It is very dangerous to go into eternity with possibilities which one has oneself prevented from becoming realities. A possibility is a hint from God. One must follow it. In every man there is latent the highest possibility, one must follow it. If God does not wish it then let him prevent it, but one must not hinder oneself. Trusting to God I have dared, but I was not successful; in that is to be found peace, calm and confidence in God. I have not dared: that is a woeful thought, a torment in eternity.
There is nothing I can add, except to point out that the image at the top is another new painting, a smaller 9″ by 12″ canvas called Time to Reflect, that is part of my Native Voice exhibit which opens on June 5 at the Principle Gallery.
Posted in Quote, Recent Paintings | Tagged Native Voice, Principle Gallery, Principle Gallery. Alexandria VA, Quote of the Week, Soren Kierkegaard | 3 Comments »
I am in the final days of prep work for my upcoming show, Native Voice, at the Principle Gallery, which opens next Friday, June 5. This will be my 16th show at the Alexandria gallery so my routine in finishing up in these few last days is pretty set. Even so, it’s a hectic rush to get everything done. For instance, even as I am framing I am still finishing up my final photography of the work.
For instance, just this morning I shot the 24″ by 30″ painting on canvas shown at the top. I had photographed it before but the lighting coupled with the blue tones made it a less than desirable photo, not really representative of the actual painting. But this one seems to hit the mark, capturing the blues in their actuality.
I call this painting Eureka. The word is from the Greek, meaning “I have found it ” and was most famously attributed to Archimedes who upon sitting in a hot bath noticed that his body displaced an equal volume of water which meant that the volume of irregular objects could then be accurately measured. That was not an easy thing to do around 250 BC.
But over the years, the word eureka has come to signify any great moment of discovery. California uses it as their state motto after its use in the gold strikes of the mid 19th century.
In this painting, the bursting light which forms a corona around the Red Tree signifies a moment of great recognition of some heretofore hidden truth, a discovery that forever alters one’s perspective of the world and their place in it. It was not painted with this intent but the fact that the light is bursting from out of the blue of the sky is no small coincidence. That is how these eureka moments normally reveal themselves– unannounced with little forewarning.
I’ve been fortunate to have one or two of these moments. Well, one for sure. And in that instance, I certainly felt like I was suddenly standing ablaze in the darkness that had surrounded me. This piece really captures that instance for me.
Posted in Influences, Painting, Recent Paintings | Tagged Alexandria VA, Archimedes, Eureka, GC Myers, Native Voice, New Painting, Principle Gallery, Red Tree | 1 Comment »
Memorial Day weekend. I’m no historical anthropologist so I can’t be completely certain when I say that I don’t believe there is any one group of people on this planet who have not been touched by war in some significant way. The history of this world has been written in the bloody ink of war.
A few years back, when I began doing genealogy for the families of my wife and myself, I was surprised at the many, many generations in each line who had taken part in the wars of their times, putting their lives aside to give so much of themselves– in some cases, their very lives– for causes that often might have been mere abstractions to them.
Part of me is proud that these people have answered the call to be a small part in something bigger. But another part of me is simply sad to think that they were called on to give so much in order to satisfy or deny the baser motives of those in power. War has usually been about greed and acquisition, nationalistic pride or ethnic and religious hatred– in each instance proposed with the greatest conviction and certainty by the leaders of each side of the cause.
And on Memorial Day, we remember the people who actually fulfilled the pleas of these leaders, be they right or wrong. These citizens did what they were asked and what they felt was necessary in their time and place. And I have nothing but respect for that.
For today’s image, I chose the daguerreotype of the Civil War soldier at the top because there was something in him that seemed to show the sacrifice of war. Maybe it’s the steely stare of his eyes. Or maybe it was his belt that is cinched in to what looks to be a ridiculously tiny diameter, showing how emaciated he appears to be. I’m not exactly sure but there is something in him that seems contemporary, less dated.
And for today’s Sunday musical selection, I have chosen the song Ben McCulloch from Steve Earle. It tells the story of two brothers who enlist in the Confederate Army in the Civil War and discover the hard realities of war as they serve under General McCulloch, who was a real person who died in battle in 1862. The chorus probably echos the sentiments of many soldiers through time for their commanding officers as they face overwhelming odds.
So have a great Sunday and a Memorial Day filled with some appreciation of what the day really encompasses.
Posted in Music, Opinion | Tagged Ben McCulloch, Civil War, Daguerreotypes, Memorial Day, Music, Steve Earle, Sunday Music | Leave a Comment »
The title of this new painting, 36″ by 36″ on canvas. is Concordia, which is a Latin word for harmony as well as the name of the Roman goddess of harmony. It translates literally as with one heart which I felt was really appropriate for this piece based on the role that the Red Tree has played in my career.
The beginning of the Red Tree is often asked about at the gallery talks I give and I usually just describe the chronology of its emergence in my work, how it was little more than a compositional element in the beginning, something that brought a central focus to the painting. But describing what the Red Tree has evolved into for myself over the years in terms of its meaning is sometimes difficult to explain in the moment at these talks.
Yes, it is still a mere element that brings the eye to the center around which everything else in the painting more or less revolves. In that respect, it is the sun in its own solar system. But over time I have come to recognize that the Red Tree is the exposed heart of my work, the emotional center that speaks out to the world in a way I never could as myself.
It is a heart that seeks harmony in its existence, to be at one with the world.
With one heart.
This painting will be part of my solo show Native Voice which opens two weeks from today, June 5, at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria. VA.
Posted in Painting, Personal Mythology, Recent Paintings | Tagged Concordia, GC Myers, Red Tree | Leave a Comment »
He knows all about art, but he doesn’t know what he likes.
This may not technically qualify as a quote but who cares? The message in this cartoon from the great James Thurber is so simply put and true and that’s what I am looking for in a good quote.
That’s what I like.
In the past I’ve talked about how many people are intimidated by the idea of art, feeling that they don’t know anything about art. This leaves them not trusting their own eyes and their own reactions to any given piece of art.
And that is a pity because art is mainly about the reaction to it. Art is a reactive agent, reaching out and stirring something in the viewer. All of the knowledge in the world about a piece of art cannot make you like that piece of work if it doesn’t first strike that chord that raises some sort of emotional response within you.
And I think most of us know within a few moments whether a work of art speaks to us or leaves us cold. The trick comes in recognizing this realization and feeling okay with it.
I’ll admit that there are many celebrated works of art out there that do absolutely nothing for me. They may have historical importance or elements of beauty or great craftsmanship in them but they simply don’t raise any emotional response within me.
I might be able to appreciate them but the bottom line is that I don’t like them, plain and simple. That doesn’t mean I’m right or wrong. It just means I know what I like.
And I accept that criteria from anybody, even with my own work. While it would be nice to think that it speaks to everyone, I know this is an impossibility. I’ve had people tell me that they didn’t like my work– in polite and respectful terms, thankfully– and I’m okay with that.
They know what they like. And that’s good enough for me.
Posted in Opinion, Quote | Tagged Cartoon, James Thurber, Quote of the Week | 2 Comments »
I am in the last stages of preparation for my solo show at the Principle Gallery that I will be delivering at the end of next week. As I’ve documented here many times in the past, it’s a very hectic time as I put the finishing touches on the last few paintings as I simultaneously begin the process of making the work show-ready. That entails photographing and varnishing paintings, staining frames, cutting mats and glass then putting it all together so that each piece shows itself at its best.
It is a sometimes daunting task, one that has a much different tempo and thought process than the actual act of painting. With painting there is an almost meandering journey taking place as the mind drifts during the act, sometimes sharply focusing and sometimes going blank as intuition takes over. There are pauses and rests along the way as the painting takes shape.
But preparing the work to leave the studio is straightforward and far less cerebral. Just put your head down and power through the task in front of you then on to the next and the next. Drone work.
But one of the gifts in doing this is being able to handle and spend time with each painting once more, to stop for a few moments and really look deeply at each for what might be a last time. There’s something very fulfilling in this part of process as each piece takes on a sense of completeness and acquires its own voice, becomes an entity beyond me.
That’s definitely the sense I got when I was photographing the painting above yesterday. It’s a 16″ by 40″ canvas that didn’t have a name but looking at it closely yesterday it reminded me of a long and arduous journey, one that winds through mountains and across seas in search of home. And there on a prominent peak was the Red Tree, looking patiently out to sea like Penelope scanning the horizon for the return of Odysseus. In an instant that was the voice of that painting for me.
I call this piece Odyssey.
And now, like Homer’s travelers, I must return to my own odyssey. There is must to do before I rest…
Posted in Recent Paintings | Tagged Alexandria VA, Homer, New Painting, Odysseus, Odyssey, Penelope, Principle Gallery, Red Tree | 2 Comments »
In the new June issue of American Art Collector, there’s a nice preview of my upcoming solo show, Native Voice, which is opening June 5 at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria, VA.
It’s a brief overview of the show and my career as well as the significance of the show’s title to me. Most pleasing to me is the fact that the three paintings they chose to display in the article show themselves very well , giving what I think is a good indicator of the look and feel of this show.
Another pleasing aspect is a short paragraph, written by a couple from the Bay Area of California who collect my paintings, which describes their views on the work. As an artist, it’s always interesting to get a view of how people honestly react to what you’re doing. And for myself, it’s great to get affirmation that the belief I have in the reality of the internal world I am trying to express in my work has translated successfully and is coming across as a similar reality to others. That’s very heartening and inspiring to me in the studio.
That being said, it’s time I get back to work. There’s still much work to be done before the show is complete.
Posted in Motivation, Neat Stuff, Recent Paintings | Tagged Alexandria VA, American Art Collector, GC Myers, Native Voice, Preview, Principle Gallery, Red Tree | 4 Comments »