Archive for September, 2012

I’m knee deep in work at the moment, mired in a really deep groove.  I use the word mired but it’s meant to have a good meaning here.  It’s one  of those grooves that I hope for, where everything seems to click right off the brush and there’s a rush of excitement as one piece nears completion and the next is already beckoning.   The funny thing is that it’s not a manic groove even though I may sound manic in describing it.  It’s calm and cool, a sense of clarity with all the fogs of uncertainty blown away.  It’s a feeling, a rhythm, that I know and lay in wait for, often for long frustrating periods.  But I know that if I struggle forward, it eventually comes.  I don’t think I will ever succeed in describing this groove, this rhythm.  probably because when I’m mired in it I struggle to write about painting, am lax in communicating anything for fear of upsetting this delicate  rhythm.  So I will stop here.

Here’s a song, one of my favorites, Killing the Blues.  Written by Rowland Salley, I first came across this song many years ago when John  Prine did his remarkable cover of it.  Since then I have discovered that it has become a standard of sorts, covered by numbers of musicians.  Last year, I featured a haunting version here from Allison Krauss and Robert Plant.  I found this version from Malcolm Holcolme that I really like.  See if you agree.

Read Full Post »


Here is a new painting that is part of the upcoming exhibit, Inward Bound,  at the Kada Gallery which opens October 20.  I gave this colorful  8″ by 24″ canvas a most obvious title, Bridges.  I tired different themes in coming to this title but it always came back to those two small bridges .  The bridges really stand out for me as connectors here, as though they are butterfly stitches holding the land masses  together as the stream cuts through.

The title could simply refer to the two small bridges that go over the winding stream in this picture but I tend to think of  the bridges acting as links in our continuum, links to our past and our future.  That would put the house in this scene that is between the two bridges in the present while the Red Tree would represent the future and the path in the foreground that descends to the first bridge would be the past.  The orange/red and yellow wavy fields in the center are also in the present and that makes sense as well.  Their vividness is in the now, not yet faded as they move into the past.

The other way I looked at this painting was as a  military portrait  of sorts with the Red Tree serving as the head and the stream and road acting as sashes of some sort and the alternating fields  acting as rows of medals and the house a large hanging medal of  honor. It works in my mind but I kept coming back to those bridges and their symbolism for our connectivity to the past and future.  I think I’ll stick with the simple Bridges.

Speaking of titles, don’t forget to get in your titles for the Name This Painting! contest that started yesterday.  Just come up with the best title for the painting shown to the left and you could walk away with a priceless prize package.  I’m keeping the prize a secret but I think you will be pleasantly surprised.  Hint: It’s not a Mercedes or a Maytag refrigerator.

Rules are simple: Send your titles in as a comment on this blog or email me at info@gcmyers.com by midnight of next Wednesday, October 3.  All the titles will be affixed tot he back of this painting for posterity so even in you don’t come up with the winning title, your title will live on.

So, put on your thinking caps and send me your titles!  Good luck!


Read Full Post »

I haven’t done this in a few years but I was looking at this new piece that is headed for next month’s show at the Kada Gallery, trying to figure out what it was saying to me and a thought came to me.  Why not ask you guys what you would  title it?  I’ve done this a few times over the years and I always get a great mix of responses.

Here’s how it will work:  You can either post your suggested titles here on the blog as a comment or, if you prefer a bit more  privacy,  you can email them to me at info@gcmyers.com.   The contest will be open until Midnight of next Wednesday, October 3.  All titles will be documented and affixed to the back of the painting  so that posterity can get a load of  how we thought back in the day.  The person who submits the winning title will receive a prize package that includes a signed copy of my book and a special surprise or two.

The painting shown is a 6″ by 12″ piece on paper.  That’s all I will tell you.  You fill in the blanks with your own title.  I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

Read Full Post »

It’s been a busy summer with two solo gallery exhibits in the rearview mirror and the show of my work which is currently hanging at the Fenimore Art Museum.  But there’s no time to put it on autopilot and cruise.  I have a busy fall schedule with two more solo shows upcoming, one in October at the Kada Gallery in Erie, PA and the other in early December at the Just Looking Gallery in San Luis Obispo, CA.  I am pretty excited about both of these shows and will provide details on the California show later.

But first up is the Kada Gallery show, one that I do every other year.  This Erie gallery is ran by Kathy and Joe DeAngelo, two of the most wonderful people  I have been lucky enough to stumble across in this business.  They  make you feel incredibly welcome the moment you walk in their gallery.  Kathy takes great interest in the artwork and tries to gather as much info about each painting that I bring, wanting to be able to provide potential collectors with any detail that they might desire.  From an artist’s standpoint, she’s a dream representative for my work– someone who connects with it and radiates an enthusiasm for it.

The show this year is titled Inward Bound and opens on Saturday, October 20  with an evening reception at the Erie gallery.  There will be a short gallery talk at the beginning of the reception.  I hope if you’re in the Erie region that night that you can stop in and say hello.  I think this will be a really good show.  The piece shown above is a smaller piece from this show, a 5″ by 8″ painting on paper, that is titled Hope on High.

Read Full Post »

Summing Up/ Redux

I am on the road today so I went into the archives and came across this post from two years ago.  I had just received an inquiry from the Fenimore Art Museum which eventually led to my exhibit which hangs there currently.  It’s always difficult to summarize yourself.  People at shows and talks ask quite often for a way to categorize  the body of my work, to give a few words which adequately describe it, and I am  always at a total loss for words.  It just is to me.  

Here are my thoughts from a couple of years ago on this subject:

I had an inquiry yesterday from a museum, asking for more photos and information on my work in order to give them a well-rounded sense of my work. So, I sat down and began going back through my work over the years, trying to determine how I might encapsulate what I do in a condensed manner that gives them a complete look and satisfies me.

I struggled with the task. Choosing work that sums me up was difficult. Can I sum up my work in one or two or twenty or a hundred images? How do you define yourself at what you yourself consider a midpoint?

For me, it all feels the same, as though it is part of a continuum. I see differences through the years but I know that each painting was done with pretty much the same mindset and the same critical eye during the process which makes them equal in my mind which gives them the consistency for their audience that I seek. Maybe it’s that word egalitarian coming up again, but I want there to be no difference in the quality and emotional impact between the smallest, most affordable painting and the largest, more expensive work.

And then there are the series I’ve done through the years. Obviously, the ubiquitous Red Tree. But there is also the Red Roofs. Red Chairs. Archaeology. And many other less organized, recurrent groups of work featuring sailboats, cityscapes and small, lone figures. Or the other figurative work featuring what I call the Outlaws or the early Exiles. How many of these pieces fall into the category of rounding out an overview of the work?

How do you completely sum up yourself in the most condensed way?

I had this come up a few years back in nother way. After a very nice, well written article in the local newspaper, I was contacted by the producers of a national talk show set in NYC on one of the major news networks. They had seen the article and the host felt I would be a perfect fit for the show which featured a panel of guests from various fields in a fast-paced, short sound bite-y format. The host would shoot out a question and go quickly to a guest who would have 15 or 20 seconds to give a full answer.

So, the producers interviewed me separartely then finished with about 20 minutes of the main producer pretending to be the host and throwing questions at me quickly. After we had been doing this for the 20 minutes, with her constantly urging me to be faster with my responses, I was pretty frustrated and finally asked her what she wanted from me.

She said she wanted to summarize what my career was about in 15 seconds.

That pretty much ended the interview and, needless to say, I didn’t go to NYC for the show. I was actually relieved but it made me wonder how someone could adequately sum up themselves in such a short manner. I still haven’t figured it out and I guess I’ll have to think about this some more.

Read Full Post »

It’s that time of the year.  Cooler.  Darker at the edges with leaves coming down.  A   feeling of reflection comes with this turn from summer to autumn and it inevitably brings to my mind  September Song, the old Kurt Weill standard.  It is high on my list of favorite songs and at this time of the year I tend to seek out versions of it that I haven’t yet heard.  There are so many to find by such a wide array of artists, from Sinatra to Lou Reed.

I came across the version below from a guitarist I bet most of us have never heard before, Lenny Breau.  I know that I didn’t know his name or work, which is  a shame given the scope of his talent.  He was a great jazz guitarist who died in 1984 at the age of 43 ,  the result of a murder which remains unsolved to this day.  Another shame.  But he left behind a body of work that is wonderful and his playing is well known in some circles.

His version of September Song comes from a CD,  Boy Wonder,  that was released after his death.  It contains a group of work that he recorded as a 15 year-old  when he was a studio musician in his native Maine.  Beautiful work for such a young player which does this always lovely song great justice.

Read Full Post »

As soon as my wife saw the absurd shtick that Clint Eastwood delivered at the Republican National Convention speaking to an empty chair that possessed an invisible President Obama, she turned and deadpanned to me, “Oh my god, you can never paint a chair again.”  I laughed but didn’t fret.  There have always been plenty of  readings for the meaning of the chair in various cultures as well as in my paintings so a new, albeit ridiculous, interpretation wouldn’t make much of a difference.  But it has made me go back through my files and look at some of the chair paintings from the past.

I try to figure out which president each might be.

I’ve found quite a few Lincolns, a Taft and both Roosevelts.  Then there was a Jefferson, a Grant and a Clinton.  All three assassinated presidents were there– McKinley, Garfield and JFK.  George Washington and Old Hickory , of course.  Still looking for a Polk and a Martin Van Buren.  I think it may be difficult to find a Millard Fillmore but, hey, you never know.  He should actually be easiest to find as he hailed from not far from me in the Finger Lakes region but he still is not located in my paintings.

The painting above?

Dick Nixon.  And if Clint Eastwood thought the Obama chair had a potty mouth, wait until he gets a load of this chair.

Read Full Post »


There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

——Isaac Asimov,

           Newsweek,  1980


This statement from legendary sci-fi writer Isaac Asimov has been kicking around for over thirty years now and it seems like the cult of ignorance to which he refers has been growing and gathering in strength over this time.  It really struck home for me this weekend when I saw a statement from former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum from his appearance at the Values Voters Summit.  Speaking before the gathering of social conservatives, he said:

“We will never have the media on our side, ever, in this country.  We will never have the elite, smart people on our side, because they believe they should have the power to tell you what to do.”

Never have smart people on our side?  What a strange thing to claim as a rallying cry!

But beyond the absurdity of that statement, it really goes back to Asimov’s quote.  There has been a culture of anti-intellectualism that has been brewing for some time now, a group of people who demonize science and scientific research as being part of some left-wing conspiracy that seeks to ruin the world with their so-called “evidence” on climate change and evolution, among many other things.  Instead these social conservatives seek to usurp family values as their own , as though the “smart” people couldn’t possibly have the same level of love or care for their own families.

 A few weeks ago I read an account of a gathering of these like-minded folks in the Scranton area in support of the Romney campaign.  One of the participants said that she was there because she believed in family values which were qualities that the people that made up the Democratic side didn’t possess.  She said that these people on  the other side were single moms, minorities, gays and immigrants.  All lacking the same family values that she and her conservatives friends held high.  I could only shake my head in disbelief at the audacity and ignorance of her words.  It really pointed out the stakes in this election.

I have tried to keep politics out of this blog for some time although my political leanings are fairly evident to anyone who takes the time  to read.  I don’t want to tell anyone how to live their lives and I want to live mine as I see fit.  Plain and simple.   But this is an important election that is coming up in November and I feel as though I have to at least speak up against the shrill  and self-righteous voices coming from the right because they speak for nobody that I know.  All of the single moms, gays, minorities and immigrants that I know have more dignity, compassion and family values than this woman ever had.

I have stood by for the past several years and have heard and read all of the stupidity and exclusionary rhetoric I can stand.  I may not be the smartest guy in the world and am , in fact, very seldom the smartest guy in any room I enter.  But, unlike these people who revel in their ignorance and denial of facts and science, I aspire to and revere greater  knowledge and wisdom.  And that’s what I see this election season as being about.  It’s not just a presidential election, Obama or Romney.  It goes deeper that that, into all localities.  It is a cultural referendum.  A choice between this vision that denies science and wants to return to a  time in America that only existed in their fact-deprived minds and one that looks forward and accepts the challenges that the future presents.  It’s a time to put this celebration of  ignorance behind us.

Sorry for the detour off the art path.  I’ll try to stay on track in the future…

Read Full Post »

I recently was asked  if I ever painted any landscapes from a bird’s eye  perspective and this piece immediately came to mind.  My records on it are sketchy but I believe it was a 6″ by 9″ image on paper painted sometime around 1996.  It’s long been a favorite in my mind.

There’s something in the way the blue of the barn’s roof and the red of the silo stand out against the stripes of the fields that does something for me.  I know that’s not very deep analysis  but, hey, it’s early on a Sunday morning.  Also, there’s something about this image that  always brings to mind a song, the old gospel favorite I’ll Fly Away.  Maybe that’s the connection here.  The song is about a final release from the earthly bonds of life and this piece is definitely about  a freedom, a release of some sort.  Maybe not about  the final departure but definitely about being freed and moving from one state to another.


I don’t know.  But I do know that I like this version of I’ll Fly Away from Gillian Welch accompanied by her husband, David Rawlings.  Enjoy and have a great Sunday, the last of this summer.

Read Full Post »

I came across a large plastic storage bin in the basement of my studio the other day that I had not looked into for years.  It was filled to the top with sheets of paper filled with clumsy experiments, failed paintings and first steps from the earliest days of my journey into paintings.  Much of it was cringe-worthy, dull and without much life behind it.  As I said, first steps.  Rehearsal pieces where I was working out the process that evolved into that which I practice today.

But occasionally there was a piece that seemed to jump forward.  These pieces were fuller in their conception, livelier and united throughout the composition.  They were the beginnings of the continuum of my work.  They were  in the days before the Red Tree had found its way into my visual vocabulary.  They were often blank wide spaces  filled with only mood and atmosphere.

At my talk at the Principle Gallery this past weekend, I talked about how early in adulthood I had aspired to be a writer but found myself writing about these wide and open spaces, writing only about mood and atmosphere.  Hardly fascinating reading for very long.  I set aside my writing and this image of open spaces until I found painting.  My earliest work in paint echoed this atmospheric vision that had seemed so incompatible with my writing.  The message had found its medium.

This piece, measuring about 5″ by 11″ on paper,  from the first days of 1995, just before I started showing my work in public, had a title scrawled across its bottom edge, View From the Lonely Steps.  When I came across this yesterday I immediately was back in that moment when that piece was formed.  I felt that the painting was existing in the present, the now— an important part of the criteria that I use to weigh the worthiness of my work.  It had life and it sparked a feeling of pleasure within me, like finding something you thought was long lost.  It was a picture of who I was and who I am .  It was different but still the same.  It didn’t belong in a bin of discards.

There were others, as well, which pleased me greatly.  I looked for a bit then I put them all back in the bin and closed it up.  It was good to revisit that part of my past, to see where my road has once ran.  A mirror to the past.  It reinvigorated that inner sense of inspiration that sometimes feels as though it is waning in the busy times.  It was simply good to see it again.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: