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Posts Tagged ‘Vince Guaraldi’

Just going to take it easy today and share two of my favorite things. One is the instrumental version of Christmas Time is Here from Vince Guaraldi, which most of us know it from A Charlie Brown Christmas. Just a gorgeous piece of music that has, for me, a most calming effect. It’s one of those songs that immediately transports you in an emotional way to to place of warm memory

The other is the beautiful page from above from the Limbourg Brothers masterpiece, an illuminated manuscript called, Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, from the 15th century. This image depicting the month of December is a favorite of mine. The color and composition works much like the Vince Guaraldi piano piece for me, taking me instantly to a more tranquil inner landscape.

Take a look, a listen, and have a good and peaceful day.

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You see, the point is that the strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone.

― Henrik Ibsen, An Enemy of the People

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This is another new painting that is headed to the Kada Gallery for my show, Sensing the Unseen, that is opening there on Friday, December 1. It is titled Resist the Dark and is 8″ by 24″ on canvas.

There are a lot of possible interpretations for this piece, the most obvious being to the current state of affairs in this country and the resistance of many citizens to the actions of this administration as they seek to strip away many protections– financial, environmental and regulatory– that seem to only benefit the wealthiest of us and leave many of us vulnerable to the whims of large corporations. You may not feel this way– and if not, I both envy and pity you– but many folks feel like this country is living under a dark cloud at this point and without resistance it will only get darker.

This resistance to an impending darkness is the most obvious reading of this piece but it can also be taken to a more personal level, one where each of us has to stand our ground again the darker impulses we see being played out every day. We cannot personally fall prey to feelings and actions borne of hatred and prejudice nor can we stand idly by while others act out their own hatreds and prejudices.

Each of us is a barrier, a dam, against the baseness and incivility that is always ready to flood over us, if given the chance. There have been breaches in the dam as of late, these darker aspects getting bolder and stronger. It grows because it is allowed to do so, because many find it easier to accept the darkness rather than stand firm and shine their light into it.

Don’t let that darkness become your darkness.

If each of us stands our ground, even when it seems we are alone in doing so, the darkness will recede and return to the far corners where it has lived in anonymous shame for so long. And that is the only place where it should exist, which is still more than anything that thrives on hatred, fear and prejudice deserves.

Okay, that’s enough for this Sunday morning. Here’s a song from the 1960’s from the late, great pianist/composer Vince Guaraldi who you most likely know from his iconic music for the Charlie Brown specials. You most likely will hear a lot of his music from  A Charlie Brown Christmas this holiday season. Unlike some holiday music, I never get tired of hearing his stuff. This song is not a holiday song however. This song, Cast Your Fate to the Wind -which seems to fits this painting- was released in 1962, winning the Grammy for Best Jazz Composition, and has been recorded many, many times by other artists. It’s a nice way to kick off a Sunday morning.

Give a listen and have a great day. And resist the darkness…

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GC Myers- Party lights smallIn this part of the country, childhood memories from this time of the year usually include the cold and snow in some form.  Frozen ponds with skaters on them.  New sleds at Christmas going down white covered hills.  Bundling up in heavy clothes and hats and boots.

It’s a little different this year thus far.  Today and tomorrow it’s going to be in the 60’s here and there’s hardly a hint of snow or real cold in the future forecast.  While it is pleasant weather to enjoy, it makes feeling the holiday a bit different than in the past.  Christmas lights just seem to have more sparkle in the reflection on snow than on the the still green grass.  Maybe the piece shown here, Party Lights from 2005, was a hint at what this season will look like in the future.

I don’t want to argue the subject of global warming here today.  However, it definitely feels real this holiday season and if this is to be the new norm, it’s going to take a bit of time to recalibrate and adjust to how this time should feel for those of us who live– and enjoy– where it is normally colder this time of year.

Okay, it’s time for a little Sunday music and I thought that the piano of Vince Guaraldi would fill the bill.  If the ponds won’t freeze over for the skaters at least they have his music to enjoy.  Here’s Skating.

 

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Snoopy and Schroeder DanceAt the Kada Gallery opening last week,  a very pleasant man asked if my work was influenced by the Peanuts cartoons.  He said the work had that same feeling for him.  I laughed and said that, of course, these cartoons had been a large influence on my work and probably the way I see things in general.  After all, Snoopy was the first thing I ever learned to draw, the result of an older boy on my school bus ( thank you, Tom Hillman, wherever you might be) showing me how to do so in several easy steps.  Throughout grade school Snoopy was drawn all over every piece of paper I came across, his Joe Cool and World War I Flying Ace characters being personal favorites.

I explained that many of those early cartoons — the great Chuck Jones’ Looney Tunes , the very early Popeyes , the Disney cartoons with their gorgeous color, and so many more–informed and influenced the way I looked at things and set a pattern for the way I would later interpret the landscape.  They created a visual shorthand in the work that simplified the  forms in the surrounding landscape yet still gave a sense of place and time and emotion.

And that’s precisely what I try to do in my work today.

For me, A Charlie Brown Christmas is as close to perfect as any cartoon can be.  It’s a wonderful blending  of mood, movement and music with a smartness and charm that never seems to diminish. For this week’s dose of Sunday morning music, what could be more fitting than the Vince Guaraldi’s Christmas Dance from it?

Have a great Sunday and, if you feel like it, dance along with the Peanuts gang.  It’ll do ya’ good…

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Snoopy ThanksgivingIt’s Thanksgiving and hopefully you haven’t waited all year to express a little gratitude for the good things in your life.  If that is the case, get on the stick and start giving out the thanks, pronto.  If you have been grateful throughout the year, relax and listen to a little Thanksgiving-inspired music.  It’s pianist George Winston‘s version of the theme from A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.  The cartoon itself is not quite up to the level of A Charlie Brown Christmas but the music of Vince Guaraldi always shines.

And I am thankful for that.  And for Snoopy.

PS: The original YouTube clip with the George Winston version has been taken down but I have inserted Vince Guaraldi’s original below.  You can hear the Winston version on YouTube by clicking his name above or here.

Have a peaceful and happy Thanksgiving.

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GC Myers-Peerless sm

“Peerless” – Included in the “Traveler ” Show

I am back in the studio this morning  after returning from Friday night’s opening of Traveler at the Principle Gallery.  There is  a sense of relief in the aftermath, a deep exhalation at having mostly completed my obligations for the show.  But there is often a letdown as well,  a combination of having passed the endpoint  you’ve been working towards for months and  natural self-doubts about things you might have done differently in this show.  Fortunately, this show left me with only the mildest of letdowns.  I am already focused on my next projects and as far as doubts, while there may be just a few minor ones, I am sure that I have done all that was in my power for this show and the work in it.

We had a lovely few days in Alexandria, blessed with the best weather we’ve seen in all the years that we have been visiting in early June.  In the past, we have often endured 100° temperatures, torrential rains and excruciating humidity on this weekend.  But this year it was as perfect as the weather could possibly offer with temps in the high 70’s, blue cloudless skies and low humidity .   I am available for other  regional  weather reports, as well!  In short, perfect conditions to wander around the area a bit before the show.

We attended the ceremony  at the World War II Memorial honoring the living veterans on the 70th anniversary of the D-Day Invasion.  It was a beautiful setting there on the Mall, often moving,  and I felt very honored to be able to spend a short time in the near presence of those vets who survived that day of days.  We also were able to see the Andrew Wyeth show at the National Gallery that I wrote of earlier in the week.  It was wonderful to see so much of his work together, to be able to see the constancy and consistency of his personal vision as well as his ability to capture deep emotion within his scenes.

All in all, it was a great stay.  But the highlight was being to see many of the folks that I have met over the years who opted to spend some time at the gallery instead of out in that perfect weather.  I know that if I were in their shoes, it would have taken a lot to get  me there.  But for the many who did turn out and to Michele and her great staff– Clint, Jessica, Pamela and Chris along with guest bartender, Fernando Ascencio– I  extend a simple and grateful Thank You.  I wouldn’t be here right now writing this if not for you all.  And that I will always remember.

Okay, it is Sunday morning and we need to music.  I was thinking something calming while I decompress.  Here’s a classic Vince Guaraldi composition, Cast Your Fate to the Wind.  It has some of those same elements that you might recognize from his iconic work with the Peanuts gang.

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Peanuts Gang from A Charlie Brown Christmas - Chas SchulzI’ve been taking a few days off here around Thanksgiving, taking it a bit easier in the days that kick off the first days of the Christmas season here.  I can’t say I’m as big a fan of the holidays as when I was child but I still feel that same warm fuzziness when certain songs of the season come on the radio.  Nat King Cole singing The Christmas Song or Bing Crosby’s White Christmas, for example.  One of my all-time favorites are the wondeful compositions from  Vince Guaraldi for  A Charlie Brown Christmas.  Hearing the relaxing tones of Christmas Time Is Here with the children’s chorus is like zen candy to me–it just pushes away all the bad things we,ve come to accept as part of the season and fills the void with a peaceful calm.

I thought I’d share Diana Krall‘s take on this great piece.  It lacks the children’s voices but it is lovely nonetheless and a good way to head back into my work.

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