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Posts Tagged ‘Red Roofs’

I have been looking at this painting quite a bit lately. It’s from back in 2010 and is titled Raise Your Eyes. Featured in my 2012 exhibit at the Fenimore Art Museum, it’s a piece that I find myself coming back to examine quite often.

It’s different in many ways from the larger body of my work. For one thing, there are plenty of windows and doors, things I seldom use in my regular work where I prefer the blank  anonymity of windowless and doorless houses. This painting is all detail, even though its not extremely fine detail.

In some ways it reminds me of my Archaeology series, mainly because there is so many small touches to examine beyond the greater whole. I think that’s why I come back to this painting so often. Every new look reveals something I haven’t noticed since I first painted it. There are so many individual decisions here that dictate how the painting comes together, how it reads and expresses itself. Each window and door, each ledge and building top is a decision. Looking at them closer makes me appreciate the thought process behind it.

I mention  this painting today because I am working on a new piece that is based loosely on it. At least, it goes back to the process behind it and fills the canvas with thousands of small but vital decisions. It’s been exciting to revisit and I like what I have so far. Keep an eye out for it in the near future.

I also thought it might be a good painting to remind you to support your local small businesses on this Small Business Saturday. Every artist and every gallery owner is a small businessperson that rolls much of their income back into their respective local economies. Your patronage of artists and galleries. as well as so many other small local businesses, is vital to your local community.

I know that I can’t do this, can’t maintain a career as an artist without your support. And I am deeply grateful for that support and hope you’ll continue to patronize the galleries that show my or anybody else’s work.

Art is more than decoration, more than a product. It is an expression of humanity and a message that, in its best form, communicates through time. It is who we are.

And that is worth supporting.

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Some days reveal their moods pretty quickly. Today is one of those days– bone cold with a slate gray sky, the first dusting of this winter’s snow on the ground. Feels somber and a little sad, even mournful, just to look out the studio window. There is a group of deer milling around out there, moving with a slowness that makes me think they feel that same somberness, sensing that the good times of summer and fall are past and that ice and snow will soon be a constant for them.

One of the first songs I clicked on this morning fell right into this mode of feeling. It’s Down By the River from Neil Young. Released in 1969, it’s a song that has been covered by a lot of people and I was close to using a live performance of it by Norah Jones and Young but the original just has the right amount of anguished beauty for this morning.

The paintings I am including here are from back in 2009 and doesn’t really adhere exactly to the mode of this post or the song but something about it seems to fit. It’s   a small group of work that dealt with tightly clusters of red roofed structures hugging a a river or canal, often with no sky visible, just a jumble of roofs and buildings. It was work that I really liked and looking at it this morning while listening to this song brought forward a whole slew of concepts that I would like to soon pursue in this same vein, perhaps on a larger scale.

Anyway, give a listen and have a good day…

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Well, the work for my show, Self Determination, has been delivered to the West End Gallery where Jesse and Lin will hang the show within the next day or so for previews until next Friday’s opening reception.

It’s always a big relief in the day or so after getting the show out of the studio and into the gallery, just in getting the task done and out of the way. Earlier in my career that relief was short lived as I would be extremely nervous in the time between delivery and the actual show. I would always second guess my decisions and fret over things over which I had no control. Any confidence I had built up during the actual painting process would evaporate completely.

But time and experience have mellowed that feeling. I don’t think I am any more confident or certain about the work that I do than I was in those earlier days. But I know now that once the work is done, the die is cast so there’s little I can do about anything from that point on. It is beyond me so I must accept whatever comes.

And that makes the time before a show much easier to tolerate, allowing me to do other things and reexamine the work for the show.

Take for instance the painting at the top of the page, Ask the Night, which is part of the show.  It’s a piece that has a great meditative quality for myself. Maybe it is the calming effect of the blues and purples. Maybe it’s the cool placidity of moon and the gentle rays emanating from  it. Or maybe it is the way in which the waterway opens itself to the sky above.

The title comes from  the idea that we are surrounded each night by the sheer mystery and magnitude of the universe. It is a daunting thought, one that puts us in our place, exposing how little we really know beyond our limited reach. We like to think that the universe revolves around us but in the night we realize that it barely acknowledges us except for the veiled promise of answers to all our questions, if only we could somehow ask.

And in this painting I see that lone house on horizon holding an inhabitant who looks out on the sky with an existential desire to know, to have their questions answered. And in that sky, in that calming moon, they see the possibility of an answer.

So they summon their courage and they ask the night.

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GC Myers- Between the Sea and the SunThis new painting, a commissioned 36″ by 24″ piece that is on its way to California, is called Between the Sea and the Sun.  It’s a piece that I very much enjoyed painting , allowing the composition to grow in its own manner.  It helped clear my mind and drew me back into my former self, at least in terms of confidence.  I am thankful for that and eager to move on to other new work that has been forming in my mind.

The title is somewhat self explanatory in describing where we reside in this world.  There’s a certain sense of intimacy in those words but there is also one of being caught between two vast and mysterious entities representing nature.  For all the knowledge we have gained through the ages we are still often at the mercy of the great forces of nature.  We appear to be nothing more than temporary guests in this mysterious world.

And that is a humbling thing or at least it should be.

There are, of course, those with the hubris and certitude to believe that we are the masters of this world, that they have the knowledge that allows them to do what they will to this space between the sea and the sun.  But knowledge is a tricky thing.  It is often an evolving and changing thing.

And it is not wisdom.  Wisdom exists in a province separated from knowledge.

And maybe what I am hoping this piece represents– a place where we value the wisdom in respecting the world around us.

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GC Myers  Bring the Light smallThis is a new painting, 18″ by 18″ on canvas, that was finished a couple of weeks back  titled Bring the Light.  It features the Red Tree high atop a promontory  amid a sunburst of light, across open fields from two groups of Red Roofed houses, one still yet to receive the light.

It’s an interesting piece, one that has me studying it quite a few times a day here in the studio.  On one viewing, there seems to be a lot going on here but then  it begins to read simply  as three wavy bands of color– the sky down to the tops of the green-leafed trees then down to the purples and blues of the foreground.  The road acts as a connecting ribbon and the houses and Red Tree as staple-like connectors, all holding the piece together.

On another viewing, it appears more narrative, like a storyline crafted from the description in the first paragraph, and on the next viewing seems to be a study in depth into the picture, with multiple planes and receding lines.

It could be confusing but the central focus of the Red Tree framed in light pulls it together for me, creating a harmonious feel and unifying the many disparate elements of the picture.  That’s a role and a purpose that fits the Red Tree well in much of the work, this piece included.

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GC Myers In the Time of DreamingI’ve been looking for a while at this new painting, a 24″ by 30″ canvas.  It has a calming effect for myself.  Maybe it’s the placid blues and violets or the softness of the moon’s light–I don’t know yet.  I just find myself letting go and being pulled into the central geometry of this piece, that triangle formed by the moon, the Red Tree and the group of Red Roofed houses atop the rise.  There’s a sense of mystery in it from which I can’t look away.

I call this piece In the Time of Dreaming.  Maybe it’s the mystery aspect that brings the title to mind, in way we sometimes find our own dreams– puzzling but somehow pointing to something that we just can’t quite put a finger on.

I also thought of the Australian Aborigines’ Dreamtime when the title came to mind.  Their Dreamtime is the basis for their entire belief system, the eternal time in which creation occurred and where the individual exists before and after their worldly life.  It is the time where their ancestry exists as one resulting in their belief that they accumulate worldly knowledge through the wisdom gained by their ancestors.

This results in a knowledge of the world that is passed down through word and song.  They can travel great distances through their lands guided by the Songlines,  paths that are traveled while singing specific songs that point out direction and landmarks.  It’s a beautiful system that very much ties the Aborigines to their ancestry and the land in which they live.  The late Bruce Chatwin wrote an interesting book, The Songlines, in the 80’s that gave a great account of this culture and belief system.

But whatever the reasoning, conscious and unconscious, behind it, I find myself continuing to look at this piece.  And dreaming.

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I’ve written here before about how I find the color blue an intoxicant.  When my nose is to the canvas and it is all that I can see, it has a way of making me feel that it is the only color in my world.  It’s a very satisfying and mollifying effect and, if I am not wary, I can find myself using blue tints to the exclusion of all others.  Because of this wariness, I try to only sporadically break out the blues.  But even with this watchful effort, I find the addictive pull of the color very strong in some pieces.  This new painting is such a case.

Called Blue Dance of Dawn, it’s a 10″ by 30″ canvas that employs two of my familiar icons, the Red Tree and the the Red Roofs.  They, however,  feel secondary to the predominance of the color blue here.  They serve as warmer counterpoints to the coolness of the blue and signify awakening  to me in this scene.  But the feel of this piece is dictated by the calm harmony of the blues.

I find this piece very placid with that  kind of satisfying effect that one sometimes has in the best dreams, that feeling of total understanding and acceptance of the universe.  That wonderful feeling that fades so quickly once you open your eyes and realize that it was only a dream, the details suddenly fuzzing over.  Maybe that’s what this painting represents– that idealized version of the world in those dreams just before we are awakened to the reality of the moment. That fleeting feeling of grace, seemingly within grasp then gone.

Let me think that over…

 

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