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In the Revealing

The painting shown here is from about eight years back, a 30″ by 40″ canvas that is titled In the Revealing. It’s a favorite of mine and hangs in the studio where I can see it from my desk. It has never hung in a gallery and most likely never will.

It’s in its home.

For me, it very much relates to the thought in the words of Rumi shown above. When all is said and done, our true nature is a constant.  It endures the worst of this world and keeps us grounded when things look bad because it tells us that those things which were once important, remain so even when the chaos of this world seems have wholly obscured them.

In times like this, this painting reminds me that true nature endures. And that is an important thing to remember.

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Seeking Home

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“If men had wings and bore black feathers, few of them would be clever enough to be crows.” 

~ Rev. Henry Ward Beecher

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The new painting shown here on the right is titled Memory of the Crow and is included in the Little Gems show at the West End Gallery which has its opening this evening.

I’ve always felt there was something special about crows, especially in regard to their intelligence. I couldn’t agree any more than I do with the words above from Henry Ward Beecher.  Especially about the cleverness of men.

But the intelligence of crows is obvious to anyone who watches them for any amount of time. This was evident to the Native Americans who held these birds and their wisdom in high esteem as part of their belief system and their mythology.

Maybe because they are always near, always in close proximity to man as they live off the refuse he creates, the crops he plants and the vermin he attracts. This omnipresence gives the crow a sense of being a constant, unblinking witness to all that happens. And maybe this constant watching breeds that sense of wisdom that some of us see in them.

It makes me wonder what the crow sometimes thinks or remembers.  How do they perceive us and what is their awareness of us? Are our good and bad times their good and bad times as well? When we  abandon a place do they feel sense of loss? Do they attach themselves in any way to us?

Or do they see it as a passing of time with us as ephemeral visitors passing through their eternal world?

Those are the kind of  questions that rise for me in this piece. Makes me wish I could talk with the crow…

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Here’s a link to a post and update from a number of years back about a crow that lived around my studio.  It also includes a version of Joni Mitchell’s Black Crow from Diana Krall– good listening on a Friday morning.

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Hank’s Lost Highway

The year is coming to an end and for me it’s a time of reflection. I reposted a piece yesterday on that subject and this post from back in 2009 speaks to that same theme. Plus, anytime I can look at a Hopper painting and listen to one of my favorite Hank Williams songs, it’s a good post to revisit.

Whenever I see an Edward Hopper painting I feel a bond with him, as though he were a kindred spirit in a world full of alienation.  There is always a great sense of distance in his paintings.

Aloofness. Looking out but looking in.  A disengagement of sorts from the wider world. Even in his cityscapes, one feels as though they are miles away from anyone else.

I suppose this disengagement may be the reason I and many others choose to communicate in paint. With few exceptions, I have seldom felt inclusion in many groups of people, always feeling a bit like an outsider. And while I have actually become comfortable in this position, always bearing a sort of suspicion toward groups or cliques, the need to be heard drives my painting.

Even in a world of alienation, one wants to have their say.

In my paintings, I sometimes see this aloofness in my red tree and the way it is often portrayed as a single figure in a large space. Sometimes the pieces reflect a celebration of the self and self-reliance but sometimes there is this sense of a Hopper-like alienation. The solitary character just wanting to be heard.

I don’t see this as being a sad portrayal. There’s much more I could say on this but I think that’s enough for the moment.  Here’s a song from the great Hank Williams that kind of speaks to this subject.  It’s Lost Highway, a song that is, for me, one of the most transcendent songs Hank ever recorded, a song with a spirit that feels new and alive even today, even with its early ’50’s production values.

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Is It There, Again?

I am at the point of the year where I am constantly questioning what I doing, looking back at the past year’s work and determining in which direction I want to move ahead into the new year. It’s a sometimes frustrating exercise, especially when I find myself still lacking in areas where I had hoped to grow or where there are paths of aspiration still unexplored. But frustrating as it might be, it’s part of how I work. 

I came across this entry from several years back and it reminded me of a question that I sometimes forget to ask these days, one that must be addressed even though its answer is basically an abstract notion. But it is a question that must be asked or the work begins to lose purpose and meaning.

GC Myers- First View 1994It’s that time of the year when I get to take a deep breath and begin to look forward into the next year, trying to determine where my path will lead next. It’s never an easy time doing this, trying to see change of some sort in the work especially after so many years of being what I am and painting as I do. It always comes back to the same question: What do I want to see in my paintings?

That seems like a simple question. I think that any degree of success I may have achieved is due to my ability to do just that,  to paint work that I want to see myself, work that excites me first. So I have been doing just that for most of my career, painting pictures that I want to see. But there is another layer to the question.

What am I am not seeing in my work that I would like to see? What is it that I need to see?

That’s a harder question. How can you quantify that thing that you don’t know, might not even have imagined yet?

It might be a case of  knowing it when you see it.  I know that my first real breakthrough was like that. I was simply fumbling along, looking for something that nagged at the edge of my mind. I wasn’t sure what it would look like, had not a concrete idea of what it might be. It was just there in a gaseous form that I couldn’t quite grasp.  But when the piece emerged in a tangible form– which is the painting at the top here, First View, from 1994– I instantly knew what it was that I had stumbled on  and that it was something that  very important to me.

It might not look like much to the casual viewer now but in an instant I could see in this little painting everything I was sensing in that gaseous, intangible form that hovered at the edges of my mind. I could see a realization of all of the potential in it. Even now, after years of evolving from it, I can see how it connects to everything in my work, even those things I had could not yet see when I painted it.

And that’s where I find myself at the moment. There’s something out there (or in there, I probably should say) that I want to see, might even need to see. But I don’t know what it is yet. But I will know it when I see it.

And, trust me, I do plan on seeing it.

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Driving Home For Christmas

Wishing everyone out there a peaceful and comfortable day.

Here’s a holiday song that doesn’t get a lot of play here in the States. From 1986, it’s  Driving Home For Christmas from Brit Chris Rea. I have been a fan of his work from the days of his work in the 80’s and this song really works on many levels. So many newer  holiday songs try so hard and apply so much schmaltz that the things just seem to flounder around without ever taking flight. This song has strong wings.

Give a listen and have a great day.

 

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Skating

Been way under the weather the last couple of days but wanted to at least share something this morning. And what can be better this time of year than some Vince Guaraldi music from A Charlie Brown Christmas? This is Skating. Have to admit, it made me feel a little better.

So, if you’re not feeling up to par or are just down a bit, maybe it will work for you as well. Give a listen– what do you got to lose?

 

 

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