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GC Myers- From Here to There sm



Not I, not any one else can travel that road for you,
You must travel it for yourself.

It is not far, it is within reach,
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born and did not know,
Perhaps it is everywhere on water and on land.

–Walt Whitman, Song of Myself, Section 46



 

I thought some lines from Uncle Walt might fit well with the new painting above. It is titled From Here to There and is part of my annual solo show that opens this year on June 4th at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria.

This show, titled Between Here and There, concerns itself primarily with the concept of the journey.   It could be as simple as an actual physical journey from one spot to another or it could be more metaphorical, symbolizing our journey through life, from birth to death.  

Beginnings and endings. Origins and final destinations. We all start and finish the journey.  

But the totality of the journey is never fully expressed in the start and end points. No, between here and there are all sorts of roads to follow, obstacles to conquer, bodies of water to cross, creatures to love, and things to be learned.

And dreams to be dreamed. Hopes to be hoped.  

In this journey, do we ever truly feel the satisfaction of reaching our destiny? There are other numerous destinations within the two endpoints of our life’s journey and sometimes we may reach a goal that we once thought was well beyond our grasp. It may produce a momentary feeling of euphoria that we take for satisfaction but eventually we yearn to be on our way once more. As Whitman points out later in this section:

This day before dawn I ascended a hill and look’d at the crowded heaven,
And I said to my spirit When we become the enfolders of those
orbs, and the pleasure and knowledge of every thing in
them, shall we be fill’d and satisfied then?

And my spirit said No, we but level that lift to pass and continue beyond.

Maybe we are destined to be always going forward, to always have a gnawing inside us to move, to learn and do and feel more.

To fill the space between here and there.

Here’s the whole of the section from Song of Myself:



I know I have the best of time and space, and was never measured and never will be measured.

 

I tramp a perpetual journey, (come listen all!)

My signs are a rain-proof coat, good shoes, and a staff cut from the woods,

No friend of mine takes his ease in my chair,

I have no chair, no church, no philosophy,

I lead no man to a dinner-table, library, exchange,

But each man and each woman of you I lead upon a knoll,

My left hand hooking you round the waist,

My right hand pointing to landscapes of continents and the public road.

 

Not I, not any one else can travel that road for you,

You must travel it for yourself.

 

It is not far, it is within reach,

Perhaps you have been on it since you were born and did not know,

Perhaps it is everywhere on water and on land.

Shoulder your duds dear son, and I will mine, and let us hasten forth,

Wonderful cities and free nations we shall fetch as we go.

 

If you tire, give me both burdens, and rest the chuff of your hand on my hip,

And in due time you shall repay the same service to me,

For after we start we never lie by again.

 

This day before dawn I ascended a hill and look’d at the crowded heaven,

And I said to my spirit When we become the enfolders of those
          orbs, and the pleasure and knowledge of every thing in
          them, shall we be fill’d and satisfied then?

And my spirit said No, we but level that lift to pass and continue
          beyond.

 

You are also asking me questions and I hear you,

I answer that I cannot answer, you must find out for yourself.

Sit a while dear son,

Here are biscuits to eat and here is milk to drink,

But as soon as you sleep and renew yourself in sweet clothes, I kiss you with a good-by kiss and open the gate for your egress hence.

 

Long enough have you dream’d contemptible dreams,

Now I wash the gum from your eyes,

You must habit yourself to the dazzle of the light and of every moment of your life.

 

Long have you timidly waded holding a plank by the shore,

Now I will you to be a bold swimmer,

To jump off in the midst of the sea, rise again, nod to me, shout, and laughingly dash with your hair




 

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20210331_055939 The Memory of That Time sm



I can only note that the past is beautiful because one never realises an emotion at the time. It expands later, and thus we don’t have complete emotions about the present, only about the past.

― Virginia Woolf, Diary, March 18, 1925



This new painting at the top is titled The Memory of All That and is part of my upcoming solo show, Between Here and There, at the Principle Gallery. The show opens June 4, 2021.

This piece has held the feeling of deep memory for me since it was completed. Maybe it’s the burnished edge of darkness that runs around its perimeter, like looking through an old film cell that has aged and darkened. You hold it up to the light and the brightness from behind brings the central image to life once more while seeming to put the peripheral imagery in shadows. They’re still there, just not as distinct.

The Virginia Woolf quote at the top seems especially applicable here. I see the Red Tree taking on  the role of a being who returns to the their past, gazing at the old homestead. The memories that flood in take on an emotional feel that is often deeper and more pronounced than was evident at the actual moment being remembered.

The present is often incomplete. It sometimes lacks the context which comes from pertinent future events that add the emotional depth and flavor we feel when we later revisit it as memory.

I know that this is something I often see in my own memories. Even those that had emotion at the moment in which they occurred are often deeper and many times felt with completely different emotions upon recall. For example, take some incidents of the petulant anger of youth. I might remember the initial incident and anger but the memory now might contain a bit of embarrassment at my lack of self-control, naivete and wrongheadedness.

Or what might have been a fun moment then now contains feelings of familial love or even a sense of loss.

As I said, the present is seldom complete. And future events– changes within ourselves and in the circumstances our lives–will continue to change our memory of it.

That’s what I am reminded of in this piece. The Red Tree will grow larger and its perspective will change, as will the homestead and everything around it. Our memories sometimes seem like they are set in concrete but they often shift and change in ways that we barely perceive.

After all, we live in an impermanent world. Memory sometimes gives us the feeling of permanence, even though it may only illusory.

Okay, enough. I have lots to do today and its time to get to work.



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Victorian Easter Cards



Thought for this Easter Sunday I would simply share a few Victorian Easter cards to go with an appropriate musical selection for the day. Much like the Victorian era Christmas cards I’ve shown here before, The Easter greeting cards from that time sometimes had a creepy edge to them or at least some sort of inexplicable sensibility that is lost on modern audiences. Take a look below and see if they make sense to you. 

Maybe next year I will share some strange photos of people dressed as Easter Bunnies posing with kids, like I have done in the past with some unsettling photos of Santas. The odd thing is that most of the creepiest Easter Bunny photos don’t seem that far in the past. A little too creepily recent for my tastes.

For this Sunday morning musical selection I am going with a song that is very on the nose for my devout friends out there. For those of you who do not observe the religious aspects of this day, it still is worth a listen. It is Sam Cooke, after all. It’s Were You There (When They Crucified My Lord) backed up The Soul Stirrers, the gospel group with which he started his illustrious career. 

Sending you Easter Greetings, maybe in the form of a chicks or bunnies wearing Pickelhauben, those old German military helmets. Seems like small animals were more militaristic then than now. Go figure.





Victorian Easter Cards 9Victorian Easter Cards 8Victorian Easter Cards 7Victorian Easter Cards 6Victorian Easter Cards 5Victorian Easter Cards 4Victorian Easter Cards 3Victorian Easter Cards 2

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GC Myers- Take Off Your Shoe ( Stay a Little Longer)



Been working lately on a group of interior scenes that are part of my June show at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria, VA. I showed one this past week called After Party and it set the tone for this group with the sloppy disheveled look of a room after the party is over.

There are many things I like about these pieces. One is the fact that they can seem humorous while still seming quietly mysterious and even pensive or somber. I like that dichotomy. Maybe that’s because I have often seen humor in some of the more serious moments of my life.

It’s often a short ride from crying to laughing.

Another of the things I like about painting these pieces is their rough edges and slightly askew perspectives. I paint these pieces with slightly larger brushes than needed which gives them the softly sloppy look that appeals to me.

Like much of my work, these pieces are not planned out. I just start in one spot and see what builds out from that first mark on the surface. I make a mark then reassess and add another then reassess again, weighing the balance of the composition as well as the balance of the colors and contrasts.

It’s like juggling where you are always readjusting with each toss of the ball and with each new additional ball thrown into the mix. Maybe that is what I should call myself–paint juggler.

This piece is a small 9′ by 12″ canvas and is called Kick Off a Shoe ( Stay a Little Longer) which is a tip of the hat, in a way, to the old Bob Wills Western swing classic, Stay All Night ( Stay a Little Longer). Below is a version of that song from Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel, who have for many decades kept the spirit of Bob Wills’ music alive with their own brand of Western swing. Always sure to get your toes tapping.

Give a listen and get up and dance a little. Maybe kick off a shoe and stay a little longer. What’s stopping you?



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This Painting Up For Auction Today to Help Our Furry Friends


I thought that for this morning I would just let you know that the painting above, Ask the Night, is up for auction this evening with all funds going directly to the support of our local Chemung County Humane Society and SPCA. It’s all part of an online event on Facebook today, the SPCA Virtual FB Fundraiser, that takes place from 4-7 PM.

The benefit features a variety of different auction items as well as video performances from some very talented folks. You see, this benefit has successfully taken place over the past several years as a Drag Show in a local nightclub. This year, because of the covid-19 restrictions, it simply wasn’t possible to hold an in-person event. But the pandemic doesn’t mean that the dogs and cats and kittens and puppies of this area still don’t need a little help. So, they decided to move the whole show to a Virtual event.

I understand that the performers have really taken to the challenge of producing their video performances so you can expect some pretty great stuff. Plus, you can tip the performers with all tips going directly to the SPCA.

So, if you have some time this afternoon from 4-7 tune in to the SPCA Virtual FB Fundraiser. Or you can put in a bid on any of the featured items right now or any time right up to 7 PM when the auction ends.

The painting I have donated, Ask the Night, is a 10″ by 20″ painting on canvas valued at $1600. The current bid is $1200. 

Anything you can do to lend a hand to our furry friends is deeply appreciated. Here’s a little reminder of who you’ll be helping from the late great Harry Nilsson. Have a great day and, if you can, visit the benefit later today.

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Wow!!

I was sent an email by a friend after last weekend’s gallery talk in which he gave some advice on improving future virtual talks. Most were very helpful and are under serious consideration if the need arises to do another such event in the future. However, it was a suggestion at the end of his email that came with an attached video that made my day and made me laugh very hard.

You see, in the run-up to the gallery talk, I had jokingly stated that I was practicing an acrobatic entrance complete with backflips and two twists with a stuck landing at the end. He said that he was disappointed that this part of the talk had not came about and suggested that if I had any song & dance skills or any other variety show talents, that I put them on display at the next talk.

He was, of course, kidding.

Gosh, I hope he was kidding.

The idea of me doing anything like that in front of a crowd of people made me laugh. It takes everything I have to simply stand stiffly up in front of people and move my lips so that words form.

But I laughed even harder when I watched the video he had enclosed.

It’s a performance of a song called Wow!! from a 1950’s group called The Goofers. It’s from a 1957 movie titled Bop Girl Goes Calypso, also known simply as Bop Girl, which I understand has become a sort of cult classic. I am not going to describe their act here. You can witness it for yourself.

But, sadly, I doubt that you will see any of their act migrate into my talks. Though it might be worth one try.

I didn’t know anything about The Goofers and there’s not a ton of info out there about them. Before setting out on their own, they were part of the band of tone of the greatest live performers, Louis Prima, in his prime years when he was performing with Keely Smith. If you have ever seen clips of Louis Prima, showman extraordinaire, you will understand where they got their ability to produce that wow!! factor.

Take a look for yourself. And next year, the whole gallery talk will be done on a trapeze.

Or a pogo stick. The Goofers also performed on pogo sticks but I can’t locate video of that.

Anyway, here’s Wow!! Now, have a good day.

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I don’t believe that there’s anything I’d like to do less than watch myself talk. And the last couple of days have sure reinforced that belief.

But that’s what I’ve done for the last couple of days as I have edited the video from Saturday’s Virtual Gallery Talk from the West End Gallery. I am cutting out some rough spots between the segments, such as where I swing my camera around to tour the gallery a bit or the transition from the prize drawing (which has also been cut) to the Q&A segment. Outside of the prize drawing, which we decided to cut because of privacy concerns, no real content has been cut.

There are going to be two videos. This first one presents just my prepared presentation. The second, which will be out  tomorrow or Friday, will have all the segments.

I’ve learned a lot from this experience and expect that these lessons will show up in future videos of even higher quality. Thanks to Jesse, Linda and John at the West End Gallery for all the extra work (and anxiety) that went into making this happen. It was a lot more work than any of us anticipated. And many thanks to everyone who took an hour or two out of a busy summer Saturday to tune and make it all happen. And congratulations to the winners of the paintings. Hope they live up to your expectations!

Hopefully, as it’s being presented, it will give you a fairly representative gallery talk experience. So, for those of you out there who wanted to take part but weren’t able, here’s the first part of my Virtual Gallery Talk from the West End Gallery.

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 I ain’t hurtin’ nobody
I ain’t hurtin’ no one

— John Prine

*****************

Well, our first Virtual Gallery Talk from the West End Gallery has went by the wayside. Whew.

It was such a different experience from in person talks that I am still processing it. I will most likely address it in greater detail in coming days, including answering some of the questions that were asked in greater detail.

I am fairly happy with it thus far. And the feedback has been very good thus far. One unfortunate aspect was that I wasn’t able to see or hear the folks watching and we’re working to address that for future streaming events.

It was much more difficult than I had expected when the idea of doing this first came up. I know when it ended, the strain of it hit me almost immediately. Within minutes of it ending, I felt like I had been beat on with bag of pennies. I expected a sense of relief but wasn’t expecting that.

But it’s done. There’s something to build on now, to make future ones much better.

I want to extend a warm thank you to everyone who tuned in yesterday. There were well over a hundred viewers from 18 states and 4 different countries. I can’t begin to tell you how much I appreciate those of you out there who took the time to listen to me yammer on for a while. I hope it made some sense for you and you feel that it was time well spent.

I also want to thank Jesse, Linda and John at the West End Gallery for giving me the opportunity and for the massive effort they put out in making it happen.

Though I hopefully look forward to standing in front of an audience for a gallery talk, here’s to more and better streams in the future. If you tuned in yesterday and have comments or criticisms that you think will help us make our presentations better, please let me know so we can improve. Thanks!

For this Sunday Morning Music, here’s a song I referenced yesterday from John Prine, I Ain’t Hurtin’ Nobody.

Again thank you so much and have a good day.

 

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“A good speech should be like a woman’s skirt; long enough to cover the subject and short enough to create interest.”

Winston S. Churchill

*************************

Still busy getting ready for  tomorrow’s Virtual Gallery Talk from the West End Gallery. Still a lot of work to do, especially on my acrobatic entrance where I do a series of backward handsprings into the gallery culminating in two twists and a stuck landing.

I have so far broken three windows, four coffee cups, stepped on Hobie (my mighty studio cat) and put my foot through a painting while practicing.

I might have to cut that part of the presentation.

Oh, well. I guess that help in adhering to the words above from Winston Churchill. I do try to follow this bit of advice and keep my  speech short even though there is always that temptation to keep blabbing.

Win This Painting!

Hope you can tune in tomorrow. I am a little nervous, doing this in this online format that is new for both myself and the West End. But I think it’s going to go off pretty well and will be, hopefully, interesting for you.

Plus, we’ll be giving away TWO paintings of mine at the end of the hour and maybe there will be anther surprise or two. So, there’s that.

And I heard there will be pie. But I guess that won’t help you since it’s a virtual talk. When they can teleport pie via the interweb, that will be a great thing.

But I doubt it’s going to happen by tomorrow.

Well, that won’t stop us.

Hope to see you tomorrow.

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See yesterday’s blog for more details and register below:

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR THE GALLERY TALK

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“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.”

― Beverly Sills

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I guess Beverly Sills is right but this is a lot more work than I thought it would be.

I am talking about getting ready for the Virtual Gallery Talk I am giving on Saturday from the West End Gallery. There is, of course, always a certain amount of preparation for any talk. But this year’s talk without an audience has me scrambling. There’s a whole new layer of technology to adopt in a short time while trying to make it look cohesive and somewhat smooth.

I don’t want to look like a complete idiot, after all.

But beyond the technological hurdles, my presentation as to be changed to account for not being able to interact with a live audience. Normally, I try to have a few things ready to discuss and begin with a pretty short intro before moving quickly to questions from the audience. I try to get into questions and answers as soon as possible because I think that my reactions to questions are one of my strengths.

I could be wrong there. I am hesitant to say any quality of mine is a strength for fear of being that guy who over esteems his prowess at far too many things.

You know the type.

But if I had to say I had a strength it would be in my willingness to react to and honestly answer questions in these situations. At least, I am better at it than I am as delivering prepared remarks. But because of the remoteness of the talk, I really have to prepare to deliver a short address, of sorts, fully worded and thought out beforehand. Without the benefit of being able to react.

For a lazy slob like me, that is a tough task. Makes me truly admire those folks I know who deliver speeches and prepared remarks.

But I am working at it and hopefully you won’t even see the rivers of flop sweat running down my face during the talk. I am thinking of doing the old  trick of smearing vaseline on camera my lens so that it gives me a soft gauzy look. I think they used to do that for Doris Day at some point. If it works for Doris, then dammit, I am willing to give it a shot.

All kidding aside, it is hard work and we are really trying to send out a Gallery Talk that is rewarding for everyone who takes the time out of their busy lives to spend a little time with us on Saturday.

I am giving away two original paintings so I hope you can be there!

Here are the details:

  • Virtual Gallery Talk with GC Myers
  • Streaming from West End Gallery via Zoom
  • Saturday, August 22 Beginning at 1 PM EST
  • You do not need a Zoom account but you do need to register to participate
  • There will be a drawing at the end of the Talk (approx 2 PM EST) to award two GC Myers paintings
  • Participation n the Talk is limited to 500 viewers but the prize drawing is limited to the first 100 registrants for the Gallery Talk
  • Eligible registrants must be present online in order to claim their prize and the Gallery Talk will be locked to new participants at 1:30 PM
  • The winning paintings will be shipped free within the US and Canada to winners residing out of the area. However, if an international entry wins, the winner would be responsible for shipping costs.
  • The regular Gallery Talk ends after the drawing for the two paintings which will be approximately 2 PM EST
  • At that point, about 2 PM, the meeting will be unlocked and there will be a Gallery After Talk, an  additional period of Q & A after the regular Gallery Talk for anyone who cares to talk a but longer. This period can run to 3 PM, if need be.
  • There will be a Waiting Room on Zoom 10-20 minutes prior to the beginning of the Talk. You can check in and chat with other participants at that time. While muted, you can still submit questions or comments via the Chat.

 

REGISTER FOR TALK BY CLICKING HERE!

 

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