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Posts Tagged ‘Mahatma Gandhi’

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The mantra becomes one’s staff of life, and carries one through every ordeal. It is no empty repetition. For each repetition has a new meaning, carrying you nearer and nearer to God.”

–Mahatma Gandhi

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I wanted part of my upcoming June show at the Principle Gallery to feature not only new growth, as the show’s title implies, but a few nods of acknowledgement back to my older work. The new painting above, one that I finished just yesterday and am calling Mantra, is such a nod.

I have periodically used multiple images in my work through the years. Some were quite large back in my earlier days, some having as many as 60+ images making up the piece. I am attracted by the look of these piece but also by the mindset required when painting them, one with a blank concentration, one that produces a repetition of thought and form.

This repetition of thought and form produces small incremental changes in each cell. Each is the same but slightly different.

That could be the mantra for my work.

Over the past twenty years of these shows, the work has always changed in small increments. Changes in colors and tones. Changes in strokes and textures. Additions and subtractions in elements and forms. Each is the same but slightly different.

Again, the mantra.

I guess that is why I chose that word mantra for the title. As Gandhi points out above, it is no empty repetition.

Each repetition is new and has its own meaning even though it is seemingly the same. Each is its own moment in time, its own coordinate on the grid of time and space.

Whether this repetition takes one closer to god, as Gandhi adds, I cannot say. I don’t know what that even means. But if it means that it brings one closer to understanding and a sense of unity with this world, then I agree heartily and this painting, this mantra, says everything I need to know.

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My new solo exhibit at the Principle Gallery , my 20th annual show there, is titled Red Tree: New Growth and opens June 7, 2019 at their Alexandria, VA gallery.  The painting above, Mantra, will be included in this show.

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Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment. Full effort is full victory.

Mahatma Gandhi

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I often paint the rows of a freshly cut field in my work. While this creates an interesting visual effect with its pattern of alternating colors, it also satisfies my own need to express the importance — and necessity–of effort for myself and for my work.

I have often pointed out at gallery talks that I spend huge amounts of time alone working very hard in my studio, well over 70,000 hours over the past twenty-plus years. I usually make a joke of this, saying that I enjoy these long periods of solitude and tell people I am hard at work during my time in the studio so they will just leave me alone. Okay, there is a lot of truth there as far as not having people bother me but the fact remains that while I find my time in the studio enjoyable as well as enlightening, it does require great effort and work.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I guess that’s because there is usually a moment after finishing a piece or a group of work for a show when I stop and look at the work in its state of completion. In this moment there is a great sense of satisfaction at the result of my full efforts. And that full effort gives the results a sense of completeness and  that brings me my own sense of personal completeness, a fulfillment of some small purpose that I find necessary in order to persist in this world.

That small moment of satisfaction makes all the work, all the frustration and missteps fade away. That which should have depleted me now serves as nourishment. I find myself strengthened for another day.

Maybe that what I see in this new painting, a 24″ by 24″ canvas which going soon to Alexandria, VA for my upcoming solo show at the Principle Gallery, which opens June 7. It is called A Sense of Satisfaction, of course. It very much reflects what I have written here, with the Red Tree representing someone looking back on the results of a long day of labor. And again, they feel uplifted rather than worn down.

I know it’s not always that way. There have been times when work has been very draining, definitely in my past and occasionally even now. But knowing that special moment of satisfaction that comes along every so often is out there as a reward makes me look forward to the task and the effort ahead.

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The post above was written several years back was written about an earlier painting with similar receding fields rows in its foreground. I felt that the message from that earlier post applied equally well to the new painting at the top so I borrowed much of it for today’s post, with a few edits.

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GC Myers-  The Satisfaction smSatisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment. Full effort is full victory.

Mahatma Gandhi

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I often paint the rows of a freshly cut field in my work.  While this creates an interesting visual effect with its pattern of alternating colors, it also satisfies my own need to express the importance — and necessity–of effort for myself and for my work.

I have often pointed out at gallery talks that I spend huge amounts of time alone working in my studio, well over 50,000 hours in the past fifteen years.  I usually make a joke of this, saying that I just tell people I am hard at work during my time in the studio so they will not bother me and that its really not that much work.  Okay, maybe there is some truth there as far as not having people bother me.  But the fact remains that while I find my time in the studio enjoyable as well as enlightening, it requires great effort and work.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I guess that’s because there is usually a moment after finishing a piece or a group of work for a show when I stop and look at the work in its state of completion.  In this moment there is a great sense of satisfaction at the result of my full efforts.  And that full effort gives the results a sense of completeness and their completeness brings me my own completeness, a fulfillment of some small purpose that I find necessary in order to persist in this world.

That small moment of satisfaction makes all the work, all the frustration and missteps, fade away and that which should have depleted me now serves as nourishment.  I find myself strengthened for another day.

Maybe that what I see in this new painting, an 18″ by 18″ canvas which is headed out to California.  It is called The Satisfaction, of course.  It very much reflects what I have written here, with the Red Tree representing someone looking back on the results of a long day of labor.  And again, they feel uplifted rather than worn down.

I know it’s not always that way.  There have been times when work has been very draining, definitely in my past and occasionally even now.  But knowing that  special moment of satisfaction that comes along every so often is out there makes me look forward to the task and the effort ahead.

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GC Myers-Quester's Path smIn the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in an clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness. Our life is a long and arduous quest after Truth.

-Mahatma Gandhi

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      I write a lot about the search for something and in reality I have no idea what that thing is.  Gandhi says that  it is Truth that we seek.  His Truth may be the same as the wisdom that others claim to be seeking.  Others say that life is a search for self or love or to shatter loneliness.

      As for me, I just don’t know.  I have thought it was many things over the years– truth, self, wisdom and a place to fit in.  But none of those ever truly fit for me.  I am not sure I am equipped with the wisdom to handle the truth and, as far as fitting in, I gave up on that some time back.  And I have the self too elusive a thing to seek for too long. It sometime feels like looking for a Bigfoot– you think you may have found it but it always ends up not being what you hoped.

      So I am left filled with even more uncertainty.  And I think this uncertainty is a good thing because it makes me believe that the real quest is for a reason, a purpose for our existence.  And maybe that makes the quest the  real purpose– to be aware of our world, our lives.  To hold up each day, to examine each moment.  Maybe in each moment there is that truth, that wisdom. that sense of self and inclusion, if only we look with some uncertainty, not knowing why we do so.

      But as I say, I don’t know.

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The painting at the top is Quester’s Path and is 8″ by 14″ on paper.  It is part of the show, Traveler, at the Principle Gallery.

 

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henri-cartier-bresson-leningrad neva riverI wrote the other day about the decisive moment  and mentioned the French photographer, Henri Cartier-Bresson,  who made great use of the term and concept in his work.  I am a fan of his work.  It would be hard to not find something in his work that draws you in.  Many are simply great images  with superb composition and an artistic rhythm running through them, showing the influence of his early training as a painter.  Some are mysterious and enigmatic, making you stop and just wonder what exactly was the story behind the photo, such as the image shown above of a sun bather along the Neva River in 1973 Leningrad .  And many capture defining moments in the 20th century, moments of history and change.

Decisive moments.

henri cartier-bresson_gestapo_informer_1945Cartier-Bresson was born in 1908 and witnessed nearly a century of such moments, his death coming in 2004.  He lived through both World Wars in Europe.  He fought in the second war and was a POW for nearly three years until he escaped and continued the war serving with the French underground resistance.   The photo here on the left is from 1945 showing a Gestapo collaborator being confronted in the aftermath of the war.  He traveled around the world at important moments, capturing the people on the street as change was taking place.  His photo of henri-cartier-bresson China 1949people in 1948 China in a crushing line to get gold allotted to them by the government as it teetered on the brink before finally falling to Communism.  Ten people were killed in the crush of this line.  In that same year, 1948, Cartier-Bresson also met Mahatma Gandhi.  He was one of the last people to meet Gandhi and his photos, taken a mere hour before he was shot and killed, are the last photos of him while alive.  Again,decisive moments.

As I said, there’s a lot in his body of work, something for everyone.  He is considered the grandfather of modern photojournalism, making the move from clumsy large  format cameras to the more portable 35mm  that allowed greater spontaneity and mobility.  It brought the immediacy of the moment on the street to film.

Something I find interesting about his grand life is that  he hung up his camera almost thirty years before his death and spent his final decades at his first love, drawing and painting.  Just an amazing life, a witness to a world at the most decisive moments of the time.

henri-cartier-bresson Aquila degli Abruzzi 1952henri cartier-bresson istanbul 1964

 

 

 

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