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Archive for September, 2015

Scott Coulter - Ohara

Scott Coulter- Ohara

When I was in Alexandria for my annual Gallery Talk last weekend, I ran into an old friend, the wonderful painter painter Scott Coulter.  I hadn’t seen in many years and had a chance to briefly catch up with him while he manned his booth at  the very busy King Street Art Festival.  Canadian-born Scott Coulter was one of the first painters I connected with when I began my career  when he was still living in this area, the Finger Lakes region of  New York.  He now divides his time between Florida and Minnesota when he’s not traveling around the country to display his work and to capture some of the natural splendor that he paints so well.

Scott Coulter -Upper Elk 48x60

Scott Coulter -Upper Elk 48×60

While we paint with very different styles and processes, I found it very easy to become a big fan of Scott’s atmosphere filled landscapes as well as the way in which he painted them.  Every painting is just him and his brushes with perhaps a photo or two to guide him.  There are no projected images onto his canvasses, no airbrushes to create his beautifully graded colors, no digital assistance of any kind– just him and an unerring ability to build magnificent, and often very large, paintings with a palette that is instantly recognizable to anyone who knows his work.  I remember seeing him paint years ago and being so impressed with how he made the very difficult seem so easy.  He’s master of his art.

He was influential in my desire to paint very large.  I remember one piece he was commissioned to paint that was huge, so much so that the patron provided him with a space, a small but tall  inner courtyard they owned, in which he could paint because it was too tall for any space available to him.  It was something like eleven foot tall and had an incredible visual impact.  I am sure it still brings oohs and aahs in its current home.  Rogue’s Gallery, shown below, is another large piece at 66″ square that I would love to see in person.

In recent years, he began painting railroad cars and physical features such as underpasses with graffiti covering them and it fits into his body of work so well that it seems like it has always there.  Hard not to like this as well.

For more info on Scott’s work check out his website by clicking here and if you’re in the NYC area this weekend, check it out in person at the Gracie Square Art Fair.

No two ways about it– just good work.  Great to see you, Scott.  Look forward to seeing you again!

Scott Coulter - Bob's Boys 18x24

Scott Coulter – Bob’s Boys 18×24

Scott Coulter- Stone Cold Merced 60 x48

Scott Coulter- Stone Cold Merced 60×48

Scott Coulter - Rogues Gallery 66x66

Scott Coulter – Rogues Gallery 66×66

Scott Coulter -BNSF 403775 18x24

Scott Coulter -BNSF 403775 18×24

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GC Myers- In the Window- Dream Away smIn my picture of the world there is a vast outer realm and an equally vast inner realm; between these two stands man, facing now one and now the other, and, according to temperament and disposition, taking the one for the absolute truth by denying or sacrificing the other.

~Carl Jung

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I came across this passage from the writings of ground-breaking psychoanalyst Carl Jung recently and it very much summed up what I have been saying for several years about the manner in which I view my work.  I often call  them internal landscapes, which I see as my inner response or alternative to the outer world.  Perhaps, as Jung says, I am accepting my internal view for absolute truth–as I see it–  by sacrificing the reality of the outer realm.

I don’t know.  To me, both worlds exist fully and have equal validity and I split my existence moving between the two.  Actually, my time spent in that internal land make my time in the outer realm more tolerable.  It’s when I struggle to find my way into that inner world that the outer world becomes more difficult to bear

GC Myers-  Inthe Window- The Searcher smThis idea of inward and outward perspective made me think of a series called In the Window that I had painted a decade ago of views of my landscapes as seen through windows.  The piece at the top, In the Window: Dream Away,  was the first from this series.  It’s an inversion of Jung’s analogy with my internal Red Tree landscape existing here in the outer realm and the external reality occupying the inner space, the window serving as a real and symbolic portal  between the two worlds, one through which I can move back and forth easily.

I had never really thought of this series in those terms.  Initially, this series was meant as a way to present my landscapes in a different manner.  Like a fine piece of jewelry, the landscapes would act as a precious stone and the window and internal space would act as a setting for that stone.  But it really comes down to a perspective on reality and I think at that point I was just beginning to see that these landscape were as much internal as they seemed external while looking out that window.

Hmm, something to think about on a thankfully rainy day…

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Calbuco Volcano, Chile- Francisco Negroni April 2015

Every year the National Geographic holds  a photo contest for great images taken around the globe within the past year.  It always produces some incredible imagery and I usually find myself really stunned by many of them.  The contest is still open so if you have  some photos that you think can stand alongside the photo at the top then get your entries in.

That picture was taken in April during the eruption of Calbuco, a volcano south of Santiago, Chile.  It captures the phenomena of volcanic lightning which  has multiple lightning strikes firing throughout the ash cloud as it spews upward.  There is still debate as to what causes this but most believe it is a result of positively charged particles coming from the volcano joining with negative particles in the ash cloud.  Whatever the case, it’s still pretty a damn impressive display of some awesome natural forces.  This photo was taken and submitted by Francisco Negroni,

Another of my favorites from recent submissions is the one at the bottom of terraced rice paddies in the Yen Bai province of North Viet Nam taken by Qu nh Anh Nguyen.  The absolute organic quality of the forms and colors just mesmerize me.  Love this image for completely different reasons than the photo at the top which shows the power of natrure over which we have no control.  This image shows how we can interact with and coexist with this world.  A different kind of power.

You can check up on recent entries ( or enter your own) at the National Geographic site by clicking here.

 Rice paddies

Rice Paddies, North Viet Nam- Qu nh Anh Nguyen 2015

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GC Myers- Floating Melody smSunday morning.

It’s been a strange week spent trying to get some chores done around the studio and our home but not actually achieving as much as I had hoped.  Most of my time has been spent thinking about some concepts that I am trying to move forward with in my work.  A lot of this has to do with using different materials in a way that seems organic and not forced– one of the differences between art and craft.

Sometimes I will form an idea that seems like the perfect direction to head but once I extend my thinking through it I find that the result that I imagine is so much less that I had originally foresaw.  I begin to see the idea becoming too crafty and just that thought puts a serious damper on my enthusiasm for the concept.

So I continue to roll things around in my mind, trying to find that elusive edge which I can grab on to and run with.  This is a bigger part of what I do than one might imagine.  It’s never just a matter of physically placing yourself in the studio and mechanically moving materials through a process to produce paintings.  The mental aspect is the hardest part of the process, hard to describe and even harder to master.

It was put best by iconic painter L.S. Lowry when asked what he was doing when he wasn’t painting.  His response: “Thinking about painting.”

So I am here this morning, thinking about painting.  But I am my own master, my own boss, which makes a nice intro to this week’s selection for some Sunday Morning Music.  It’s a song from nuevo flamenco guitarist Jesse Cook and friends called La Rumba D’el JefeThe Boss’ Rumba.  So, give a listen, maybe move your feet a little bit and have a great Sunday.  Me? I’ll be thinking…

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Henry Moore SculptureIt is a mistake for a sculptor or a painter to speak or write very often about his job. It releases tension needed for his work.

Henry Moore

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Came across this quote from the great British sculptor Henry Moore and it struck me on two accounts, both in the words about an artist talking too much about his job and the other in the need for tension.  I am aware and worry about both things quite often.

Talking and writing about my work has been a normal thing for me for years now and, while I think it has helped me express myself in many ways especially in the way it acts as a confessional in which I can air out my anxieties, I have often feared that my willingness to be transparent will detract from my work in some way.  In times when I am less than confident, I fear that my words will somehow expose me as a fraud or, at least, point out the more obvious flaws in my character.

Even as I write this, I am questioning the very act of doing so.

But I do it.  And will probably continue to do so.  It’s become part of who I am at this point, even on those days when I find myself questioning the wisdom in it.

As for tension being needed for the work, that is something I have believed for myself for a long time.  Tension pushes me, makes me stretch forward out of my comfort zone.  Tension has been the igniter for every personal breakthrough in my work, creating an absolute need to find new imagery or new ways to use materials.

There are times when I feel that I have become too comfortable in the materials and processes that I use and that people have become too accustomed to seeing my work.  I feel stagnant, stalled at a plateau.  It is in these times when tension, even fear, begins to build in me and I begin to scan in all directions for a new way of seeing or a new material in which to work.  The tension becomes a burning need to prove myself.

This tension is not a comfortable thing.  But I know it is a necessary condition in order for my work to continue to grow, which is what I want and need.  To the casual observer it would seem to be a good thing to reach a point where you are comfortable and satisfied in what you do but when I don’t feel that tension I begin to worry.

Odd as it may seem, I see that anxiety as a path forward or an open door to be found.  It ultimately shows something.

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Paulina Garces Reid Ecuador In My Heart 2015

Paulina Garces Reid- ” Ecuador In My Heart” 2015

At the end of my workshop last week, one of the attendees presented me with a painting she had completed during the second day.  She even titled it for me!  Called Ecuador In My Heart it reflects many of the elements- the cities and villages, the sea, the mountains and the trees and flowers– of the native landscape of Ecuador-born artist Paulina Garces Reid.  I love this little painting, the way in which the blocks come together to tell their story and the manner in which Paulina  modulated her colors, which she pointed out are the colors of Ecuador, with dark glazes.

GC Myers Early Experiment 1994I was moved by her sharing this painting with me and amazed how far she, like all of the students, had progressed in such a short time.  I explained that she was at a point with my technique that had taken me months and hundreds, maybe thousands, of hours to reach.  Looking around the room, I could see on every table something that I know I could easily find in my bin of my own early experiments.  I saw one specific experiment of mine (shown here)  in Paulina’s piece, one that hadn’t reached as far as she had in just a handful of hours.

These students had shot past my own learning curve, had easily grasped concepts and processes that took me a long time to develop and master.  Going into this, I didn’t know what to expect as to what I might see from these students or how I might feel at the end.   I do know that after the first day I had absolutely no expectations and couldn’t see myself doing this again.  But that second day changed everything.  Like the students, I had my own learning curve to conquer and seeing the work from Paulina and the others  made me feel that it was something I could quickly get past to make my teaching more effective if there is a future opportunity to do this.

And I guess that’s the thing I take from this.  It established a starting point from where my learning curve began and I can see progress along that curve.  And like the students, it’s exciting to see progress in any endeavor.  So, I may teach again not just for the thrill of seeing others being excited by the work they produce as a result but for my own excitement in learning how to better deal with people, how to better communicate my own experience to them.  Like y paintings, it all comes down to communication…

Thank you again, Paulina, for the beautiful gift.  I will hang it with pride in my studio.

 

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GC Myers- Elemental Being smYesterday was a day to crash after a somewhat  hectic week, at least by my standards.  It was a week filled with hurried preparation, a lot of driving, some new experiences , meeting new (and old) friends and far more talking than I am used to.  By the time I finally got to stop yesterday afternoon, I laid down on the floor of my studio next to Hobie, my loving studio cat who had her nose slightly bent out of joint by my absences in the past week, and closed my eyes and quickly fell to sleep to the rhythms of Hobie’s incredibly loud purr of satisfaction.  It was the most satisfying little nap I had taken in some time.

The Gallery Talk at the Principle Gallery on Sunday started slowly with a smaller group at its beginning that grew and grew as the time passed until the space was crowded.  That’s always nice because it seems that when the group is larger people are more liable to ask questions.  They are almost a little more shy when it is a smaller group and a larger group gives them cover.  But it ended up being a good talk that I think was entertaining and informative with a nice back and forth flow between us.

I know that I enjoyed myself especially when it was time to give away a few things at the end of the talk.  That’s always a fun time for the audience as well as myself.  It sounds goofy and even a little cheesy but I really enjoy being able to do this at my talks.  I’ve said this before but it’s a small token compared to everything that I have received from doing this.  Plus it’s just great to see the faces of people when they get even a small gift.

It was especially satisfying when two small girls, each no more than 9 or 10 I am sure,  each took home something on Sunday.  They were there with their dad and he told me that they had asked to come to the talk.  The family had two of my paintings, one a large Red Tree and another from the Archaeology series, and the girls love them.  One had brought a drawing she had made copying the composition of their Red Tree painting and the other, a lovely small drawing of leaves.  They asked me to sign them for them and I can’t even begin to tell you how much that means to me, how much it moves and amazes me even now as I sit here.

Leija and Scott DeLisi with me Principle Gallery Talk 2015

Leija and Scott DeLisi with me Principle Gallery Talk 2015

Also, another satisfying moment came when I looked over and  saw Ambassador Scott DeLisi and his wife, Leija, slide into two seats.  I was very surprised since only days before Scott was still in Uganda  in his final days as our Ambassador to that nation before taking retirement from a long and distinguished career in our foreign service, serving as our Ambassador to Eritrea, Nepal and Uganda along with prior posts around the globe.  We have had a mutual admiration– they for my painting and me for Scott’s admirable work abroad and for Leija’s wonderful candor– for some time but had never been able to cross paths–I don’t get to Kampala on a regular basis.  So to finally meet them in person  was just great and I felt like I had known them for many, many years.

I am looking forward to seeing Scott’s new role in retirement as he will continue working in the private sector for efforts to improve the lives of people around the world.  All the best to you, Ambassador DeLisi.  Many thanks to Leija and you  for taking the time to stop in on Sunday.

There are a lot more moments and stories to tell from that day as well as my workshop experience of a few days earlier but I am going to wrap this up.  It was  a great week, one that had way more validation than any one more person should get in that time frame.  I am going to let it all soak in for a while then get back to work, refreshed by the kindness of others.

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