this music was in the 70’s and 80’s. You couldn’t go a half hour on any FM station that played rock music without hearing a song from Dark Side of the Moon— or Hotel California, Free Bird, or Stairway to Heaven.

After awhile, you develop an aversion to even those things you like when you are exposed to them all the time. It’s like I really enjoy hot fudge sundaes but I wouldn’t want to have that same thing every hour of the day. Bad example. I could totally eat hot fudge sundaes day in and day out. 

But now I am excited to hear these songs again since time– yes, time– has cleansed away that stench of ubiquity.

So, if you have time, give a listen. If not, get to it. You have time to make up.

I know I do. See ya’.

 



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“Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: it is easier to say “My tooth is aching” than to say “My heart is broken.”

C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain


These certainly is a time of mental pain.  a It’s time with a lot of moving parts, so many things with so many repercussions all going on at one time. Everything, every emotion and passion, feels heightened.

And that can be overwhelming. After all, most of us devote our lives to avoiding pain and difficult emotions.

Unfortunately, there are times when it can’t be avoided.

This is such a time.

We will all have to dig deep into our inner reserves and call on whatever courage and strength we have accumulated there. And if our reserves feel lacking, don’t despair alone. As C.S. Lewis points out above, mental pain is hard to bear and trying to go it alone makes it even more difficult. Everyone–and I mean everyone–needs help now and then so in these times of super stress, reach out and let someone know.

The exposure is often purifying.

On that note, here’s song from someone who, several years ago, I never thought I’d be playing here. It’s Sign of the Times from Harry Styles, who came to fame as part of the manufactured British boy band phenoms, One Direction. But going out on his own, he has proved himself quite a talent and this song has stuck with me from the first time I heard it a few years back.

Give a listen, reach out to friends and family and have a decent day.


 

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I don’t need to be forgiven
For something I haven’t done
Nor for wanting my family
To find their place in the sun
If you keep this pressure on
Just don’t be surprised
If I can’t summon up my dignity
While you’re roughing up my pride

There will be a reckoning
For the peddlers of hate
Who spread their poison all across this estate
And a reckoning, too, for the politicians who
Left us to this fate
There will be a reckoning

Billy Bragg, There Will Be a Reckoning


Since we’re in the midst of another Labor Day weekend, albeit one certainly not in normal times, I was listening to some Billy Bragg, the British singer who has picked up the mantle of Woody Guthrie to become the voice for workers and the downtrodden. In fact, his Guthrie connection includes the fact that he provided most of the vocals for one of my favorites albums, Mermaid Avenue. It was a collaboration between Bragg and the group Wilco to set to music and record a group of unreleased Woody Guthrie songs that were just lyrics on paper.

The result was what I consider a brilliant album. But that’s one guy’s opinion.

I came across this song from Bragg that has been bouncing around for a while but seems to have relevance for these times. It’s called There Will Be a Reckoning. In different performances Bragg has talked about how since WWII and the defeat of the fascist forces that were threatening to overtake the planet, generations of politicians have neglected to honestly address the big issues that affect the majority of the population on this planet– financial inequality, social injustice and racism, food insecurity and adequate healthcare.

They usually just kick these concerns down the road in acts of expediency.

Expediency is often just another name for cowardice.

As a result, it has created a vacuum in which those with fascist tendencies and objectives can once again begin the rise to power through the division of the population through campaigns of fear and hatred. They see the neglected problems and, though they have no plan on ever correcting the deficits, use it as a prybar to separate the masses and set one group against the other.

And quite often they succeed. And fascism gains a strong toehold and takes power. And this leaves another generation to have someday fight to stop its spread.

Yeah, if it’s not stopped, there will definitely be a reckoning.

Here’s a live version of the song from several years ago. I am playing it to let you hear Bragg’s cockney accent and a few words on the song as he introduces it. The painting at the top is my A Time For Reckoning which is still at the West End Gallery and was part of my recent show there. I think it pairs well with this song and these times.

Have a good day.


 

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

We starve, look at one another short of breath,
Walking proudly in our winter coats,
Wearing smells from laboratories,
Facing a dying nation of moving paper fantasy,
Listening for the new told lies with supreme visions of
Lonely tunes.
Somewhere, inside something, there is a rush of
Greatness.

— The Flesh Failures ( Let the Sunshine In), Hair

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

The new painting above, World O’Wonder, is part of my new show at the West End Gallery that opens this week. It’s a 36″ by 36″ canvas that has a lot of oomph, a bold presence on the wall that proclaims the day. For me, I see it as a symbol of innate strength, the Red Tree serving as a fearless greeter of the new, one who see the beauty that abounds even in times of great difficulty.

I think it might be one of the more optimistic pieces from the show. Having works that have a forward looking stance, a sense of hope despite the prolonged battering we’re enduring at present, was important, both for my vision of the show and for my own attitude in the studio. Like anybody, I need to believe that, even though each day seems to bring a wave of foreboding darkness, there is some form of good, now and in the future. Something that tells me that we have the strength to endure the forces of hatred, cruelty and ignorance that seem so publicly on display in recent times.

I do believe we have that strength and I see it all over this painting. Beauty and goodness exists in this world, much more than the ugliness that rules the day. Like the lyrics above say: Somewhere, inside something, there is a rush of Greatness.

Before settling on this week’s Sunday morning music, I did the normal run down the rabbit hole, going through all sorts of artists,genres and time frames before finally coming to this song, The Flesh Failures ( Let the Sunshine In) from the 1968 Broadway hit, Hair. It matched up well with what I was seeing in World O’Wonder.

It’s an interesting song for me. It’s such a powerful song yet it hasn’t been covered by other artists nearly as much as many other songs from the Hair soundtrack. There are only a few covers out there and none match the original for my tastes. When I was reading the lyrics along to the song it struck me that David Bowie would have crushed this song. The cadence,rhythm, and phrasing of it sound as though it could have been one of his songs. Too bad we’ll never get to hear that.

Anyway, keep your eyes to the beauty around you, stand strong and actively fight for a better future. And have a good Sunday. Give a listen.

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