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Posts Tagged ‘Painting’

I have finally chose the painting that will be given away at this coming Saturday’s Gallery Talk at the Principle Gallery. It is called Deep Focus and is 18″ by 18″ on canvas. It has been around for several years now and each time it returns from a gallery I am surprised because it is a real favorite of mine, hitting the mark for me on so many points. I think you can see my feelings for this painting in the post below that I wrote when it was first painted.

So, if you would like to have a chance ( decent odds, too!) at taking this favorite of mine home with you, come on out to the Principle Gallery  in historic and beautiful Alexandria, VA this coming Saturday, September 15, for my annual Gallery Talk that begins at 1 PM. There will be some other surprises as well.

Hope to see you there!

Meditation brings wisdom; lack of mediation leaves ignorance. Know well what leads you forward and what hold you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom.

–Buddha

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This new piece, 18″ by 18″ on canvas, is titled Deep Focus. This was one of those pieces that just seemed to fall out with very little inner wrangling or consternation. Once I started, it was off and running with what seemed very little assistance from me.

It was immediately clear that this painting was going to be about focus, about looking deeper and deeper into the canvas. Built from the bottom, each layer pushed the eye further inward. About halfway into this I began to think of the title for this as being AutoFocus, just for the ease with which it was emerging. But I finally opted for Deep Focus because of the depth I was seeing in the picture and the way everything seemed to gravitate toward the central point of the sun that is peeking over the distant hill.

This piece seems to have a very meditative quality, a placid feeling that goes well with the ease of the piece. Or at least, the ease that I felt in its creation. Sitting here now, taking it in, its construction seems simple, almost naive. Yet there is a feeling of opulence that I think comes from the colors and curves of the landscape that sheds this naivete and gives it a feeling of deeper knowledge. Or a way to deeper knowledge. Far from naive.

Years ago, I had a hard time trusting the validity of pieces that fell so easily from my hand, believing that  struggle must be part of making a painting come alive. I was almost embarrassed by the ease with which some pieces came. But over time, I have come to believe that it is this effortless work that is the goal, the work that is true and has the authenticity that I seek. This piece is a testament to the trust in my intuition that has come with time.

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To desire and strive to be of some service to the world, to aim at doing something which shall really increase the happiness and welfare and virtue of mankind – this is a choice which is possible for all of us; and surely it is a good haven to sail for.

-Henry Van Dyke

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This is a new painting that is part of a group of new work that will be going down to Alexandria with me next Saturday for my annual Gallery Talk at the Principle Gallery. I call this 16″ by 20″ painting Striving on the Wind.

I really enjoy painting these pieces with sailboats even though I must confess that I know practically nothing about sailing or boats in general. But the nature of the compositions with the bands of horizontal color  and the lure of the wide open sky along with the captured movement of the boats on the waves and in the sails makes it a tremendously appealing subject. Billowing sails on the waves under a big sky is a thing of beauty, even to this landlubber.

Plus, these pieces come with the inherent concept of the journey, the idea that there is an intended goal toward which the boat is headed. They have a built in sense of purpose. I can only imagine that sailing to a far destination is an act of total purpose, requiring the sailor’s complete focus and unwavering attention to keep the boat on course and afloat.

A sinking boat has lost its purpose.

And that sense of purpose is important to me, something I have always wanted to recognize in my own life. I think it must be equally important to many other folks out there. And I think that symbolism comes through in these pieces. Hopefully, the words at the top from author Henry Van Dyke align with that sense of purpose.

As he said: surely it is a good haven to sail for.

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Striving on the Wind, along with a number of other new paintings, will be at the Principle Gallery next Saturday, September 15,  where I will be giving a Gallery Talk beginning at 1 PM. As is now tradition, there will be a drawing where one of my paintings will be awarded to someone in attendance along with some other neat prizes and plenty of good conversation. Hope to see you there!

 

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I really just wanted to share one of my favorite Edward Hopper paintings but the message attached really speaks to my own thoughts on painting. The painting is his Early Sunday Morning from 1930.

I like that it seems so still, so static, yet it is filled–at least for me– with tensions and deep emotional content. That reaction is my own imagination reacting to the elements of the painting. Hopper created an armature, a framework, that gives shape to the emotional response of the viewer without filling out all of the details.

You look at it and there are guides in place that gently direct you to Hopper’s own emotional location. But it never spells it out in great detail, never tells you what you should feel. It relies on your imagination to fill in the voids, to fill it with details to which you can personally relate. You are no longer a mere viewer, you are an emotional participant.

That’s how I think a painting should work, as a sort of active terminus where the work of the artist and the imagination of the viewer meet.

Sometimes, it works that way. Sometimes, it doesn’t. I think this Hopper definitely works in this way.

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If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation.

Jiddu Krishnamurti

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The painting, Apex, as shown above on the left had been bouncing around galleries for quite a few years. It was one of those pieces that kind of gnawed at me after awhile. There was so much that I liked about it and it felt complete yet I began to feel that something was lacking.

The color bothered me. It looked washed out and pale. Now, I have done pieces with that sort of color and it can be very effective but in this instance the lack of intensity in the colors seemed to handicap the whole painting. The more I looked at it over the years, the more I saw the blue of the sky looking dull and lifeless.

And it felt like the trees on the ascending path were too sparse. I don’t know much about musical composition, can’t tell a quarter note from a half note, but when I looked at the hill with the trees I felt like I was looking at a piece of music and some of the notes were missing. It wasn’t saying what it should be saying.

And the central character, the Red Tree at the top, felt dark and small, not bursting forward as it should, at least in my mind.

The whole thing just felt like it was on life support– barely alive but but with no vigor, no spark.

But it was still alive and there seemed to be something in it that really pulled me in, I decided I needed to intervene, to either reinvent it or completely kill it. So I went in and deepened the colors of the sky and the hill dramatically. This created a nice contrasting tension and made the tree that were added to the upward path stand out more. The Red Tree grew larger, brighter and bolder while the clouds in the sky slimmed a bit.

It was  dramatic transformation. It was like Charles Atlas’ 97-pound weakling transforming, with the aid of his patented Dynamic Tension, into a beefy he-man who takes on the beach bully and gets the girl. I know that last sentence means next to nothing to those of you under the age of fifty but if you ever saw those old magazine ads, you’ll get it. You can click here to go to an old blog entry that shows that ad.

That might be a goofy comparison but as I sit here and look at the transformed painting, it’s hard to imagine that that it once was that old version of itself.

And it all came about thanks to Dynamic Tension. Thanks, Charles Atlas!

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This reinvented painting will be with me at my Gallery Talk at the West End Gallery in Corning this coming Saturday, August 4. The talk begins at 1 PM and it should be a good time. In addition to the great conversation and plenty of prizes, I have also procured a monster truck act– Truckasaurus Rex— as well as a T-shirt cannon.

Okay, maybe that’s not quite accurate. Or true in any sense of the word. You’ll have to come see for yourself. 

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GC Myers-  Inner Perception smallThis is a painting from a few years back that has toured around a bit and found its way back to me. Called Inner Perception, it has been one of my favorites right from the moment it came off my painting table. Maybe the inclusion of the the paint brush (even though it is a house painter’s brush) with red paint in the bristles makes it feel more biographical, more directly connected to my own self. Or maybe it was the self-referential Red Tree painting on the wall behind the Red Chair.

I don’t know for sure. But whatever the case, it is a piece that immediately makes me reflective, as though it is a shortcut to some sort of inner sanctum of contemplation. Looking at it this morning, the question I was asked at the Principle Gallery talk a week or so ago re-emerged, the one that asked what advice I might give my fifth-grade self if I had the opportunity. I had answered that I would tell myself to believe in my own unique voice, to believe in the validity of what I had to say to the world.

I do believe that but I think I might add a bit to that answer, saying that I would tell my younger self to be patient and not worry about how the world perceives you. That if you believed that your work was reflecting something genuine from within, others would come to see it eventually.

I would also add to never put your work above the work of anyone else and, conversely, never put your work beneath that of anyone else. I would tell myself to always ask , “Why not me?”

This realization came to me a couple of years ago at my exhibit at the Fenimore Art Museum. When it first went up it was in a gallery next to one that held the work of the great American Impressionists along with a painting from Monet. I was greatly intimidated, worrying that my work would not stand the muster of being in such close proximity to those painters who I had so revered over the years. Surely the greatness of their work would show me to be a pretender.

But over the course of the exhibit, that feeling faded and the intimidation I had initially felt turned to a type of defiant determination. I began to ask myself that question: Why not me?

If my work was genuine, if it was true expression of my inner self and inner perceptions, was it any less valid than the work of these other painters? Did they have some greater insight of which I was not aware, something that made their work deeper and more connected to some common human theme? If, as I believe, everyone has something unique to share with the world, why would my expression of self not be able to stand along their own?

The answer to my question was in my own belief in the work and by the exhibit’s end I was no longer doubting my right to be there. So to my fifth-grade self and to anyone who faces self-doubt about the path they have chosen, I say that if you know you have given it your all, shown your own unique self, then you must ask that question: Why not me?

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Just a short video preview of some of the work from my show, The Rising, that opens this coming Friday, July 13, at the West End Gallery in Corning.

One of the paintings not included in the video is this painting on the right, Generosity’s Bounty. At 24″ by 12″ on canvas, it’s a painting that really jumped off the easel with its warmth and the depth and richness of its layered colors.

The feeling I get from it fulfills its title.
https://spark.adobe.com/video/nmupmpDR3al5f/embed

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Discovery consists of looking at the same thing as everyone else and thinking something different.

― Albert Szent-Györgyi 

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My annual show at the West End Gallery opens a week from today, on Friday, July 13. This show is called The Rising based very much on the number of rising moons and suns along with trees that rise boldly into the sky. It also refers to a rising awareness of the worlds in which we live and our relationship with these worlds.

I use the plural worlds because I believe there are layers in this world, some physical and some extending into the realm of the metaphysical, the psychological and the spiritual. I also believe we have the ability to live in multiple layers. I can’t say that many of us do or if I do myself. Most days I feel like I am barely existing in the surface layer we all know.

But I think the gateway for discovering comes as Albert Szent-Györgi, the Hungarian biochemist who discovered Vitamin C, states in the quote at the top. We all see the same things on a daily basis but it is only when we think of those common things in other terms that we make discoveries.

That willingness to see the commonplace in another light is the basis for science, for mythology and for art. I think the art that remains vital and continues to speak through time has the ability to illuminate the extraordinary that exists in the commonplace.

I know that this is what I hope occurs in my own work. My hopes and words mean nothing because only time will tell if it was a successful effort.

The painting at the top, a new 18″ by 24″ canvas from the show that is titled Gems Revealed, is an illustration of this thought. It is a simple scene, a group of fields under a night sky lit by a rising moon. But the light brings out colors and forms in the fields as well in the sky an don the clouds that have an otherworldly quality, one that seems to be teeming with life and color and motion. The path that winds through the field takes on the quality of a snake or a stream and the clouds appear to be swimming through the ether of the night sky.

Perhaps a new layer of being is revealed in this light?

I cannot say myself. Only time will tell.

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The work for this show has been delivered and will be hung today and tomorrow so you can get a preview if you’re in the Corning area. The opening reception for the show is next Friday, July 13, from 5-7:30 PM.

 

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