Archive for April, 2010

Arthur Wesley DowI’ve been going back and forth over the last several weeks, painting in two different methods as I prepare for my two summer shows.  One is additive, where I am building up layers of paint, and the other deductive, where I am actually taking paint from the surface.  I am equally at home in either style but I have focused for the last few weeks on the deductive style, a reversion to the way I first painted.  In doing so, I have been reminded of the work of Arthur Wesley Dow, the American artist and educator from the early part of the 20th century.  Dow was a huge influence Arts & Craft aesthetic movement and his teachings combined Eastern and Western principles of art that have influenced generations of artists. 

I had never really heard of Dow until years after I had started painting and had already developed my style.  But seeing his work, his paintings and, in particular, his woodblock prints, struck a chord of familiarity with me.  I immediately sought out his classic text, Composition.  In it, he laid out the principles of simplifying form and arranging the pictural elements in a harmonious fashion.  He taught the Eastern concept of Notan, meaning dark light, which stresses the relationships between the two in composing a picture.

I was already doing many of the things he laid out in his treatise, having come to them by trial and error.  But it was thrilling to see the concepts that were central to my own work laid out in black and white.  His own compositions were spare yet not empty of feeling.  The way the simple forms played off one another  and the interplay of dark and light created feeling and mood.

Seeing them again recently, made me want to simplify my work again, to work in my earlier style to create emotion with pared down elements and paying more attention to subtlety of color and line.  And that is where I stand at the moment.  Thanks, Mr. Dow…

Anyone interested in browsing Dow’s classic Composition can read or download it free from Google books by following this link.

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Yesterday kicked off this year’s Name That Painting Contest and the first day brought many great entries, several via e-mail,  and even a short poem.  Gotta love the creativity out there.  Keep up the good work!

I was remiss in mentioning a couple of things yesterday when I first listed the contest. 

First, how the winning entry is selected: I make the final decision.  I go through the entries and look for a title that has an interesting interpretation of the painting, hopefully adding a dimension that I hadn’t seen myself.  I had considered putting selected titles up for a vote but I’m not quite ready to give up that much control over a part of my work. 

I also failed to mention that all entries will be listed on the back of the painting and will therefore be a part of this piece for so long as it lasts on this earth. 

So, hopefully, that clears up the last of the details.  So, give it a shot and send in your titles. The contest ends Midnight EST on May 16, 2010.

For the rest of the details, check out yesterday’s post.

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It’s time for the annual (yes, I’m calling it an annual event) Name That Painting Contest!

The rules are simple.  Take a gander at the painting shown here, come up with a title that you feel fits it, and either submit your title through the comment section or e-mail it to info@gcmyers.com  no later than Midnight EST  on Sunday, May 16, 2010.  Feel free to enter as many titles as you wish.

The prize for submitting the winning title is…

A set of 2 extremely limited edition prints.  These are very high quality giclee artist proofs from a project that I tentatively started a few years back.  Very eye-catching, they are signed and numbered.  Plus, I will be including a signed copy of my book, In Quiet Places.

The painting is a fairly large 30″ by 40″ canvas and is a central piece for my upcoming solo show at the Principle Gallery in June.  I’m going to let the viewers choose their title without any prompting from me so I’ll leave it at that. 

 So break out your thinking beanies and give it a shot.  What do you have to lose?

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I don’t know much about dance, modern or otherwise.  Can’t tell a Tharp from an Ailey.

And I can’t dance.  The mere thought of moving around in front of a group of people makes me freeze, as though a T-Rex were after me and my only hope of survival was to remain still so he couldn’t see me, a la Jurassic Park.  Perhaps it’s a result of painfully stumbling through mandatory dance lessons in my 6th grade gym class.  A sweaty twelve year-old doing a clumsy cha-cha in the gymnasium with someone who randomly chosen is not the best basis for a healthy life with dance.

But I have a link to the world of dance through my niece, Sarah Foster.  She has danced and choreographed for years, primarily in the Boston area.  As I said, I know little if anything  about dance but Sarah’s work has always had its own signature idiosyncracy of movement and feel that I immediately recognize.  She often uses humor and her own unique view of the world in her work, often evoking chuckles from the crowds who have seen her work.  And while I may be ignorant of the history of dance, I can appreciate the inherent beauty of the rhythm and flow of the movement of dance and the visual impact of the moving form, often taking from it  inspiration for my own work.

When I was selecting a video of her work to show here, I was torn between two pieces, one more humorous and the other,  a lovely bit of movement that has great visual impact.  I opted for the more serious piece, Respiration, but highly recommend the other, Reverse Spontaneous Combustion (AKA Mad Science), as well.  Anyway, here’s a glimpse into Sarah’s world…

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I’ve started working on a series of paintings that are a return to my earlier work, back when the Redtree was first coming into view,  in the way they are painted.  Done on gessoed paper, I am using thinner, more transparent paints that allow the gesso base to show through, creating its own light and glow.

It’s a much different mindset than the one I’ve been employing in much of my recent work.  There is more restraint.  While it is still very much about color and texture, like the newer work, there is more delicacy and subtlety.  The colors are less saturated.  The transparency of the colors have a different effect even on a heavily textured base.  The linework is finer and the whole piece is really about how the blocks of color come together and interact. 

The feeling of the work, as a result, has a slightly more ethereal feel.  A lightness and coolness.  More atmospheric and less earthy than some of the newer work.  This being said, I don’t feel either style is superior to the other in that both reflect the same underlying emotions.  To me, they say the say the same things, only in different manners.   

This piece is a little over 5″ by 21″.  It’s still too new to have developed a title yet.  That will come soon enough…

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GC Myers- The Dark Blue Above

Well, I’m not going to Kathmandu.

This painting  is, however.

Titled The Dark Blue Above, it was chosen by the  newly appointed US Ambassador to Nepal, Scott DeLisi, to adorn the his offices at the US Embassy in Kathmandu.  The Principle Gallery in Alexandria was approached by Ambassador DeLisi’s office concerning this piece and, as a result, it will hang in Nepal for the next three years as part of the US State Department’s Art in Embassies Program, which arranges American art for its diplomatic locations worldwide.

I feel honored to have a piece of mine chosen to be a representative piece of American art in another country and I’m particularly pleased that this painting was the choice to go to Nepal.  If you had asked me to choose a painting of mine to send there, this would have jumped to mind.  I can’t say this with any knowledge but I get the sense this piece will translate very well there.  Perhaps it’s the rich, bright blue in that sky or the the feeling of atmosphere.

I don’t know.  Just a feeling.

I wonder if I can visit it?

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This is a small piece that I’m delivering today to the Principle Gallery in Alexandria.  Painted on ragboard, the image is a little over 5″ square and is titled Solace of Labor.

I really like this piece a lot, on a very personal level.  i suppose all my work is somewhat personal but, in this piece, I really feel as though I am the red tree here and the fields before it represent the work I’ve done.  The color of the piece has a calming, quiet effect and gives me the feel of the solace of the title.  It is a feeling much like that which I get when I collectively look back at the work, one of quiet pride of a task completed to my own satisfaction, knowing I had done my best and could do no more.

It also has a feel that takes me back to the very first work that I showed publicly many years back yet it still feels like today.  I feel the continuity of self through that time in this piece.  I guess what I mean by that,  is that even though the work has evolved over the years there is a line of continuity that runs through it and in this piece I can see it come full circle.

I don’t know if that makes sense to anyone but me.  I guess it doesn’t matter.  As I’ve said before, if I could say or write what I’m trying to say with my paintings, I wouldn’t need to paint.

But until I can write what I want to get across, I will paint.  Tomorrow.  Back in the studio after a couple of days on the road. 

I can’t wait…

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