Archive for May, 2014

9914-169 Excelsior smI call this new painting Excelsior and I showing it today in honor of  young Sriram Hathwar of nearby Painted Post who last night became this year’s co-champion in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.  We have followed Sriram’s quest for the past seven years, half of his young life.  Last year Sriram came coming tantalizingly close to his goal of victory with a third place finish but third place just didn’t satisfy his desire to be the best and over the past year he worked hard to make his dream come true in his final opportunity.  He and co-champion, Ansun Sujoe of Ft. Worth,  Texas, showed incredible composure and grace in a pressure-packed situation that would overwhelm  most adults, let alone quiet, studious 14 year olds.  Sriram even cracked a joke, saying Gesundheit after the reader spoke the word he was to spell at one point.  One cool customer.

I chose this piece to accompany this post because of its title, Excelsior, which means Ever Upward.  I thought it would be a fitting title as well as a fitting image to  illustrate a young man’s quest for excellence.  There’s a quality in this piece of basking in the moment, taking pause to reflect on the journey and all of the hard effort it required to reach this lofty point.  I hope that Sriram takes a moment to  really appreciate his accomplishment before moving on to his next challenge.  But I know that it will be only a moment because the word Excelsior  does mean Ever Upward.

Excelsior, Sriram!


This painting, Excelsior, is  18″ by 26″ on paper and will be at the Principle Gallery as part of my upcoming solo show there.  The show, Traveler, opens June 6 at the Alexandria, VA gallery.


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Blow up your TV , throw away your paper
Go to the country, build you a home
Plant a little garden, eat a lot of peaches
Try and find Jesus on your own

–John Prine, Spanish Pipedream


GC Myers- Pipedream smThis is a small new painting  that is about 6″ by 11″ on paper.  I call it Pipedream after the old John Prine song, Spanish Pipedream.   I say old but it ‘s one of those songs that never feels old to me despite the fact that it came out back in 1971, forty three years ago.  It is old.  One hint of its age is at the beginning of the song when he says he was a soldier on the way to Montreal, referring to fleeing north to avoid the war and the draft.   But it’s still such an infectious chorus with a message that so hits the point that I still find myself humming this song quite often.

I guess this painting’s simplicity and cheery feel made me think of this song.  There is something very idyllic  and charmingly essential  in this little guy.  It does look a bit like a pipedream, which is one of those words that we often use while not thinking about  its origin or meaning.  This word, pipedream, is from Victorian era Britain and refers to an improbable fantasy dreamt of while smoking opium.  Maybe this is an improbable fantasy?   It does have a fantasy feel about it but lets hope it is not so improbable.

This is, of course, one opf the pieces from my show, Traveler, opening next Friday at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria.  Now here’s the song  from one of my favorites, John Prine.

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GC Myers - TapestryI am at the point in preparations for my solo show next Friday, June 6, at the Principle Gallery where everything comes better into focus, each piece now appearing as it will in the gallery, fully framed and finished.  This final step gives some pieces additional life as the frame or mat, in the case of a painting on paper, seems to center and focus its energy.  Even though I can usually envision them in their final, fully presented stage I am sometimes surprised by some of these pieces.  This painting, In a Rich Tapestry, was not one of those.

This was one of those paintings that had a glow and depth from the first few brushstrokes, one that I am not sure is fully captured in the photograph above.   It’s a difficult quality to capture accurately, given my limited skills as a photographer.  So please trust me when I say that this painting shows even more vibrantly in person.   It was painted in two stages, about half of it completed before I set it aside for about four months.  I just didn’t feel that it was ready to finish and needed to be put off until just the right moment.  Last week turned out to be that right moment.

The result was a scene of deeply saturated fields of color that immediately bring to my mind the colors of a rich medieval tapestry.  It also linked in concept to the idea from the last post where we are all part of everything and everything is part of us.  We are all threads in a rich tapestry.  It is the binding together that gives us our brilliance and our strength.

This painting is 20″ by 24″ on canvas and will be part of  the exhibit,  Traveler, opening next Friday, June 6 at the Principle Gallery.


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 GC Myers- The Beholding Eye smI am part of the sun as my eye is part of me. That I am part of the earth my feet know perfectly, and my blood is part of the sea. My soul knows that I am part of the human race, my soul is an organic part of the great human soul, as my spirit is part of my nation. In my own very self, I am part of my family. There is nothing of me that is alone and absolute except my mind, and we shall find that the mind has no existence by itself, it is only the glitter of the sun on the surface of the water.

– D.H. Lawrence, Apocalypse, 1930


The painting above, a 20″ by 24″ canvas,  is another new piece that will be hanging in my upcoming solo show, Traveler,  at the Principle Gallery that opens June 6 at the Alexandria gallery.  There’s a great sense of focus and depth into the surface in this piece that fills me with the same sort of idea that Lawrence expounds above, about how we are all part of the whole of existence.   All things connected and interdependent, existing only to serve the whole, in ways we may never fully understand– There is nothing of me that is alone and absolute except my mind, and we shall find that the mind has no existence by itself, it is only the glitter of the sun on the surface of the water.

Or the rustle of the wind on the grass of the field.

For a little Sunday music in this same vein and to honor those who have fallen in service for this Memorial Day,  I thought that the hymn I Surrender All, written in 1896, would be fitting.  Here’s a wonderful version from guitarist Ulrich Busch.

Have a great Sunday and a great Memorial Day.  Remember those who have sacrificed so much.

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selfie-atop-the-princess-tower-by-alexander-remnevI am getting ready to start a very busy Friday as I am in final preparations for my solo show at the Principle Gallery. The last few details on a couple of paintings and assorted other tasks are on the agenda but I wanted to share this photo that was on TwistedSifter. It’s from a young photographer, Alexander Remnev, who was vacationing in Dubai. Remnev is a fan of rooftops and was touring the lofty rooftops of the soaring skyline of Dubai. He and friend went to the very top of the Princess Tower, which at 101-storeys and 1358 feet tall is the tallest residential tower in the world, and took this incredible selfie.

It’s a pretty amazing image, filled with striking details.  I think Mr. Remnev deserves the title as King of the Selfies until someone can knock him from his high throne.  You can see more of his high wire shots of Dubai at his LiveJournal blog.

Okay, on to the work at hand…

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GC Myers- Homeward BoundI finished this smaller painting yesterday, a 4″ by 7″ image on paper that is going to the Principle Gallery in a week or so for my upcoming show, Traveler, which opens on June 6.  I  have a  group of  paintings with small figures– guitarists and boatmen– in them where the relationship of the figure to the space in the picture is the most important element for me.  I think that is evident in this piece, called Homeward Bound, where the sense of space in the sky gives this piece a sense of distance and remoteness while at the same time having a warmth that indicates an imminent return or at least the memory of home for the figure.

Home is a powerful concept and word, that thing that we all seek on some level.  It may be found in the terrain or in the people or simply in a state of mind, a sense of comfort and belonging.  I think its this sense of belonging that most drives us in our quest for home, that place or state of  mind where we dwell naturally as we really are at our core.   Some people seem to carry a sense of home with them, always feeling naturally in place wherever they might be.  Others, like myself, more often feel out of place wherever they are and this idea of home as a haven becomes more important.  And that’s kind of the idea of this simple piece, that place where our song is most true and pure, a song of our heart.

The title is, of course, derived from the great Simon and Garfunkel song.  Those opening chords best sum up the feel of this piece.


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GC Myers-  The EmpowermentThis is the week in which I put the finishing touches on the group of work for my show, Traveler, that opens in a little more than two weeks, on June 6th,  at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria, VA.  This is my fifteenth solo  show there so there I have a sense of routine and rhythm in how these shows come together which takes away some of the anxiety although there is always something out there to add a bit of it back into the mix.  This year had a few glitches along the way, including the cold that has hung on for the last couple of weeks.  But the cold has receded enough to let me work and in the past few days the work has really come together well.  So now I am at the point where is simply a matter of completing a few pieces then moving into the final phase of framing for presentation.

One of the pieces that I will be framing is this new one, an 18″ by 18″ canvas that I am calling The Empowerment.  I get the title from the sun and its relationship with the Red Tree, which draws strength from the rhythmic swirl of the sunlight showering down on it.  We all draw strength from something, be it light of the sun or warmth of our loved ones, that allows us to walk our own paths.  For me, that’s the basic theme of this painting which is strengthened itself by what I perceive as an interesting mix of warmth and coolness, feeling both warmly embracing and airily cool in its openness.

It just feels good to me…

Well, no time to dally.  I have things to get done today.  Have a great day.

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GC Myers- Time TravelerI finished this new painting, 18″ by 26″  on paper, a few days ago and have been regularly taking it in as it sits in my studio, waiting to be framed for my upcoming show, Traveler, at the Principle Gallery.  I think I am calling this piece Time Traveler but it’s still up in the air as I ponder it for a few more days.

It’s one of a few pieces that will be in this show that are from the Strata series, which are similar to my Archaeology pieces but more focused on the patterns and colors of the underground layers and boulders rather than on artifacts.  I like this mix of the straight representation of the Red Tree in the top half  set against the organic and almost abstract forms of the lower half, giving it a striking visual contrast while still maintaining  harmony.

I normally don’t like to dwell on technique here but  this is also a little technically different from my typical work.  I normally work in one of two ways–in a  reductive manner, where the paint is applied very wet, in puddles,  then removed leaving a transparent and luminous surface or in a more traditional additive manner in which paint is applied in layers building from dark to light.  Usually one one process is used in a piece but the Strata series allows me to easily mix the methods which adds to the visual contrast between the upper and lowers segments.

As I continue to consider this piece, I thought I would play a song this Sunday morning that mentions time.  I thought I would play Time Is On My Side which was a big hit for the Rolling Stones in 1964.  I always assumed it was written by Jagger and Richards but it was actually a cover.  The song was written my Jerry Ragavoy under the pseudonym Norman Meade.  It was first recorded by jazz trombonist Kai Winding in 1963 with the only lyrics being Time is on my side sung by back-up singers Dionne Warwick and Cissy Houston.  It’s an interesting version that I am including below but I really wanted to focus on the version from the Soul Queen of New Orleans, Irma Thomas, which was released around the same time as the Stones’ version.  It has the added lyrics that most of us know and is just a dynamite performance.

Enjoy and have a great Sunday!

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We cast a shadow on something wherever we stand, and it is no good moving from place to place to save things; because the shadow always follows. Choose a place where you won’t do harm – yes, choose a place where you won’t do very much harm, and stand in it for all you are worth, facing the sunshine. 

–E.M. Forster, A Room With a View


 GC Myers- Cast Your Shadow smChoose a place where you won’t do harm…

I don’t want to, nor do I think I should, say much more about this new painting, a 24″ by 36″ canvas that carries the title Cast Your Shadow.

I like the idea represented by the quote above from E.M. Forster where one seeks out a place of their own, a place where they can stand without causing harm.  It’s a theme that I’ve always thought of in terms of being a smooth stone on a creek bed, pushed and polished  by the current through the ages until at last coming to rest in a spot where the water flows easily over it.  The stone finds it’s place where it does no harm.  It doesn’t disturb the water and the water simply passes by.

It seems like such a small desire, to find a place where the water flows easily by or where one can stand in the sun without their shadow blocking the light from others. But the simplicity of this wish is deceiving.

It is the work of a lifetime.

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grant wood young cornI have written about Grant Wood here before.  Most  know him from American Gothic, the well-known painting of the somber farmer and wife and pitchfork in front of a neat farm home.  But for me,  I am totally enthralled by his landscapes, drawing heavy influence from the way his curvy hillocks and fields come to life within his compositions.  Whenever I am feeling less than inspired all I need to do is glimpse a Grant Wood landscape and I am filled with vigor, envisioning new work of my own that draws upon the same life force and rhythm that I am seeing in his work.

I think that Wood and I share  the same belief that the landscape is alive and is best represented by human curves and, looking at his work, it is easy to connect with the humanity beneath it.  I’ve included some of my favorite Grant Wood landscapes here including The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere with its nocturnal blue tint in its upper reaches.  It’s a bright and shining painting but you never doubt that it is a night scene.  That’s one of the other lessons that I drew from Wood– that you can represent things that are counter-intuitive if you paint them with that sense of rightness in your mind that allows it to see that thing in its essence, in its true nature.

It’s almost like seeing things through the eyes of a child.  Not quite but in that spirit.  For such a seemingly simple concept, it’s a difficult thing to get across.  Anyway, enjoy these pieces from the great Mr. Wood.  I know that they have filled me with inspiration already this morning.

Grant Wood Midnight Ride of Paul Revere Grant Wood Haying Grant Wood Stone City Iowa 1930 Grant Wood New Road Grant Wood fall plowing

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