Archive for July, 2013

Van Gogh The Bedroom detail from Google ArtAs though I have been searching for more ways to kill time, I have spent well over an hour already this morning just clicking on images on what might be my new favorite website, the Art Project at the  Google Cultural Institute.  It’s a collection of great paintings and objects of art from around the world, all photographed in stunning detail that allows you to get closer, in many cases, than you could ever get at any museum.  Some are photographed in a Gigapixel  mode that allows you to be almost part of the surface.

Van Gogh The Bedroom  from Google ArtFor example, one of the first images I came across was The Bedroom  from Vincent Van Gogh, a favorite of mine shown here on the left in its entirety.  Whenever I see a Van Gogh in person I always want to get as close as I can to  see the fervid brushstrokes that give the pieces so much life and energy.  I have been asked to step away from the paintings in the past but with this site can now zoom in to a level that my eyes (and security guards) would never allow in a museum.

Van Gogh The Bedroom mid-level detail from Google ArtThe images here to the  right  and at the top are of one of the rungs of yellow chair’s back in the center of the painting.  The top image is magnified to a high level but there is still another level beyond this to which it can be magnified.  I can see the canvas under the strokes, the varnish’s darkened surface in the crevices and the craquelure (cracking) of the oil paints.  I feel like I am seeing Van Gogh working on the painting, can see how his mind is forming the image on the canvas.  It deepens the whole sensation of the painting for me.

What a great site!  On a local level,  this site features over 1000 items from our own Corning Museum of Glass.  There are incredible views of glass objects from antiquity up to modern art pieces.

Well, I have just a little more time to spend this morning so I better get back to looking at some super details of great art.  Check it out!

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GC Myers- Dawn Serenade smIn the aftermath of this latest show at the West End Gallery, I have been taking a small break from painting, instead trying to get some things done around my home and studio that have been put off while I was working.  I have a real knack for putting off things that need to be done and there is a real backlog now of small projects waiting to be faced.  Nothing big and nothing too testing, just normal maintenance things like cleaning up fallen trees around the property and the such.

I thought, while I was finishing up the show work, that puttering around with this maintenance work would be a relaxing break but I forget how ingrained my painting routine has become in me.  Instead of relaxing, I find myself gathering anxiety about not having a brush in my hand, not working towards something.   I don’t know how to feel about this and find myself conflicted.

In one moment, I view this inability to find relaxation beyond my work as a flaw, a symptom of a shallow or hollow nature.  But in the next moment I am thankful for having found the ultimate soother in my work, to spend the greater part of my time doing that thing that gives me peace and brings me a sense of deep relaxation.  Not to mention the meaning and joy  it brings.  I guess it comes down to me working to relax where most folks must leave work behind to feel at ease.  This inversion of the norm is obviously the conflict, one that I am still struggling to reconcile even after fifteen years of doing this on a full-time basis.  Maybe I will have it straightened out in my head in fifteen more.

Okay, enough of that.  Here’s a little music, from around 1990, by one of my favorites, John Prine, singing his Speed of the Sound of Loneliness with Nanci Griffith.

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GC Myers- Correspondence

GC Myers- Correspondence 12″ X 34″ on paper

Well, the opening for my annual show, Islander,  at the West End Gallery was this past Friday evening  and, as I wrote here on Friday, I had some apprehensions.  Not about the show itself.  No, on that front I was confident and felt that this was one of the  best shows I had produced for the gallery.  No, it was just that summer openings are sometimes sparsely attended, especially  when the weather is as beautiful as it has been for the last few days, everybody trying to pack in as much time as possible outdoors.  But thankfully people did show up and the evening turned out well, even successful.

I would like to thank everyone who did come to the West End on Friday.  I can’t really express how appreciative I am.  It was such a pleasure getting to meet many new faces and talk with them for a bit.  One of the luxuries of the summer opening is being able to spend more than one or two minutes with someone.  I have had openings where even that short time is a stretch so being able to actually relate more about the work to someone who has traveled to see the show is a big plus.

For example, there were two couples, Melissa and Peter from the Albany area and Julie and Mark from Westchester County, who had traveled to Corning to see the show after coming across my work at last year’s exhibit at the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown.   I was able to spend a little more time getting to know  them  and to tell them more about my work.  I only hope that I didn’t talk too much!

I have written here before about how I judge a show by how much time the people in attendance spend looking at the wall rather than how many people gather in front of them to talk.  The faces are all turned outward toward the walls rather than inward.  This show was a good example of such a show.  It wasn’t as crowded as some shows but those in attendance were definitely there to see the work.  That is what I am looking for from my work– paintings that continue to draw the viewer’s eye to them and provoke a reaction.  In this particular aspect, this show was definitely a hit.

Again, many thanks to those who came to the gallery.  It was my pleasure to meet those of you who I was able to speak with and be assured that the energy you provide me carries me through a lot of long days alone in the studio.  Thanks also to  Linda, Jesse and Hedy at the West End for their their friendship and commitment to my work over the years.  Their hard work on my behalf is so appreciated.

Now, on to the next thing– getting ready for my Gallery Talk at the West End this coming Thursday, from noon til one or so.  Hope you can make it!

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GC Myers- The Stand

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

— Marianne Williamson


The quote above is an interesting example of how the internet sometimes creates its own mythology.   When I first came across this quote it was attributed in many places to Nelson Mandela, taken from his inaugural address in 1994.  That sounded right.  But I also saw that it was attributed to Marianne Williamson, the bestselling New Age guru.  And indeed, with just a short investigation, it was confirmed that Williamson was the author of this quote and Nelson Mandela had never uttered those words despite all those web followers who believed it so.

But regardless of authorship, it remains a good and inspirational quote.  I think it serves the painting at the top, The Stand, well as a description for what I see in it.  It is about letting your light shine and moving forward into a world of new possibilities.  Too often we are content to exist as less than we can be, to settle for a known mediocrity because we believe that the safety of this choice outweighs our desire for fulfillment.  Plus, it’s easier to stay put– no risk of stumbling in the spotlight and our friends are still there to commiserate.  Stepping up requires the risk of failure and the possibility of moving beyond those around you.

But, as the quote rightfully points out, we are doing no one a favor by denying our full potential.  Each of us serves as an example for those around us and to wallow in an unfulfilled life sets a bad example, denying inspiration to others.  No, we should dare to shine and let those around us look for their own potential in the light it provides.

There is a lot more that could be said here but I think brevity rules this day.  You can see this painting, The Stand, a 24″ by 48″ canvas, at the West End Gallery where my annual solo show, Islander,  opens tonight with a reception from 5- 7:30 PM.  I will be at the gallery so if you would like to stop out and talk for a bit, that would be great.  If not, come out anyway  to have a glass of wine and hear my friend Bill Groome play some wonderful parlor guitar music.  We’d love to see you there!

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As I have written often recently, my show, Islander,  at the West End Gallery in Corning opens tomorrow night with a reception that runs from 5-7:30 PM.  The show itself hangs in the gallery from July 26 until August 30.  I thought today that I would simply show a few of the paintings from the show that haven’t been featured on this blog as of yet.  Less writing for me, less reading for you…

The Observer’s Road- 12″ X 24″ Canvas

GC Myers -Zephyr

Zephyr- 10″ x 34″ Paper

GC Myers- Temple of Ball

Temple of Ball- 8″ x 16″ Canvas

GC Myers-  Sea Call

Sea Call- 24″ x 24″ Canvas

GC Myers-  Step Forward

Step Forward- 24″ x 36″ Canvas

GC Myers- Regal One

Regal One- 4″ x 18″ Paper

GC Myers-  Passing Clouds

Passing Clouds- 12″ x 12″ Canvas

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GC Myers-The Understanding Silence sm

The Understanding Silence– GC Myers

Well, just another few days until another show at the West End Gallery in nearby Corning.  I feel that this show,  which is called Islander and hangs at the gallery from this Friday, July 26, until August 30, is a very strong group of work and represents my work at its best.  I just think that this is a very good show.  Maybe that is not for me to say but I am proud to deliver a show that lives up to my own expectations, especially to a gallery that I consider my home gallery, one that has been responsible for me even considering painting as a career path.  Without their unexpected invitation to show my work there eighteen years ago who knows where I would be right now or what I would be doing.  I very much doubt that I would be writing this at this moment.  I even have a doubt that I would even be painting.

As much as I want to deliver a good show because of this gratitude  there is also  the desire  to simply do well in your home area, to show the home crowd, especially those folks who first supported the work,  that their support was well-founded.  I feel a tremendous sense of debt to those people for giving me the incentive and inspiration to keep pushing ahead, to keep creating solid work  that continues to expand.

There is also the desire to show young artists from the area that in doing consistently good work there is the possibility to  make their living as an artist.  Our area is not the most affluent and there are not a lot of examples of successful working artists for them to follow but I hope that they get some inspiration from a home grown artist who, while basically uneducated and without many advantages, makes a decent living.  A matter of  if he can do it,so can I.

I suppose there is also the desire to show those people who may have doubted the validity of my work from the beginning that it does have worth, does have meaning.  That has become less and less of a motivator as I have grown into my work.  I find now that  I would rather focus on those people who see something in my work rather than trying to sway people who are naturally averse to my work.  You can never satisfy everyone and wasting time trying to do so takes away from your core work.

So, as you can see, I put a lot of pressure on myself with these shows, probably more than I should.  Probably more than is healthy for myself.  I have written here before about the anxiety I feel before a show and it’s always even more intense before these home shows, especially a summer show such as this.  You hope for a great turnout but being the summer many people are away on vacation or at the nearby lakes so attendance naturally suffers a bit.  You want to put out a great group so that people don’t regret making the choice to come to the show and will tell their friends who couldn’t make it so that they will eventually stop in to see it.

But, in the end, I reconcile it all with the knowledge that I have given a total effort and produced a show of which I can be proud.  Hope you can come see it.


The painting at the top is from the show and is titled The Understanding Silence.  It is a 16″ by 20″ canvas.



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GC Myers- Harmonic OneI call this new painting  Harmonic One.  It’s 14″ by 34″ on paper and is part of my Islander show at the West End Gallery in Corning , opening this Friday and running through August.

This is another of those paintings that I start then set aside, waiting for a moment of clarity when the direction of the painting comes through to me.  Sometimes I set them aside because I simply lose momentum, lose the rhythm that is driving the creative force forward and find myself dulling the painting.  Other times, like this, I set them aside because I reach a point, in full rhythm, where I must choose a direction and cannot because I so like what I see before me that I am fearful that I will make a wrong decision which would destroy everything.

The thing that attracted me to this piece and caused me to hesitate when I came to that point on this piece was the color and texture of the sky.  It was chaotic  and rough with bits of differing tones of blues and pale greens.  It was just alive and seemed to dance on the surface.  There is a detail from the sky shown at the bottom of this post.  I knew that to just jump ahead too quickly would diminish the whole effect of that sky.  It required a focal point that would play off of the chaos running through the sky.

Of course, my focal point, my central character,  was going to be the Red Tree.  But it had to have a certain weightiness, a feeling of strength that would create a solidity that would contrast with the foreboding confusion of the sky and bring the whole into some sort of equilibrium.  In short, a tree that would create harmony.

I repeatedly would put this piece on my table and, time after time, I would take it away without touching it.  I just could envision such a harmonizer.  I was at a point where I was beginning to think that I had created a piece that would never go beyond mere potential.  The finished section began top lose vitality and I thought it would go in the heap with other work that never lived up to their possibilities.

But finally, it showed itself in the form that you see.  It transformed the whole thing, bringing a peaceful solidness and force that brings the chaos of the sky into balance.   The title came easily.  In the end, I was tremendously pleased with this painting.  It had everything that  I looked for in my work–depth, texture, color, contrasts, and a feeling of vitality all in a deceptively simple package.  All that I could ask of it…

GC Myers- Harmonic One detail

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GC Myers-Icon on Copper

GC Myers-Icon on Copper

I haven’t done it in quite some time, but I have used metal leaf, usually gold or copper, several times in my work over the years.  There is something about using the leaf in a work that transforms a simple composition into one that has greater depth and weight.  This is always surprising to me because the leaf itself flattens the picture plane.  Maybe we have some innate elemental response to the qualities of the metal leaf, its richness and sheen, that goes back through the ages to a time when the use of luxurious metals was the province of sacred art and artifacts.  I know that always comes to my mind when I see metal leaf used in artwork.  I find myself considering the work in a different , more reverential, manner, as though I were considering a religious icon.  I suppose that is why I always describe this work with that term, icon.

GC Myers- Under a Copper Sky

GC Myers- Under a Copper Sky

While I try not to use leaf too often in my work, there are two such pieces in this years show at the West End Gallery, which opens this coming Friday, July 26.  Both are small pieces on paper, both with copper leaf.  I find the warmth of copper leaf appealing and more in line with this work.  The compositions are quiet and very simple , allowing the central figure of the Red Tree to stand starkly against the elegant weight of the copper.  This juxtaposition without a lot of additional elements and detail allows the tree and the copper leaf to shine in harmony.

The piece shown above, an 8″ by 8″ image,  is simply titled Icon on Copper .  The painting here on the left is a bit smaller at 4′ by 6.5″ and is also simply titled Under a Copper Sky.  They are both at the gallery now for the show, Islander, which runs until August 30.


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GC Myers 2013- Moment Sublime smI delivered my work yesterday to the West End Gallery for this year’s solo exhibit, Islander.  The show, which hangs in the Corning gallery from July 26th until August 30, is something like my 37th or 38th solo show at different galleries around the country so there are common experiences with each that you begin to notice.  One is definitely the sense of relief that comes with delivering the show.

The work is done, everything framed and photographed, and in the gallery.  Seemingly , my job is done.  That’s not exactly true as there is always an aspect of the job that lingers after the work leaves the studio such as writing this and doing other promotional things that are required in order to spread the word about my work.  But for the most part, my work is done and I can step back to take a deep breath.

I generally notice a sense of exhaustion that sets in immediately after delivery, as though the tension of meeting a deadline has been a distraction from the tiredness that has been creeping in.  It’s a good exhaustion though, one that comes with knowing that I am totally satisfied with the work that I have done and have put in it as much as I could.

It’s a feeling much like the one I see in the painting featured above, Moment Sublime, a 9″ by 14″ painting on paper that is part of the show.  I suppose that is why I chose it for today’s post.  There is that same real sense of satisfaction in this image, a peaceful feeling of being only in the moment.  For me, after delivering the show, this means having no regrets about the work I have done and not concerning myself in that moment about the future results of the show or what comes next.

The task is done.  I am very happy with what I have done, feeling that it truthfully represents who I am at this moment.  All that I could ask.  In that instant, I am that Red Tree and the moment is indeed sublime…

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GCMyers 2013- The Song We Carry smWe all carry a lot of baggage with us on our journey through this life.  It’s a rare moment when we find ourselves free from all the  traces from the past that we lug along– all the snippets of conversations, faces, song melodies and lyrics, pictures, smells, film clips and everything else we have input into the hard drive of our mind is always whirring around.  I know that I will sometimes pull up some fragment from the past and wonder how I was still holding on to this piece of information.  It might be the name of someone that I barely knew forty or fifty years before.  Somehow it hangs on and occasionally pops out, confounding me with the idea that this seemingly useless bit of data is taking up space that could be occupied by truly meaningful information.

Like old Popeye cartoons. ( The one with Olive Oyl singing  What We All Need is Brotherly Love runs on a loop in my head)

Or the year that Humphrey Bogart died.(1957)

Or the name of the book that influenced the original Superman comic. ( It was Philip Wylie‘s Gladiator— an interesting read, by the way.)

But somehow,  despite and because of all this detritus, we  emerge in some individual form.

A single distilled version of everything that we take in.

A single voice.  One song.

I guess that is how I would characterize the thought behind the painting at the top, The Song We Carry.  It’s 7″ by 11″  on paper and is going to the West End Gallery for my upcoming show.

Now here’s a little Popeye along with Wilco.  It’s a video for Wilco’s  Dawned on Me from last year and it features the first hand-drawn Popeye cartoon in over 30 years.  I can’t remember if Olive Oyl danced like this in my memory but now I will.  The data has been entered.


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