Archive for May, 2013

noThere’s an interesting article on the website Medium by tech pioneer Kevin Ashton (best known for coining the phrase “the internet of things“) called Creative People Say No.  In it he talks about how productive creatives — productive is the key word here–  understand the limitations of their time here and as a result weigh every request for their time against what they might produce in that time.  It immediately struck a chord with me as I have known for many years that my time as both a living human and artist are limited and that for me to ever have a chance of capturing that elusive intangible answer that goads me forward, always just a step ahead of me and just out of sight, than I have to mete out my time judiciously.  We have X numbers of hours and doing something other than that which I recognize as my purpose  represents a real choice.

Ashton echoes my own feelings when he  writes:  Time is the raw material of creation. Wipe away the magic and myth of creating and all that remains is work: the work of becoming expert through study and practice, the work of finding solutions to problems and problems with those solutions, the work of trial and error, the work of thinking and perfecting, the work of creating. Creating consumes. It is all day, every day. It knows neither weekends nor vacations. It is not when we feel like it. It is habit, compulsion, obsession, vocation.

So, over the the last 15 years, I have wrestled over every choice that takes time away from the studio, in most cases declining invitations to all sorts of functions and putting off travelling and vacations.  Even a morning cup of coffee with friend or family requires serious debate.  For a while I thought I was agoraphobic but I know that’s not the case.  I just view my time as extremely limited and shrinking at a constant  rate.

It reminds me of a conversation I had with a painter friend a number of years ago.  He had brought up the name of a well-known artist whose work he admired who was incredibly productive.  My friend bemoaned the fact that he himself wasn’t as productive and wondered how this person could do so much.  In the conversation he told me about all the activities that his life held– traveling , classes, music sessions with friends and time with his kids.    I couldn’t bring myself to point out that he would have to start sacrificing something in order to be as productive as this other artist.  It was obvious that his X amount of hours were spent differently than the other artist, who I should point out also had a studio staff with a manager and several assistants to boost  his productivity.  My friend made the choices that he felt were right for him and who could argue that his kids didn’t deserve even more of his time?  

I think of this conversation quite often when I am faced with a choice other than spending time in the studio.  Even writing this blog entry is gnawing at me because it has exceeded the amount of time I want to spend on it this morning.  That being said, i am going to stop right here and get back to that thing that I feel that I have to do.

Read the article.  It’s a good essay.




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 GC Myers-  A Solemn Understanding smI’m on the road today, delivering my show to the Principle Gallery which opens next Friday, June 7th,  there in Alexandria,VA.  It’s always a big relief, physically and mentally, to just get the work out of the studio and into the gallery.  Physically, there is suddenly so much more space in the studio, fewer paintings grabbing at my attention.  It just feels airier.  Mentally, it’s much the same, as though the additional space and light  in the studio suddenly opens up  a bit more space in my mind.  I haven’t even left as I write this but already I am eager to be back at work, invigorated by the cleared space.

The painting above is A Solemn Understanding, a 20″ by 24″ canvas  that is part of this show.   It has very gem-like colors as well as a nice dark warmth and richness to it that gives it a sense of deep pondering, as if the secrets of the universe had  just been revealed to the Red Tree.

Well, I have to go but I thought I’d share a song from several years ago (2004 actually)  from Loretta Lynn‘s collaboration with Jack White on her CD, The Van Lear Rose.  This song, Portland, Oregon, always somehow makes it way to my playlist when I make this drive to Virginia.  Enjoy and stop into to see the work at the gallery if you’re in the area.


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GC Myers- Observers frm smI am in the last stages of putting the finishing touches on the work for my Principle Gallery show before I deliver it later this week.  It’s always a thrill to see the work move from the raw image into its finished state, like seeing a raw gem put into a proper setting that focuses the light and color.  The piece above is a good example.  I showed it here  back in the first days of April in a fairly finished state but lacking the frame and the gold edge that surrounds each panel.  I really liked it then, liked the interaction of the elements and the way the color popped off the wood panel.

But these finishing touches have really transformed it for me.  Though it is pretty large, measuring in at about 28″ by 52″, it seems larger and demands the eye more than before.  Amazing how how little things can change the whole effect and feel.

Like the show, this piece is called Observers.  I think many many of us are observers, those people never quite in the middle of things, just off to the side as they watch the action take place.  They never have much control over and seldom set the course of anything but note how it proceeds. Some members of this group, artists and writers among them,  notice this as well, along with little details that give their accounts depth and meaning.  Things like how the light was and what the air smelled like at certain moments, the facial expressions and body language of those around them.  Things like patterns and shapes and quality of color in the environment of the moment.

Growing up, I often felt like I was watching things from a distance, never in the center of things.  Oh, I had those moments of being the center of attention.  I was the baby of our family and at times got more attention than I warranted.  But often  I felt like a third party watching things from the outside.  A lot of this came from spending a lot of time in the adult world, kind of a tagalong.

I remember spending several days one spring break when I was maybe 9 years old at my aunt’s house.  My cousin and best friend of the same age was still in school as their spring break was a week later than ours so I didn’t have him for companionship.  While he was in school I would go to work with my uncle who was a water well driller.  I just followed along for several days, not saying much and just watching his world.  I still remember vividly the coldness and thickness of the mud we slogged around in  around the drilling site.  I remember the smell of the cheese and dried blood in an old country store where we stopped to grab some lunch, a rich cheddar stench that blossomed when the proprietor pulled the heavy glass cover off the huge cheese round.  I remember the small glass of soda with the huge ice cubes that I drank at the tavern while I stood next to him at the bar, all the time reading the goofy plaques behind the bar with risque quips and jokes on them.  I can still see the lettering and words of those plaques and my uncle’s face when he asked me what I was smiling about.  I pointed out the one that had something to do with male genitalia and itching (that’s all the info I’m sharing about this although I remember it well) and he chuckled and told me not to read so much.

It wasn’t much fun for those few days but the memory is vivid and there is something there that I hold on to.  I think that is what observers do , hold onto fleeting bits of memory and detail.  And that’s a bit of what I  see in this work.

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Taxis to hell- and back- into the Jaws of Death  Robt. F Sargent, USCG Photo 1944I think if you need an image to answer the question of why we take this day to honor  those who have served in the military, this might fit the bill.  It is titled “Taxis to hell- and back- into the Jaws of Death” and was captured during the D-Day invasion of 1944 by Robert F. Sargent, a Coast Guard photographer.  I can’t even begin to imagine putting myself into the boots or minds of those soldiers as they came off those landing barges, can’t fathom to any degree the basal fear  that must have been surging through each of them.  My stomach is in a knot just looking at this.

This is a trial of terror that most of us will never have to face, thankfully.  We should be more than grateful for those who been willing to put themselves in the path of great danger , for those that sacrifice their own opportunity for a long and comfortable life so that their comrades and those at home might have one.  They deserve a day, our gratitude and much more.

I am always conflicted on this day.  It’s too easy to be caught up in the romance  of war and combat from a distance, as though it were a mere video game that you can simply walk away from.  It’s much to easy to beat the drums of war from afar. We must honor the sacrifices of these soldiers by understanding the harsh reality of war and its aftermath,  resolving to try to avoid putting future generations of young men and women in harm’s way.  Who among us would want our children or any other child to have to face the scene in this photo?

Take a moment today and put aside the trappings of the holiday that have evolved from this day and remember why it is a holiday.  Be thankful for those who have sacrificed and pray that we can avoid future wars.


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WSKG Artist Cafe- GC Myers Back in march, I wrote here  about a film crew, Tina Reinhard and Christy Lantz,  from WSKG-TV that had come to my studio to record a segment for a regional TV show  focusing on the arts, both regionally and nationally.  Today is the first airing of that short interview that is one of the segments for the show, Artist Cafe, that is shown locally on public television channel WSKG.   The program also features segments on the movie Life of Pi and  Hamlet from PBS‘ Shakespeare Uncovered.

Artist Cafe shows today at 5:30 PM and there is a re-broadcast on Thursday, June 16th, at 10 PM.  It will also be available in the future on their website as well as on their YouTube channel.  I will let you know when they are up online.

Many thanks to Tina, Christy and WSKG for giving me an opportunity to appear on their show.

Have a great day!

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GC Myers- The Bridge

This is another new painting that is headed to the Principle Gallery  for my new exhibition, Observers, which opens there June 7, two weeks from today.  This piece , which I call  The Bridge, is 8″ by 18″ on paper.  The small bridge between the two masses is a variation on the island theme  that has figured prominently in my work recently.

There are probably multiple interpretations for this image.  With a single I look   I can read it in several different ways but the one that sticks with me is seeing the bridge as that connection between the two poles of our individual selves, that link that both connects and differentiates our opposing forces. The  masculine and feminine.  Our good and not so good impulses.  Maybe  even life and death.

In this way it reminds me a bit of the corpus callosum in our brains, the bridge of neural fibers that connects the two hemispheres and transmits information between them.  It allows the two sides to function as a single, efficient unit- – well, somewhat efficient on good days– and in some cases when there is a problem on either side where function is impaired allows that function to migrate to the other side .

As my not-so-efficient brain struggles to write this ( and believe me, it is a struggle) I am bombarded by other ways of seeing this piece.  I really like that it has a multitude of ways of being seen.  I am going to stop and just look at it for a few moments.  Have a great day!

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oklahoma-mapA lot of us probably don’t think too much about Oklahoma and when we do, it’s probably as a result of the latest blow dealt to it by Mother Nature.  This past week’s tornado devastation in the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore is the latest such natural disaster to bring our eyes back to Oklahoma, near the very center of our country.  As we do whenever a disaster anywhere occurs, we as a nation come together and give the full benefit of our gathered strength in aid and support.  We are doing this now for the folks in Moore, Oklaoma and if you can, donate a bit to the Red Cross or one of the other relief organizations that will be helping them back on their feet.

Oklahoma has always had a special appeal in the American psyche .   It lives in our minds with Curly riding the plains in that idealized burgeoning new frontier in the musical from Rodgers and Hammerstein.  John Steinbeck set  his fictional Everyman Tom Joad, the plain-spoken hero and seeker of fairness from The Grapes of Wrath,  in the Dust Bowl of Oklahoma.  He remains oone of my heroes and I  think of Tom Joad as the epitomized conscience of America.

I have a lot of other heroes from Oklahoma.  Growing up, whenever I heard mention of that state I immediately thought of Mickey Mantle and Johnny Bench, both OK natives.   And you can’t forget that perhaps the greatest athlete of his time, Jim Thorpe, was also from OK.   Or hero astronaut Gordon Cooper.  Oklahoma also gave us the sharp stick of humor that Will Rogers wielded as the greatest observer of  our country in his time and another observer in the form of Woody Guthrie whose songs are filled with the American soul.  His This Land Is Your Land is a tribute to our unity as a nation.

Even in these divided  partisan times, Oklahoma sits near the heart of this country, both geographically and figuratively.  Like I said, give them a hand make it OK again for them.  Here is a take  from one of my favorites , the Kinks,  on the American vision of Oklahoma as seen through British eyes.

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Foundation smBack in early April I showed a painting , Geometry of the Heart, on this blog.  It was an overhead scene of a baseball diamond being crowded in by a mass of red-roofed houses, one in which I found a lot of personal meaning.  It represented the way the game embeds itself in the minds of those who love it, how it creates a connection to tradition and memories of youth.  Perhaps more than anything in my life, baseball makes me feel connected to my  country and its history.

Putting this feeling on canvas was long overdue and I was so pleased with how both the finished painting as well as the feeling I experienced as I painted that I felt that I would do a small group for the my upcoming Principle Gallery show in June.  The result was trio of three small paintings, all on paper, that show three ball fields.  The first is shown here on the left and is approximately 6″ by 12″ and  titled Foundation.  I see the diamond serving as a base or foundation for the buildings beyond the outfield fence which seem to be sprouting from it.  Maybe the thought here is that the diamond serves as a classroom for the life lessons needed to survive  in the world beyond the fence.  I’ve written before how baseball is a game that is very humbling, that the best hitters in the game fail 7 out of 10 times at bat and that the greatest pitchers ever have had many losses.  It rewards individual effort but only in a limited way in that winning is based on a total team effort, dependent on each member of the team performing their job with their best effort.

Diamond smThe next is titled simply Diamond, and is 6″ by 8″.  This is the most reminiscent of  Geometry of the Heat and has a simplicity that brings to mind the innocence of the first days of playing the game, that first foray onto a real field.  For me, it brings back memories of the Little League field in Waverly, NY and the thrill of being on that diamond.  It was a beautiful park with bleachers along both foul lines, a well manicured infield and a wooden outfield fence emblazoned with local merchants ads.  To hear your name announced on the PA was a big thrill, a rite of passage from throwing the ball safely in your own yard to performing before strangers.  Daunting, yes, but it all seemed familiar because the game was the same, the diamond the same.

Night Game smThe third piece in this group is called Night Game and is 7″ by 9″.  The thing I get fro  this piece is that feeling when the daylight is fading and kids are still playing the game, not wanting to stop even as the ball becomes more and more difficult to see, until finally they must stop.   The empty field is still ringing with possibility and potential plays.  It seems as though there are always ghosts on ballfields,  phantoms from the past throwing the ball and running the bases.  This piece brings to mind a memory from my Little League days when I was put into pitch one game.  I had lousy mechanics and was never meant to pitch but I was game.  One of the first batters I faced hit a rocket that easily cleared the left center field fence. The whoops of the other team seemed to fade into the background as I watched the ball sail in the sky.

The ump came out to give me  a new ball as the other kid victoriously rounded the bases and the cheers from the other bench became loud again in my ears.  I smiled and said, “Wow, he really crushed that one, huh?”

“He sure did.”  He gave me the ball and I went back to it for a short while until I was mercifully pulled.  You give it a try and learn what you are and what you’re not.  Lessons learned.

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AACThis week I have a couple of things happening in the media concerning my work.  First, is the release of the June issue of American Art Collector magazine which has a preview of my upcoming show, Observers, at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria, VA, which  opens on June 7 and runs until July 5.

I have to admit that at earlier points in my career having my work featured in such a magazine, a beautifully produced national  publication featuring some of the country’s finest galleries and representational artists , that I would have felt a huge level of anxiety. Most of the work in this magazine is at the highest level of traditional representation and very little  that looks anything like my work is normally seen in its pages.  Early in my career this idea of not being in step with the accepted norm would have had me in a tizzy.  The confidence to stand alone was just not developed enough at that point and I always felt that if my work was to be judged against other work, what it was not would count more than what it was.

But time has taught me that it is actually the other way around and I have found  real confidence in my voice.  I now see that it is that very uniqueness, what the work is rather than what it is not,  that differentiates my work.  I am now pleased, not anxious or intimidated,  that my work stands alone in its look among these extraordinarily talented artists.   The article looks great  (shown at the bottom here) and the work definitely maintains its uniqueness among a lot of beautiful work.

The June  issue should be hitting the mailboxes and  newsstands this week.

Also, this coming Sunday, May 26th at 5:30 PM,will be the first airing of my segment on WSKG’s Artist Cafe.  I wrote earlier here about them coming to my studio for filming  and it’s finally going to air.  It’s a short segment, four or five minutes in length, that will be available on YouTube within a day or two after the broadcast for those of you living outside the WSKG broadcast area who want to view it.  I will let you know here when it goes online.

AAC June 2013 Complete Spread sm

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Debb VanDelinder-  El Dia de los Muertos 2010I wrote this past week about speaking to some local high school art classes taught by Debb VanDelinder.   I wondered if her students recognized that while she was an educator at both the high school and college level,  she was also an extremely talented and noted artist.  Whether  they understand their good fortune in being able to spend time with such a talent, gaining the benefit of her active intelligence and knowledge, is another question.  I thought this would be a good opportunity to  show a bit of her work and say a few words about it.

Debb works in the field of Scanography which is photography performed on a flatbed scanner.  The images are basically still lifes that are arranged facing down on the bed of the scanner.  The ultra-high resolution and shallow depth of field give  the objects in her images an otherworldly quality, especially in the large formats in which they shown.  Most of her prints are 24″ by 24″ or larger and are printed on aluminum.

Debb VanDelinder-  I Will Break Free 2011I think I am drawn to her work by her use of color, texture and symbolism,  elements that figure greatly in my own work.  I Will Break Free, shown here on the right, is a great example of this.  The deep reds of the pear’s flesh juxtapose brilliantly with the cold charcoal grayness of the barbed wire that entraps it.  The hard edge of the wire contrasts against the soft flesh, scarred from prior pokes from the barbs.  It is a simple image but the use of these contrasting elements changes all perception and it is instantly symbolic of the struggles between all opposing forces.  Light and dark.  Hard and soft. Warm and cool. Good and evil. Freedom and bondage.  Sure, it’s just a pear wrapped with some old barbed wire but Debb gives it layers of meaning with her treatment that take it from mundane to monumental.

Debb VanDelinder-  Georgia's Lament 2010Her work is often concerned with the elemental– plants and bugs, stones and bones– which gives it a resonance with which  we all can instantly connect.  The use of a small animal skull, bleached white and coldly absent, set against the richness of flowers which seem so  vibrant  that they almost seem as though they are brimming with blood reminds of us our own mortality.  But it is not morbid.  It just makes us aware of our commonality, our shared experience.


I could go on.  Her work does that for me, sets off torrents while it appears so simple and calm at the surface.  It’s just plain good stuff.  Go to her site at www.debbvandelinder.com to see more of her work and read more about her.  Like I said, those kids just don’t know how lucky they are…

Debb VanDelinder-  The Fourth Power of Two 2012


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