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Posts Tagged ‘Older Painting’

GC Myers-Challenger 2001This is an early Red Tree painting from back in 2001 that is titled Challenger that lives with me now here in the studio.  It’s one of a small group of pieces that made the rounds through the galleries over the years yet never found a home.  I call them orphans.  This particular orphan spent a much longer time in the galleries than most, only coming back to me a couple of years ago.  It drew interest a number of times yet never made that final connection.

These pieces always intrigue me.  There must be something that can be learned from them or at least that is what my mind tells me.  So I find myself going back again and again to look at these pieces, trying to determine what might be lacking in them.  Or at least pinpointing a reason why they never fully connected.

With some it’s an easy task.  The flaws or weaknesses are obvious and far overshadow the strengths.  In fact, I am pleased that they are with me and not hanging on a wall somewhere.  Thankfully, there aren’t a huge number of those, which I won’t be showing here anytime soon. and will no doubt ever see a gallery wall again.

Some are with me for external reasons like poor presentation– the frame being too wide, too small or an ugly color that fights against the work.  Some are just too big which limited their time on the walls of most galleries which meant they had fewer opportunities to be seen than other smaller paintings.  Some are the last pieces of a series that I no longer work in and don’t really fit in with the pieces of current shows.  Many of these pieces will emerge at some time in the future when the time is right.

But there are a couple, like the painting above, that fall in the middle.  I see strengths in them but I see weaknesses as well.  This particular painting is a little big 18″ by 42″ which made it a bit more expensive and harder to place.  It is oil on a wood panel with a slightly textured gessoed surface which was not unusual for me at the time it was painted but gives it a slightly different look than my typical work which consists of acrylic paints and inks.  This dates it a bit.  Plus the effects of my handling of oils are quite different than my handling of acrylics, as is the the overall color to a degree.

Looking at it, there are things in it that I would do differently now.  Colors that would be changes just a bit, perhaps made a bit more complex with the addition of another tint.  But at the time it was created it represented who I was and what I was doing as an artist so I can’t question it.  Nor do I want to change it now.

It is what it is.  It feels complete and of a time.

So I now look at it in that way and accept it as it is.  I find myself overlooking the small downside and appreciating the essence of the painting without my own bias.  And I like it.  It’s like looking at an old picture of yourself and accepting that it is a past you, a version that you have long transcended. Despite that, it is still you at its core and that is the part that try to see.

So, this orphan may live with me for a long time but that’s okay by me.  It reminds me who I once was.

 

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1999 GC Myers TangoI was recently alerted that three of older pieces, pre-2000 and pre-Red Tree, were available at an antique shop in western Virginia, part of a recently acquired estate.  Looking into this, I found that they were indeed my paintings, including one, Tango (above), that was a favorite of mine from that time.

They were also mistakenly identified as prints, probably due to the numbering on the back that identifies the year and sequence of the painting.  Also, I was  painting on a smooth surface so there wasn’t a lot of evident surface texture.  To the the casual observer they might appear to be prints.  I used to have people ask about that a lot in those days.

As a result of mistaking them for prints they were priced at a very low price, far below what they were worth.  I was torn between the idea of contacting the shop to alert them that these were not prints and my desire to have these pieces back with me as I don’t have much work from this time, almost all of it having found new homes long ago.  Plus, the idea of having Tango return was exciting to me.  It’s one of those pieces that really stand out in my mind from that time and I wanted to see how it had aged over the past 16 years or so.

I decided that we would buy them back without notifying the seller of their mistake.  I don’t know if that was wrong but the shop had failed to do any research and were devaluing the work by their omission.   I looked at this as a way of taking them off the market at the devalued price that they asked.

They arrived last week and it was such a thrill to see them again.  The framing for Tango was in an older style, stained a deep green that I stopped using not too long after this time.  But it was tight and clean and the painting was just as I remembered it, actually a bit sharper and brighter than my memory.  It held up as well as I had hoped it might and that was satisfying.

A pleasant homecoming.  I don’t think I will let this one go again…

 

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