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Posts Tagged ‘Red Tree’

GC Myers-  Una Semper 2021



The title of this new 20″ by 30″ painting is Una Semper which translates from the Latin as Always One. It’s part of the group that will soon be heading down to the Principle Gallery for my annual solo show there. This year’s show is called Between Here and There and opens June 4.

This would be what I would call one of my Baucis and Philemon pieces based on the Greek myth that I have documented here on a number of occasions. I have done a number of iterations on this theme over the past decade or so and they remain among my favorite pieces to paint. There something in the dynamic of the two trees intertwining and pushing upward that stirs a feeling within me.

For some reason, the pair tends to bring most any composition to a satisfying fulfillment. These pieces always feel complete and self-contained. And I like that.

This piece has these elements and has a brightness and pop that is really appealing to my own sensibilities. It just seems alive which is a big deal for me.

I thought I’d pair this new piece with this week’s Sunday Morning musical selection. which is from the 2005 album, Devils & Dust from Bruce Springsteen. It was his third acoustic album, and like the other two, Nebraska and The Ghost of Tom Joad, remains a favorite of mine with memorable songs throughout, including the title track.  This song is titled All I’m Thinkin’ About and features a falsetto over a driving melody. I am always surprised at how effective his falsetto is in his songs. This is one of those songs that always grabs my attention when it comes on while I am working.

Okay, got to get going because there is still lots to be done as I prep for this show. No rest for the wicked as they like to say. I would like to believe it’s the other way around — no rest for the righteous— but that might just be quibbling.



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GC Myers- The Peaceful Silence sm

“The Peaceful Stillness”



I want to be quiet this morning. No, I need, not want, to be quiet this morning.

Need to be quiet.

It’s one of those days when I wake up in the dark of the early morning. My dreams, which evaporate as soon as my feet touch the cool floor, have somehow dashed any facade of confidence I may have been wearing and I am already a bit glum before I have even seen the first light of morning. I slip on my jeans that are covered with paint and as I slide my right leg in, my toe catches a small tear in the pant leg. For some reason, my jeans always tear in this same spot, just above the right knee.

But this morning my toe catches that tear and in the darkness I hear it rip even more. I feel anger and frustration layering on top the glum blueness I woke up with and I want to just let my toe rip the hell out the jeans then throw them across the room in the dark. And scream so hard that my diaphragm aches and my throat burns from the effort.

But I don’t. I restrain myself and just stand there in the dark stillness, taking a long breath of cool air. Then I calmly ease my leg into the torn jeans. My eyes adjust a bit to the dark and I can see out the window that morning light is beginning to sift through the trees. The sun will soon be up.

I tell myself there’s still time for hope. I just need to be quiet and let it find its way here this morning.

I make my way along the path through the woods to the studio and I feel much of the frustration and anger slip away. I am still a bit glum and blue but lying on the kitchen floor with my Hobie, the faithful and loving cat with which I share my space, helps. Her loud purrs of satisfaction are like an elixir. I am tempted to click on the news to catch up and immediately turn it off after about 45 seconds of it make my blood pressure tick up a few notches.

I need quiet but I need some music. I remember this piece from the great jazz pianist Bill Evans, Peace Piece. I put it on and its quietude and gentle tone bring me back. And the music keeps playing and I know I have dodged a bullet of sorts. My blue is okay now. It’s like an old grouchy friend who I know how to deal with.

I can manage this. All I need is some quietness, some light, some hope.

I am showing a new piece at the top, one that I call The Peaceful Stillness. It’s 18″ by 24″ on aluminum panel and is part of Between Here and There, my solo show at the Principle Gallery which opens on June 4.

I wasn’t planning on writing this blogpost for this painting but it seems to work with it. I know I felt an easing of my angst and frustration on seeing this painting. It mirrored my attempts to find that quietness within. So, while I should probably talk about the process or meaning or symbolism in it, I am going to let it stand as is this morning.

It did what I wanted it to do. No, what I needed it to do.

Here’s Peace Piece from Bill Evans if you need some help on your end.



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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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GC Myers- Pillars of Wisdom- Wait and Hope sm



“There is neither happiness nor misery in the world; there is only the comparison of one state with another, nothing more. He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience supreme happiness. We must have felt what it is to die, Morrel, that we may appreciate the enjoyments of life.
” Live, then, and be happy, beloved children of my heart, and never forget, that until the day God will deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is contained in these two words, ‘Wait and Hope.”

Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo



The painting above is another that is included in my show, Between Here and There, that opens June 4 at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria, VA. It is 12″ by 16″ and is also painted on an aluminum panel.

It is titled Pillars of Wisdom: Wait and Hope. This was inspired, in part, by the excerpt above from the classic The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. As I was painting it, I began call this piece Pillars of Wisdom but after it was completed I came across this bit from Dumas. The idea of seeing these being trees named Hope and Wait and that they represent the totality of human wisdom seemed perfect.

So many of us live with a certainty and assurance that is beyond me. We have yet to learn all there is to know, all the answers to the infinite number of questions that hover over us like so many stars in the night sky. Perhaps one day we will fully be bathed in the light that is all wisdom, but until then all we have are those two words: Wait and Hope.

Hope waits for the light to come and Wait hopes for it.

Wait and Hope. What more do you need to know?



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Fanny spoke her feelings. “Here’s harmony!” said she; “here’s repose! Here’s what may leave all painting and all music behind, and what may tranquillise every care, and lift the heart to rapture! When I look out on such a night as this, I feel as if there could be neither wickedness nor sorrow in the world; and there certainly would be less of both if the sublimity of Nature were more attended to, and people were carried more out of themselves by contemplating such a scene.

― Jane Austen, Mansfield Park



GC Myers- Tranquilium smThis is a new painting that is included in my new solo show, Between Here and There, which opens June 4 at the Principle Gallery. It is titled Tranquilium and is 10″ by 20″ painted on an aluminum panel.

I have recently started painting on aluminum composite panels which are two layers of aluminum sandwiched over a polyethylene core. They are rigid, acid-free and extremely durable which means that a painting done on one of these panels should be long-lasting.

The durability and  stability of my work is something I have thought about since my earliest days as an artist. While I have no control over how my work moves into the future after it leaves my hands, I can at least give it a chance to survive while maintaining the look and integrity of the original painting.

I don’t know if my work will live on but if so, I want it to look as good as possible. I believe work painted on these panels have the best chance at doing just that.

Plus, I like painting on them, Every surface– canvas, wood panel, or paper– has its own feel under the brush. A stretched canvas has an appeal for me in that there is often a drum-like feel and cadence as the brush bounces off the taut surface. It adds to the meditative quality of the process. Paper has a softness that comes through even when it is covered with multiple layers of gesso.

Much like wood or masonite panels but far more stable and unaffected by moisture, the aluminum panels have a unmoving solidity that lets me know how my brush will react as it meets the surface. That helps for my process. I know what is going to happen at that moment. And that’s a good thing.

This piece, Tranquilium, has satisfied something within me. It has a stillness and placidity that feels timeless so it’s natural that I would like to think that it will live a longer life than my own. Hopefully, it has something in it, perhaps that which Jane Austen’s Fanny described above, that will speak to someone in the future as it does to me in the present moment. Lifting the panel with this painting, feeling its weight and solidity and the way the image comes off the surface, it certainly seems like it might.

I will never know but at least I am giving it a chance.

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GC Myers- In Retreat (Shelter)



When I flew over the Atlas Mountains in a plane, I realized that their formation-through erosion, geological dramas, the action of winds-was completely independent of our moral anxieties; man is in a kind of cyclone; he builds solid houses to protect and shelter his heart. Outside, nature is nothing but indifference, even terror.

― Le Corbusier, When the Cathedrals Were White



As I have written recently, I am neck deep in the  work right now as I prepare for my upcoming solo show, Between Here and There, at the Principle Gallery. It opens on June 4 at the Alexandria, VA gallery that has graciously hosted my solo outings there for the past 22 years.

I am generally excited about each show as it nears but the anticipation to get this work out in the public, out in open air, feels even greater this year. Maybe it’s the events of this past year– a pandemic, an insurrection, the death of my father, a hobbled ankle that has constantly nagged at me, etc– but I felt somewhat distracted in my work over the past year or so. I feel that the work from this time was where I wanted it to be but it came with great effort and a focus that wasn’t always there.

The work from the past several months has been quite unlike that. I am in the midst of a great groove where I feel focused and locked in. It’s one of those rare and wonderful times where the work is coming easily, one piece throwing me instantly into the next, to the point where I will set aside a painting that is 3/4 complete so I can begin the next while the focus and rhythm is still resonating in my brain. I have several such paintings still awaiting completion around the studio as I sit here this morning.

It’s a wonderful feeling, one that I can’t fully explain to you. With this focus, the outside world is diminished, almost blocked out. The work becomes a sort of shelter, a retreat from the darkness and outrage of the world beyond my studio walls. Of the many benefits that being an artist offers, that might be the most valuable for me, the thing that keeps me afloat through thick and thin. The shelter of this work is a life saver.

So good to have it back. I only hope that the show lives up to the feeling. It’s at this point each year that I begin to worry that I am delusional, that my proximity to the work and the process makes me incapable of actually seeing it for what it is.

Contact intoxication, maybe?

But the benefit of being in such a groove is that the work engrosses me so much that it keeps me from fully fixating on this uncertainty. How it is received seems insignificant when it’s like this.

Now that’s the shelter I need.

This leads me to the small piece shown at the top, a 12″ by 12″ canvas that is part of the show, one of the first pieces completed. It set things in motion. It is titled In Retreat (Shelter) which only seems appropriate this morning. I could easily see that Red Roofed structure as my studio or myself as one of those Red Trees that seem to be seeking shelter behind it.

I am going to link this image and post to a song whose chorus has periodically entered my mind over the past 30 or so years. It’s fittingly titled Shelter and is from Lone Justice from back in the mid 1980’s. Led by vocalist Maria McKee, they were very hot for a few years but they couldn’t hold together long enough to reach the potential that so many saw in them. They disbanded in 1987 and Maria McKee went on to a solo career. I thought their two albums were very good and they were regulars on my turntable back in the day. But honestly, I haven’t heard any of their music for probably twenty five years though, as I said, the chorus from this songs pops into my head every now and then. It was produced and cowritten with McKee by Steve Van Zandt, who is known as Miami Steve with Springsteen’s E Street Band, Little Steven with his Disciples of Soul or with his Underground Garage Sirius show, or as Tony’s consigliere Silvio Dante on The Sopranos. You can hear his influence in this song.

Give a listen. Maybe it will help you find some shelter of your own or at least have its chorus pop into your head someday in the future.



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GC Myers 2021 Work a sm



Nothing whets the intelligence more than a passionate suspicion, nothing develops all the faculties of an immature mind more than a trail running away into the dark.

― Stefan Zweig, The Burning Secret



The new painting above is part of my June solo show, Between Here and There, at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria. Its title, The Burning Secret, is borrowed from a Stefan Zweig short story. The Austrian Zweig (1881-1942) was a giant of literature in the 1920s and 30’s, his books among the biggest best-sellers and most translated of the time. But he has not come forward in history with the same impact as some of his contemporaries such as Hermann Hesse and Thomas Mann, though there was new interest in his work after director Wes Anderson made Zweig’s The Grand Budapest Hotel into a wonderful film.

I am not going to get into Zweig here but the short excerpt form the story at the top seemed to fit so well with what I was seeing in this new painting. The forest of Red Trees has a feeling of danger and menace yet also beckons. I know that, as one possessed of an immature mind despite my quickly advancing age, that the danger possessed in mystery is an attractive thing for this unnurtured sort of mind.

You know you stay out of that place but there is something in there that needs to be found, some mystery to be exposed.

The fractured sky above appears to shed light and clues and the house seems to almost stare into the dark of the forest. Though it is apparently night the light on the fields is surreally mysterious and shadowy.

Yet, even with its evident potential for peril, there is something in this that tells me that the core of this mystery, the secret waiting to be uncovered, is not to be feared. The fear only comes in not knowing which allows the immature mind to run wild.

The more mature part of the mind feels that behind the mystery there may be answers. Perhaps even answers to the larger questions that have plagued one’s mind.

It makes me want to follow that path, that trail running away into the dark.

Who knows what lies beyond?



The Burning Secret is 13″ by 19″ on paper and is matted and framed in an 18″ by 24″ frame. It is included in my solo show, Between Here and There, which opens June 4, 2021 at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria, VA.

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20210331_055939 The Memory of That Time sm



I can only note that the past is beautiful because one never realises an emotion at the time. It expands later, and thus we don’t have complete emotions about the present, only about the past.

― Virginia Woolf, Diary, March 18, 1925



This new painting at the top is titled The Memory of All That and is part of my upcoming solo show, Between Here and There, at the Principle Gallery. The show opens June 4, 2021.

This piece has held the feeling of deep memory for me since it was completed. Maybe it’s the burnished edge of darkness that runs around its perimeter, like looking through an old film cell that has aged and darkened. You hold it up to the light and the brightness from behind brings the central image to life once more while seeming to put the peripheral imagery in shadows. They’re still there, just not as distinct.

The Virginia Woolf quote at the top seems especially applicable here. I see the Red Tree taking on  the role of a being who returns to the their past, gazing at the old homestead. The memories that flood in take on an emotional feel that is often deeper and more pronounced than was evident at the actual moment being remembered.

The present is often incomplete. It sometimes lacks the context which comes from pertinent future events that add the emotional depth and flavor we feel when we later revisit it as memory.

I know that this is something I often see in my own memories. Even those that had emotion at the moment in which they occurred are often deeper and many times felt with completely different emotions upon recall. For example, take some incidents of the petulant anger of youth. I might remember the initial incident and anger but the memory now might contain a bit of embarrassment at my lack of self-control, naivete and wrongheadedness.

Or what might have been a fun moment then now contains feelings of familial love or even a sense of loss.

As I said, the present is seldom complete. And future events– changes within ourselves and in the circumstances our lives–will continue to change our memory of it.

That’s what I am reminded of in this piece. The Red Tree will grow larger and its perspective will change, as will the homestead and everything around it. Our memories sometimes seem like they are set in concrete but they often shift and change in ways that we barely perceive.

After all, we live in an impermanent world. Memory sometimes gives us the feeling of permanence, even though it may only illusory.

Okay, enough. I have lots to do today and its time to get to work.



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GC Myers- From a Distance  2020

“From a Distance”- At the West End Gallery



Wanted to just share a poem and an animation of it that features it being read by the poet, Gregory Orr. I chose this one because of a line in it — No purpose but what we make— that made me think about the nature of purpose. We often speak of finding purpose in ourselves but is it something to be found? Or might it be something that we create for ourselves, something that we actually choose?

I have to think on that for a bit. In the meantime, please take a look at the short reading of the poem.



This is what was bequeathed us

This is what was bequeathed us:
This earth the beloved left
And, leaving,
Left to us.

No other world
But this one:
Willows and the river
And the factory
With its black smokestacks.

No other shore, only this bank
On which the living gather.

No meaning but what we find here.
No purpose but what we make.

That, and the beloved’s clear instructions:
Turn me into song; sing me awake.

–Gregory Orr (b. 1947)



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If you can’t dig this, you got a hole in your soul– and that ain’t good.

–John Lee Hooker



On some Sunday mornings, the day I always choose a song to feature, it’s a struggle trying to find what i consider is the right song for that morning. I want it to reflect how I am feeling and maybe set the tone for the rest of the day. 

This morning I was in the studio at 5:30, wanting to get an early jump on my day of painting. I began looking for a song that I though might match with the painting above, River Angel. I thought of a couple of other songs with river in their titles but when this song clicked in my head, I knew it was the one.

River Deep, Mountain High as sung by Tina Turner in 1966, produced by Phil Spector. He was crazy and dangerously despicable but, man, he made some great records. Immortal recordings.

This is one of those.

It only takes about 30 seconds for Tina to reach full emotional intensity. And she never lets down from point on. It just roars and soars above the high mountaintops.

I just love this recording. My day feels like it off to the races already. Like the late great John Lee Hooker says at the top– If you can’t dig this, you got a hole in your soul– and that ain’t good.

Hope you dig it.



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