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Posts Tagged ‘Recent Painting’

Sometimes I start paintings and somewhere along the way the piece loses its momentum. Or I lose the thread that was initially carrying me along when I started  or I just lose interest in it. The piece above on the left (sorry for the poor image!) might well be an example of all three of these things.

I started this piece a couple of years back and it seemed to just run into a brick wall. I felt like I had painted myself into a corner and didn’t see it going anywhere forward. There was a lot that I like in it. The sky, for instance, and the color of the field. But the way they came together didn’t speak to me and I felt like doing anymore would render an acceptable painting but that would be about it– acceptable.

And who wants to just do acceptable work? That’s not much of an aspiration, especially when so much of my work depends on creating my own interest and excitement in the work.

I thought there should be more to this painting than what it was showing but just couldn’t see it. So it sat. And sat and sat for month after month. I would pick it up periodically and examine it but it still had nothing to say to me as it was. It was irritating.

Then the other day I decided I was going to simply paint over it. Black it out of existence. It wouldn’t bug me anymore, at least. But the idea of blacking it out made me think about altering the whole idea of the painting. Maybe I could save that sky and incorporate it into something different.

So it moved from a landscape to a seascape. And it seems to have worked as I am pleased with the result thus far.

There is a sense of the scale and power of open water in this piece, maybe more than I have portrayed in past similarly themed paintings. I am not a sailor in any way, never been on a small boat out of sight of land but that feeling of the immensity of the ocean is one that I can easily imagine. There must be both a thrill and a terror in it. And that’s what I am getting– fear and exhilaration– from this piece as the small sailboat teeters on on the curl of a large wave.

That dichotomy of emotion, the yin/yang thing of fear and exhilaration in this case, is something often try to find in my work. And it seems to be strong here. So, maybe the years that piece spent being shuffled around my studio before its transformation were worth it.

I’ll be looking at this one for a bit longer…

 

 

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“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”

― T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets

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This morning, I am finally coming to the end of preparations for my show at the Principle Gallery that opens a week from today, next Friday, June 1. Finishing touches this morning and loading for delivery later in the day. This point in the process generally brings a sense of relief even though there still is much ahead before I can fully relax.

I have had a few chances to finally look at this group of work as a whole and can say that I am truly excited to see it hanging in the gallery. I may have buried myself more in this body of work than any group in quite some time, maybe as a way of seeking sanctuary from the problems of the outer world. Perhaps the title of this show, Haven, was self-fulfilling.

I didn’t concern myself with trying to meet the expectations of others, didn’t worry about including work that might be directed towards anyone besides myself. I concentrated only on color and form and textures and mood. The colors are deep and dark. The forms have an organic simplicity. The textures create their own narratives beneath the picture plane. All of this comes together to create a sense of mood within these paintings that I think may be more consistent and palpable than any show of mine in some time.

In short, I think it’s a very strong show.

The painting at the top, Light and Wisdom, is one painting from the show. I think this piece, a 16″ by 20″ canvas, is emblematic of this show’s feel and look, possessing all of the qualities I listed above.

I love the lines below it from T.S. Eliot, feeling that they express so well what I see in this painting. Life often feels like a constant search for some vague object– knowledge, wisdom, love, experience, etc.– that will make us somehow whole. Yet, as is often the case, we only reach wholeness within ourselves, in that place where the journey began. Maybe that is why I chose this painting for this bit of verse from Eliot– it has a sense of wholeness that has been ultimately fulfilled by realizing that the answer was in itself.

The answer, it seems, is always at hand.

 

 

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GC Myers-- Into the Clear AirI said to my soul, be still and wait without hope, for hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love, for love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith, but the faith and the love are all in the waiting. Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought: So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.

T.S. Eliot

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I’ve read these lines from T.S. Eliot before but it was only this morning that I equated them to the creative process.  Well, so far as I see it in my own experience.  You see, you can struggle to describe in words how things come about, how things finally appear.

You might describe an inner process of visualizations and intricate thought synthesis, of pulling deep emotions to the surface and so on.  Maybe that is so but I think it is not really part of the process but is rather an interpretation of what you believe happened.

I think the real creative aspect occurs in a way much like the words above describe– in the stillness and darkness of a meditative void.  The mind emptied and all thoughts of the past and the future are set aside.  No hopes or desires.  Just a quiet dark blankness that waits in endless patience for the first crackling of light to pierce through.

But there are times when the light doesn’t come and you lose patience in the waiting.  So you start without the light and occasionally, nearing the end of the process, you find that your mind has emptied and the light has caught up with you.  What you are looking at it something quite unlike what you thought it might be when you struggled to begin.

I know this all sounds pretty esoteric, pretty out there and maybe it won’t make a lick of sense to most who somehow slog through to this point. But really it comes down to the idea that you clear the mind and let it just happen.

If it happens at all.  Sometimes the light doesn’t find you.  But on those times when it does, it is like the freshest clear air has wafted over you and left you with a feeling of ethereal lightness. The clearest air.  And I guess that is why I keep doing this and probably will until the day I die.

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The painting above is a 16″ by 20″ canvas titled Into the Clear Air and is included in Part of the Plan, my show that opens tomorrow, Saturday, October 29, at the Kada Gallery in Erie.  The reception begins at 6 PM.  Hope you can make it!

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GC Myers- The Figurehead-copyNever doubt that a small number of dedicated people can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has.
Margaret Mead

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I love the words above from anthropologist Margaret Mead. I think they are empowering and a reminder of our innate ability to shape the world.

Too often we fail to exercise our own power to change the world because we think that we have little power to do so.  We all too often see ourselves as unseen players on a huge stage, that our existence is noticed by no one.

But what we fail to understand is that we change the world by our very existence.  It comes through the way we carry and express ourselves, in the manner in which our actions and words affect those close to us.

We create the patterns for our young, molding the way in which they view and act within the world.  Our actions and words set the tone for their future, building a sense of  openness and possibility or one of angry pessimism in them.  Calm words, thoughtful reactions and a strong resolve to do what is right can change the world in a small way.  It can only make it better.

And this attitude will attract others and together their power to affect changes increases dramatically.  That is how changes comes to this world.  It starts with one person who creates an atmosphere where anything seems possible, especially those things that stem from positive attributes.

I see this new piece, The Figurehead, a 5″ by 27″ painting on paper which is part of my upcoming Kada Gallery show, as an embodiment of this sentiment.  The Red Tree here displays a graceful quality that holds sway over all those who are within in its sight, serving as a symbol of inspiration and strength.

I think we are all figureheads of a sort.  We all hope to represent certain ideals and qualities and ideally they are apparent in how we present ourselves to the outside world.  So it is vital to remember that we all in some way stand alone on a rise where we are visible to those around us.  Our words and actions matter in a large way.

They can change the world…

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GC Myers- Where the Circle MeetsI am calling this new painting, an 18″ by 24″ canvas, Where the Circle Meets.  I am thinking of that part of a circle where the beginning starts and the end terminates, doing so constantly and endlessly through cycle after cycle until one is almost indistinguishable from the other.  The beginning contains the end and the  end contains a beginning.

I tend to think of us going through our lives in this sort of karmic cycle, one where we endlessly loop round and round through days and experiences as we go along.  Hopefully, as each cycle comes around we take something from that last turn to make the next one easier and more fulfilling.  Perhaps we shed bad intentions and selfishness.  Or look away from the dark and toward the light.

And I do see this in this painting.  There is a movement from darker to lighter tones as you move into this piece.  Around the bend  in the stream, the sun hovers above the horizon, bringing light which is shown in the form of pulsing beams of energy.

We live our lives in cycles and with that comes the opportunity to know that each cycle’s ending holds the promise of a new beginning.  The trick is in recognizing this and using learned knowledge to make the next one better from the beginning.

I may not be putting this very eloquently this morning.  Perhaps I am too tired or my mind is a bit fuzzy this morning. But regardless of that, I hope you’ll take a look and try to see what I am saying with this piece.

This painting is included in my show, Part of the Plan, which opens at the Kada Gallery in Erie, PA on October 29th.

 

 

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GC Myers- Breathing RoomOctober and the rampant heat of summer is finally letting go.  There’s a little color coming into the trees but it seems muted against the slate grayness of the clouds that are bringing us some much needed rain.  The change of seasons seems to be upon us and soon the green of the grass will be a bleached beige and the green clad trees will shed their leaves exposing the bone grey structures of the trees.  Color fades and everything takes on a the colors of the earth– shades of gray and brown.

This can make many folks a bit melancholy as they wistfully long for the sun and light of those longer summer days.  They want to flee the somber tones of the landscape around them.  They get the urge for going.

I understand this feeling.  But I more often than not find myself relishing this change of season, the more essential feel of this time of year.   I think the somberness of the colors outside the studio help me express the colors I am seeing inside and allows me to use my own urge for going in a constructive manner.  I believe that piece at the top is a good example.  It’s called Breathing Room. and is an 18″ by 24″ canvas. It could easily be called Urge For Going  as the path moves through a deeply colored foreground toward a light-filled and expansive horizon.

That, of course, brings us to this week’s Sunday morning musical selection.  It’s a very early version of Urge For Going from Joni Mitchell.  This is taken from a Canadian television program, Let’s Sing Out, that ran from 1963-1967.  It was broadcast from various Canadian college campuses and featured many folk performers of the day.  Joni Mitchell first appeared on the show in 1965 using her maiden name, Joni Anderson.  This particular performance using the more familiar Mitchell is from October of 1966 at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario.  I think it’s a beautiful rendition of the song, especially for a fifty year old television clip.

So give a listen and consider your own urge for going.  Have a great day.

Oh, the painting, Breathing Room is part of my upcoming show, Part of the Plan, which opens October 29 at the Kada Gallery in Erie, PA.

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GC Myers- Into New Territory smIf your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything, it is open to everything. In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s mind there are few.

Shunryu Suzuki

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I was looking for some words to go with this new painting, Into New Territory, that is part of my show now hanging at the West End Gallery.  I came across this quote from the late Zen monk and teacher Shunryu Suzuki that expressed very much what I was seeing in this painting.

I see this painting as being about moving out from that which you know, examining the possibilities that open up to you when you dare to move beyond your comfort zone.

When I read Suzuki’s words, I began thinking about my own experience as a painter.  In the beginning when everything was new and my knowledge consisted of much less than it does today, every day was filled with new discoveries that opened up wider and wider vistas of possibility.  There seemed to be no boundary, no limit to where it might take me.

But as one gains more knowledge and becomes more “expert,” one begins to set limits on their possibility.  They learn hard lessons from failures and often even stop looking in that direction as a future avenue of creativity.  Their focus becomes narrower and narrower.  The possibilities that seemed endless as a beginner seem much more limited and defined.  The “what is” is greater but the “what might be” seems to be fading into the mist.

The trick is in retaining some of that  beginner’s exuberance and its naive openness to all possibility, and to find a way to incorporate the gained knowledge that came to you along the way.  In the context of this painting, it means straying out into the open and daring to look in all directions.  It means setting aside all fear of failure and the encumbrances of the “what is” to move toward an endless horizon.

It’s so simple a thought and so difficult to realize.  But one must try and try and try.

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