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Archive for February, 2015

GC Myers Two Angels 2001It’s Valentine’s Day. I went back through the blog archives and discovered that I sometimes don’t post anything on this day or sometimes post something  off the subject of this day.  One year, it was baseball.  Well, I do love the game so maybe it was a Valentine of sorts.

I thought I would post something this year, a poem that I posted several years ago.  It’s an anonymous verse from India that strikes just the right chord of love and devotion for me without turning to pablum.

Although I Conquer All the Earth 

Although I conquer all the earth,

Yet for me there is only one city.

In that city there is for me only one house;

And in that house, one room only;

And in that room, a bed.

And one woman sleeps there,

The shining joy and jewel of all my kingdom.

    —Anonymous, Ancient India

Also, below is a song from Peter Case, Two Angels,  an elegantly simple song that is a favorite of mine and also on subject for the day.  Surprisingly, it is a fairly little known song though I understand it was used on an episode of True Blood.  If that doesn’t scream romance, I don’t know what does.

The painting above is an oil on panel, 10″ by 58″,  that I did back in 2001.  I cannot find or recall its title at the moment but am calling it Two Angels for today.

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GC Myers 992-141-small1It’s another cold day here in the northeast,  -5° this morning when I walked out the door.  By the time I got over here to the studio after my short commute ( a stroll through the woods) I was ready for a little heat.  Turned on the computer to look up an old piece and immediately came across this small triptych from 2002 which was always a favorite of mine. It’s a little anomaly comprised of three small squares, each about 4″ by 4″.  I always liked the surface of these pieces — they had a smooth, almost burnished look that I haven’t used in many years.

Seeing this piece made me want to revisit that surface treatment once more, thirteen years later.  It also made me want to feel that heat in the form of a very distinct song.  Fire from Jimi Hendrix.  Talk about going back in time.  Are You Experienced? in 1967.  This song will be fifty years old in a couple more years which seems crazy– it’s timeless heat.

So, Jimi, on this frigid morning, let me stand next to your fire.

 

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Rothko Number 14Art to me is an anecdote of the spirit, and the only means of making concrete the purpose of its varied quickness and stillness.

–Mark Rothko

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I don’t think there is anything that I can add to this except to nod silently in agreement.

Have a great day.

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GC Myers Kabuki TV 1994Whenever I come across this little experiment from back in 1994, I linger over it for a few minutes and smile a little.  There’s a lot going on with plenty of bright colors and sharp angles but with a narrative element within it where I saw a person watching a Kabuki performance on their television.  But more than that I am reminded of the decision to move away from this experiment and continue in the direction that eventually led me here.

You see, I enjoyed doing this work, enjoyed the process and the final product.  I could have easily followed this path and been fairly happy.  But it lacked something that while I can’t really put a finger on it was found later in the work that I eventually produced in later years.

Heart?  Soul?  I can’t say.  But it was fun at the time and makes me smile now.  Plus the lesson in learning what you can and can’t be is beyond value.

I wrote a bit more on this subject, also set off from this little painting, back in 2010:

Just looking through some old things, mostly little pieces that are from the time when I first started painting, and I came across this.  At the time  I was playing around with color and masking, where you put something such as tape on the painting surface and paint over it then peel it away to reveal the unpainted surface underneath.  It can be a big part of traditional watercolor painting and I wanted to see if it fit with the way I thought and wanted to paint.  It didn’t.  But I did come up with this little abstraction that always catches my eye and makes my mind’s gears turn.

It’s always interesting to see these little pieces because it inevitably triggers memories of that time when every day was bringing new discoveries as I tried to learn more and more about color and different mediums.  Sometimes things clicked and it was revelatory to discover my strengths.  Other times, it was a struggle and the end product was muddled, labored.  But there was still something to be learned there.  Like identifying my weaknesses and learning how to strengthen these areas or, at least, downplay them.

I guess that this is the process for development in any area of your life,  playing up your strong suits and trying to cover your weaknesses.  Perhaps that is why I like to see these old experiments, to be reminded of my growth, artistically and personally, through the years. 

At least, what I perceive as growth.

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Maxfield Parrish- Daybreak

Maxfield Parrish- Daybreak

I saw this year’s schedule for the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown and was excited to see that on it there was  an exhibit of work from the great Maxfield Parrish. Titled Maxfield Parrish: The Art of Light and Illusion, this show opens May 23 and features 45 pieces– paintings, prints and sketches– as well as some of the props for which he was well known for using.  Here is how the Fenimore describes Parrish’s career on their site:

As one of the most popular American artists of the twentieth century, Maxfield Parrish created fantastic images of fairy-tale figures and idyllic landscapes in a style that was all his own. Through a prolific career that spanned from the 1890s through the 1960s, Parrish became one of America’s first truly “public” artists. The mass reproduction of his paintings—originally intended as book and magazine illustrations, advertisements, calendars, and murals—ensured his reputation as one of the most widely-known figures in the history of art. It has been said that in 1925 a lithograph of his most well-known painting Daybreak [seen at the top of this page] could be found in one out of every four American homes.  Parrish’s magical artwork continues to capture the imagination and inspire today’s artists, musicians, and filmmakers.

Maxfield ParrishI have written here before that he was an influence on my work, especially in the luscious quality of color that he used in almost all of his work.  I liked his better known works, such as Daybreak, here at the top, but it was his lesser known work, quiet landscapes with compositions that intensified the quietness of the solitude they portrayed, that were my favorites.  But I have never seen many of his pieces in person and am really looking forward to being able to closely examine them in the intimate space of the Fenimore.  There is something about seeing the hand of the artist on the surface of a painting that makes me feel somehow connected to the artist, that allows me to imagine them at work at that particular moment when they made that mark.

If you have seen much of my work you will probably recognize Parrish’s influence that I took from the painting below, Aquamarine.  The shape of the tree and the promontory on which it stands, the proportions  of sky and sea, and the way the land sits on the horizon all found their way into my own vocabulary.  More than those obvious elements was the emotional tone that I saw in it and wanted for my own work.

Just great work and a show to which I am really looking forward to seeing up close.

maxfield-parrish-aquamarine

 

 

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GC Myers-Hasten Down the Wind smThis is a painting  that I finished over the weekend.  It’s 10″ by 30″ on canvas and is titled Hasten Down the Wind.  If that sounds familiar you probably remember the old Warren Zevon song from the the 70’s most famously covered by Linda Ronstadt on her album with the same title.  It was a pretty big album at the time.  I just always loved the imagery in that phrase– hasten down the wind– and thought it fit well with this piece.

The song is about the end of a relationship, where the girl recognizes that nothing is working for them any more and the guy finally grudgingly admits it as well, telling her to leave , to go hasten down the wind.

I see this in this painting with the Red Tree reluctantly holding onto those leaves as they struggle to depart on the wind even though it knows that it has to be this way, that they must leave.  There is something bittersweet yet liberating in this idea that sometimes things are just not meant to be.  We often hold onto things–people, ideas and hopes and dreams– that don’t truly fit with who we are with the thin hope that things will somehow change to match our perceptions.  But recognizing that this is not meant to be and letting these things go allows us to perhaps find our truer selves.

In short, we sometimes have to lose things to reveal who we really are.

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 GC Myers- The Song We Carry smIt’s a gray winter morning and what better way to shake off the cold blahs this Sunday than with a little flamenco guitar music.  I am featuring a performance by guitar master Juan Martin of a piece titled Rumba Nostalgica that has a little heat to warm any old bones.

I was talking with someone at the Little Gems opening the other night who commented on the fact that I often show guitarists in my work.  I explained about how I thought the shape of the guitar and the way the player cradled it had a very sensual feel, something very emotional in the way the player’s hands almost stroked the instrument to create its music. Its form and the inherent emotional weight it carried made it a wonderful subject.

I think you’ll see this if you watch the hands of Juan Martin in this performance video.  I myself love watching acoustic stringed instruments being played– everything is right there for you to behold.  The movement of the hands.  The snap of the strings. The rhythm of the two hands working to create something quite extraordinary.

Take a look and just enjoy the moment.  Hope the rest of your Sunday is as bright…

 

 

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GC Myers-Unpuzzled 2015January is always a month of feeling out in the studio, trying to find a rhythm, a strand that I can grab onto and follow into the rest of the year.   Getting  a group of small pieces ready for the Little Gems show at the West End Gallery (which opened last night) is part of this feeling out process, sometimes acting as a preview as to where the work may ultimately lead me.

This year found that group with clear and glowing transparent color that was very gem-like.  The pieces felt like pieces of jewelry as much as paintings to me which is something I might be able to carry forward.

But now it is February and I am beginning to just let things flow as they come out, emotionally based and free of too much forethought.  Just let it happen and not try to direct it too much.  The first piece after the Little Gems  and in this February frame of mind was the piece shown here at the top, an 18″ by 18″ canvas that is called  Unpuzzled.  This is as much a piece for myself  alone as anything I might do, meant to only satisfy my own need to see it.

I wanted to see a harmony of patterns, rhythms and color that was as much non-objective as objective, which is how I could describe just about any of those pieces which most deeply satisfy me personally.  As this piece does.  It’s one of those pieces about which I don’t care what others might think– it works for me.  And maybe just for me but it doesn’t matter.  It just clicks an internal switch for me.

Sitting here at the moment, looking at this painting, makes me want to translate something like it to a much larger format, maybe 4′ by 4′, where the impact of the forms and colors would resonate with the grander scale.

Maybe…

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Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

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GC Myers- Trailblazer  I chose this little gem of advice from Emerson as the Quote of the Week because I thought it fit so well with the small painting above, a Little Gem itself.  It’s a small 4″ by 6″ painting that is called Trailblazer and is part of the Little Gems exhibit that opens tomorrow night at the West End Gallery in Corning.  I also chose it because those words fits so well for my own experience at the time I began showing my work for the first time, at this very same exhibit twenty years.

I was thrilled to have an outlet in which to show it publicly but was still in the process of finding a singular voice of my own–how my work would be styled.  Part of that process of finding this  was in determining what path I would follow with the work, whether I try to emulate the work of other painters I knew and admired.  That seemed like a natural path to follow, wide and well defined.

 But the path was also crowded.  Sometimes it was hard to distinguish yourself  and find a foothold among so many companions.  But if I set out on my own  that would not be the case.  On the the well-trodden path,  I would always be subject to comparison  and immediate critique.  Blazing my own trail would allow me to set my own pace and destination, define my own objectives.

Plus it would be my path alone.  And that was no small thing. In fact, it was a primary goal of  mine.   I had determined from my visits to museums that the work that stood out most for me was the work of artists who you could identify immediately from across the gallery space.  Looking at the shelves in front of me, most of the books are of the works of such artists, all who eventually set out on their own trails and created work from a world that was their’s alone.

I’m still on my path.  I’d like to think it departed from that wider, more traveled path sometime ago.  I can’t be the judge of that.  So I plug ahead with words of Emerson ringing in my ears and hope for the best.

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Ralph Gorton in Rossion Supercar  on Car ChasersThe guy on the right in the picture here is Ralph Gorton, who owns the Just Looking Gallery in San Luis Obispo, CA, a gallery where I’ve shown my work for three years now.  I had a solo show there in late 2012 and my work has done really well in California thanks to Ralph and Ken at the Just Looking Gallery.  It’s been a great ride but getting to know Ralph a little bit has been a real kick.

He is a a larger-than-life character in all ways, including the height that helped him become a Division I basketball star in his college days.  He is known to be an astute  entrepreneur, a lover of art, a well-known college basketball coach and mentor, an athlete, a father and husband, a mountain climber and wilderness explorer, a sometime model (there’s a story there!) and a world-class storyteller.  And a pretty good guy , to boot

I think he would be a perfect specimen for reality television.  Well, tonight he makes it there on The Car Chasers on CNBC at 10 PM.  It’s a show where they try to locate specific cars for would be buyers and Ralph is in the market for a Rossion Supercar, a limited edition hand built sportscar built here in the US that has crazy speed.  Zero to sixty in 2.8 seconds.

Here’s a link to a short clip from tonight’s episode.

And in case you were wondering what it feels like to go from 0-60 in under 3 seconds, here’s a video from Tesla who makes a new electric four door sedan with the ability to do just that. It gives you the immediate reactions of a few normal folks who were also wondering.

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