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GC Myers- Standing Proud  2021



I find I am much prouder of the victory I obtain over myself, when, in the very ardor of dispute, I make myself submit to my adversary’s force of reason, than I am pleased with the victory I obtain over him through his weakness.

― Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592) The Complete Essays



At the top is Standing Proud, a new painting that is included in my solo show, Between Here and There, at the Principle Gallery that opened this past Friday.

I hesitated in using the word proud in the title for this painting. The word itself has connotations of boastfulness and certainty for me. I am not a fan of either. I see both as being more on the vanity end of the pride spectrum, more about caring what other people think or how they affect others.

Like the thought above from Montaigne, the 16th century French philosopher, I see the more desirable form of pride as coming more from overcoming conflicts and barriers that exist within ourselves. Triumph that comes from being what and who we truly know we are without caring what others think. Or without trying to place ourselves above any others in any way.

For me, pride often accompanies perseverance. Staying true to yourself over time, overcoming the obstacles that arise naturally, and resisting the temptation to abandon principles and beliefs– these are some of the building blocks of authentic pride.

Of course, these are just words and thoughts. We all wish ourselves to be the best us we can be. But life provides us with great challenges and we sometimes come up short. But maybe pride can be found in recognizing that momentary shortcoming and our will to overcome it.

Pride is ultimately the triumph of our self.

Well, that’s my two cents worth of muddled Monday morning philosophy. At two cents, it might be overpriced…

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GC Myers- Crossroads of the World  2021



It was a pity that there was no radar to guide one across the trackless seas of life. Every man had to find his own way, steered by some secret compass of the soul. And sometimes, late or early, the compass lost its power and spun aimlessly on its bearings.

Arthur C. Clarke, Glide Path



Trackless seas of life.

Clarke’s words above certainly resonate with me. We go through our lives pretty much on our own, with little guidance. Oh, folks will tell you how to live your life but they generally have little more insight than yourself. They usually just want you to adhere to their own perceptions, their own idea of how the world should look. And that’s okay. They are as free to do so as you and I are free to not follow their advice.

But for the most part, we stumble and fumble along on our own, following the bearings of that secret compass of the soul that Clarke mentions.

We all follow our own compass, even if we don’t fully realize it. We subconsciously set courses that we don’t yet recognize for some vaguely defined destinations that are just the inkling of an idea in our imagination.

Along the way, we often seem out of place and lost, as though that compass has indeed lost its power and is spinning on its bearings. We then often recalibrate and give up on that first course we had set and set out for some new destination, one that is often within sight and attainable.

But sometimes, after we creep for what seems like ages through the darkness, row endlessly through the doldrums, and hold on through stormy seas with a shaken compass that we find hard to trust, we somehow, wonder of wonder, find ourselves at our destination, now fully realized.

What a strange thing and wondrous thing.

GC Myers- Crossroads of the World in situ Principle Gallery 2021And that is what I see in the painting at the top, Crossroads of the World. It is, of course, part of my solo show that opens tomorrow, Friday June 4, at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria, VA.

The sun here represents that secret compass of the soul. Its rays light the way forward but its direction is forever wavering and sometimes its face is obscured by clouds of all sorts and sizes, some of our own making.

And the crossroads where the paths cross symbolize the crossroads we come to each day as we make our way toward our destination. Every day is a new crossroad, new choices and paths to be considered and made. Some paths take us into the dark of the forest and some lead us out into the clearing, where we can see ahead for what seems like forever.

I great sense of liberation from this piece, that we are free to ultimately follow our own desires, our own longings. But there is as well as a sense of satisfaction that comes from making your own way, for following through on those desires. For persevering through all the detours and setbacks to finally end up in that place that was a tiny half-baked fragment of an idea when it first appeared in your hopes so long ago.

I guess that sounds like a lot to pull out of a painting but, hey, it’s how I see it at this point in time and space, at this crossroads that I was led to by own secret compass of the soul.



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GC Myers-  Invocation in Blue sm



A certain blue enters your soul. A certain red has an effect on your blood-pressure.

– Henri Matisse



Matisse certainly had it right.

For me, blue is the color of the soul and spirit and red the corporeal, the blood and body. Blue is the ethereal. Red is the carnal. I think that is why both colors play such a large part in my work. Actually, they play large parts in the work of most artists. They are two of the three primary colors for a good reason.

But in my work they often symbolize those two parts in us as individual humans– the body and the spirit, the carnal and the ethereal. Having the two come to terms within the picture and within myself is often part of my aim, something I usually don’t recognize until I am examining the painting after completion.

I think this new painting, a 16″ by 20″ canvas that is part of my new show at the Principle Gallery which opens next Friday, June 4. This piece is titled Invocation in Blue. I see it as dealing with that space between the spirit and the physical in each of us, about how we aspire to our higher aspects but are bound by our earthly desires.

Head in the stars, feet in the mud, figuratively speaking.

And that is sort of what I see here. The Red Tree aspires to the ethereal calm found in the endless blue of the night sky and the peaceful presence of the moon. But it is still rooted in the earth, still comforted and sustained by its earthly needs and desires. The patchwork of reds and purples seem almost like a quilt or comforter that mainly warms and protects but also restrains.

But even so, both of the worlds attached to each color have an appeal of their own. And in this piece, they dwell side by side, as they often do within some of us. It is a painting that has an acceptance of its place in the universe, that recognizes that we can and do exist in both the ethereal and the corporeal worlds. It is a painting of the peaceful balance that can exist between the two.

But, as always, that’s just my opinion. You might see it as something altogether different. And to that, I say, Good for you. That’s just as it should be.

Okay, here’s some music to accompany the painting. It’s also a great song to sip coffee by. It’s the great jazz piece Blue in Green. It is most often associated with Miles Davis. He is credited with writing it and his version is iconic. Brilliant. But I also like the version below from pianist Bill Evans who played on the Davis recording and was later revealed to be the true composer of the tune though he never received credit on the label or in royalties. It’s just a beautiful piece and I like to think it sums up the balance between the two worlds I discussed above.



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GC Myers- Between Here and There



If the path be beautiful, let us not ask where it leads.

― Anatole France



The new painting above is the title piece for my new show, Between Here and There, which opens next Friday, June 4 at the Principle Gallery. It is 22″ high by 28″wide in size and is painted on linen.

Like many of my paintings, its meaning lies in a moment captured in a symbolic journey. That moment when one stops to look both ahead and behind and to also savor the moment of pause.

I have sometimes this journey as being like a labyrinth whose twists and turns sometimes gives you glimpses of your far destination even though there is so much more of the pattern to be traveled before reaching it. Soon, you might be at a point where your desired objective seems a million miles away though it seemed so close not so long ago.

The way I see this piece is that the closer Red Tree is at such a moment and sees itself at a future time on that distant hilltop, with an even better view forward into the distance and back into the past. It sees itself there as being a fuller being, wiser and more attuned to the world, than it sees itself here.

That is its desired destination.

But between here and there are obstacles to overcome, hills and mountains to climb and rivers and seas to cross. Battles to be waged and wounds to be healed. People to be found and people to be lost.

Moments of elation and moments of utter despair. Sometimes, the despair so dark and hopeless that the journey seems at an end.

But then, like a twist in the maze, the objective you so desire comes back into view and you stop to take it in. And in this moment as you look forward then look back at all that you have endured, you savor once more this pause.

You are what you are and one day you may be what you desire to be. It may be dark now but tomorrow offers the possibility of light. You remember then that this is how the journey goes, that the trek between here and there is never easy.

Nothing worth having ever is.

That’s my take on it. Your own may and probably should be different. We are, after all, unique creatures.



 

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Cezanne- The Kitchen Table 1888-1890

Paul CézanneThe Kitchen Table, 1888-1890



An art which isn’t based on feeling isn’t an art at all… feeling is the principle, the beginning and the end; craft, objective, technique – all these are in the middle.

-Paul Cézanne



Since I am a little short on time this morning as I am in the final days of wrapping up my approaching Principle Gallery show before delivery later this weekend, I thought I’d share a thought from Paul Cézanne that pretty much sums up my view on art, that feeling and emotion is the primary driver behind all art.

Here’s a short video of some of of Cezanne’s better known works for you to examine for their levels of feeling.



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GC Myers- Harmonia Aeternam



There are seconds, they come only five or six at a time, and you suddenly feel the presence of eternal harmony, fully achieved. It is nothing earthly; not that it’s heavenly, but man cannot endure it in his earthly state. One must change physically or die. The feeling is clear and indisputable. As if you suddenly sense the whole of nature and suddenly say: yes, this is true. God, when he was creating the world, said at the end of each day of creation: ‘Yes, this is true, this is good.’ This . . . this is not tenderheartedness, but simply joy. You don’t forgive anything, because there is no longer anything to forgive. You don’t really love — oh, what is here is higher than love! What’s most frightening is that it’s so terribly clear, and there’s such joy. If it were longer than five seconds — the soul couldn’t endure it and would vanish. In those five seconds I live my life through, and for them I would give my whole life, because it’s worth it. To endure ten seconds one would have to change physically . . . .

― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Demons



I think I understand what Dostoyevsky was describing in the words above. I imagine –well, hope– that most of you have experienced those fleeting seconds where the harmony of everything suddenly becomes evident to you.

All the things that make up the world, the universe, all the planes of existence, and yourself in that rare moment seem to be just where they should be in relation to all other things. It is as though everything is comprised of floating, constantly shifting plates that periodically find themselves in a position where the perfection of eternity is achieved and revealed to the watchful few.

For a few glorious seconds.

Then the plates resume their shifting and harmony seems, at best, just out of reach. Or, in the case of the other extreme, nowhere to be found as the plates shift to a point of chaos and dangerous imbalance.

Maybe that rare moment of eternal harmony –as I know it– is what I am seeing in this new painting that is headed to the Principle Gallery for my annual solo show, Between Here and There, which opens June 4. It has a feeling of great harmony for me, of things being in alignment, in place. And of the Red Tree as a central figure being aware of the unity of time and place in which it finds itself.

I believe I have experienced episodes of those four or five seconds of clarity and I see it in this piece. I am calling this new 24″ by 36″ painting Harmonia Aeternam. I chose the Latin translation for Eternal Harmony because I felt this piece deserved a weightier title.

It’s strong enough to handle it.

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Kandinsky Sketch for Composition II

Wassily Kandinsky- Sketch for Composition II- 1923



Color is the keyboard, the eyes are the harmonies, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul.

-Wassily Kandinsky



I came across a short film that I would like to share. It’s What Does Colour Sound Like? and was made by modern composer Barnaby Martin. This ten minute film discusses painter Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) as he tried to reconcile the connections between color, music, and emotion in his work throughout his career.

Kandinsky’s work and his writings have always struck chords with me. I know it influenced how I look at works of art, including my own. I often feel and describe paintings in terms of music and, like Kandinsky, view the colors and shapes within a painting as musical elements which are more vital to the work than the actual representation of any one object.

At this point in my preparation for a show, when there is an abundance of new work surrounding me in the studio, the importance of color and form as carriers of emotion becomes clear. Maybe that’s why this film and Kandinsky’s words speak so directly to me this morning.

If you have ten minutes to spare, I urge you to take a look. And a listen.



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Paul_Gauguin_-_D'ou_venons-nous



What still concerns me the most is: am I on the right track, am I making progress, am I making mistakes in art?

–Paul Gauguin



I run this post every few years, usually when I am at a low ebb, when self-doubt is really nagging at me. Right now, as I prep for my upcoming Principle Gallery show, I am bouncing from highs to lows each day which is normal for me in my process. It’s during these times that I ask myself questions like those above that Gauguin posed for himself. However, this morning I feel pretty good. Fairly confident, feeling that my work is very much progressing and evolving in a positive way. But time has taught that by this afternoon I may be racked with doubt about my abilities or my own judgement of them. 

So, I try not to dwell on it and attempt to simply work through it. That. usually provides the answer to my questions and doubts. That’s what I am going to do right now, thank you.



At one of my gallery talks a year or two ago, I was asked about confidence in my work. I can’t remember the exact wording but the questioner seemed to imply that at a certain point in an artist’s evolution doubts fade away and one is absolutely certain and confident in their work.

I think I laughed a bit then tried to let them know that even though I stood up there and seemed confident in that moment, it was mere illusion, that I was often filled with raging doubts about my voice or direction or my ability. I wanted them to know that there were often periods when I lost all confidence in what I was doing, that there were days that turned into weeks where I bounced around in my studio, paralyzed with a giant knot in my gut because it seemed like everything I had done before was suddenly worthless and without content in my mind.

I don’t know that I explained myself well that day or if I can right now. There are moments (and days and weeks) of clarity where the doubts do ease up and I no longer pelt myself with questions that I can’t answer. Kind of like the painting at the top, Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?, the masterpiece from Paul Gauguin. Those are tough questions to answer, especially for a person who has little religious belief.

And maybe that’s the answer. Maybe my work has always served as a type of surrogate belief system, expressing instinctual reactions to these great questions. I don’t really know and I doubt that I ever will. I only hope that the doubts take a break once in a while.

There was another quote I was considering using for this subject from famed art critic Robert Hughes:

The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is given to the less talented as a consolation prize.

I liked the sentiment but it felt kind of self-serving, like saying that being aware aware of your own stupidity is actually a sign of your intelligence. While I would really like to believe that all those times when I realized I was dumb as a stump were actually evidence of my brilliance, I have real doubts about the logic. If it is true, there are a lot of geniuses out there operating under the guise of stupidity and overwhelming self-doubt.

However, if Hughes is correct then I may be one of the the greatest artists of all time and a genius to boot.

But, at the moment, I have grave doubts about that.



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GC Myers- Hiding in Plain Sight

“Hiding in Plain Sight”- Bid for it on the SPCA Fundraiser



What makes a hero? Courage, strength, morality, withstanding adversity? Are these the traits that truly show and create a hero? Is the light truly the source of darkness or vice versa? Is the soul a source of hope or despair? Who are these so called heroes and where do they come from? Are their origins in obscurity or in plain sight?

– Fyodor Dostoevsky



I want to let everyone out there know that the painting above, Hiding in Plain Sight, is currently part of the online auction to benefit our local Chemung County SPCA. This painting is 10″ by 14″ on paper which is matted in a 16″ by 20″ frame. It is valued at $1500 and the current high bid is $1050. It is Auction Item #14.

This virtual fundraising event which takes place tomorrow, Saturday, May 1, runs from 4-7 PM on Facebook Live with the auction for all items ending at 7 PM. It also has a variety of entertaining musical performances though out the event. You can check out or bid on this painting or any of the many donated items by  clicking on this link for its Facebook page, SPCA Virtual Facebook Fundraiser and scrolling down through the items. As I said, this painting is Auction Item #14.

I hope you will take advantage of this opportunity to help out a worthy organization, our SPCA, and perhaps take home an original painting.

For me, this painting has message that aligns well with what Dostoevsky questions above. What makes a hero? What is beauty? What are we seeking? Is it beyond us or is it in plain sight?

My guess is that all that we seek and all that we are or need is always right before us, in plain sight.

So, come out of the shadows and stake your claim to heroism by helping the SPCA continue to help out the animals here in Chemung County. Like so many other things, those in need are often in plain sight, waiting for a helping hand.

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pollock-blue-poles-1953-jpeg



It doesn’t make much difference how the paint is put on as long as something has been said. Technique is just a means of arriving at a statement.

–Jackson Pollock



I am sure there are plenty of artists who would argue this point made by Jackson Pollock. Like religion, many would most likely defend their chosen means of expression as the best.

But I think he is saying there is no one right way, no one technique that ranks above all others in putting forth an artist’s voice and statement. Each artist’s individual voice comes through their own chosen technique. Their statement–their truth or belief, if you will– arrives via that technique.

I know that’s been my experience when I am looking at art. I am generally looking for a statement of some sort from an artist in their work, something that displays their own truth regardless of how it is expressed. It doesn’t have to be a world shaking or any sort of grand statement. Just something that tells me about this artist’s situation in the world, how they see and feel it. I am mainly looking for something that makes me feel the need to look at it, to engage with it.

It can be in any style, stretching from the most refined painting created by a classically schooled artist down to an untrained folk artist who uses their local mud as their painting medium because that is all that is at hand. So long as each is earnestly created (and that is an important distinction) and provokes a true emotional response, any and all technique is valid.

To bring it back to the religious analogy, the earnest belief of the lone person sitting in a decrepit hut somewhere may be as valid as that of a priest in the grandest cathedral.

Art, like religion, is diminished when we fail to see the validity of all other voices.



This ran several years ago. Maybe it’s my own attempt to validate my own work which doesn’t fully fall in any traditional category. I like to think it’s more about validating anyone who has the need to express but feels like their lack of training or materials diminishes in some way. Honest expression always rules the day.

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