Posts Tagged ‘Van Morrison’

“The Fulfillment”- Now at the West End Gallery

To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life.

― Robert Louis Stevenson, Familiar Studies of Men and Books

Do you ever come across something, maybe a movie or book or song, that you haven’t thought of in a long, long time? So long that it has become almost new to you when you once again meet up with it. It makes you wonder how it has lost its place in your synapses, makes you marvel that while it has faded into almost nothingness it reignites itself anew with a bright blaze.

I had that feeling yesterday as we were driving in the car as the radio played. It was a little local station that plays an odd collection of oldies from many genres that I think I find appealing because it reminds me of the old AM stations I grew up that played a wide range of music, swinging from Johnny Cash to the Doors to Nat King Cole to Jesus Christ Superstar all within minutes of one another. Those stations represented a far wider swath of the population’s tastes that the niche stations of today. If you didn’t like what was on wait a minute and something more to your taste would surely be there soon.

Anyway, a song came on our little eclectic station and the intro caught my ear. I couldn’t recognize it at all. Usually, a song you know reveals itself within a second or two, those opening chords are so imprinted in your mind. But this lead in didn’t sound familiar at all even though I really liked it and wanted to hear more.

But as soon as the vocals entered I knew what it was. It was like a light went on and something in a closet that had been hidden for 40 years was suddenly rediscovered. Something you didn’t realize you were missing all this time.

It was just great to hear this song once more and it kept playing in my head until I went to sleep last night. I woke up and was humming it as I walked over here in the dark this morning. Maybe it was the song and the simple message attached to it.

And it is simple. Be what you are and celebrate that fact.

So simple that we sometimes forget and try to be people and things we are not. We sometimes desire to be something other than what we are when the fulfillment of this life comes in loving who and what you are.

That’s my lead in to this song. It’s I Shall Sing from Art Garfunkel in 1973. The song was written and recorded by Van Morrison in 1970 but it’s the Garfunkel version that resonates best with me. That happy, celebratory calypso beat just fills the song with an ebullience that adds depth to the meaning behind the song. Glad to have reencountered this song at this moment.

I needed it. Give a listen, if you’re so inclined.

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I want to go out in the countryside
Oh sit by the clear, cool, crystal water
Get my spirit, way back to the feeling
Deep in my soul, I want to feel
Oh so close to the One, close to the One
Close to the One, close to the One
And that’s why, I keep on singing baby
My hymns to the silence, hymns to the silence

Van Morrison, Hymns to the Silence


Let’s take it easy this Sunday morning. You don’t need to hear my rants and most likely want to find a bit of normalcy and respite from the constant stream of what seems to only bad news. I’ve been trying to find new ways at looking at this whole thing, trying to find some little bits of good among the bad.

For instance, one upside to this whole thing is that we will be spared the anguish of the school shootings that most certainly would have occurred had this stoppage not taken place. It’s a shame that they could only be halted by a different horrific crisis but it is good to not have to face another senseless tragedy taking place in our schools.

Another good thing: less traffic. Fewer cars on the roads means fewer accidents and traffic deaths. That’s a good thing. Plus it’s less pollution and it’s certainly quieter on the whole.

That’s the one thing– the silence that has taken hold in many of our cities– to which that I have seen a lot of people comment on social media. For some, it’s creepy and scary. Too apocalyptic, I guess.

But to some, it’s been a revelation, a reintroduction to that now alien world of quiet. I have read people commenting on being able to clearly hear the sound of the birds and the wind moving through the trees and buildings, all without the cacophony and buzz of the modern mechanized world that has become our constant companion.

When I go out at night, the sound from the nearby road that was usually busy and producing a steady rumble of background sound is now absolutely quiet for long stretches of time.

It’s glorious and calming, even knowing the reason for it being this way.

So, for all the bad things we’re facing, try to find something good to latch onto and hold tight. For a start, there’s always music. Let’s listen to a bit of Van Morrison and his song Hymns to the Silence.

Have the best Sunday possible. And be careful out there.



The painting at the top is titled The Questioning, a 30″ by 30″ canvas that is currently at the West End Gallery.

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Many, many thank you’s to everyone who took time from their busy sunny summer Saturday to spend an hour with me at the West End Gallery yesterday. It was a very full house with plenty of faces I know well and quite a few that were new to me. Hopefully everyone went away satisfied with their decision to spend their time at the gallery.

I know that I am certainly glad they came. Their warmth makes me feel most welcome and their questions create the real form and content of the talk. I am always pleased at the questions they ask. Most are quite probing and require me to truly consider my answers. I know that sounds funny, that it seems obvious that every response should be considered. But there are some questions that I have been asked many times so the answers just come out reflexively. I am often asked questions at these talks that come from different angles, that require a moment to look at  what is really being asked.

Hopefully, I got to the point of what was asked.

Again, a boatload of thanks to the folks who came and to Jesse, Lin and John at the West End Gallery for being the perfect hosts.

That being said, I can say that I gave a big sigh of relief when it was over. One would think it would be easy by now, especially given the open acceptance of the audience, but for someone who works in private solitude seven days a week it is a daunting task to stand before a group of people and try to speak coherently in an open and honest way about inner things.

When these things finally end the relief is quickly replaced by a feeling of fatigue that quickly sets in. I was wiped out after yesterday’s talk. But I am somewhat refreshed this morning and can start preparing for the next one, about six weeks from now in Alexandria. But I’ll put off worrying about that for a while.

For this Sunday morning music I chose a song about things being over. It’s a version of Bob Dylan’s It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue by the group Them from way back in 1966. Featuring Van Morrison who sang lead for the group before he had his great solo career, this is a great version of the song. Give a listen and have yourself a great day.

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Well, it’s Mother’s Day.  I am not going to wax sentimental here today except to say that I will think of my Mom today, just like I have nearly every day since she passed away nearly 22 years ago. I miss her in so many ways.

The painting at the top is called Days Like This and is a little 6″ by 12″ canvas that will be in my Principle Gallery show in June.  The hanging Red Chair here represents, as it often does for me, a deceased ancestor. Maybe my Mom on this day.

The title is taken from the Van Morrison song of the same name that fits right in with the day and is my selection for this week’s Sunday morning music. Instead of the warnings of bad days and lost loves ahead that The Shirelles offered in the early 60’s hit Mama Said, Morrison’s mother in his song let him know that there would be good days ahead as well.

Hope you have a good day. Be nice to your Mom and if she’s no longer around, remember some good times with her.

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GC Myers- Sense of WonderThere are two ways of looking at my paintings for me.  During the process, I view it as an assemblage of parts, a series of decisions to be made and obstacles to overcome.  It feels very much like it is part of me at that point, like I hold all the cards and determine where it will go and what it will inevitably be.  I feel a bit like a mechanic or a surgeon in that time.

But there is a point just after it reaches completion where the piece stumbles to its feet and moves away from on its own volition.  It has its own power, its own forward moving force and I am left powerless to influence it at that point.  I no longer see it as parts or pieces to be adjusted.  It is whole and seems to only be mine in only a familiar way, like a father looking at his child and seeing the resemblance but not understanding how and why the child does what it does as it grows away from him.

I don’t mean that in a negative way though I have to admit it could be taken that way.  I was thinking of a sort of gratification in seeing their child do things they never imagined for themselves.  In a moment that is both prideful and sad when he realizes that he has created something that he will never be himself, something that exceeds his whole.

I thought of this the other morning while working out with a number of newly framed paintings within my sight.  Only days before some of them had still been just parts and pieces,still problematic and with little life.  Yet now I was looking at them and they felt whole and away from me.  I recognized them as mine in that moment but I could see that they had their own things to say, their own feelings to express.

It was a moment that caught me off guard.  I have spoken of the work taking on its own life many times before but in that instant it seemed so much more palpable and concrete.

It created a sense of wonder in me.

This new piece, a 10″ by 20″ canvas, carries that phrase, Sense of Wonder, as its title.  I think the Red Tree conveys that feeling of gratification and wonder  that I felt in that moment.  Looking at it now, I see that it is mine but it expresses feelings I have yet to feel and truths that I have yet to realize.  And that sense of wonder is created again.

I guess it’s only fitting that this Sunday morning music be a song from Van Morrison called  A Sense of Wonder.  Give  listen and have a  great Sunday.  Hope you find your own sense of wonder…

FYI: This painting, Sense of Wonder, is included in my show at the Kada Gallery which opens next Saturday, October 29.

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GC Myers  Seeker of Light smThis is another new painting from the Home+Land show that opens this coming Friday at the West End Gallery.  It’s  16″ by 20″ on panel and is titled Seeker of Light.  It’s a painting that drew my attention on a daily basis in the days before it left the studio, the blue tones in it satisfying a personal desire for that color that often comes over me.

There’s something in that blue that, for me, creates a sort of color intoxication.  At the end of a day when I have been working up close, only inches away, I find myself smitten with the color, wanting to just keep painting endlessly with that color.  I’ve talked with people in the past about this, trying to describe how I actually have to consciously pull myself away from the color or it would engulf my entire body of work.  It’s pull for me is that strong.

And even though the whitish light of the moon seems to be the center of attraction here, I think it is pull from the blues that is the strength of this piece.  At first glance, it’s a scene that should feel wintry and cool but the blue tones here have a deceptive warmth, supported by the underlying reds and violets, that belies the natural coolness of the color.  It gives it a welcoming feel, inviting you in to follow the lines running in toward the light.

There’s so much more I could say about this painting but I won’t as it no doubt says it best for itself in the eyes of the viewer.

But that does lead us to this week’s Sunday morning music which has a reference to that color blue.  This song is from Van Morrison when he was starting his career with the Irish band, Them, back in the musical British Invasion of the mid-60’s.  Though they had a short life as a band, only about two years, Them produced some of the most enduring music from that era including the classic Gloria and  Here Comes the Night along with this cover of It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue written by Bob Dylan.  This song, with its haunting lead in,  certainly doesn’t feel its age, almost 50 years old, to me.

Give a listen and have great Sunday.

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mose-allison_1Artistic influences,  seeing how a certain artist will take the work of others and transform it into their own, is a fascinating thing.  Sometimes it’s very obvious especially when the influence is of equal renown or when one artist directly copies the work of another.  But sometimes there are great influences that you may not even recognize.

Mose Allison (born in 1927) is such a person, a name you probably don’t know.  But for many musicians in the who found their voice in the 60’s, he was a huge influence.  Jimi Hendrix,  The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Animals, Tom Waits, Van Morrison and many, many others have all cited him as a strong influence on their work.  But Mose Allison, while achieving considerable fame, never became the household name like so many of his admirers.

He was pretty hard to pigeonhole as a musician- at times very bluesy, himself strongly influenced by the delta blues of his home in Mississippi, other times very jazzy or even pop tinged.  But always a unique and individual sound that allowed him to take a song, his own or those written by others, and  give it a new perspective.  I have to admit that I didn’t know much about Mose Allison until just recently but have been thrilled to find his work and can easily see it in the work of so many others.  I encourage you to seek out his work and give it a listen.

To that end, here’s a small sample for this Sunday morning.  It’s his version of the Willie Dixon blues classic The Seventh Son, a song that became a pop hit for Johnny Rivers.  But here, it definitely feels all Mose Allison.  Enjoy and have a great Sunday.

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GC Myers-  Led Home smFor the mystic what is how. For the craftsman how is what. For the artist what and how are one.

–William McElcheran, Canadian Sculptor 1927-1999


I came across this quote this morning from the Canadian sculptor William McElcheran and lost myself in the circle logic of its semantics.  It made immediate sense yet somehow did not.  It was like a mist that I could see and feel but still  couldn’t quite  get in my grasp.  And maybe that is the very point of the quote, that art has both a tangible and intangible element.  It seems clear and within reach but there is mist-like quality that one can’t quite put their finger on.  And perhaps that is the very definition of art– to try to put that misty mystical element within reach,  to try to capture what is not quite visible.



I don’t know, maybe its too early on a Sunday morning to be pondering what is how and how is what.

However, it does provide a somewhat proper intro to some Sunday music.  Using the mystical theme, I thought some classic Van Morrison might be in order.  Here’s Into the Mystic from all the way back in 1970.  It stills feel fresh and in the moment.  And that, too, defines art.

The painting at the top is Led Home is a 10″ by 30″ canvas and is at the Principle Gallery for the Traveler exhibit.

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GC Myers- Song of Searching smSunday morning.  Time for some music to fit the mood of the early day.  It feels kind of bluesy today but in a quiet way, typical for many Sunday mornings.  I immediately go to my default guy, John Lee Hooker and his 1991 collaboration, from his album Mr. Lucky,  with another favorite, Van Morrison.  The song is titled I Cover the Waterfront. While it shares a title, this song is not to be confused with the more well known song from the 30’s, most famously covered by the great Billie Holiday with a version that is also a fave of mine.  I’m sure Holiday’s version influenced Hooker’s song if only in setting the emotional tone and pace.

Both are beautiful in their own ways.  What the hell, I’ll put up both versions.  Hope one of these sets the tone for a cool and easy Sunday for you.

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GC Myers- MoondancerI am slowly trying to get back into some sort of rhythm in the studio after getting back from what for me was an extended absence  while traveling out to California for my show there.  It was only a week or so but it was enough to disrupt that fragile balance and set me a bit off kilter.  I can sense it in getting back into my painting rhythm as well as writing this blog.  Just a bit more of a struggle at the moment. I don’t fret over this as I once might have because I’ve been through this more than a few times.  If I put my head down and forge forward, it returns after a bit.

Sometimes it also helps to look at some of my recent work, trying to find the string of continuity that might run forward from it and latch on to that.  In doing so, I looked this morning at a piece from the show at the Just Looking Gallery  in San Luis Obispo, a 12″ by 36″ painting called Moondancer.  It’s a piece that’s built on bold color, one that instantly catches my attention.  The central figure of the red tree here definitely has the feel of a performer,  either as an entertainer doing an expressionistic dance before the moon or as some sort of shaman doing a ritual dance asking the moon for whatever gifts or powers  it might bestow.  The moon definitely is in audience to the performance.

It;s that sense of performance that I will probably take from this painting today in the studio, both as the central figure acting as a performer as well as seeing myself as a performer before the easel.  I often think of myself as a performing artist, each painting a new performance.  Each day is both rehearsal and performance.  I think that’s why breaks in my routine disrupt my rhythm so.  It’s like a musician not practicing for an extended period.  The ability is still there, just a little work away from returning.

Here’s a video of a classic song, Moondance,  from Van Morrison,  that might be the namesake for this painting.  I choose this song today because if you were to watch many of the available videos of it online, you would be hard pressed to find performances that were not unique.  Morrison does the song in different tempos and cadences, each time taking the same song and bringing something new to it.  Again, that’s echoes what I try to do in painting, trying to bring something new in common forms and images that populate my scenes.

Anyway,  it’s a great song from many years back.  This version is from a concert in Montreux in 1980.  Enjoy!

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