Archive for February 7th, 2009

991-855We went to the opening of the Little Gems show at the West End Gallery in Corning last night.  It’s an annual show of very small paintings by the gallery artists and is always one of my favorite shows to attend.  There was a great turnout and I talked with folks I hadn’t seen in quite some time, some of them the earliest buyers of my work.

The Little Gems show was the first show where I ever exhibited my work, back in 1995.  It was an interesting experience, as I mentioned in an earlier post on this blog, to sit back and see how people react to the work.  It ran the whole spectrum of emotions, from exhilaration as some stopped and talked with friends about how they liked the small pieces by this new artist, to despondency as some brusquely walked by without a second glance.

I remember a local, well-known businessman approaching me and seeing my name tag, said,”You’re GC Myers?  I love your work!  It’s just great!  But…”

Uh-oh.  There’s a but.  That is never a good thing…

“But I only buy paintings of places I know.  Y’know, a local landscape or landmark.”

What?  At the time, it was an odd sensation.  It was one of the most exuberant expressions of approval for my work I had yet heard followed within a breath by a backhanded slap.  It took a long time before I processed this comment but in the long run it helped me.  It sparked my natural contrarian nature and gave me some resolve to not to kowtow to such little minds, to paint what I wished to paint in whatever manner I so chose.  This has served me well over the years and whenever I feel I am steering my work to someone else’s criteria of validity, I pull out that incident and stay on my own course.

I’ve had other incidents like this.  For instance, there is a well-known collector from our area with a vast collection who I’ve known for many years.  He knew me before I was a painter.  Whenever we meet he is highly complimentary but has never added one of my pieces to his collection.  Several years ago I learned the reason.

At an opening he said, “I really should have one of your pieces but…”


“But I only buy oil paintings.”

Now I’ve known of this bias for a long time but hearing it from a savvy collector was a kick in  the head.  All I could ask myself was if this guy would not want a Wyeth watercolor or a Klee work on paper?  He was cutting out a broad swath of the art world with this somewhat arbitrary qualifier.  It seemed to me that it was his loss.

Again, I have used that as incentive over the years.  The “don’t tell me what I can or can’t do” factor is a big motivator for me, even now.

Hey, that makes me want to paint.  See ya’…….

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