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Archive for July, 2016

GC Myers- Voyager Blue smToday there is none of that other stuff here– I won’t even utter the “P” word here this morning.  As promised, today is about art and music.

This morning I want to link a song and a painting and the piece shown above immediately came to mind.  It’s a 20″ by 10″ canvas titled Voyager Blue that is included in my current show, Contact, at the West End Gallery.  It has a definite narrative to it, with the small almost indistinguishable figure at the horizon serving as The Seeker, which is often the character that figures portray when they appear in my work.  The Seeker constantly searches for meaning, for purpose and for answers in this life.

The song I thought I would attach to this painting is the great folk classic The Midnight Special.  This song, whose lyrics first appeared in 1905, is about a prisoner who longs for his freedom and symbolizes it in the form of The Midnight Special, a night train that would carry them away from the despair of their imprisonment. There was an actual Midnight Special train that ran between Chicago and St. Louis but the one depicted in this song is considered to be more likely a train on the Missouri Pacific line, the Houstonian, that ran between Houston and New Orleans, departing just before midnight.

But maybe it simply refers to the night train that is nearest to the prisoner singing for his freedom.

This song has been recorded many, many times over the past century by artists from Leadbelly to ABBA but today I chose a version from the Queen of American folk music, Odetta.  It has a nice bluesy sway to it and seems like a good song to push off from on this Sunday morning.

Have a great day.  I hope the Midnight Special shines her ever-loving light on you.

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Margaret Chase Smith

Margaret Chase Smith

Moral cowardice that keeps us from speaking our minds is as dangerous to this country as irresponsible talk.

Margaret Chase Smith

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One more word on the current political scene and then it’s back to business as usual here– a little Sunday Morning Music tomorrow and basically art thereafter.  I promise.

Donald Trump is the Republican Party’s Presidential candidate.  We know exactly who this man is now and who he has been over the past 30+ years he has spent in the public eye–  an immensely vain and amoral blowhard and bully with little regard for those who cannot serve his selfish personal interests.  He has appealed to the electorate with a blend of ugly rhetoric rooted in division, fear and anger and has assembled a fair sized group of equally angry, fearful and hateful true believers behind him.

But you know something, I don’t blame Trump for who he is, as much as I deplore him.  There have always been and will always be figures like him.  That can’t be helped.

No, the people who are most responsible for his rise are those who enabled the intolerance, group thought and uncompromising  partisanship that has taken over the Republican party over the past few decades and created an environment that gave him the opening he could exploit

I’m talking about those Senators and Representatives and other politicians who simply went along, never taking a stand or speaking out against even the most egregious and often hypocritical actions of the party as it tried to gain short sighted political gains, ones that only served their own selfish interests and not the general welfare of the American people.  They were against any form of compromise, entirely intolerant of any opposition to their short term goals and would remain quiet as the most outrageous claims were repeated and repeated to the American people, their notable silence acting in itself as an acceptance of those claims.

Their silence allowed a demagogue to grab the helm of their ship away from them.  Some sheepishly have gathered behind their new ship’s captain and shamelessly assented to much of his nonsensical babble.  But shamefully there are those in that party who are horrified by the words and actions of this man as well as the direction in which he takes their party who still refuse to speak out and denounce the man.  Perhaps they hope he will somehow avoid the rocks towards which he is steering them and that they will be able to rip back the helm from him and come out unscathed.

But their silence and inaction could lead to more dire consequences not only for their party but for this country and the ideals on which it was formed.

Speak up.  Put aside your self-interest and serve your constituents, not your party.  Be a citizen first and protect those ideals.

Speak up.

Below is an excerpt from a speech,  Declaration of Conscience, that is considered one of the great American speeches of all time. It was given by Maine Republican Senator Margaret Chase Smith in June of 1950 when the dark days of Joe McCarthy and his Communist witch hunts were taking hold.  She saw what McCarthy was and the great harm that could come to this country if he was allowed to continue his campaign of rampaging character assassinations. She spoke out against him and those in her party who remained silent and simply went along.  She did not endorse the other party but pointed out that any victory for their party that was based on ignorance and fear and  that came at the expense of their true principles would be a disaster for their party and the country.

If you don’t know who Margaret Chase Smith was, it is worth taking a moment and looking her up.  She was a tough but moderate Republican who made a habit of reaching across the aisle and of backing bills that often went against the Republican ideology of the time.  She believed in doing what was right for the American public first, regardless from which party an idea emerged.  She was also the first woman to be placed into nomination for the Presidency by a major political party.

Margaret Chase Smith would most likely not be welcome in the current Republican Party.

Read these words from her Declaration of Conscience in 1950 and I think you will see how they apply to this election over 65 years later.  While I don’t agree with the assertion that our current Democratic administration needs to be replaced I do understand that there are those that do.  But to replace it with a morally dishonest alternative is not the change that will best serve the American people.

Surely these are sufficient reasons to make it clear to the American people that it is time for a change and that a Republican victory is necessary to the security of this country.  Surely it is clear that this nation will continue to suffer as long as it is governed by the present ineffective Democratic Administration.

Yet to displace it with a Republican regime embracing a philosophy that lacks political integrity or intellectual honesty would prove equally disastrous to this nation.  The nation sorely needs a Republican victory.  But I don’t want to see the Republican Party ride to political victory on the Four Horsemen of Calumny — Fear, Ignorance, Bigotry, and Smear.

I doubt if the Republican Party could — simply because I don’t believe the American people will uphold any political party that puts political exploitation above national interest.  Surely we Republicans aren’t that desperate for victory.

—–Margaret Chase Smith, Declaration of Conscience speech,  Delivered June 1, 1950

This is perhaps the most important election of our lifetimes, folks.  Pay attention and speak out against fear, ignorance, bigotry and smear.

Back to our regular scheduled programming tomorrow.  I promise.

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DNC 2016Yesterday, I heard journalist Carl Bernstein call this election the Gettysburg in America’s cultural wars, meaning that this election might very well determine the nature of our future existence as a nation.  I found that a very striking  and fitting analogy for this race.  This race entails two very different visions for America, one filled with light, the other darkness.

For example, the difference between last week’s Republican convention and this week’s Democratic convention was breathtaking.  The Democratic convention was a showcase of diversity across the spectrum of America– there were even many longtime Republicans that spoke to the crowd.  It had substance.  It had optimism and a positive message that spoke to the ideal of the American can-do spirit.  It was uplifting and inspiring with too many awe inspiring speeches and stories that I can’t even begin to list them here.

It was about us, about our love for this country and not the love for the hate-filled rhetoric of an angry reality star.

It was filled with light.

On the flip side, the Republican convention was the darkness, somehow both an angry and low energy affair  filled with a crowd that lacked the vitality and diversity that makes us America.  There were only 18 black faces out of the over 2400 delegates, a number so low (that’s only about .07%, folks) that the black delegates were asked to not  congregate so that they could better disperse through the crowd. The whole event terminated with Trump’s dismal vision of America and his assertion that he alone could solve the problems of this country.  He couldn’t even deliver on his boast to make the Republican convention a “showbiz” convention, packed with flash, celebrities and a “winner’s night.”  I must have somehow missed that part of the convention.

No, he portrayed this country, including our military, as being filled with fearful cowards who are not up to a challenge. He certainly didn’t offer one to the people of this country in his rambling diatribe.  No, he offered to take over with an air of authoritarianism that is all too reminiscent of  Mussolini and the rise of Fascism in Italy in the 1920’s.

You do know how that turned out, don’t you?

He says we must believe him when he says that he and only he has the answers and solutions we need, though he has yet to offer any tangible plan for us to see.  Nor has he any evidence of having any answers in the past as a so-called businessman.  He is a businessman in the way that the Kardashians are celebrities– all flash and little substance.  He is all about brand.  That’s it.

Take for example, his only experience in operating a publicly owned corporation, Trump Resorts (DJT).  If you had invested $100 dollars in it at its IPO in 1995 and cashed out ten years later you would have been left with $4.  Four– a  loss of over 95% of your investment.  This company lost staggering amounts of money every single year from 1995 until 2005 at a time when other casino stocks boomed and the stock market index was doubling.  A $100 investment in his competitor MGM Grand turned into $600 over the same time frame.

But he made money.  He stripped every cent he could get his tiny little hands on from the corporation until it finally collapsed in bankruptcy.  Great articles on this in the Washington Post and  MarketWatch.

And while he says he will put Americans to work, only this past week he and his Palm Beach resort filed for 65 guest worker visas so that he could fill staff with foreign workers, even though there are hundreds (according to local labor stats, there are actually over 1300 who are looking for work in the same field) of nearby resident in need of jobs.  His record of filling his staffs with foreign workers is astounding.  There is nothing illegal in it but it certainly doesn’t jibe with his boastful rhetoric.

His proposals and his resume are short on facts because the facts are not his friend.  His word is not his bond and even contracts to which he set the terms are subject to being challenged when he feels it is to his benefit.  This is not a man of honor.  This is a many without empathy and little reason, a man who seeks to punish those who he believes have slighted him.  In fact, even last night at a rally, he spoke about his desire to retaliate against the speakers at the Democratic convention  who pointed out his flawed life and ideology.

At one point last night he said, “I was going to hit this guy so hard his head would spin, he wouldn’t know what the hell happened.”  This is last night, folks.  This man wants the power and strength of the US military at his beck and call.  God help our troops if this man somehow continues to hoodwink those Americans who refuse to see the evidence of his reality.

And it is there for all to see.  He has shown what he is, who he is.  He is a lifelong bully, a spoiled petulant manchild who is fixated on his own image and his own voice in the grandest form of narcissism we may have ever witnessed.  He uses the lie as tool.  He has never taken any personal responsibility for any of his failures, always finding a scapegoat on which to lay blame.  Nor will he take responsibility for his failures if, God forbid, he becomes President.

And there will be failures.  That is the nature of the job.  That is the very nature of life.

Do your research and don’t believe his vapid promises without first considering the reality of them.

Now for the record, I consider myself a Liberal who is proud of the many accomplishments of the progressive movement.  I like and respect Hillary Clinton very much.  I believe she will work harder for us than any President we have seen in our lifetime.  That is just how she goes about things. But she is not perfect in any way.  She has made mistakes but that is  often, unfortunately, one of the risks in taking on great tasks.

Nor is she the caricature from the Right that has been formed over the last 30+ years, a period of time in which her every word, her every action, her every look and even her appearance have been put under a microscope and dissected.  Think about it, how many of us could hold up with that kind of constant inspection over that long a time?  If you’ve not made a mistake, spoken a wrong word or didn’t do things that you deeply regret then you are either a better person than me or you have not lived a life of consequence out among the people.  I know I couldn’t survive that kind of constant examination.

I will end by saying that I would rather have Hillary Clinton fighting for me than nearly any other person that comes to mind.  I don’t think I’ve ever heard of Trump fighting for any other person than himself.

If you must respond, I will respect your opinion because in America it is understood that there is often a difference of opinion.But  please be civil.  No name calling.  No broad smears or conspiracies. Use facts please.  That is something I seldom see when reading comments from Mr. Trump’s supporters.

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Far, Far Away

Jupiter From Below-  NASA-JPL-Space Science InstituteThe week after a show’s opening is an odd time for me.  Even though you might think it would be a time to relax and savor the success of the show, it seldom is.  Yes, I do get to let out a deep sigh of relief just to have the task done and to have not fallen on my face. But I am often fatigued from writing and speaking so much about myself and my work.

It’s a fatigue that makes me feel a bit grimy and  greasy.  I feel like I’m covered with an unpleasant layer of ego sweat that can’t be washed away.  It has to fade away slowly.

I’ve always viewed the work of self-promotion as simply being a necessary aspect of the job of being an independent artist.  In simplest terms, I am basically a small business that produces a product and every small business must promote their product or they will not stay in business for very long.  So I do what I can to promote the work, writing about and pushing the paintings out into the world of social media to raise the profile of my product.

But when the product is  the art which is at its core you and your internal self, there is a sense that you are selling your very being.  That ups the stakes a bit because to not succeed feels like a diminishing of yourself.  It feels as though it is not just the art that is or is not being embraced, it is you.

You try to keep that view at bay, to keep the self and the art separate, but when you are putting so much of yourself into the work it is a hard thing to do.

So you either embrace the task as a necessary evil and forge ahead, risking the rejection of work and yourself by the public or you avoid it altogether.  But avoiding it is like avoiding exercise– you know it’s good for you but it is so much easier to skip it and make excuses for why your time is better spent doing just about anything else.  No sweating and no effort required.

I choose to do this work and part of that is accepting that grimy ego sweat and the fatigue from always pushing my product and myself.  But like anything that you do over and over again, you come to know that feeling and realize that eventually the effort yields positive results.

That’s where I am today– sweaty and tired.  But the feeling will fade and I will soon be ready to go at it again with all the effort I can muster.

But until then I am letting my mind wander and I find myself far away.  In this case, I find myself completely intrigued by this image from NASA that captures Jupiter in a stereographic image taken from below its South Pole.  I’ve looked at this image about a dozen times over the past couple of days and I find myself mesmerized by it.  It is just about as far away as I can get and it cools the ego sweat in a most wonderful way.

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west-end-gallery-160First thing this morning, many thanks to everyone who came out to the West End Gallery on Friday night for the opening of my show there.  I am most appreciative for anyone who takes the time on a hot Friday summer evening to come into the gallery.  It was great seeing old and new friends as well as seeing how they reacted to the work, which was hung beautifully by Lin and Jesse.  They did a great job pairing the paintings with original glass work —  each seemed to reflect and enhance the other.

Again, many thanks for making this a great show.  If you haven’t had a chance to get into the West End Gallery, please do try soon.  The show hangs until September 2.  I will also be giving a Gallery Talk on Saturday, August 6 from 1-2 PM at the gallery.  As is now tradition, there will be some sharing so mark the date and try to come on in.

This morning is the end of the Tour de France, the incredible bike race that is one of my favorite events of every summer.  This last day is generally a ceremonial stage, with the riders coming into Paris en masse for a final end of race for one final sprint to the finish line.

Tour de France Froome and Team SkyThe race leader this year is past two-time Tour winner Chris Froome, a Kenyan-born Brit whose skinny frame hides a huge diesel motor within that seems to just chug and chug without end.  Froome’s dominance is quite remarkable but just enduring such a race is incredible in itself.  Three weeks with only two days of rest that covers about 2100 miles that wind around France and neighboring countries, up and over the highest peaks and mountain passes in the Alps and Pyrenees.  

It is speed, strength and sheer endurance mixed in with the toughness to scramble up after hitting the road at 45 MPH and continue riding a tough course for another 50 miles.   Imagine running half and full marathons nearly every day for three weeks over rugged terrain in all sorts of weather.  That’s the Tour.

I always hate to see it end.

So for this Sunday morning music here’s a French classic, La Vie en Rose, sung by the wondrous Rhiannon Giddens.  It is a gorgeous version that she mad in response to the terror attacks in France last year.  Unfortunately, it applies this year as well.

But be optimistic and have a great Sunday!

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GC Myers- Contact sm

“Contact”- GC Myers

GC Myers- The Empowering sm

“The Empowering”- GC Myers

Well, Friday’s finally here which means that my show, Contact, opens this evening at the West End Gallery in Corning.  I think it’s a very strong group of work with an emphasis on color, texture, rhythm and pattern.

Definitely color.

If you know my work in any way you know that color is vital to my work.   Like words to a writer, it is the real conveyor for everything I am trying to express.  It can carry emotion, thought and a sense of time and space.  Color unconsciously speaks to us and puts us in contact with those unseen forces I so often speak of here.  I think you’ll see that in this show at the West End.

So, if you’re in the area this evening, please stop in at the West End Gallery.  The reception today, Friday, July 22,  runs from 5-7:30 PM and is free and open to everyone.  I will be there for the duration and would be happy to spend some time with you there, answering any questions you might have or discussing your feelings on the work.

I hope to see you on Market Street tonight!

"Unrestrained" -GC Myers

“Unrestrained” -GC Myers

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GC Myers- Linked smThis new painting, titled Linked, is a 12″ by 36″ canvas.  It is one of the works from my new show, Contact, that is now hanging at the West End Gallery.  The show officially opens tomorrow, Friday, July 22, with an opening reception at the gallery that runs from 5-7:30 PM.  As always, the opening is free and everyone is welcome.

Even though the narrative of this painting is about the rope bridge that connects these two islands and their resident Red Trees, the weight of it is carried by its vivid colors that seem to pop off the canvas.  The mixture of blues in the sky above and the water below  contrast and appear to intensify the redness of the trees, giving them a true sense of being alive.

The strength of the colors really draws in my eyes and makes the narrative of the linking of these two islands seem even more compelling.  The term linked is often used in the cyberworld when sites are digitally connected but here it relates to our own bonds that we build in life between friends and family.  Even though some of us would like to say that we can thrive as solitary islands, we are strengthened and nurtured by these bonds, these connections.  We as humans are creatures of community.  We need those links.

Well, that’s what I see here.  Maybe it’s just a bright and colorful picture.  It’s all in how you choose to see it isn’t it?

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