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Posts Tagged ‘GC Myers’

Painting has come to play a big part in my life. I’ve had a couple of different conversations with some folks over the past few weeks where I have tried to explain what painting has meant to me, tried to explain the void that it filled for me and the sense of purpose it brought to my life.  I talked about never feeling any sense of destiny or anything like that in becoming a painter. It just seemed to work for me in the ways I needed it to work. These conversations brought to mind the blog entry below that I wrote back in early 2009 called The Need to Paint that I thought I’d share today:

I wrote a few days ago about how I am often mystified by the meanings of my paintings and how I this makes me glad that I still have the need to paint.

The need to paint?

I thought about that after I hit the button to publish that post. I have often heard artists say they had to paint, as though it were some sort of exotic medical quandary.

Paint or die.

It always kind of bothered me when I heard this, as though these people were saying they had some sort of predestined calling. Like they were prophets or shamans that without their visionary paintings the world would spin out of control. I don’t think I ever felt afflicted with this and it always sounded just a little pompous to me. 

So when I wrote that I had the need to paint it made me twitch a bit. Maybe I’m the pompous ass here. That certainly is in the realm of possibility.

But I find myself kind of standing behind what I said– I do need to paint.

It’s not some call to destiny. It’s not to transmit some psychic message to the world. It’s more a case of me needing have a voice or form of expression that best suits my mind and abilities. Painting just happens to fill that need. If I could yodel–and thankfully for us all I cannot– I might be saying that I have the need to yodel.

But I need to paint.

I need to paint to try to express things I certainly can’t put in words, things that awe and mystify me. I need to paint to have a means to a voice to make the universe aware that I exist.

I need to paint just to remind myself that I am alive and still have the ability to feel the excitement and joy from something that I have created. I need to paint to feel the surprise of exceeding what I felt was within me, to go into that realm of personal mystery within and emerge with something new. I need to paint because it has given me the closest thing I know to answers to the questions I have.

I need to paint because it is one of the few things that I’ve done fairly well in my life.

Would I die?

Nah…

I’d adapt and find something new but it would be hard to find something that would suit me as well. So I guess I do need to paint after all. Call me a pompous ass. I don’t give a damn- I’ve got work to do.

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I was going through my little treasure chest the other day. It’s an old square cardboard box filled with old experiments, failures, breakthroughs and other assorted oddities from my earliest days painting. I enjoy doing this because many of the pieces stimulate some of the same sensory triggers that drove me back when they were painted, back in 1994 and early 1995. Feeling that same sensation now creates an urgency in me, one that makes me want to get back to work so that maybe I can create that same feeling in this moment.

Motivation comes in many forms. It even rises from work that I felt was not good enough to show years ago. Over the years many of these pieces have grown in my estimation and I see now how they fit into my larger body of work and how they made the transformation from borderline fire-starters to things that I value highly today.

While I do see motivation in this sometime visitation to the past, part of me wonders if there is any value in going back and experiencing these pieces once again. After all, I have moved on since that time and can’t return to the point that produced that work. The nostalgia of it makes me forget the frustration that was present at the time that came from knowing that these pieces weren’t hitting the spot I envisioned, that there was much progress to be made in my work before it would satisfy me on a consistent basis.

So maybe going back serves little purpose. Maybe it prevents one from moving on to new paths, new ideas, new work. As aviator/author Beryl Markham wrote in her memoir, West With the Night:

“I have learned that if you must leave a place that you have lived in and loved and where all your yesteryears are buried deep, leave it any way except a slow way, leave it the fastest way you can. Never turn back and never believe that an hour you remember is a better hour because it is dead. Passed years seem safe ones, vanquished ones, while the future lives in a cloud, formidable from a distance.” 

She may be right. But this morning I am looking back to a place I don’t want to return to in the present moment. I know I have to move forward, have to progress. These works now belong to a past that cannot hold me back from that formidable future ahead.

And they won’t. If anything, they make me want to be better…

 

 

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The Studio Barn at Sunny Point

As had been mentioned here in the recent past, I will be leading a workshop next week at Sunny Point on the shores of beautiful Keuka Lake here in the Finger Lakes of New York. Sponsored by the Arts Center of Yates County, this is a two day workshop that runs from about 9 AM until 4 PM on September 28 and 29, Thursday and Friday of next week.

This is my third workshop here and in the first two years we focused on my watercolor based method which is what I call a reductive process. You put paint on then take much of it off, creating the edges and transparency that define this style. It was a lot of fun and a little messy.

This year we are going to be working on what I call an additive process which starts with a dark surface, in this case a textured canvas with a layer of black paint. Layers of paint are added, each layer defining form and creating light. The piece at the bottom is an example of the kind of work we’ll be doing. It’s typically a bit slower process with a little more control, more meditative in approach. But we are going to be moving along at a pretty good pace which should make for some interesting work.

It should be a good couple of days in a great environment with the lake just paces away and the glorious fall foliage ablaze on the surrounding hills. All that with some hard work, good fun and a few surprises along the way. I don’t know how many more times I will be doing this type of event so if you would like to share some time painting with me, come on up.

More info can be had by clicking here.

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Four Front -2003

Yeah, you read that right, I’m willing to sell off some orphans.

Don’t worry, I’m not really a heartless bastard. I’m talking about a handful of my paintings that have shuffled around the country over the years and somehow found their way back to the studio. I consider these paintings my orphans.

A Time For Reflection-2002

There is a special small group of paintings that are accompanying me tomorrow when I head down to Alexandria for my Gallery Talk at the Principle Gallery. They are primarily older pieces that, while I like having them around here in the studio, I would like to have a home where they can get the attention that I feel they deserve from fresh and appreciative eyes that look at them on a regular basis.

A home where they can do the job they were meant to do, to fulfill their purpose

Some of these paintings in their first trips through the galleries were saddled by framing that didn’t suit the work. Tow had thick, heavy frames and extra wide mats that created a distraction from the actual work and overwhelmed the images.

A couple are favorites of mine that just never caught the right person’s eye.

And a couple have been with me for so long that I can’t figure out why they’re still here. For instance, the painting at the top of this page, Four Front from back in 2003, falls into this category.

These paintings are only going to be there for my time in the gallery on Saturday and are specially priced. If they don’t find a new home, they come back to the orphanage–er, studio.

Look at these little guys and tell me that they don’t deserve a home to call their own.

You Can Win This Painting!

So, try to get into the Principle Gallery tomorrow, Saturday, September 16. The orphans will be on display along with new work from the studio. The Gallery Talk begins at 1 PM and concludes with a free drawing for those in attendance for the painting shown here, The Warmth of Breath. Plus, there are a few more surprises that I don’t want to divulge here.

I am anticipating a good time with good questions and a lively conversation so I am hoping you can take part tomorrow. I suggest getting there early for a good seat. Plus, you can take a look at my orphans. Look forward to seeing you there!

In the Window: The Vigil 2005

In the Eye of Grace- 2006

No Mail- 2010

Call to Waking- 2011

The Journey- 2006

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“Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts. Whenever your mind becomes scattered, use your breath as the means to take hold of your mind again.” 

― Thich Nhat HanhThe Miracle of Mindfulness

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This gets harder and harder all the time.

I can’t describe the knot I get in my gut when trying to pick a painting that is given away at the end of my Gallery Talks. I really agonize over this choice, wanting to make sure that the selection is truly substantial, really representing my work and having enough meaning for myself that it hurts a bit to give it away. This choice hit all those points dead on for me.

The painting for this Saturday’s Gallery Talk at the Principle Gallery is The Warmth of Breath, coming in at 16″ by 20″ on canvas.

I am not sure my photography on this painting does it justice, especially in capturing the depth of color. I consider this a very representative piece for my body of work. It is simply constructed with deep colors and texture as the  signature Red Tree casts itself across the face of the Sun/Moon. It’s a painting that seems to draw my attention, the warmth of it always making me stop to consider it if only for a short moment. The title refers to the thought of being self aware, of recognizing the breath of life that flows through you and bonds you with all living things.

There is, for me, a real meditative feel in this painting, one that calms me greatly. I am hoping that it does the same for someone else after this Saturday.

So, to recap, this Saturday, September 16, I will be giving a Gallery Talk at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria. The talk starts at 1 PM and if you are in attendance you will have a chance to win this painting. Plus, there are a few twists I have planned that I can’t disclose here but I think will please those at the talk.

It could involve card tricks, juggling, mind reading, interpretative dance, yodeling or a combination of all of these things.

Or not.

You will have to come to the Principle Gallery on Saturday to discover what I mean.

Hope to see you there.

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“As he was about to climb yet another dune, his heart whispered, “Be aware of the place where you are brought to tears. That’s where I am, and that’s where your treasure is.” 

― Paulo CoelhoThe Alchemist

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This is another new painting, 4″ by 18″ on paper, that is part of the new group of paintings that will be coming with me to the Principle Gallery on Saturday, where I will giving my annual Gallery Talk beginning at 1 PM.

I call this piece All the Treasure of the World. It’s a continuation of the theme that I featured here a few weeks back in an entry about Acres of Diamonds, the story of an African farmer who sold his land to seek wealth far and wide without realizing that the actual treasure was in his original land.

The difference here is that the definition of treasure is altered from wealth in the form of diamonds and gems to the real treasure that is contained in personal contentment and a deep emotional bond with one’s life and the surrounding world.

Instead of mining for diamonds and gold, one sees the wealth found in being able to watch a cloud lazily meander across the sky.

In the beauty of a field filled with flowers or the gentle curve of a path that takes you home.

In the tears that come with memories of joy or sadness. The tears that come from the recognition of one’s own humanity.

Maybe that’s a lot to ask for in a simple painting but I see these things in this piece. And I feel better for it, understanding in a way where the real treasure lies.

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

GALLERY TALK

at the

PRINCIPLE GALLERY

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 16 AT 1 PM

GOOD TALK, PAINTINGS, PRIZES AND MORE!

WIN A PAINTING!

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The past is our definition. We may strive with good reason to escape it, or to escape what is bad in it. But we will escape it only by adding something better to it.

Wendell Berry

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I finished this 40″ by 16″ canvas just the other day, readying it to take with me to the Principle Gallery for my Gallery Talk on Saturday. It was one of those times where the painting itself felt good and invigorating, to the point that I wished there was more to do when I was done with the painting.

Everything came easily and every stroke seemed to add something evident and valuable to the piece. There was no struggle to try to determine what path to follow- it all was there waiting for me to simply take action.

That’s a rare and wonderful moment, at least in my experience.

That ease of process normally shows in the final product. It doesn’t seem worked over and has a freshness in its color and line rhythms. I think that holds for this painting, at least to my eyes which I admit may be somewhat biased.

The meaning that I have attached to this painting adds to to my pleasure in it. A lot of what I see can be gleaned from the words at the top from poet Wendell Berry. I see this as about how one rises above their environment, their past, their failures, their shortcomings and the examples set by those around them.

Betterment.

Trying to be better at whatever they choose, be it their jobs or relationships or their knowledge of the world around them.

Just being a better person, allowing yourself to rise to new heights where you can see beyond the encroachment of the past and the obstacles of the present.

I call this painting Above and Beyond.

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