Archive for February, 2016

GC Myers- All We Do Not KnowMan can learn nothing except by going from the known to the unknown.

Claude Bernard


I call this new painting, a 24″ by 24″ canvas, All We Do Not Know.  It’s a continuation of my recent work incorporating a patterned background or sky.  One of the things that draws me is that the strength of the patterns allow for simpler, sparser compositions.  A single tree set in a simple landscape set against this pattern sends out its message clearly, without the veil of superfluous detail.

For me, I see this painting as being about the need to continue our search for knowledge and wisdom.  We know so little even though at this point in time we have perhaps more knowledge than at any time that came before.  Every age has a certain hubris about its place at the pinnacle of what is known and we certainly are no different.

Yet one only has to look into the sky and know that there are forces and powers beyond our comprehension.  There are things that we sense but cannot see and perhaps may never know.  But, as the great 19th century physiologist Claude Bernard points out above, we can only learn by moving toward that great unknown.

Look for that thing we don know.  It is as much a seeking of the spiritual and existential as it is a scientific search.

There is always more to learn, a new horizon to which we can aspire.  And perhaps that is where this path  is taking us.

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Celluloid HeroesI have always been a big fan of the movies.  I’ve written here in the past how I will often paint while an old movie plays in the studio, especially some of the older classics that were often based on great ideas and great dialogue.  They are not distracting in most cases and it’s easy to pull thought and emotion from these films that finds its way into my work.  It’s hard to not want to inject more feeling into whatever I am at work on when I listen to some of the lines from The Grapes of Wrath or so many other great films.

Tonight are the Oscars, that night when Hollywood celebrates the past year’s top films.  I have watched faithfully since I was a kid even though recently I seldom have seen many, if any, of the nominees.  It usually takes a year or so after the awards for me to catch up on them and in some cases I lose interest in pursuing them.

Sometimes when I do catch up on them I regret not having gotten to them sooner but often I am glad I waited  because the film just wasn’t that good or simply wasn’t my cup of tea.  But it’s always been like that.  In the heyday of Hollywood they produced more than their share of bad movies.  It’s easy to think otherwise because we see the classics over and over.  A bad movie is a bad movie regardless of the time in which it was made.

But let’s not focus on bad movies.  Let’s hope that there are movies this year and in the future that will inspire and move us.

It seems like every year there is some sort of controversy with the Oscars and this year is no different, with all of the the acting nominees having a decidedly pale complexion.  I don’t have any answers except to say that filmmakers are missing out on a quickly growing demographic by not developing more films that simply tell good stories with people of color in larger roles without resorting to portraying them as gang bangers and drug dealers because that is not the experience of the overwhelming majority of this segment of the population.

It’s up to writers, especially those of color, to create work that goes beyond these stereotypes.  If they can create compelling stories featuring people of color that appeal to the common human experience to which all people can relate, these films will be made.

I believe it can and will be done eventually.

That being said, let’s have a little Sunday Morning music with a Hollywood theme, one of my favorites from one of my favorite bands.  It’s Celluloid Heroes from the Kinks.  Have a great Sunday!


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2016  AAP  Summer Workshop Brochure Cover sThis is the cover for the brochure for the Summer Workshop for the American Academy of Psychotherapists, taking place this coming June.  This group also used one of my paintings (see below) for the program for their national conference this past year so I was really pleased and honored that they chose this painting, Unpuzzled, to grace this cover. I have gotten great feedback for many, many years from professionals in the field of psychology and psychotherapy so its really gratifying that they feel comfortable using my work to represent these events.gc-myers-2015-therapists-program-sm

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GC Myers- Into the PatternMy latest works have been focusing on the use of pattern within my landscapes.  Well, I guess you could call it pattern.  There is often a motif of shape and sometimes a direction of movement but for the most part it is fairly chaotic and seemingly without order.  Maybe that is what art is –trying to see pattern within chaos, trying to impose some sense of order so that we might better understand what we are seeing.

And maybe it is our reaction to seeing an emerging pattern that defines what we consider as beautiful.  I am sure many of you have once seen an image that struck you immediately and remained in your mind even if it was only seen in a glimpse.  I know I have.  I am often mystified as to why this occurs.  My only explanation is that its form and pattern somehow jibe with some innate sense of form and pattern, something inborn and with us since the beginning of our time as a species.

Perhaps even the patterns of those things of which we are made.  Maybe the pattern is us.

And that could be expressed through religion.  Or spirituality.  Or physics. Or art…

That being said, this new painting is an 18″ by 36″ canvas that I am calling Into the Pattern.  For me, it represents what I have written above– that we are  part of the pattern  and the pattern is part of who we are.  The Red Tree here is understanding of this and begins to meld into the strong pattern of motion seen in the sky, as expressed by the leaves coming from its limbs.

This is a pretty simple image but it has a nice tension between chaotic motion and calm stillness of understanding.  At one point, I had painted in a figure near the tree.  For me, it absolutely destroyed the impact of the whole piece, distracting focus from what the painting was trying to send out.  The figure just plain bothered me and it didn’t take much thought for me to decide to paint it over.

It was amazing how this changed the painting and my perception of it.  Now, it is one of those pieces that I look at quite often throughout the day here in the studio, pondering what it is saying to me and trying to decide if we are part of the pattern or if it is part of us.  Or both…


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GC Myers- Icon- Tacy CooperThe more I read about this ancestor,the latest entry in my Icon series,  the more interesting I find her.  Her maiden name was Tacy Cooper and she is my 10th great-grandmother, born around 1609 in England.  Little is known of her parentage or when exactly  she came to America but she is known to have lived in Dorchester, near Boston in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the early 1630’s.

At the time, the Colony was strictly ruled by the Congregational Church and its precepts.  Very puritanical, of course.  Many of the settlers who were coming into the colony sought more religious freedom than was being offered and under the influence of Roger Williams, set out  in 1634 to leave the Colony and establish a new community outside its boundaries.  They sent out a party of scouts who chose a site on the Connecticut River below present day Hartford.  Soon after, a group of about 100 people set out by foot for this location.  Among them was Tacy Cooper and her future husband, Samuel Hubbard.  They met during this journey and Samuel later wrote that Tacy was the lone bright spot in the whole undertaking.

Although the heavy goods for the community had been shipped by boats from Boston up the river, it was a harsh trek.  Many of their provisions had also been shipped and their trip was ill-timed.  By the time of their arrival, a bitter winter had set in on them and the boats had not arrived nor would they arrive in the future. Without those provisions,  a number of this group died that winter and those who remained survived on acorns, malt and grain that had brought along as seed for future crops.  To make things worse, the Pequot Indians were attacking as they tried to stem the spread of the settlers into their territory.

But they persevered  and in 1636, Tacy and Samuel were married.  However, the religious freedom they sought did not come to bear in this new community.  Samuel spoke up in protest to the role of the Church Elders in the local government and was driven from the community along with several other families who were in agreement with him.  They fled south, settling in the area now known as Springfield, Massachusetts.  They thought they were outside  the boundaries of the Massachusetts Colony but in subsequent years,  the provisions of the settlement of the Pequot Wars brought that location back into its realm.  In protest, Samuel and Tacy became Baptists.

In the following years, Baptists were banished from the Colony and, after many threats, they fled once more, this time to Rhode Island where they were reunited with Roger Williams.  They lived peacefully there for many years as members of the Baptist Church but it didn’t end there.

In the mid 1600’s, a movement had began in England– the  Seventh Day Baptists.  While they were almost exactly the same in their beliefs as traditonal Baptists, they observed their sabbath on the seventh day, Saturday.  In 1665, Stephen Mumford moved from England to Rhode Island, bringing this new sect with him.  He spoke of this beliefs to Tacy and Samuel  and a few other members of the First Baptist Church of Newport.

It was Tacy alone who first chose to join with Mumford in observing a seventh day sabbath.  Soon after Samuel and four other joined them and they formed the first Seventh Day Baptist church in America.  Tacy is considered the first American founder of the church.  The Seventh Day Baptists exist to this day and were a big part of my mother’s line for almost two hundred years and six generation, although I am pretty sure she would have not been aware of this fact.

While I am not a religious person in any organized sense of the word, I still find it fascinating in the way religion has shaped much of my( and just about everybody else’s) past.  I am pleased that Tacy was such a strong woman.  She was the one who stood and answered the Church Elders when she and the others were made to account for their desire to break from the Baptist Church.  She went before the congregation and  with “great clearness and force” outlined their reasons for departing.  I can’t help but think that this must have been a rare moment in early America– a woman speaking to power.

This may not be the best painting of the Icons but it moves me in the same way.  I always hope to find something in these stories that I can take for my own life and I can only hope to one day have Tacy’s strength and conviction.


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GC Myers- Jumping Off PointBetween two worlds life hovers like a star,
‘Twixt night and morn, upon the horizon’s verge.
How little do we know that which we are!
How less what we may be! The eternal surge
Of time and tide rolls on, and bears afar
Our bubbles; as the old burst, new emerge,
Lash’d from the foam of ages; while the graves
Of Empires heave but like some passing waves.

Lord Byron, Don Juan


I chose the stanza above from Lord Byron’s Don Juan to kind of describe this new painting because it seemed to fit so well what I was seeing in this piece.

When I look at it the Red Tree seems to be an intermediary between differing worlds–  between the solid ground of earth and the airiness of the heavens, between the closer living of the settlement of houses and the wide open spaces of the fields and hills beyond, between the now and eternity, between the visible and the invisible.

Standing with one foot in either world, it becomes a moment of contemplation on the temporary nature of our existence.  Standing there before the suddenly visible and unrelenting power of nature and the universe– the eternal surge of tide and time— the Red Tree recognizes its own smallness and insignificance–How less what we may be!

This idea of  insignificant beings living but for a short time may seem like a dismal prospect to some.  But I don’t see it that way.  If anything, I see this as a celebration of just having the opportunity to bear witness to the grand spectacle of life set before us each day, to have a chance to play a part, albeit small, in the machinations of the universe.

Maybe this is too much for a simple painting such as this to bear.  Maybe you will not see it in the same way, only seeing a tree on a mound overlooking a group of houses with a patterned sky.  That’s fine because in its simplest terms that is what it is.

But even the simplest moments and images can have greater depth and meaning if we only choose to look more closely, to choose to perceive our place in the world in a different manner.

Well. that’s what I think anyway…

—Oh, this painting is 18″ by 18″ on canvas and I am calling it Jumping Off Point.

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ZundertFlowerParadeVanGogh10Since 1936, every September, the Dutch town of Zundert holds the world’s largest  flower parade, the Corso Zundert.  This past September the parade honored the 125th anniversary of the death of Vincent Van Gogh, the town’s most famous native.  Each of the floats is primarily comprised of locally grown dahlias, although other local flowers are not prohibited from use.

While the photos from the parade are spectacular, I am sure they don’t give us the real sense of size and sheer visual impact.  There are a couple of floats, one with stacks of Van Gogh’s chairs,   that I saw briefly in a  short film on the parade for which I could not find images.  But the one’s below give a sense of the variety and creativity that are part of this parade.

"The Potato Eaters" in dahlias

“The Potato Eaters” in dahlias

ZundertFlowerParadeVanGogh5 ZundertFlowerParadeVanGogh6 ZundertFlowerParadeVanGogh7 Corso Zundert 2015

This is Gauguin confronting Van Gogh

This is Gauguin confronting Van Gogh

ZundertFlowerParadeVanGogh8 Zundert-Van-Gogh-16-1020x610 ZundertFlowerParadeVanGogh3 ZundertFlowerParadeVanGogh2

This float opens into a sunflower (see the photo below)

This float opens into a sunflower (see the photo below)


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Thank You Card- Susan Ferrito sm

The image above is from a Thank You card I received the other day.  Looking at it reminds me of one of those perfect days like we had yesterday, one of those late winter days where there is plenty of sun and comfortable temperatures.  Perfect for walking amid the remaining snow, making the troubles and worries of the rest of the world slip away for a short time.  A perfect day for one of those rare moments.

The Thank You card was from my friends. Tony and Susan Ferrito, for a small favor I had done for them. Susan made the card based on my paintings and I think it came out tremendously well.  I particularly like the dark ring around the sun.  Thank you, Susan– I will display the card prominently here in the studio!

So, being Sunday morning, the obvious choice for my musical selection is  Perfect Day from the late Lou Reed, this one with an interesting animation.  I thought I had played it here not too long ago but when I looked it up I found that it had been almost exactly six years ago, during the Winter Olympics of that February in 2010.   I guess there’s no sense worrying about wearing out such a great song by playing it every six years.

So, I hope you have  a perfect day of your own on this fine Sunday.  Enjoy…

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GC Myers- I Was Lost 1997Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.

Henry David Thoreau


I used the painting above to illustrate a post several years back.  Titled I Was Lost, this is an experimental piece I did back in early 1997.  It remains one of my favorite pieces, one that I linger over when I come across it in my computer’s files or when I go through some older work stored in a bin here in the studio.

There’s nothing special about this piece.  It’s a simple thought that was quickly rendered.  It definitely didn’t end up  anywhere in the vicinity of perfection.  Some of the lines veer  and quiver uncertainly while the tree trunks sometimes bulge erratically. There’s not really much to grab onto in  this piece.

Yet for all it’s deficiencies there is something in this painting that simply speaks to me in a personal way.  There’s a flawed elegance in it that moves me– a grace that provides me with hope on those days when the world seems bleak and it is hard to see beyond the trees that obscure the path ahead.

Thoreau’s words mesh well with this piece.  To put it another way: Adversity builds character.  A-B-C.

When we are lost in the woods, look past the trees that block our view.  There’s a way forward. We may not like it at the time but every challenge provides us with the opportunity to discover more of who we really are.

Sorry for going off on a pep talk this morning.  Hopefully, you didn’t need it.  And if you did, I hope this helps a bit.

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GC Myers- SustenancePainting is the pattern of one’s own nervous system being projected on canvas.

Francis Bacon


I am still in the midst of processing this new painting for myself, trying to determine what it is saying to me.  For now, I am calling this 16″ by 20″ canvas Sustenance.  There is something about the pattern of the sky filled with rays containing smaller strokes that remind me of surging atoms.  Maybe it’s my own nervous system being projected as Bacon says above or maybe it is an energy that feeds everything.  The ubiquitous energy  that transforms into vibrant, richly colored life.

I am still not sure.

You might notice that this is not a Red Tree.  Yes, this is the rare Green Tree.  Coming to the end  of this painting, I decided on green as a contrast to the reds and oranges I had used for the land around the tree.  It just felt right from a design standpoint and I think it works here.

It has emerged better than I had originally thought it might when I was working on it.  But, as I said, I am still taking this in. There are a lot of things in this simple painting that speak to me but I still can’t exactly put them into words.

And I kind of like that it doesn’t have an obvious read for me, that it leaves me without words.  So, I will stop now and just try to figure out what those words are…

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