Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Freed Thought

GC Myers- Freed ThoughtThe omnipotence of evil has never resulted in anything but fruitless efforts. Our thoughts always escape from whoever tries to smother them.

Victor Hugo

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

I call this new painting, 10″ by 20″ on panel, Freed Thought.

Like many people, I am concerned with what is happening in this country and around the world as ideas such as nationalism and authoritarianism take hold in more and more places.  That is a scary thought when you consider the horrors that took place in the first part of the last century–world wars, civil wars and genocide– as a result of these ideologies.

Perhaps we are just far enough removed from that time that we allow ourselves to conveniently forget that bit of history. Or think that it doesn’t apply here and begin to believe that this time will be different, somehow treating us to a much more pleasant result.

I think a lot of people fall into that second category, the It Can’t Happen Here camp. That is easy to understand and easy to swallow, not requiring much work or thought.

Keep your head down, don’t make waves or ask too many questions, and it will all be fine.

Unfortunately, that is the fodder for those with evil intent.  To those who seek control, who want to rule over— not govern–people, this unquestioning attitude is as enabling as the ardor of their most loyal adherents.  They are the most easily managed and most easily convinced because they don’t want to stand out alone, away from the others in any way.

Those with evil intent then try to keep this easily led herd away from those who disbelieve, who choose to remember history and see the ghosts of the past in the actions of the present.  Those who would stop them from achieving their goals– both publicly stated and those whispered in the darkness. This is done by controlling the message, creating false realities and fostering doubt in one’s own observations and beliefs.  Destroy trust in all institutions and all information except for that coming from the singular ruling voice.

Oh, it can happen here.

But I take some solace in the words above from Hugo and from history itself. Every movement, however powerful and far reaching, that is based on the darker angels of greed, deception, and exclusion eventually fails. An empire based on falsehood is unsustainable and will eventually succumb to truth. Truth and thought can never be fully controlled. They will always find a way to break free.

The downside in all of these cases is that many, many people are ultimately hurt along the way. And I worry that this is the direction in which we are headed.

That is why it is so important to come clear of the other trees that shade your views.  Stand freely and ask the questions that need to be asked and answered.  Remember that every evasion from a question is a step away from the truth. The truth has nothing to hide, doesn’t need to be concealed or evaded.

A thought based in truth will always stand tall and will not be obscured.

So, for god’s sake, ask the questions and demand the answers. But most of all, use the power of thought and think.

Jamie Wyeth’s Inferno

jamie-wyeth-infernoWhile I’m a much bigger fan of the work of his father and grandfather, Andrew and N.C. Wyeth respectively, I do like many paintings by Jamie Wyeth.  I came across a video that shows him at work in his Monhegan Island studio on a painting titled Inferno which depicts gulls swarming around a boy as he stokes a trash fire that blazes in a burner made from an old fuel tank.

I was surprised, for instance, by his use of a large sheet of corrugated cardboard as his surface as well as by the way he uses watercolor paint in the same manner as an oil paint.  Even if you don’t paint, the video is an interesting insight into the physicality of his process. And if you do paint, it may make you want to consider a different way of approaching your next piece. Give it a look.

Canyon of Doubts

GC Myers- Canyon of DoubtsCreativity requires introspection, self-examination, and a willingness to take risks. Because of this, artists are perhaps more susceptible to self-doubt and despair than those who do not court the creative muses.

Eric Maisel

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

This new painting, 8″ by 10″ on panel, is called Canyon of Doubts. For me, it represents the navigation that takes place in the creative process as the artist tries to get past the formidable obstacles of self doubt.  Doubt often throws up barriers that has the artist asking if they are good enough, if they have the talent, training, and drive to create true art that speaks for them to the world. Doubt makes them fear that they are out of place, that they don’t belong, that every other artist has more right to create than them.

Doubt keeps the artist seemingly boxed in with no apparent way forward.

__

Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother.

Kahlil Gibran

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

I’ve been trapped in that canyon many times. I’ve thought many times that there was no way out, that the fears posed by my doubts were the realities of who and what I was.

I have always felt alone with my doubts.  Words of encouragement from others often felt hollow when I was lost in those canyons.  They didn’t know how steep the walls of doubts seemed to me or how inadequate, how ill-prepared I felt in that moment.

The only option that seemed available to me was to trust that I could somehow fight my way out of those daunting canyons. It would mean mustering every bit of talent, every ounce of energy, and a sustained belief that I deserved to have my voice rise from out of  those canyons. It was matter of  either having the faith in my own value as human to find my way free or withering away in a canyon of doubts.

__

Your doubt can become a good quality if you train it. It must become knowing, it must become criticism.

Rainer Maria Rilke

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

I still find myself in those canyons. I still find myself periodically looking up at the walls that surround me and wonder if I am talented enough, strong enough, or even entitled to escape them.

But I now know that there is a path through them, one that is well worn with my own footprints from my past journeys in that shadowed place.  I know that, even though it is lonely and seemingly unbearable in that moment, I don’t have to be trapped in that place of doubt.

I’ve traveled this path and there is indeed a way out.

It takes time and effort and devotion.  It takes the belief in yourself, forged from past experience, that you will make the right decisions and not be trapped in those walls.  It’s in having the faith that when take a wrong turn, when you make a mistake, that you will recognize it and get quickly back to the path that sets you free.

At the moment, I may well be in that canyon still but I have the moon guiding me and its light shows me where the canyon ends.

And then I will be free once more.

__

You Ain’t Alone

GC Myers- Observers (with frame)

I normally don’t replay past entries from the blog on Sundays but I thought this week I’d make an exception. I very much like this entry, written a few years back after the opening of one of my shows, and share it with a small alteration to the original post by changing the music from the original Hold On from the Alabama Shakes to their song You Ain’t Alone. Both songs are great and fit with the painting above, at least in my mind.

Sunday morning and I think I’m much more decompressed than yesterday morning after the show.  All back to normal, whatever that is.  This show has made me think on a wide variety of subjects, about purpose and meaning beyond what I see in the work as well the potential for legacy in these paintings– would they endure into the future?

A good friend stopped in the studio yesterday and we talked for a moment about the subject of legacy.  I pointed out that legacy is a big if for any artist and that I can only do what I do — where it ends up in the future is something that is far beyond my own control.  It could be in enduring collections or it could be in garage sales and dumpsters– you never know what the vagaries and tastes of the future hold.  I witness this all of the time when I go through the  records from the auction houses and see painters who were celebrated in their time who are now basically unknown.  Their work sells for a pittance, far below what one might expect from reading about their fame when alive.

As an artist, you can only hope that your work has a transcendent quality that allows it to live out of the time of its creator and be of the time in which it is viewed.  I don’t know how you do that outside of maintaining consistency in your own vision and hoping that it is one that somehow speaks to those in the future.  But there is always the question  that if your work does move ahead, does maintain life and attracts future collectors, what would your legacy work be?

I know that this a fool’s game– no one has the ability to predict that future for their own work.  You can’t be objective when you are so close to it, can’t discern your own personal feelings for it from how it reads to the outer world.  But there are pieces that I see that nag at me, that have a weight that tells me that they may be vital pieces in a potential legacy.  Pieces that I could see easily living in the future.  There are a number in the current show, including the piece above, Observers.

These pieces have an intangible quality that I wish I could more fully understand so that I could better describe it.  Or capture in a way  so that it would be in all of my work.  There is just something that seems beyond me, something that is beyond this time.

Could I be wrong?  Of course.  I have been wrong many times in the past and will no doubt be wrong in the future.  But for my work I can hope that in this instance I am correct and that they hold on.

Actually, this was all just an elaborate lead in for a little Sunday  morning music , some soul stirring from the Alabama Shakes and lead singer Brittany Howard.  It is a song titled, of course, You Ain’t Alone.

Have a great Sunday!

A Little Kandinsky

kandinskyLend your ears to music, open your eyes to painting, and… stop thinking! Just ask yourself whether the work has enabled you to ‘walk about’ into a hitherto unknown world. If the answer is yes, what more do you want?

Wassily Kandinsky

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

Just wanted to share a great little film from Alfred Imageworks that features an animation of the elements from some of Kandinsky’s great paintings. Below that is a film from 1926 of Kandinsky creating a drawing with these same elements.

Kids Stuff!

3rd-grade-gc-myers-landscapes-1-smOne of the great benefits in my job is that I occasionally get to hear from kids who like my work.  For example, last month the Principle Gallery forwarded a lovely note from a young girl from Arlington, Virginia who declared herself a big fan of my work.  She told me about how she likes to draw the trees in her backyard and how she hoped to be able to show me some of her art at some point.

I can’t tell you how happy that little note and its simple affirmation from a little girl I have never met made me feel on the day that it arrived. Maybe it’s because I trust kids’ eyes and their instinctual reactions.  They don’t like something because someone thinks they should like it– they just like it because they like it, because there is something in it that they see as clearly speaking to them, not needing explanation or translation. It’s as though they are not aware of their lack of knowledge and, as a result, see with a pure, unadulterated vision.

And that is exciting to me.

The latest incident came earlier this week when I received an email from a local elementary school art teacher, Joanna Martinec at Big Flats Elementary.  She said she had introduced her 3rd grade class to my work as a way of teaching them different elements of composition in art.  They were especially taken with my Archaeology series with its hidden underground artifacts and created their own versions of it.

She forwarded two photos of the collected pieces that I am sharing here. I couldn’t be more happy with this work and love them all. In fact, there are a couple that have effects and feeling that I would love to capture in my own work. Just darn good stuff!

The kids were also pleased to know that I was both alive, local and self-taught.  She sent me a list of questions from the kids that I found to be very insightful and inquisitive, much more in depth than I expected. We are trying to arrange a time for me to talk to the kids and answer those questions in person.

I am looking forward to that and to seeing some of these pieces up close. Thanks, Joanna, for passing them on to me– they made my day!

3rd-grade-gc-myers-landscapes-2-sm

The Eye of Imagining

GC Myers- The Eye of ImaginingAll human accomplishment has the same origin, identically. Imagination is a force of nature. Is this not enough to make a person full of ecstasy? Imagination, imagination, imagination. It converts to actual. It sustains, it alters, it redeems!

Saul Bellow, Henderson the Rain King

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

It converts to actual.

Those four words sum up the power and potential of the imagination.

Our dreams, our hopes, our desires– they all take place in our imaginations. There these concepts begin to take shape and create their own paths forward. It is in the imagination that those first tenuous steps take place that transform mere thought into reality.

Every worthwhile thing we have ever done and every aspiration we will ever have is a product of the imagination.

It is the seat of all humanly power. And it is ours if only we use it.

Dare to imagine.

I think that is what I am seeing in this new painting, an 18″ by 18″ canvas, that I call The Eye of Imagining. It’s about dreaming.  About transforming that which we know and see into a form that better suits our hopes and desires.

It’s about reminding ourselves that the only limits to our potential come from not dreaming, in not allowing our imaginations to run freely.

This throttling down of one’s imagination is something of which I am as guilty as anyone.  I often find myself compromising my dreams, making them smaller and less challenging because of self doubt and a lack of confidence.

And this lack of imagining makes me feel smaller as a person.

We need to dream.

We must dare to be the person we imagine ourselves to be. Dare to imagine that.

%d bloggers like this: