Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Biographical’ Category

I came across this blogpost from four years back and it made me go over and closely examine the painting about which I was writing. It’s one of those things where you walk by it every day and after a bit, you fail to really see it. But looking at it reminded me of how much it bolstered me at the time it took its little prize.

I haven’t entered a painting in a competition for many years now. I never liked the idea of judging one painting against another as though there was some objective scale on which to judge them. Plus the idea of a group of judges trying to get a grasp of your work with 10 seconds exposure to it seemed kind of unfair in some way. Not that I didn’t have successes in the competitions I did enter. I took third place in a national competition and had a couple of Best in Shows along with a couple of other awards in regional events. But it never felt good to me and when I felt like it no longer served my needs I stopped entering them. 

But those competitions did wonders for me early on in my development and I may not be writing this today if not for them. Here’s what I wrote a few years back:

GC Myers-The Sky Doesn't Pity 1995smI was looking around my studio, taking in some of the work hanging on the walls throughout the house.  There are pieces from other artists, including some talented friends and young fans along with some notables such as David Levine and Ogden Pleissner.  But most of it is older work of my own.  There are a few orphans, paintings that showed extensively but never found a home.  In some I see flaws that probably kept someone from taking it home but most just didn’t find that right person with which to connect.  Most of the other hanging work is work that I won’t part with, work that somehow has deeper meaning for me.  Work that just stays close.

One of these paintings is the one shown here, The Sky Doesn’t Pity, a smallish watercolor that’s a little over 4″ square.  It was painted in 1995 after I had started publicly showing my work for the first time at the West End Gallery in Corning, NY, not too far from my home.  The gallery has been what I consider my home gallery for 18 years [22 years now], hosting an annual solo show of my work for the last eleven years.  This year’s show, Islander, ends next Friday.

But when this piece was done I was still new there, still trying to find a voice and a style that I could call my own.  I had sold a few paintings and had received a lot of encouragement from showing the work at the gallery but was still not sure that this would lead anywhere.  I entered this painting in a regional competition at the Gmeiner Art Center in Wellsboro , a lovely rural village in northern Pennsylvania with beautiful Victorian homes and gas lamps running down Main Street.

It was the first competition I had ever entered and, having no expectations, was amazed when I was notified that this piece had taken one of the top prizes.  I believe it was a third but that didn’t matter to me.  Just the fact that the judges had seen something in it, had recognized the life in it, meant so much to me.  It gave me a tremendous sense of validation and confidence in moving ahead.  Just a fantastic boost that opened new avenues of possibility in my mind.

I still get that same sense even when I look at this little piece today, a feeling that would never let me get rid of this little guy.  I can’t tell you how many times I have glimpsed over at this painting and smiled a bit, knowing what it had given me all those years ago.

It encourages me even now.

Read Full Post »

Sometimes, after reading and listening to the news in the morning, I find myself feeling frustrated, angry, incredulous, despondent and helpless. It’s been that way for the last 20 years but more so in the past year as I see the tribalism of today’s politics take us so far from the ideals of democracy for the people. There’s more and more sheer greed and self-service  without even the pretext of trying to hide it and the basis for legislation seems to be based not on the greater good but on how high a level of spite it can reach.

And the right’s constant kowtowing to the corporate and financial gods makes me feel downright queasy because my years on this planet have taught me that a top down approach– the trickle down effect, if you prefer–is only a pretext for allowing the wealthiest of us to gain more and more wealth with an unenforceable promise that they will freely spread the wealth to a population that has been made dependent to their whims. It is a ridiculous concept as an economic theory and has never shown itself to benefit anyone other than those holding the most wealth.

So , yesterday while the world sat mesmerized while a little more kerosene was thrown on the dumpster fire that is our president, the Republicans in congress voted to repeal most of the banking regulations, Dodd-Frank, that were enacted in the aftermath of the economic meltdown of 2008. It would allow the big banks to resume the activities that led to that crisis, allowing them to make risky bets with the knowledge that the taxpayer’s will be there to pay for their losses.

So, again, this morning I find myself frustrated, angry, incredulous, despondent and helpless.

I decided to walk around my studio and look at some of the things on the wall.  Maybe I could find something there that would placate the feelings, give me a different place in which to put myself. I settled in a corner of my main painting space (shown here on the right) where I have a very large painting of mine with four smaller painting above it. It’s a group of work that means a lot to me in several ways. A couple are early pieces, one is a favorite from my Outlaws series, and the last just seems to settle me down when I am upset.

That would be Realm of Thought, shown at the top. It’s from 2003 and has been hanging with me in my workspace for most of that time. I don’t think it’s necessarily my best work and there’s nothing about that I find remarkable or beyond me, as I have sometimes described. But it has an unusual knack for centering me, focusing my attention on the ethereal  rather than the worldly.

And that makes it special for me.

I definitely needed it this morning. And, as it always has, it gave what I asked from it. It eased that knot that was tied in my guts. It slowed my mind’s racing pace and for a moment I felt myself in the slightly cool yet warm air atop that knoll.

It was good. It was needed.

I have a feeling that I will be revisiting that location much more in the coming months. But at least is there for me.

 

Read Full Post »

My Buddy Chase in front of the work

Back in the studio after Friday’s opening of Truth and Belief at the Principle Gallery. Without hyperbole, I am saying it was a good show and a good trip. As smooth and easy and satisfying as any of the previous 17 shows there. Just plain good. Good crowd. Good conversations with good people. Good feelings about the work.

So when we left yesterday, I can honestly say I felt pretty good about the whole thing. Still do, which is new territory for me. Usually by this morning I am filled with second thoughts about things I could have done differently, words I could have said differently and so on. But for now, I am standing pat with the whole of what happened.

It was good.

I have to send out heartfelt thank yous to everyone at the Principle Gallery. They are a very special group of people. Affectionate thanks to Michele, Clint, Pam, Pierre and Haley for their friendship and encouragement. There’s so much I could say but I think they know how we feel about them.

Plus super thanks to my canine friends, Ash and Chase, who always brighten my visits with their high energy.

I think this show was as honest and transparent an expression of what I hope to be as an artist and a person as I could have mustered. I don’t feel like I am masked behind the work, that I am presenting a facade that misrepresents me. I am hoping that means I am closing in on some elusive and unconscious goal. Can’t say I will ever truly reach it. Might not even know if I do. But for now, the mask feels like its off.

For this week’s music, I have chose a song that sort of fits with that last sentiment.  It’s This Masquerade written and performed by the late great Leon Russell. It is probably best known for the George Benson version that was a huge hit across all of the charts. But I like this version from Leon alone with his piano.

Enjoy. Have a good day.

 

Read Full Post »

Well, the work for the Truth and Belief show is delivered to the Principle Gallery and I can try to let out a big sigh of relief. I say try because I still have to endure the week until the show opens this coming Friday.

I’ve documented these feelings before on this blog from past shows, about how any confidence that may have grown as I was finishing the work for the show suddenly disappears once it is delivered.

It’s no different this for this year’s show. I walked in the studio early this morning and, without the reassurance from the show’s paintings that were now out of my sight, felt absolutely lousy. The big ball of anxiety was sitting directly on my gut.

I began to wonder if it was too late to become a backhoe operator. Or when the next person asks what I do and I tell them I’m a painter and they ask how much it would cost to get their bedrooms painted, I should give them a price.

But I know the routine, know it’s just part of the pattern. I’ve been experienced these same thoughts many times before and there is something in me that recognizes that I have put in the effort and been true to myself with this work.  It is a real thing.

It will work out in the long run.

Besides, I can’t really do anything else. Don’t want to do anything else. Actually, I don’t even look at what I do anymore as having been a choice. It’s just what I am now and there’s no changing that.

And that thought will carry me through the week. Oh, I’ll still feel like crap and lose every ounce of confidence I have ever known. But that’s okay because I know I will soon be back to work, being who I am meant to be.

Okay, enough of that and on to this week’s Sunday morning music. I hear that it’s Memorial Day weekend and I wanted to feature a combination of image and song that kind of fit the spirit of the holiday.  Not picnics and fireworks but the remembering part.  So many brave people have given their lives with the belief that they were defending our common values.  In these fractured times I think it’s important that we use the memory of their sacrifice as an opportunity to examine what those true values might be and how we can find common ground within them.

The painting above is from the show and is a 9″ by 12″ canvas titled So Well Remembered. The music is a short piece from trumpeter Richard Boulger titled For Souls Past. It’s a stark and lovely tune. Both have the feeling of memory that the day requires.

Have a great day…

Read Full Post »

Truth and Belief, opening June 2 at the Principle Gallery, will be my 18th solo exhibit at the gallery. That’s a long enough time span to see the differences and changes in the work. Some of these come about because of technical changes and some come from conscious decisions. Some are evolutionary and I can see how a concept grows when I compare the shows from the different years.

But throughout the entire time I can honestly say that the work always reflects my emotional state at the time. I definitely believe that is the case for group of work in this show.

The changes of the past nine months or so, personally and in our political scene, have had an effect. I find myself needing to withdraw into the work, need the colors and shapes that I find in them.  Need to find a source of light that I can head toward.

Need to have something to believe in that I know is true.

If nothing else, my work represents that sense of truth for me. And that is how I am viewing the work in this show. It feels earnest, real and true.

Now, I remind you, that this is my opinion, my view of what I am seeing. You may not see those things at all and that’s fine and good. To tell the truth, I don’t care. I think that’s why I like this group of work–it was done specifically for me, to comfort me, to ease my anxieties.

It satisfies my very real needs.

If someone else sees something of value in it, great. If not, at least I have been true to myself. And that, at this point in time, is most important to me.

I call the painting above, a 12″ by 6″ canvas, Reboot. For me, it represents the upheavals that take place in our world and in our lives and how we ultimately deal with them, how we reset our course.

Read Full Post »

Today and the next several days ahead are busy for me as I do prep work for the June 2 opening  of my solo show at the Principle Gallery. Even though it’s really hectic it’s not a disorienting kind of chaos. I’ve done this so many times that I understand the rhythm and timing that is required for these preparations.

That knowledge takes care of some of the anxiety but certainly not all of it. Every show has a level of trepidation as you worry about how it will be received. That particular anxiety will never go away and is actually, at least for me, kind of reassuring.  I tend to think that when I stop feeling that tension before a show I will have become complacent.

So, I am currently busy, anxious and worried. In other words, things are going about as good as can be expected.

I thought I’d share a nice video I found of the work of Van Gogh set to Don McLean‘s lovely ode to the artist, Vincent. It’s a very pleasant combination for a bustling Monday morning and definitely eases the nerves.

Read Full Post »

Tonight, the West End Gallery celebrates its 40th anniversary of selling art on Corning’s lovely Market Street. There is a coinciding opening for a retrospective show of the paintings of the gallery’s co-founder, Tom Gardner. The festivities begin at 4:30 this afternoon with a ribbon cutting and following that there will be music from guitarist Bill Groome, plenty to eat and drink and a few surprises.

I’ve said and written this many times before, but without the West End Gallery I have no idea what or where I would be. The chance to show my work given to me by then gallery owners Lin and Tom Gardner forever changed the direction of my life, opening new doors of opportunity that I couldn’t even imagine in my former life. Ultimately, it changed how I viewed the world and myself.

It’s rare that you can pinpoint a moment in time that alters your life in such a drastic manner that you can see the results that extend from that moment a la It’s a Wonderful Life. But I have such a moment from a day in early 1995 when Tom critiqued my work and Lin asked me to show a few pieces in their next show. Without that moment with them, every good thing that has come to me via my work most likely would have never happened. The numerous paintings that have found their way around the world, the 50 or so solo shows and the many, many wonderful people I have been fortunate to encounter through my work– all of it would probably have never occurred.

I don’t want to even consider what would be without that moment.

In my own way, I say “Thank You” to them every day I enter my studio and take part in the life and work that I so enjoy now. It is all due to that moment and I will never forget that.  Nor will I ever be able to thank them enough.

For forty years, the West End Gallery has given me and so many other artists an opportunity to take a chance on a different life.  It has persisted through the ups and downs of the economy, through booms and busts.  Now under the capable hands of Tom and Lin’s daughter Jesse and her husband, John, it is looking forward even as it celebrates its past tonight. They are working hard every day to make the gallery better in every way.

I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s another 40 years in the cards for the West End Gallery.

So, if you’re in the area tonight, make your way to the West End Gallery for a celebratory drink, a little bite, some great conversation and some wonderful art and music. If you’ve never been, they’ll make you feel right at home.

I can tell you that from first-hand experience.

Thank you for everything, Lin and Tom and Jesse and John.

I mean that literally.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: