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Posts Tagged ‘Paintings’

I opened the YouTube site this morning in hopes of finding a suitable song for this Sunday morning’s musical interlude and it was right there, waiting for me in the recommended section. I began to listen to the song and opened my files to find an image that jibed with the song, at least as I was hearing it in the moment. I opened a file of images from several years back and the first one I looked at felt instantly like a match.

Sometimes things fall into place.

And I appreciate that because there are so many other times when everything is a struggle, when every decision seems clouded with doubt and every action feels out of rhythm. Slog is a word that comes to mind. Just the sound of the word brings to mind the effort required on those difficult days.

But these effortless days wash away all remnants of that word and feeling. I remember that the painting I chose, Only Now, shown at the top being done on such a day in the early days of 2012. It seemed to fall on to the canvas without much assistance or direction on my part. It needed to exist in that moment, needed to find its way into this world.

Needed to find its way home.

Interestingly, this painting has never found a permanent home in this world. It has been at the gallery that represents my work in California for several years now and the ease and freedom in it that makes it a personal favorite for me has never spoken loudly enough to someone who might give it a permanent home. which is not that unusual as some of the paintings that speak to me most personally are often the last to make their way to a new home. Maybe the void in these pieces that need to be filled by the viewer in order to complete them can only be filled by me.

We’ll see.

So this week’s song is fittingly titled Can’t Find My Way Home from Blind Faith back in 1969. Blind Faith, for you youngsters out there, was considered one of the first rock supergroups. The group was comprised of Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Ginger Baker and Rick Grech, all stars in big-name, established bands. They didn’t last long– one album and one tour– but they left a mark, including this song.

Give a listen and have yourself a good day.

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Memento mori-remember death! These are important words. If we kept in mind that we will soon inevitably die, our lives would be completely different. If a person knows that he will die in a half hour, he certainly will not bother doing trivial, stupid, or, especially, bad things during this half hour. Perhaps you have half a century before you die-what makes this any different from a half hour?

Leo Tolstoy

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I am bringing a group of selected paintings with me to this Saturday’s Gallery Talk at the Principle Gallery that will only be available for that day.  Going through a few paintings I came across the painting above that has lived a quiet life with me for many years now.

It is a 16″ by 20″ oil on canvas painted in early 2001. Titled Blaze a Trail it was hanging in the Principle Gallery on September 11, 2001, that sad day that still haunts our country these sixteen years later. I don’t like to commemorate it outside of thinking about the tragedy of the lives lost that day. But for some reason this painting reminds me of that day, even more so that the work that emerged in the time after the tragedy that was a direct reaction to it.

It has become a sort of memento mori  for me, a reminder that we never know when death may visit each of us. Maybe that’s why it has spent it’s life with me–since soon after September 11th so it’s about 16 years now– with its face to the wall, away from my eyes. When I would go through the stack that held this piece I would shuffle by it quickly, hardly taking it in as though I just didn’t want to see it.

But for this show I pulled it out and left it so that I couldn’t help but see it on a regular basis. At first, I felt a mild discomfort with it that tainted how I saw it. But the more I looked at it, the more I was able to look past the day I had attached to it and see what I saw in it before that day. Ans I saw that there was much to like. I liked the rhythm of it, in the bend of the tree and the roll of the landscape. I liked the darkness behind the orange in the foreground.

Most of all, I liked seeing the dislodged paint brush bristles that were embedded in the paint of the sky. I ran my fingers over them this morning while looking at the painting and it touched me that they were a direct link back to when I was working on it in the months before September 11, a time that seems ages ago and naively innocent now. Those bristles were of that time and touching them made me remember how very good and creatively energetic I felt in those days.

And in that instant, this piece no longer felt like a memento mori reminding me of  our mortality. No, it felt much more akin to its title, Blaze a Trail. It felt like a celebration of  life and embracing fully the time that remains.

It is now for me as much a memento vitae– a remembrance of lifeas it was a memento mori.

I am still deciding if I will bring this piece with me. I have mixed feelings. We’ll see…

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“As I Wander”- 12″ x 6″ on canvas

Getting ready for Friday’s opening of “Truth and Belief,” my solo show at the Principle Gallery. As I wrote the other day, I was a little anxious in the first day or so after delivering the show. My confidence lagged a bit.

Thankfully, that has passed and I am actually feeling very good about this show.  From a superstitious standpoint, I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing but I am truly convinced that this is a good and strong body of work. And from a few images the gallery shared with me yesterday as they were hanging the show that feeling is reinforced.

It has that feeling of rightness that I try to describe so often. And that’s a good thing.

Truth and Belief opens Friday, June 2, at the Principle Gallery in Old Town Alexandria, VA. The opening reception begins at 6:30 and runs until 9 PM. I hope you can make it. If you do, please feel free to introduce yourself or ask questions. It’s my pleasure to be there at your service.

I put together a short video/slideshow of the paintings in the show. It’s a simple and short glimpse of each piece that I hope gives an idea of how the show fits together. Take a look…

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GC Myers 992-141-small1It’s another cold day here in the northeast,  -5° this morning when I walked out the door.  By the time I got over here to the studio after my short commute ( a stroll through the woods) I was ready for a little heat.  Turned on the computer to look up an old piece and immediately came across this small triptych from 2002 which was always a favorite of mine. It’s a little anomaly comprised of three small squares, each about 4″ by 4″.  I always liked the surface of these pieces — they had a smooth, almost burnished look that I haven’t used in many years.

Seeing this piece made me want to revisit that surface treatment once more, thirteen years later.  It also made me want to feel that heat in the form of a very distinct song.  Fire from Jimi Hendrix.  Talk about going back in time.  Are You Experienced? in 1967.  This song will be fifty years old in a couple more years which seems crazy– it’s timeless heat.

So, Jimi, on this frigid morning, let me stand next to your fire.

 

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GC Myers- Wish I Was a River smThere are some pieces in  my studio that will always be with me , some because they are very personal pieces, virtual parts of my memory.  Others because they are somewhat lacking and I wouldn’t want them out in the world.  Then there are some that stay simply because I want them here.  This piece is one of those.

It is painted on a piece of our old upright piano , the lid that opened on its top.  It’s about 8″ tall by 62″ long.  You might think that this painting is about the  heavy clusters of Red Roofs but for me this is a piece of escape.  That cool blue ribbon of water that cuts through this painting, shown only in snips, is freedom to me, a rushing current to carry me away from the noise and chaos of the gathered village.  Or better yet, I could become the river and move easily and forever– hopefully– through the land, joined with the other waters of the world.

I find myself thinking a lot when I look at this piece, which I do most everyday as it is mounted above the large window in my studio.  It gives me pause and makes me think about being quiet internally, stilling the spinning wheels.  But most of all, it makes me wish I was that river.

I call this piece Wish I Was a River, sort of after the Joni Mitchell song, River.  However, her chorus goes “ I wish I had a river…”  Maybe I’m being greedy here but I want to be the river.  Maybe I’d let her skate away on me.  I don’t know.

Here’s the song from Joni Mitchell.

 

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GC Myers- Boundless  smWell, tomorrow’s the day of another show at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria, this one called Observers.  Opening tomorrow evening ( the opening reception begins at 6:30 PM ) and running through the first week of July, it is, as I’ve noted here a number of times, my fourteenth consecutive annual show at the gallery, dating back to 2000.  My first show was called, fittingly, Redtree  and featured the premiere of that tree that has long since populated my work.  At that point I couldn’t imagine that I’d be fortunate enough to still be having solo shows there all these years later.

But even though this show has become a part of my life and it seems as natural as breathing to be preparing for this show in the first half of every year, I still feel the same nerves as I did with that first show, a distinct mix of anxiety and fear that somehow never fails to show up in the days and hours before a show.  But it’s a fear that I expect and even relish at times, knowing that it is this fear that often spurs me on in trying to push the work in new directions.  Maybe it’s superstition but if I think that if I were too confident and without this fear the show might be a total disaster.

I can’t tell you how appreciative I am as an artist to have the inspiration that galleries like the Principle and the wonderful people  who come to these shows there provide.  Michele and her staff have always encouraged me in letting the work expand and grow through the years and the many people I have met over the years have provided me with a reassuring presence in the studio on those days when I am struggling and less than confident.  It is often like they are looking over my shoulder, wanting to see what is brewing.  I’ve said this before but I feel an obligation to really extend myself for these shows for these people.

I think  that this show meets that obligation and is a really strong group of work, one that I am proud of.  But I can’t judge it objectively.  Hopefully, others will let me know.  Hope you can make it to the show and  have a few minutes to talk.

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The painting at the top is part of this show and is titled Boundless.  It is a 20″ by 60″ canvas.

 

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In the Shadow

GC Myers  In the ShadowAs I wrote a few weeks back, I’m in the middle of my process where I spend some time both looking backward and forward through my work, looking at pieces from the past for bits of inspiration that might lead to some new synthesis of  the original creative driver.  In doing so I sometime come across paintings that are unlike anything that was done in the time period around them, paintings that stand out in sharp contrast.  This is one such piece, called In the Shadow. a 9″ by 12″ sepia painting from six or seven years back.

As I scanned through my files, mostly quiet and placid pieces with warm colors and calming compositions, I came across this dark piece that seemed so out of place.  Nothing before it in that year showed any evidence of this piece’s coming.  And nothing after it showed any signs of its influence.  It was a complete anomaly for its time.

I showed it a few times but it never sold which did not surprise me at all.  It wasn’t that I didn’t think it was a good piece  because I did think it had a unique quality that made it good. I often use good to describe my work, meaning that it has a complete feel, a life all its own, and this painting had it.   But I wasn’t surprised at the lack of interest because of the quality but because it was too personal, too reflective of my own angst.  I knew at the time that it was only meant for me because of this.

Most of my work deals with alleviating the angst that is often consuming for me.  It is all about escaping that shadow and bringing light.  I have often said that my work is not a reflection of who I really am but is instead a goal of who I want to be.  It is aspirational work.  This, on the other hand, was not filled with hope but was instead a snapshot of  the reality of the moment for me.

It was personal and too narrow in its meaning to easily connect with those who see the better parts of themselves in my work.  I understood that from the moment I created this piece.  But I felt that I had to show it just to be honest about my own reality, my own journey.  We are all prismatic figures  that only show certain facets to the outside world at any given  time and I wanted to let people see this often hidden facet just to let them know that  it is there.  Perhaps one day, it will fade from the light of the other, more hopeful facets.

But it is there and every now and then it shows itself just to remind me from where I came.  But not where I am going.

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