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Posts Tagged ‘Van Morrison’

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

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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.

Emotion.

Spirit.

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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