Archive for November, 2013

GC Myers- Facing Oneness sm

From too much love of living,
    From hope and fear set free,
We thank with brief thanksgiving
    Whatever gods may be
That no life lives for ever;
That dead men rise up never;
That even the weariest river
    Winds somewhere safe to sea.

Algernon Charles Swinburne, The Garden of Prosperine

Wishing you all a wonderful Thanksgiving.

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ThanksgivukkahThursday is our traditional Thanksgiving holiday.  But this year Thursday is also the first day of Hanukkah, the eight day Jewish holiday also known as the Festival of Lights.  The holiday commemorates the re-dedication of the holy Temple in Jerusalem following the Jewish victory over the Syrian-Greeks in 165 B.C.E.  The eight  days of  Hanukkah refer to the purifying ritual of that took place in the Temple after their victory.  Because the Temple had been defiled by foreign gods, it was determined that it must be purified by the burning of  ritual oil in its menorah.  They discovered that there was only enough oil for one day but lit it anyway.  It burned for the required eight days which was considered miraculous and gave rise to the Hanukkah celebration.

This is the third time the two holiday have converged since President Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a holiday here in 1863.  The first two times, 1888 and 1899, occurred before the current laws which dictate that Thanksgiving fall on the fourth Thursday of November.  This is the first time since the law went into effect and will the last time the two holidays fall simultaneously until the year 79811, as calculated by a physicist with some extra time on his hands.

This convergence has been dubbed Thansgivukkah.  Kind of catchy, huh?  I don’t know that there is any real significance here but it sure sounds ominous  (and kind of cool) when you throw in the fact that it won’t happen again for another 77,ooo years or so.  And anytime you get to throw around a portmanteau like Thanksgivukkah, it’s got to be good.  So enjoy your Thanksgivukkah, whether you’re thinking about the Pilgrims or the Maccabees.

Here’s a tongue-in-cheek look at this rare holiday with The  Thanksgivukkah Anthem from the Jewish a cappella group Six13.  Kind of kitschy fun…

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GC Myers- Regal One The thought manifests as the word;

The word manifests as the deed;

The deed develops into habit;

And habit hardens into character;

So watch the thought and its ways with care,

And let it spring from love

Born out of concern for all beings…


As the shadow follows the body,

As we think, so we become.

 —From the Dhammapada,

Sayings of the Buddha


I’vebeen writing this blog for over five years now which I find hard to believe.  Some days I have nothing to say but still feel the need to keep this habit alive.  Sometimes I read through older blog posts to gather inspiration and in doing so, I came across this bit of wisdom from the Buddha that I featured in a 2009 post.  When I used it at that time, I was referring to people’s words and deeds of  incivility eventually hardening into character.  This was of course inspired by extremist nature of the political climate.  But today when I read it, these words didn’t strike me in a cautionary way.

Instead, it seemed like good advice for the young artist or anyone aspiring to something more.  For me it was: Think as an artist.  Act as an artist.  Eventually, the thoughts, words and actions become part of who you are– an artist.  It took many years before this habit hardened into character.  I often questioned the validity of the claim over the years but slowly these doubts faded , replaced by a belief in those words and deeds.  I had practiced the habit of being an artist for so long that I could no longer  feel that doubt.

As I said, this applies to so many things, even simply being happy.  If you think of joy, speak of joy and act with joy, eventually happiness becomes part of who you truly are– your hardened character.  It’s a simple precept, almost too simple to be taken seriously especially on those days when it is challenging to remain joyful.  But it holds true, as the Buddha instructed, for those who can maintain the way.

Have a great Sunday and be happy…

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Aaron Shikler-  John F Kennedy -Official PortraitHistory often turns on certain points in time, with dramatic  events that send us on a course that seem drastically different than the one we imagined ourselves to be on beforehand.  Perhaps it’s an exercise in futility to wonder what the world might look like had these events not taken place but one can’t help but imagine, if only for a moment,  an alternative history.  For instance, how would our country look today had Lincoln not been assassinated or if the events of 9/11 had been averted?  Pearl Harbor?

Of course, I’m writing this today on the day marking the 50th year since President John F. Kennedy was shot by Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas back in 1963.  That day seemed to mark a swing in our consciousness from which I don’t think we’ve ever fully recovered, leaving me to wonder how the last 50 years would have differed had not JFK been killed.  Where would we be now?

The ripples from this event are many.  How would Viet Nam proceeded?  Would there have been the same escalation and would there have been the same sense of outrage from the youthful protesters of that era?  Would the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr and Robert Kennedy taken place?  Did JFK’s killing somehow enable these other assassinations?

I find my head swimming with what-ifs and coulda-beens when I ponder this.  More than my simple mind can handle.  But sitting here this morning, fifty years after that day in Dallas, I can’t imagine a scenario where our world is better now than it would have been had that day not taken place.  I know there is no room for such regrets, that we are where we are and no amount of despairing  will change the course of history we’ve followed to this point.  But, if only for a moment on this single morning, I would like to think of what might have been.  Perhaps, if string theory somehow applies, there is a parallel reality where the events of that day never happened and our arc through history was much different.  I know that I would like to see that …



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Explorer-  GC Myers

Explorer- GC Myers

It’s been a busy year.  Actually, it’s been a busy two or three years but the last few months have seemed even more hectic.  There was the preparations for the Kada Gallery show and work being done around the studio by carpenters and masons.  It seemed as though there was little time to really take stock of everything.  But with the Kada show opening this past weekend and my delivering a group of work to the Principle Gallery in Alexandria on Tuesday, yesterday was my first chance to take some time to reflect, to see where I was on my artistic path.

After a short period of examination, it seems to me that I am at a plateau.  Mind you, it’s a happy plateau but I’m not sure this is where I want to stop, not sure that this is my final destination as an artist.  For the past several years, I have been working at what I consider my highest level:  I am painting the paintings that I want to see.  The work is distinctly mine and is consistent in its communicative effect and in the way it satisfies me internally.  The work from my  recent shows have been as personally satisfying as any I have ever  showed.   If I were a miner, I would say that I have been working a rich vein.

But I am increasingly having that nagging feeling that there is an even richer vein for me if I move from this plateau and climb a bit higher.

It’s a scary thought.  This has been, as I said, a happy plateau.  It’s where many artists, upon arriving , settle in for the remainder of their careers.  And why not?  They have worked hard to reach this plateau and are producing the work they set out to produce at the beginning of their journeys.  It would be very easy to stay here and be content and safe, to not have to face the prospect of a new climb with all the perils that come with it:  The uncertainty of what is up there and the possibility of failure.

Maybe I am being over dramatic in my description here.  I don’t know.  I do know that I have that clawing and gnawing feeling in my gut that now is the time to start moving onward and upward, to leave this happy plateau and take on the risk of failure.  Whether I can actually muster enough bravery to make this move, whatever that may be, and where it might take me are only the beginning of the  questions that arise, questions for which only time holds the answers.

We shall see…

Here’s an old song, Unsatisfied,  from The Replacements that fits the bill for this subject.  Look me in the eye and tell me that I’m satisfied…

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gc-myers-internal-landscape-2012Well, my show, Alchemy, opened Saturday night at the Kada Gallery in Erie.  It was a good night filled with conversation with many folks, some longtime fans of the work and some new to it.  One of the highlights of the show was being able to exhibit my large and well documented  The Internal Landscape, show here,  at the Kada.

It is a piece that I am very proud of and it was good to be able to show it to the many folks who have followed my work in this region over the 17 or so years I have shown there.  It drew a lot of attention as it greeted show visitors from an opposing wall as they came into the gallery.  It contributed greatly to a very warm glow that filled the space.

I would like to send out a resounding Thank You to everyone who came out to the show on Saturday.  It is always inspiring to get the feedback that I receive from these shows and for that I am gratefully indebted.

Also, a heartfelt thank you to Kathy and Joe DeAngelo, owners of the Kada Gallery.  I have known Kathy since the early days of 1996 when she took me on as a relatively new artist, having only shown my work for a year or so before coming across through an act of serendipity.

Kathy, along with Joe, has been one  of the most, if not the most, vocal advocates of  my work over these many years, always encouraging me to continue further into my work.  By that,  I mean she always gave me the freedom to explore new directions and has never pressured me to stay at any one point on my artistic path or tried to direct the work in any way.  She and Joe have always been eager to see the new and different paths that I have explored over this time and that is a wonderfully liberating thing for any artist.  Thank you, Kathy and Joe, and thanks to their new young staffers, Morgan and Emily, whose youthful  spirit  and enthusiasm is wonderful to behold in the gallery.

Thanks, everyone involved,  for a great show.  Once again, it has been my pleasure.

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GC Myers- Forever and EverI am heading out to Erie later this morning for tonight’s opening reception for my show, Alchemy, at the Kada Gallery.  While I am always a bit nervous beefore any of these solo shows, the ride out to Erie generally has a calming effect.  It is a simple and quiet  ride through rural western New York on a highway that sometimes feels deserted, with hardly another car appearing at certain points.  The landscape is a mix of rolling hills that skirt the Allegheny National Forest before leveling off into a plain that runs to the Great Lakes, Lake Erie in this case.  It is sparsely populated and airily wide open.  I think this is an image of New York that would surprise many people. I know that it’s a ride that always has a calming effect for me.

The painting, Forever and Ever,  above is a small piece, 6″ by 6″ on paper, that is include in this show.  It is another take on the Baucis and Philemon myth that I have described here several times in the past.  I really like the vivid tones of the sky and the landscape here.  They seem to give it the other-worldly feel that I think fits the story of the fated couple.

Here’s a little music that  has the calm that I anticipate on my drive westward.  It’s  You Don’t Know What Love Is from two of my favorites, Elvis Costello and the late great Chet Baker.  I hope to see you tonight if you’re in the Erie area and can come out to the Kada Gallery.  Kathy and Joe DeAngelo, the owners of the Kada, are wonderful hosts.  See you tonight!


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“As I thought of these things, I drew aside the curtains and looked out into the darkness, and it seemed to my troubled fancy that all those little points of light filling the sky were the furnaces of innumerable divine alchemists, who labour continually, turning lead into gold, weariness into ecstasy, bodies into souls, the darkness into God; and at their perfect labour my mortality grew heavy, and I cried out, as so many dreamers and men of letters in our age have cried, for the birth of that elaborate spiritual beauty which could alone uplift souls weighted with so many dreams.”

—W.B. Yeats, Rosa Alchemica


GC Myers--Alchemy My show, Alchemy, opens tomorrow night at the Kada Gallery in Erie, PA.  I wrote last month about how the title, Alchemy, came about from my own  wonder at the mystery of the whole idea of how the simple act of smearing some paint on a surface could transform that bit of pigment and paper into something that is filled with emotion and meaning.  And not just for me.  It crossed the boundary of the self and reached out, sometimes communicating in a way that seemed totally beyond me.  The whole thing seemed like alchemy to me, as though there was some mysterious force transmuting these base materials– the paint and paper– into something pure and precious.

This thought has stuck with me for many years.  I often find myself stepping back from my easel or painting table, suddenly confused by the abstract nature of this whole process.  At these moments, the rational part of my mind takes hold for a moment and  questions the very validity of  the world I have created over the past two decades.  My rational self tells me that I am not  educated nor wise,  not brave or special in any way.  How can I, a base material myself, create anything that is more than myself?

But this moment of doubt always passes, pushed aside by my belief in the reality of the world I am seeing before me.  It may only be slashes of paint on a bit of paper or canvas from a simple and ordinary man but it represents something more.  It represents a faith in the human spirit, a belief in the uniqueness of each individual and the belief that we all essentially maintain many of the same  hopes and dreams for our lives– peace and calmness, for example.  It’s a belief that if I am pure and earnest in my attempts to create this world, it makes this work  valid and real, as filled with feeling  and meaning as any work from anyone.

There must be alchemy at play, somewhere in here…

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Take refuge in silence. You can be here or there or anywhere. Fixed in silence, established in the inner ‘I’, you can be as you are. The world will never perturb you if you are well founded upon the tranquility within. Gather your thoughts within. Find out the thought centre and discover your Self-equipoise. In storm and turmoil be calm and silent. Watch the events around as a witness. The world is a drama. Be a witness, inturned and introspective.

– Ramana Maharshi


GC Myers- Inner Realm I often speak of seeking quiet, even absolute silence. I all too often come up short in my search, usually the victim of my own fears and shortcomings which cause me to fill the void around me with sound and chaos.

Silence is pushed aside.

It is only in those times when I allow myself to be pulled completely into my work that I feel the silence slowly creeping back in, stilling the fears and doubts that seem to wail around me like sirens at times.  It is at these moments while painting that I  feel in a small way as though I am like a witness  that the great guru Ramana Maharsi advises us to be in the quote above.

I am calm and silent.  I watch and gather my inner thoughts as I feel myself melding with the colors and forms before me.  It is absolute peace as I go deeper into this inner realm.

That’s as close as I can describe in words the feeling I have when I lose myself to painting.  The painting above, Inner Realm, a 12″ by 12″ canvas, is an example of this feeling.  It is a simple and quiet but harmonious and full.  It feels outside of time, always in the present.  It is not fearful of the future or regretful of the past.  It is just as it is– quiet and placid.

All that I seek.


Inner Realm is part of Alchemy, my solo show at the Kada Gallery, opening Saturday, November 16th, with a reception from 6-9 PM.

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GC Myers- Behind the Curtain sm

Well, my show was delivered  to the Kada Gallery yesterday and owner Kathy DeAngelo, along with her  helping hands, is busy hanging and arranging the work on the gallery walls for  the Saturday evening opening.  There was the usual relief on the ride home, knowing that the greater part of my task in this show was done and the work was safely in place.  I feel very good about this show.  I think the work is strong and  mature in its development and has the consistency that I so desire for my work,  each piece fitting neatly into the overall context of this show.

One of the paintings that I chose for this show is shown above and is titled Behind the Curtain,  a 12″ by 36″ canvas.  This is a very simple, elemental painting in its design, which plays to the strength of this piece.  It is meant to be spare in its tone, a clear evocation of stillness and contemplation that is carried out via blocks of color, strong underlying texture and open space within the composition.

The pale blocks of color which make up the sky create a curtain-like effect here from which I pulled the title.  The chaotic swirls and lines of the underlying gesso surface seem to form a separate  world of motion and energy that is only slightly hidden behind this curtain of sky, as though it were of a different dimension in time and space that is both unattainable yet always within reach.  Perhaps the gears of the universe turning while we stumble along, unaware. of the great power lurking so near .

The sun here is the mysterious part, a green blue sphere that appears more as a lush Earth-like planet than a burning sun.  For me, it makes this piece feel very introspective, like the Red Tree is outside itself here,  looking back on planet Earth.   Regardless if  this is the case, this painting feels quiet and questioning, focused on bigger themes of being.

At least that’s how I see it…

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