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“She was fierce in the presence of death, heroic even, as she was at no other time. Its threat gave her direction, clarity, audacity.”

Toni MorrisonSong of Solomon

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I’ve been working with a new element in my work lately, a lone female figure like the one in the new painting above, and it has been making me think.

Probably explains the headaches– that dull pain that comes after using long neglected muscles.

I joke, of course. Never had those muscles in the first place to neglect.

Again, a joke. My apologies.

This lone figure strikes me in a much different way than the lone male figure I sometimes employ in my work. While he sometimes feels remorseful or lonely, this female figure doesn’t give me those feelings at all. There is a sense of boldness, determination, and empowerment that comes with her that really pleases me.

She feels absolutely strong.

Fierce.

Audacious.

It was something I hoped for In the work. Being in the world of art for last couple of decades has exposed me to many strong and bold women, both behind the scenes and as artists. It excites me to see so many young female artists recognize the importance of their own voices and the need to step forward to let the world hear them.

I think that is what comes through in the painting above. The title certainly hints at that– Light Favors Audacity. Boldness is something I fully believe in. This world doesn’t favor the meek and timid and nothing is given unless it is either asked for or simply taken.

This stands in stark opposition to the phrase that so many folks hang on to tightly, better safe than sorry. Those folks that invoke the phrase often end up being both sorry and sad in their safety. You know those people, the ones who constantly start their stories with if only or I could have or I should have.

Stop waiting for others to find you. Set out on your own journey and stay true to your values and your voice. It is as important and valid as that of anyone else.

Be audacious and let the world know you are there. The light will usually find those who are bold enough to seek it.

Here’s this Sunday morning music. It’s a neat rendition of the Billy Idol song, Dancing With Myself, done in the form of a jazz quartet from the Postmodern Jukebox, which is a group of rotating musicians who rework modern songs into different vintage genres. This song translates really well and I find it highly enjoyable.

See for yourself. Have a good Sunday.

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I am tired of tears and laughter,
And men that laugh and weep ;
Of what may come hereafter
For men that sow to reap :
I am weary of days and hours,
Blown buds of barren flowers,
Desires and dreams and powers
And everything but sleep.

Algernon Charles Swinburne, The Garden of Proserpine

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This is the last painting I finished from the group of work that is coming with me on my trip to Alexandria tomorrow, when I will be at the Principle Gallery for my annual Gallery Talk. which begins at 1 PM. I call this painting, which is an 8″ by 24″ canvas, At the End of Time.

This was a trying painting for me. It just never felt right through the whole process and at several points I was ready to trash it. But there was something in it that kept me at it, something that wouldn’t let me just black it out and build anew. It wasn’t until it was 99% complete that it suddenly transformed into a living, breathing piece with its own vitality.

I went from hating this piece to a point where I haven’t been able to look away from it for the last few days.

It seems to have a message and a sense of weary finality. The words of Swinburnes The Garden of Prosperine, an excerpt of which is shown above, mesh beautifully with this image. At least, as I see it.

I am not going to fully describe how I see this now. I don’t want to taint your own impression of this painting, if I haven’t already done so by now.

Maybe if you come to the Gallery Talk tomorrow and ask me, I will tell you the personal meaning behind some of the elements in this piece. We’ll see.

But please feel free to come to the Gallery Talk tomorrow, Saturday, September 21, at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria, VA. It starts at 1 PM and after about an hour which includes some talking, assorted questions and answers, a few laughs, a couple of feats of strength, a brief operatic solo and a little soft shoe, I will be giving away some stuff, including the painting Light Emanation. Plus there are some what you might call neat parting gifts and there may or may not be an additional painting awarded.

You will have to come to find out. I am not saying for sure.

Wink wink, nudge nudge.

Seriously, hope you can make it. I advise you to get there early to beat the crowd, claim a seat and enter the drawing. We can fill the time with a little pre-Talk chat, if you like.

 

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One third, more or less, of all the sorrow that the person I think I am must endure is unavoidable. It is the sorrow inherent in the human condition, the price we must pay for being sentient and self-conscious organisms, aspirants to liberation, but subject to the laws of nature and under orders to keep on marching, through irreversible time, through a world wholly indifferent to our well-being, toward decrepitude and the certainty of death. The remaining two thirds of all sorrow is homemade and, so far as the universe is concerned, unnecessary.

Aldous Huxley

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The painting at the top is yet another new piece, a 10″ x 30″ canvas that is titled Let It Go. It is part of he group of new work that I am bringing with me on Saturday when I head to the Principle Gallery for my annual Gallery Talk there, which begins at 1 PM.  More details on that later in this post.

The words above from Aldous Huxley are from his book, fittingly titled Island. Little known, it was his final book, written in 1962, and presented a utopian alternative to his Brave New World.

I really don’t know the book myself so I can’t honestly depict what it has to say but the small bit above aligns with my own observations on our lives here. We are all subject to the sorrow of simply being alive. We experience pain and loss of abilities as we age and suffer the loss of others along the way before our own life comes to an end. That is simply part of the deal and is to be expected, unpleasant as that may seem.

But much of what makes life sometimes miserable is, for the most part, avoidable. It is our reaction to the vagaries, missteps, mistreatment and insults that life has in store for us that is the culprit here. We have a choice in how we react to these things. We can choose to hold on to these things, to allow them to make us angry or anxious or fearful, or we can see that they are, in the greater scheme of things, inconsequential.

We don’t have to hold on to these things. They can be let go.

That’s what I see in this painting. I know it sounds funny coming from a guy who regularly displays his own anger, anxiety and fears here on this page. I guess even though you sometimes know what the problem is, it takes practice to overcome it.

And I am trying to release those things that I can’t control. Or let go of those things that only do me harm in my holding on to them. Anger and hatred, regret and fear. Just let it go.

I’m trying.

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Speaking of fear and anxiety, my annual Gallery Talk is this Saturday, September 21, beginning at 1 PM at the Principle Gallery in beautiful Old Town Alexandria. This is my 17th annual Gallery Talk there and I think this could be a good one. There’s a lot to talk about and I have some interesting giveaways including at least one original painting! Plus I may even demonstrate my ability to read minds! Or maybe guess your weight. Who knows?

One thing is guaranteed, as I have pointed out in the past:  It will not be the worst hour of your life.

Good conversation, some prizes and a no pain guarantee. How can you resist an offer like that?

Get there early to grab a seat and maybe we can chat a bit beforehand.

See ya’ there Saturday!

 

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True morality consists not in following the beaten track, but in finding the true path for ourselves, and fearlessly following it.

Mahatma Gandhi

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This is another small painting on paper that will be accompanying me to the Principle Gallery in Alexandria this coming Saturday, September 21. I will be giving my annual Gallery Talk there beginning at 1 PM and I always bring a small group of new work with me– along with the painting(s?) that I will be giving away at the end of the Talk.

Some of the new pieces that will be coming feature small distant solo figures in generally large open landscapes. It’s a theme that has been a favorite of mine for some time now but one that I don’t visit all that often. Maybe I have to be in a certain mindset for them to come. Don’t really know.

I call this painting Off the Beaten Track. I like this piece for many reasons, including the obvious messaging of it. It just feels right which is something I can’t explain at all.

I can explain the message of this piece, at least as I see it and as it relates to my own experience. The Gandhi quote at the top partially explains it, that true morality can’t be dictated by the crowd that travels the beaten path. Without getting into the details, I think the current populist movements taking place around the world, including here in the US, are sufficient evidence of that.

What they claim for morality is certainly not the same as mine.

But beyond morality, life comes down to knowing when to veer from the beaten track, when to forge your own path and find your own way. That is absolutely true in making a life for yourself in the arts. There are few guides to show you the way  so many stick with the path, which is, as a result, crowded to the point that everything seems squeezed into a bland sameness. And it’s often headed in directions that don’t seem appealing or to make sense for what you’re hoping for your work.

Sometimes you have to break away from that crowded path and climb to higher ground, to look for something that draws you forward, that keeps you moving.

A muse. An inspiration. An opportunity.

To higher ground, where your voice can be heard above the drone coming from the path, where you can be clearly seen.

Fresh air and good views, both of where you’ve been and where you want to go.

This is what I am seeing in this little piece. It might be smallish in size but it speaks volumes for me.

Hope to see you at the Gallery Talk on Saturday. I have some neat things to share…

 

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To all my friends without distinction I am ready to display my opulence: come one, come all; and whosoever likes to take a share is welcome to the wealth that lies within my soul.

–Antisthenes
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This new painting is headed to the Principle Gallery in Alexandria with me this coming Saturday, September 21, for my annual Gallery Talk there, which begins at 1 PM.  This is my 17th Gallery Talk at the Principle and it has turned into a neat little event, one that has me engaging in a usually lively talk, giving away some gifts ( including at least one painting–see yesterday’s blog!) and unveiling a smaller group of new paintings.

This is one of those new paintings, a 20″ by 40″ canvas called True Opulence.

I hesitated in using the word opulence for this piece because I don’t see it as celebrating those things we most often associate with wealth and luxury. Not money or gold or diamonds or fancy car and clothes. No, it is more in the vein of the words at the top from the Greek philosopher Antisthenes.

It is a celebration of our ability to feel opulence in the world around us and within ourselves.

In the lushness of a field. In the richness in the colors of the flowers. In the clarity of a clean bright sky. In the graceful roll of a distant hill. In the beauty of a tree reaching outward. In our ability to experience these things and feel ourselves connected to the whole of it all.

That is the real opulence in this world.

True Opulence.

Funny how adding the word true changes the meaning of opulence. But it does. It makes the other opulence seem almost false, as though it is a mere replication of that which is available to all.

I hope you can come out this Saturday to the Principle Gallery to see True Opulence and the other new pieces. You might even win a painting or take home some swag. Your odds are pretty good! It starts at 1 PM so get there a bit early to grab a seat.

 

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GC Myers-Guided By BeautyOne of those days that start out on the wrong foot, sleeping late on what promises to be a hectic, busy day when I want to get up early. Maybe I needed the extra hour or so of sleep. I don’t know except that it didn’t refresh me in any way and I find myself instantly filled with the anxiety that has been plaguing me in recent days. It’s that teeth grinding, headache inducing kind of tension that ends up in a knotty sharp edged ball in the gut.

It brings me quicker to frustration and anger at the slightest perceived provocation. I know it’s this way and I fight it but it’s a powerful beast, this ugly anxiousness. Please excuse me if you see me on the road today and for some unknown reason I appear to be swearing loudly and making obscene gestures.

This sounds more like a diary entry than a blog post. Sorry. I don’t want to bore you with my own particular brand of craziness. I have mine and many of you, no doubt, have your own. And these are certainly times that test our ability to remain on an even keel, even for the most sturdy willed of us.

My work helps me. It draws me into it and stills my mind. Or maybe it activates parts of it that have been bitch-slapped into submission by my anxiety? I don’t know for sure. I find that the times when I am most anxious occur when I have a  inner desperate need to express myself and too many things pulling at me, keeping me from doing so.

That sure is how it feels in this instance.

But time has taught me this will pass if I hold on, if I visualize a calmer time ahead that I can set as a point on my horizon to navigate towards.

Maybe that’s the purpose of this new painting, Guided By Beauty. Maybe it’s that point, that destination on the horizon.

It does calm me greatly.

And I needed that now.

This piece is heading to the Principle Gallery for my annual Gallery Talk this coming Saturday, September 21, beginning at 1 PM. I will be announcing the painting that will be given away at the Talk tomorrow so come back please. It’s gonna be a peach! Plus, as always, there will be plenty of other surprises. So, if you are so inclined, make a point of getting to the Principle Gallery next Saturday.

My choice for this Sunday morning music is a song from one of my favorites, Neko Case. It’s Deep Red Bells.

Have a good Sunday and if you see me on the highway, please forgive me.

 

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Truth is the daughter of time.

Aulus Gellius, Attic Nights

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This is a new painting, a 24″ by 24″ canvas, that will be going with me when I give my annual Gallery Talk at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria next Saturday, September 21. There will be more details on the Gallery Talk, including the revealing of the painting that will be given away at the talk, in the coming days. However, this painting will not be the prize for the Talk.

I call this piece, Daughter of Time. It is taken from the old proverb Truth is the daughter of time. It first appeared in a commonplace book, a collection of general knowledge and literature, put together in the late 2nd century AD by Aulus Gellius. It basically means that Truth will at some point give birth to truth, that time reveals all eventually.

Sir Francis Bacon, sometime around the late 16th/ early 17th century, added an anti-1984 twist to the phrase: Time is the daughter of time, not of authority. Bacon’s slightly amended version certainly has relevance in these times and should be a warning to those who think they can bury Truth or make her bend to their will.

Eventually, Time will always find and release its daughter, Truth.

Always.

This is a painting that has captured my attention here in the studio over the past couple of weeks. The rhythmic nature of the sky and the eye-like feel of the moon make it seem like a living being to me. Or at least, bands of surging energies. The female figure in the boat has a posture of strength and undeniability which is in line with what imagines– or hopes– for Truth.

It feels like a strong piece to me with a quality that appeals to me, that being that it works both on abstract and realistic levels.

Hope you come out to see it. As I said, more details on the Gallery Talk next Saturday will be coming n the next day or two. It should be a good one.

Finally, thanks to the folks who came out to the Art Talk at the Octagon Gallery this past Thursday. It was small group which made for a more intimate conversation, one that lasted quite a bit longer than my normal Gallery Talks. Thanks to all for the great questions and for taking the time. It was most appreciated.

Have a good Saturday.

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