Archive for July 15th, 2022

The Homecoming

GC Myers- The Homecoming sm

The Homecoming– At the West End Gallery

Wild nights – Wild nights!
Were I with thee
Wild nights should be
Our luxury!

Futile – the winds –
To a Heart in port –
Done with the Compass –
Done with the Chart!

Rowing in Eden –
Ah – the Sea!
Might I but moor – tonight –
In thee!

-Emily Dickinson, Wild Nights

Well, the work for Chaos & Light has been delivered and is ready for hanging at the West End Gallery in advance of next Friday’s show opening. Always a relief in getting that out of the way, to experience the sense of satisfaction that comes with completing a relatively big task.

Of course, the flip side is that this is accompanied by a bit of sorrow in the emptiness of the studio now. I get used to having the new work around me, to being able to constantly take it in and relish those parts of it that really speak to me.  As the show nears, the accumulated closes in on me and I begin to think of it as a warm security blanket.

To have it suddenly gone creates a void, gives the studio a feeling of cool emptiness.

I know it’s temporary and only in my mind but it’s still creates a noticeable tone of sadness. I miss being able to see many of the pieces from the show since each has a lot of personal connection for me. I go through a lot of different feelings in the process of painting almost every piece, running the gamut from despair to elation.

The painting of each is its own form of catharsis.

Maybe that’s the attraction that painting has for me.

The painting at the top, The Homecoming, is a good example of this. It was one of the final pieces competed for this show and the feelings I experienced while painting it are still fresh in mind. So many times, I felt like giving up on it, wanting to put it aside or cover it with a fresh layer of black paint. But the addition of a spot of color here and there and my mood would elevate.

Then crash a short time later.

It was very much an up-and-down, love/hate relationship between me and the surface of this painting almost to the very end. Ultimately, perseverance triumphs. I would like to say I am elated at that point but the feeling is different. It’s not really satisfaction or pride though it does have elements of that.

I think I would have to go back to a word I used earlier: catharsis.

Each painting changes me in some small imperceptible way as I go through a wide range of emotions in the process.

I very much felt this with The Homecoming. Even though the piece has an implied narrative– of Odysseus returning to his home island of Ithaka— for me, all I see is the range of emotion experienced in painting it.

Maybe that’s why it is often so difficult to judge one’s own work objectively. It’s hard to ignore those personal emotions and revelations that are deeply engrained and often not obvious in the work.

There’s a lot more I could write about this piece, about the colors and shading and composition, all the things that make it what it is. But for me, it’s all about that feeling of catharsis I see in it.

And I suppose that is all I can ask of it.

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