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Archive for the ‘Influences’ Category

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Ideas excite me, and as soon as I get excited, the adrenaline gets going and the next thing I know I’m borrowing energy from the ideas themselves.

Ray Bradbury

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Yesterday I wrote briefly about the Aboriginal art of Australia, work that really stirs me up in a lot of ways. As I was looking at the Aboriginal paintings while writing the blog, different ideas for my own work were running through my mind. There was a rhythm and a pattern that kept biting at me and by the time I got to my own painting I had a sense of what I was hoping to see, as far as forms. The color would evolve as the painting moved along through the process.

Using a 12″ by 36″ piece of masonite prepped with gesso and a layer of black paint, I began and moved quickly.  Like late author Ray Bradbury said in the quote above, the idea was creating its own energy and I was feeding off it. At these times, the painting is absolutely effortless.  As the painting is finally all blocked in,  begin to see the final finished version come to form in my mind.

Layer after layer of color are applied quickly, each layer slightly altering the overall feeling of the piece and moving it by steps closer to what I am now seeing concretely in my mind. After a final pass through, I stop and feel satisfied.  That’s what you are seeing at the top of the page.  I am satisfied in the moment but am still spending time taking it.

Sometimes when I paint like this, the energy from the actual act of painting hangs with me for a while.  I have learned that I need to give these pieces a little more time so that I can see them without the influence of the energy created in the process.  Sometimes after a bit I might see that some colors need to be deepened or brightened in order to move the energy in the painting.

Looking at the piece now I can see the synthesis from the work I was looking at yesterday morning into the finished piece above. I took in the shapes, colors, rhythms, and patterns of that work and tried to translate it into my own visual voice without imitating or copying it in any way.  It is more about appropriating the energy and rhythm of that work.

Now without the context of yesterday’s blog, you might look at this piece and simply see my work.  But artists are, at their core, synthesizers that constantly take in information and imagery and sounds and movements then shape them into a unique form that fits the vision they have for the world. This is one very basic and direct example of that synthesization of influence.

So, gotta run– there’s some synthesizing to be done!

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GC Myers- The IntentionEvery intention sets energy into motion, whether you are conscious of it or not.

Gary Zukav

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I am calling this new painting, a small 5″ by 7″ panel, The Intention.  It is based somewhat on the quote above from Gary Zukav although the thought behind it, that we must first identify that thing that we seek in order to find it, is one that I have believed for quite some time.

I have long thought that once we identify our true need or desire that the energy of the universe reacts to that intention and sets a course for us to that destination which satisfies our want.  We begin to move in ways, sometimes subconscious and almost imperceptible, that lead us forward to that goal.  Small decisions end up having large consequences and we creep ever closer even though we may not be fully aware of our progress.

However, that end is not always reached nor is it always attainable.  Sometimes along the way we may reset our sights, realizing that we weren’t as earnest in our desire as we first believed.  The required effort may be more than we are willing to give or the results we are getting don’t produce the satisfaction we thought they might.

Or we might simply not be equipped to complete the journey.  We may just not have the ability, talent or temperament to reach our dreamed of goals.  But in that case we normally, while discovering what we cannot do, have uncovered some things that we can.

In finding what we are not, we sometimes uncover what we truly are.  And the universe takes note anew and leads us to that.

And that all starts with that initial intention which in turn becomes purpose.

I like to think that this piece reflects this idea, that the Red Tree here is sending out its plea to the universe and it is responding by setting energies in motion.

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9913217-fragments-sm“All there is, is fragments, because a man, even the loneliest of the species, is divided among several persons, animals, worlds. To know a man more than slightly it would be necessary to gather him together from all those quarters, each last scrap of him, and this done after he is safely dead.”
Coleman Dowell, Island People

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It’s been hard finding footing lately in the studio.  It’s been hard to just get started on most days.  There are plenty of factors that play in to this, some external and some internal, some that I can control and some I cannot.  But the end result is the same: I am left feeling fragmented, broken into shards that don’t want to reassemble easily in the form of my work.

I am not worried however.  This is not the first time I’ve felt so fragmented nor will it be the last.  I know that I come apart at times and have to bide my time, just continuing to try to put myself back together so that I may uncover what I know is waiting there for me.

It’s there. It may seem an awfully long way away but I can see it and I know that while it may take time and much effort, I shall be together with it again.

The painting above is a piece that has been with me for a while now.  One of the orphans that come home to reside for a bit.  I wrote about it last year when I thought I might change its name to Dimming of the Day but it still remains under its original title, Fragments, in my mind.  And I suspect it will stay that way.

This painting is based very much on this feeling that I am experiencing at this moment and when this feeling emerges, I often think of this painting.  There is darkness and distance here.  The space between the Red Chair and the house has a certain weight that makes me feel as though there is something more than physical distance at play here. The sky, a confetti-like blend of thousands of little fragments of brushstrokes that gave the painting its title originally,  represents, for me at least in this piece, the world falling out of harmony.

Dark, distant and coming apart.

Yet despite that I find this painting very comforting.  I think that goes back to what I said above, that I know this place well from past experience .  I know how to navigate it and know that the distance is not so great nor the darkness too deep.  And I know that the parts are still in place to come together again in the future if I simply exercise patience and don’t give in.

It’s funny how that works.  I walk by this painting several times a day in the studio and it’s often without a thought as my mind is preoccupied with something else.  But every so often I stop before it and suddenly all of these feelings flood back on me when I look closer.  I’m glad it works that way, actually.

Here’s a nice version of the Richard Thompson song whose title, Dimming of the Day,  I was thinking about renaming this painting.  It’s a strong yet tender version from Tom Jones.  Have a good day…

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The Hours

paul-serusier-les-heures-1919-the-hoursI’ve been a little back on my heels lately.  I am sure I am not alone in this aspect.  I’ve been trying to find something that catches me and fires me up in a positive manner.  Something that pulls me forward in some way.

Any way.

Maybe it will come from the painting above.  It is titled Les Heures (The Hours) from the French painter Paul Sérusier who lived from 1864 until 1927.   It may not be a name that you know well but he was highly influential in that time and was a pioneer in the development of abstract art.  I urge you to look further into his work.  Good stuff.

But this piece intrigues me very much and makes me want to pull something from it for myself.  I don’t know what it is yet but I want to keep looking.  Then hopefully something will come.

As I said, hopefully…

 

 

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teenage-werewolfFirst, let me extend thanks to everyone who came out to the show at the Kada Gallery on Saturday night.  It was great seeing some old friends and meeting some new ones.  And thanks to Kathy and Joe at the Kada for their longtime friendship and encouragement–you provided me with a wonderful night.  If you didn’t make it out there, you can still see the show as it hangs until December 3.

Now, today is yet another Halloween.  It doesn’t have the same impact on me now as it did when I was much younger but I still get a kick out of this  night and all the goofiness around it.  And I have to say that the imagery that swirls around this night was very influential to me when I was a kid.  You often see macabre imagery show itself in the work of student artists.

So in honor of this most hallowed evening, I thought I’d throw out some scary music but there isn’t a great selection of monster themed music.  Oh, there’s the Monster Mash but that gets played to death this time of the year, much like Grandma Got Ran Over By a Reindeer at Christmas.  And the Addams Family or Munsters themes are memorable but not what I’m looking for.

cramps-bad-music-for-bad-peopleBut there are the Cramps.

The Cramps emerged out of the NY punk scene of the 70’s with a distinct sound  that influenced by rockabilly and the B-Horror movies of the 50’s.  Two guitars and a small drum kit- no bassist- and a leader called Lux Interior and a girl guitarist/femme fatale named Poison Ivy, the Cramps’ music was often called psychobilly.  Many of their songs paid direct homage to old horror flicks, like Human Fly and the one I’m highlighting here, I Was a Teenage Werewolf, which starred  a very young Michael Landon in a pretty kitschy story.  It might not be high art but the Cramps created some high energy creep-tastic stuff, very appropriate for a most inappropriate night.

Below I Was a Teenage Werewolf I’ve included their even more creepy TV Set.  Give a listen and have yourself a very spooky night.

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GC Myers-- Into the Clear AirI said to my soul, be still and wait without hope, for hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love, for love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith, but the faith and the love are all in the waiting. Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought: So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.

T.S. Eliot

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I’ve read these lines from T.S. Eliot before but it was only this morning that I equated them to the creative process.  Well, so far as I see it in my own experience.  You see, you can struggle to describe in words how things come about, how things finally appear.

You might describe an inner process of visualizations and intricate thought synthesis, of pulling deep emotions to the surface and so on.  Maybe that is so but I think it is not really part of the process but is rather an interpretation of what you believe happened.

I think the real creative aspect occurs in a way much like the words above describe– in the stillness and darkness of a meditative void.  The mind emptied and all thoughts of the past and the future are set aside.  No hopes or desires.  Just a quiet dark blankness that waits in endless patience for the first crackling of light to pierce through.

But there are times when the light doesn’t come and you lose patience in the waiting.  So you start without the light and occasionally, nearing the end of the process, you find that your mind has emptied and the light has caught up with you.  What you are looking at it something quite unlike what you thought it might be when you struggled to begin.

I know this all sounds pretty esoteric, pretty out there and maybe it won’t make a lick of sense to most who somehow slog through to this point. But really it comes down to the idea that you clear the mind and let it just happen.

If it happens at all.  Sometimes the light doesn’t find you.  But on those times when it does, it is like the freshest clear air has wafted over you and left you with a feeling of ethereal lightness. The clearest air.  And I guess that is why I keep doing this and probably will until the day I die.

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The painting above is a 16″ by 20″ canvas titled Into the Clear Air and is included in Part of the Plan, my show that opens tomorrow, Saturday, October 29, at the Kada Gallery in Erie.  The reception begins at 6 PM.  Hope you can make it!

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GC Myers- The Introspective MindIntrospection, or ‘sitting in the silence,’ is an unscientific way of trying to force apart the mind and senses, tied together by the life force. The contemplative mind, attempting its return to divinity, is constantly dragged back toward the senses by the life currents.

Paramahansa Yogananda

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I often consider my landscapes as being deeply introspective even though by their very nature they are outward looking.  They are most often scenes where the central figure– the Red Tree in most cases– finds itself in a moment and place where the inner and outer, the mind and the senses, converge.

It is a moment of calmness, one that allows the mind to expand and soar outside itself, to see the world and itself from new perspectives.  It allows it to see all that it is and is not.  To see all possibility, paths that are open but not yet visible.  Perhaps even a return to divinity as the words of the great Hindi yogi Paramahansa Yogananda states in the quote above.

I like the idea of this juxtaposition of contrasts, the inner and the outer set side by side, each strengthening the other so long as they stay in balance.  I can’t say that I go into a painting with that as a goal in the front of my mind.  I think it’s just one of those things that when you recognize it in the final product realize that it was what you were looking for even though you didn’t know it at the outset.

And perhaps letting it slip from your consciousness was the key all along.  Trying too hard to find something so elusive usually ends in failure.  But just letting things go without placing too much emphasis on any aspect sometimes brings what is important to the forefront.

I know that in this new painting, a 15″ by 30″ canvas titled Introspection, that how I see it now had little to do with where I initially thought it would go or say.  At its start I never gave a single thought as to leading it to the message that it now holds for me.  I just let the paint work, let my mind move freely in the forms and color to release what it ultimately held.

So maybe that is the key– to free the mind from the senses as Yogananda says.  Easier said than done…

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The painting above, Introspection, is included in Part of the Plan, my solo show opening October 29 at the Kada Gallery in Erie, PA.

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