Posts Tagged ‘Ithaca’

Blue Canal Pieces- GC MyersThese are two new pieces I recently completed, both 12 ” square canvasses.  They are in the same vein as several other paintings I have completed recently and featured here on the blog.

As I’ve stated before, these pieces are for me all about shapes and forms and color, more so than about an actual depiction of place.  I want to clarify that the feeling and sense of place that is created in these pieces is important to me.  But it is something that comes about as a result of the way forms and color fall together, rather than a premeditated plan for the composition.

The canal in these pieces is very important with that bright blue counterpoint to the red of the roofs and the way it bisects the village.  I have tried using a more subtle color in the canal but that blue pop! makes each painting stand out.

I have considered keeping these pieces together as a set, which is something I have done in years past, but I probably will not this time.

I had an interesting experience with a set of 3 very small paintings that were sold 11 or 12 years ago.  They were tiny landscapes, only about an inch and a half square in size.  They were, like the paintings above, not of any specific location but like many of my landscapes, influenced by the area around my home.  There is a spot on the way to Ithaca called Connecticut Hill that has an interesting look and feel that I often think of when I’m painting.

I met the buyer of this particular set one day at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria, VA  as I was delivering some work and we spoke about the paintings.  He told me that he loved the way they reminded him of an area near he went to college.  I asked him where he had went.  He said Cornell, in Ithaca.  I asked him where this place was he had described.

He said Connecticut Hill.

He didn’t know that I was from near there when we spoke and there was little in those tiny pieces that would make me say they were of that place.  Just the feeling…

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PenelopeThis painting is titled Penelope after the wife of Ulysses who waited in Ithaca for his return, putting off suitors, in Homer’s The Odyssey.  Where I live in the Finger Lakes region of New York state, many of the small towns and villages are named from the classics.  There is Hector, Homer, Ovid, Ithaca, Sparta, Carthage, Romulus and so on.

When I was younger and became aware of the original places from which the names of these local towns were adopted, I always wondered about the people who settled these towns and decided what their new towns should be called.  What was the person like who decided that their new town would be Sparta and they would be the new Spartans?  In what trait in themselves did these people see a connection with the original Spartans?  Maybe it was a matter of dissuading other settlers from pushing into their newly claimed home.  You know- don’t screw with us, we’re Spartans.  It’s hard to see now, Sparta being a sleepy rural township above Cayuga Lake with hardly a sign of any carnage existing.

This painting is another going to my show at the Principle Gallery in June.  As I’ve written before, I am in the midst of preparations for this show , keeping me very busy.  I’ve got to run now but I wanted to leave a song from one of my favorites, Neko Case.  Her live CD, The Tiger’s Have Spoken, is a dynamic set that really showcases her powerful voice.  There’s a certain wistful quality there that I can’t put my finger on.  It’s definitely here in Maybe Sparrow

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A Return to RootsI live in a part of New York state that doesn’t normally get a lot of headlines.  We’re somewhat rural with a few smaller  cities scattered across what is called the Southern Tier  that runs along the NY/Pennsylvania border.  

We have Corning which is known for its glass industry including a world-class museum.  There’s Ithaca with  Cornell and Ithaca College.  Then there’s my hometown of Elmira where Mark Twain spent his summers, writing many of his books from his study overlooking the valley, and is buried here.  Home of the late, great Ernie Davis.  We’re also known for our prisons.  I can barely contain my pride.

Then a little east there’s Binghamton.  

It was primarily known as the birthplace of IBM but after yesterday will be known in the national mind as the location of yet another murderous rampage.

14 killed.

I don’t know much about the assailant and I really don’t need to hear a lot.  I’m sure there will be all kinds of new info today and  in the week ahead, all profiling a troubled soul.  Unfortunately, we’ve heard it all before.  Too many times.

I don’t have any answers to the scourge of mass killings.  I have sympathy for the families who lost members.   I have empathy for those who witnessed and survived, many immigrants to this country.  Their terror and bewilderment that such a thing could happen in their chosen home is palpable.

And I have a degree of sorrow and empathy for the killer.  While I can’t understand how a person could be driven to such violence , I can imagine the alienation and rage that ran through his mind.  I don’t know his circumstances or what might have possibly tripped that final switch but he obviously lived in a troubled state of mind without the necessary coping mechanisms.  

That doesn’t excuse or justify his actions.  It only brings to mind the scores of people that live among us with that same anger, that same sense of separation.  The vast majority live this side of the line but more and more cross it and we’re left watching the news, horrified.

And you hope and you pray that this time will be the last.

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