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Archive for January, 2010

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There is a wonderful law of nature that the three things we crave most in life– happiness, freedom and peace of mind– are always obtained by giving them to someone else.

—— General Peyton March

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This seems like the right thought at this time.  All too many people all over the world  lacking in happiness, freedom and peace and too many people trying to satisfy these desires of their own in a greedy, selfish way, believing they are not connected to the suffering of others.  That they cannot have an effect.

But ultimately we are all connected.  And perhaps it will only take a few small acts of kindness in our everyday lives that will snowball, inspiring others to action and changing the way that our collective mind looks at the suffering of others,  allowing us to believe that we can do great things.  And with that belief, we could do great things.

And wouldn’t that be a big step forward to achieving happiness, freedom and peace of mind for ourselves?

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The piece at the top of this post is titled Lines of Connection and is a wee 2″ by 4″ painting and is available as part of the Little Gems show at the West End Gallery in Corning.

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House of the Rising Sun

It’s Saturday and I find myself running late with several things to do.  But I do have a song running through my head this morning, the version of  the venerable The House of the Rising Sun from The Animals.  If we all had soundtracks to our lives, this would be a song that would be part of mine.  I played the single hundreds of times on our old console.  The Animals had a different feel, despite the awful photo from this album cover,  than many of the groups from the 1960’s.  Eric Burdon was not the glamour boy that you would see on many of the other bands and his voice, while distinct, was hardly the best.   Many of their songs had a darker edge that seemed light years away from much of the other music that filled the radiowaves at that time.  There was always the sense of rebellion around their music.  They were the type of group that made parents a little uncomfortable and that  made them all the more attractive.

This is a pretty interesting version with pretty high quality filming with a widescreen cinematic feel, something you didn’t see in a lot of rock videos of the time.

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You know, sometimes you try to practice happiness and it just doesn’t want to work out.

It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions lately, watching the horrors of Haiti on a daily basis.  Too much suffering.  But the outpouring of generosity and aid to this badly shaken country began to raise my spirits and I started to think that maybe the better angels of our national persona will prevail.

But there were two stories in the news yesterday that put a bleak pall over my efforts for sunny optimism.

The first was the bonuses announced for some of the Wall Street firms, including Goldman Sachs‘ announcement that their bonuses would total 16.2 billion dollars.

$ 16, 200, 000, 000.00

That is enough money to rebuild Haiti, estimated at 10 billion dollars, and still leave them with an incredible 6.2 billion.  It’s enough to pay off the deficits of all the states of the union.

It’s serious coin, folks.  And this is only one company.

I think everyone deserves the opportunity to make as much money as they wish but there seems to be something amiss here, something that gnaws at me.  There’s an obscenity to this bonus amount that I can’t fully explain.  I can’t see the productive part they’re playing  throughout our society that says they deserve such a huge amount.  Are they truly that productive?  How many jobs did they create?   I’m certainly no economist but I really need to have it explained to me how in this economy a company can pay bonuses that average nearly $500, 000 per employee.  For every employee, although I’m sure the office staff is seeing much, much less.

I could go on and on but I want to save part of my venting today for yesterday’s news that the Supreme Court had rolled back long-standing (back to the time of Teddy Roosevelt) restrictions on campaign financing, allowing corporations to unlimitedly support the candidate of their choice.

There is your classic Pandora’s Box.

This is creates the potential for a virtual Wild West atmosphere for special interest campaign spending.  You thought that the political races had been toxic in the past?  Think again because you ain’t seen nothing yet.

And it’s not going to affect us in just the obvious ways where state and national candidates who are the beck and call of  certain industries and corporations will be even more difficult to bring down.  It’s at the base of our legal system where local and regional judicial races will take place where this spending will have it’s greatest effect as judges who are beholden to the special interests who paid to get them elected will take over the lower levels of our legal system, making it harder and harder to challenge these special interests in court.  If at all.

And there would be no more recusals for conflict of interest because it would be legal for these special interests to back the judicial  candidate openly.  The rich will get richer, the poor will get poorer and more numerous.  See Goldman-Sachs above.  This will only help them as well to become more and more insulated from any legal recourse.

But like any Pandora’s Box, there are results that the person who opened the box never imagined.  Those who opened it yesterday obviously were more attuned to the corporate voice than that of the common man and perhaps thought that this would only serve to strengthen the grip of Big Business on this country.  It was more about allowing the powers that be to continue to gain even more strength than it was ever about First Amendment rights.  If anything, this will only serve to obscure true First Amendment concerns in the future.

But we’ll have to wait a bit and see.   There’s a part of me that thinks this whole thing could turn around and bite them right on their black-robed asses and  that they could unleash a sea change they never envisioned.

Just a feeling.  Can’t quite see it yet but there’s a feeling.

Anyway, I’ve got to stop this before I become any more agitated.  Maybe I’ll be able to paint myself into a trance with some semblance of tranquility today.

Hope so.

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I’m trying to refocus my attention back to my work after the last few days of the auction.  Currently, I am working on a group of very small paintings for an annual show called Little Gems at the West End Gallery in Corning.

This show has always had special significance for me in that it was the first show that I ever publicly displayed my work, back in 1995.  I wasn’t sure where the road would lead at that point and surprisingly, it has surpassed my hopes of that time.  Without that first step, at that first show fifteen years ago, I might very well have a very, very different life now.  So you see how I put some weight towards this exhibit of small paintings.

I also like this show for the format which forces me to work small.  It’s a great opportunity to work out new things on a small basis,such as amping up different colors and blocking in new compositions.  Or in the case of this small piece shown above, revisit a composition with a different feel and color.  Small pieces enable me to work on dynamism on a small scale, finding what elements work and might translate to larger work in the future.

Important rehearsal time.

From a collecting standpoint, small works have always been important to me.  Many of my longtime collectors obtained a small painting of mine as their first piece of art.  I try to make the small pieces every bit the same as the larger, more expensive paintings in all aspects except for the price.  I like the idea of making original work available in price to most people, opening the sometimes overbearing world of art to a wider range of the public.  There is something exciting about having new eyes and new energy in the galleries and both often come from people who may have been intimidated by the idea of even being in an art gallery in the past.

And like my first foray into the world of art fifteen years back, that can be an important first step.

Little Gems opens  February 5, with a reception from 5-7:30 PM,  and runs through March 12 at the West End Gallery in Corning, NY.

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Well,  the auction to raise some funds for the relief effort in Haiti has ended and $5000 was raised, which will be dispersed in the next day or so.  In relative terms, it’s a small amount but it was the result of the donations of a handful of regular people, not Wall Street financiers .  If this is happening all over the country, all over the world, it becomes a massive amount.  An amount that can bring a suffering nation back to its feet.  I think  the thing that can be taken from this is that when small actions are tied together, great things can be achieved.  It’s about creating an atmosphere of optimistic effort.

I wanted to write about how we could use this as a starting point to battle our natural tendencies towards cynicism, selfish greed and so many other negative traits that hinder us as a people.  Intolerance.  Schadenfreude.  The negative region of our identity that is the playground for perennial negativists like Limbaugh and his ilk, whose incredible wealth is supported by keeping the masses apart.  The last thing people like that want is any type of unity of spirit.

Their pessimism is an easy tonic to sell.  Unfortunately.  And all too many of us are ready to take a swig of this terrible tonic.

But I ‘ve already deleted two paragraphs.  It’s too easy when examining such a subject to be sucked into the vortex of negativity these people espouse.   All I will say is that nothing great has ever been achieved by such negative thinkers throughout history.  Every great achievement has been accomplished despite these pessimists by people with vision and optimism, people who focused on broadening human possibility.

Hallelujah.

That being said, here’s one of my favorite versions of Leonard Cohen‘s wonderful composition, Hallelujah.  It’s from the late Jeff Buckley.  Powerful tonic…

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THE AUCTION HAS ENDED!

Many thanks to everyone who participated over the last few days and congratulations to the three high bidders.  Hopefully, their generosity will make a difference in Haiti and help the people of that country back on their feet after suffering such a devastating blow.

This money will help but so will every small donation.  This is going to be an effort that will take a great deal of time and money to get the survivors to a point where they are once again leading somewhat normal lives.  Thank you so much for everyone who understands this and realizes that a real difference can be made if we act together.

The Results are:

“Proclamation” –    $1500   Eliza S.

“Archaeology: The New Phoenix”  – $1000  Denny S.

“New Day of Hope”  – $500  G. Edwards

That comes to a nice neat sum of $3000.  On top of that is an additional $1000 from a friend who wishes to remain anonymous, bringing the sum to $4000.  As promised, I am adding 25% to the bids as well as the anonymous gift which comes out to an additional $ 1000.

THE FINAL TOTAL IS AN EVEN $5000 !

After confirming the bids and the chosen organizations with the winning bidders, I will disclose where this money has been donated.

Again, thank you to everyone who contributed and try to keep this spirit of generosity alive throughout the year.



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Well, the deadline for bids, 12 noon EST today, in this auction of three of my paintings is nearing.  All proceeds will go to the relief organization of the high bidder’s choice , as described below.

Thus far, the results have surpassed my original hope for this effort. Bids to this point total almost $3000 and a very generous donor who wishes to remain anonymous has contributed $1000.  With the addition of the 25% that I pledged, this puts the total at nearly $5000. With the ability of these relief organizations to multiply the effect of monetary donations, this money may have a significant effect on a number of earthquake victims.

Here’s how it goes:  If you wish to participate, you can bid on any of the paintings shown by bidding in the Comments section below or by e-mailing me at info@gcmyers.com . Bidding closes today, Tuesday January 19th, at 12 noon EST.

Please make bids at least $25 above the current high bid.

The winning bidder receives:

*   Their choice of what organization receives the donation. For every $1.00 bid, a donation of $1.25 will be made — your donation provides 125% of effective support. Confirmation of donation to the organization of your choice will be provided.

*    The painting they have bid on, shipped and insured without cost to them.  The painting will be dedicated on its back to the winning bidder.

*    A signed copy of my book.

*    The satisfaction of knowing they have tried to make a difference.

So, if you wish to participate, please bid, and if you can’t, pass this along to someone you  know who may be interested.

AUCTION UPDATE

“Proclamation”

12″ by 16″  on canvas/ Value $1400

Current High Bid——- $ 1500

Current High Bidder– Eliza Schissel

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“Archaeology: The New Phoenix

8″ by 16″ on canvas/ Value $1450

Current High Bid——— $ 1000

Current High Bidder–  Denny Springmann

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“New Day of Hope”

6″ by 10″ image on paper/ 16″ by 20″ frame/ Value $ 1000

Current High Bid———$ 500

Current High Bidder-   G. Edwards

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Maximum Bid  To Be Accepted-  $10,000.00

Thank You!  Good Luck!


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