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Posts Tagged ‘Red Roofs’

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The masses do not see the Sirens. They do not hear songs in the air. Blind, deaf, stooping, they pull at their oars in the hold of the earth. But the more select, the captains, harken to a Siren within them… and royally squander their lives with her.

–Nikos Kazantzakis

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I am still working on the Multitudes paintings with their masses of eyeless faces. It’s work that is consuming, acting as a siren of sorts, drawing me to it and keeping me from moving on to other things. It is much like author Nikos Kazantzakis describes above.

It reminds me also of a newer painting shown at the top that was finished just before jumping into the Multitudes pieces. It is a 24″ by 18″ canvas that I am titling Call of the Siren. It incorporates the Red Tree and the Red Roofs along with a band of color at the bottom that represents the sea.

This bottom section has a pattern that seen with the vertical piers of the dock creates a pattern that feels Greek to me. It wasn’t intended and I can’t say if this pattern, as I see it, is really Greek in origin. But it feels that way to me and perhaps brings the thought of the Sirens of Greek mythology to mind when I look at this piece.

Another thing I note in this painting is the the massed buildings of the town seem to form a fence It is another barrier, beyond the sea journey that brought them here, that must be overcome for those who are called by the Sirens. And once one has made it over wide waters and through treacherous cities, there is still a hill to be climbed.

The Sirens never makes things easy.

I know this to be true– I’ve royally squandered much of my life chasing their song.

 

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“The sun –the bright sun, that brings back, not light alone, but new life, and hope, and freshness to man–burst upon the crowded city in clear and radiant glory. Through costly-coloured glass and paper-mended window, through cathedral dome and rotten crevice, it shed its equal ray.”

― Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist

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I guess it’s wishful thinking to be discussing a painting based on light and warmth on a day when we are just beginning to feel the brunt of the bitter cold that has swept down from the polar regions. It’s below 0° right now and it won’t get much above that for the next few days around here. Brrr! So the hope contained in a rising sun and the light and heat from it becomes something to really think about.

The painting above is a new one, a 24″ by 24″ canvas, that I am calling Reaching For The Light. The jumble of upward rising buildings has a new addition to go with the regular roofs and spires–chimneys. This new element gives the effect of an appendage reaching upward from each building to get to the sunlight.

I like that feeling that it gives.

I thought the descriptive snip above from Dickens’ Oliver Twist fit this painting. I often have images based on Dickens’ vivid descriptions of cityscapes from Victorian England in mind when I am working on these type of paintings that are cramped and crowded with buildings. His words created an imagery that stuck firmly in my mind from when I first read them so many years ago.

It was a place of darkness, soot, and shadows. The idea of the sun cutting through the grayness with its cleansing light and warmth is one of hope, one of moving to a better situation beyond the squalor and despair of the moment.

That’s how I am seeing this painting with the Red Tree serving as the symbolic central figure acting out this idea of grasping for the light.

So, on this coldly bitter day, I have to find hope in the same sun that we have come to fear as the ever increasing effects of global climate change become apparent.

Stay warm, folks.

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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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