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Posts Tagged ‘RedTreeTimes’

Ten Years

In the hubbub of the last few weeks, I lost sight of the fact that this past late September marked ten years that I have been writing this blog.  The first Redtreetimes showed up on September 19, 2008. It was very short and featured two of my earliest paintings. The first contemporary piece of mine from that time to debut here was the 2008 painting above, Coming to a Realization, on the next day.

There have been almost 3000 posts in those ten years. Occasionally I riff back through the online archives and am proud of some of the posts and disappointed by others. But the one thing I think it has been is consistent. I don’t cringe at the opinions I have expressed and am not embarrassed or ashamed by the personal flaws I sometimes expose. If anything, the blog has served in much the same way as my work in giving voice and form to the fact that I exist, that I am here in this place at this time.

Has it been worth the time and effort? I think so but there are days when I really can’t be so positive about that. It might look like there should be little effort in throwing this together each morning but that is an illusion. If there are 3000 posts then I figure I’ve spent at least 3000 hours. Most likely much more when you factor in the posts that are written only to be sent to the trash, never to see any other screen but mine. There have been plenty of those.

Or the many posts that takes multiple hours to write. Writing is real toil to me and it often takes much longer than you would think for me to squeeze out a couple of hundred words. And I can’t help but think how long it might take if I took the time to reread and edit them before posting them.

But overall, I think this blog has been a great supplement to my work. It has exposed a lot of people in far flung locations to my paintings and the stories and thoughts behind them.

In the past, the gallery system provided the background stories and ideas behind an artist’s work to the public. I am fortunate in that I have worked with galleries that still do much of that for me. But that is a rarer quality today as many brick and mortar galleries struggle. So more and more, it is important for an artist to be proactive and take matters into their own hands and do things like social media and blogs.

I can’t say if this increased exposure on the net has increased the sales of my work. I believe it has. More importantly, it has helped shape the way in which I see my own work and how I want it presented to the outside world. It has introduced me to many folks who provide valuable feedback and sometimes thought provoking opinions. This has no doubt shaped the work as well.

I want to send a hearty Thank You to those of you who still pop in and out after all these years to check out my work or the work of others. I try to keep it interesting and show a broad range of material without becoming too esoteric or deep. I think fully it reflects the thought I expressed here years ago, that like a river I may appear to be a mile wide but am mostly only inches deep.

Take that for what you will. And thanks, again.

 

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GC Myers 2015 Therapists Program smIn the aftermath of Friday’s show at the Principle Gallery, I was planning on taking it easy today and not posting anything today.  But in the hoopla of getting ready for the show I completely overlooked the fact that last week I published my 2000th blogpost here on RedTreeTimes.

It’s not really that big a deal. I mean, anyone with a computer, an internet connection and a few extra minutes can write a blog and put something out everyday.  That doesn’t mean it will be  all that interesting or will say anything earth-shattering.  I think a pretty high percentage of my posts are evidence of that.

It’s just a testimony to endurance (or obsession), to staying with it for now going on eight years, getting up each morning and forcing myself to try to say or show something even slightly of interest to those of you who stumble across this blog.  It’s not always easy and there are days when I would rather do just about anything else, especially when I think of the so many forgettable posts that have appeared here over the years.

But once in a while, I’ll go back in the archives and come across an older blog and, after reading it, think to myself, “Hey, that’s pretty good.  Where did that come from?”   It’s the same feeling that I sometimes get with my painting.  And I think it’s that moment of surprise in seeing something that seems beyond me that makes it all worthwhile, that makes me want to continue to struggle every morning in front of this damn computer screen.

Thanks for those of you out there who have read it through the years.  Glad to have you aboard.

That said, I wanted to also point out the photo at the top.  It’s the program cover for this year’s conference for the American Academy of Psychotherapists, taking place in St. Louis later this year.  Arlington-based therapist Dean Chelpon was in charge of this year’s program and, having followed my work for several years, asked if they could  use one of my paintings for the cover.

They chose this painting titled  Witness Stand and I think it makes an effective cover, especially with that tagline under it, Where Therapists Fear to Tread.  Thank you, Dean, for thinking of my work.  I am honored to have it featured on your program.

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GC Myers Sun CarvingOur internet  connection was down here for most of the day yesterday which was not really a surprise given the -19° on the thermometer.  Cold enough to make today’s puny 1° reading look appealing.  But because I didn’t have to focus on writing the blog I took the time to rearrange a couple of things in the studio, things that I often look at from my seat at the computer.  On the large stone wall that holds the fireplace in my studio there are three half-round stone shelves that hold several  wood carvings.

One is an inexpensive carving of Don Quixote that my sister gave me for Christmas when I was a kid and another is a beautiful carving of a crow from artist Don Sottile,  a talented sculptor from my home Finger Lakes region.  Then there are a few of my own carvings from the early 90’s, predating my first attempts at painting by a couple of years.  They are not nearly as well executed as Mr. Sottile’s work but they mean a lot to me, if only as a reminder that they were keys to a door in my mind that I was desperately trying to open at that time, one that would eventually lead me here.

I thought I would take this opportunity to rerun a blog entry about these pieces from back in early 2009:

GC Myers- Hank CarvingImmediately before I started painting in the mid-90’s, my form of expression was wood carving.  It was unpolished and rough but it provided the vehicle that I needed to spark further creativity.  Most were created with an inexpensive set of small chisels and scrap lumber, usually just pine boards leftover from projects.

Actually, the technique that is used in these carvings is linked very much to my earliest efforts at painting which consisted of a heavy layer of paint then removing the parts that didn’t belong leaving the desired image.  This is a technique that I use to this very day.

 

 GC Myers Poseidon CarvingThe thing that I learned most from doing these pieces is that I wanted to emphasize expression over technique.  By that I mean I did not want to focus so much on refining technique to obtain a very polished final product that the piece became more about craft and less about expression of emotion.  By doing so I realized the pieces would retain my own identity and idiosyncrasies.  It was my first real stab at creating a visual look and vocabulary of my own. 

I also took the idea of the work having a tactile feel to it.  The attraction of these for me was in holding them and feeling the wood and the weight of it in my hands.  When I first started painting I worked primarily on paper and I got this same feeling from the cotton of the watercolor papers.  It’s something that I also try to insert into my work today as well, through the use of texture and in the way I present the paintings.

When I look at these I’m not particularly impressed by them as art but I do appreciate them for the lessons they provided at a time when I needed guidance, lessons which I took to heart.  To me they are touchstones to a certain part of my life and as such are important to my development as an artist.

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GC Myers Exiles-Bang Your DrumThere are several upcoming projects  on the burner for this year, which I will reveal in the near future.  One of them has me going through a lot of images and writings from the past. It is sometimes painful and sometimes a pleasant surprise.  I came across this blog post from several years back  that I thought was worth sharing today while I get back to these projects. From February of 2009:

This is another piece from my early Exiles series, titled Bang Your Drum.  This is a later piece, finished in late 1996.  

Initially, I was a bit more ambivalent about this painting compared to the feeling I had for the other pieces of the Exiles series.  It exuded a different vibe.  For me, the fact that the drummer is marching signifies a move away from the pain and loss of the other Exiles pieces.  There is still solemnity but he is moving ahead to the future, away from the past.

Over the years, this piece has grown on me and I relate very strongly to the symbolism of the act of beating one’s own drum, something that is a very large part of promoting your work as an artist.  

For me and most artists, it is a very difficult aspect of the job, one that is the polar opposite to the traits that led many of us to art.  Many are introverted observers of the world, passively taking in the world as it races by as they quietly watch from a distance.  To have to suddenly be the the motor to propel your work outward is an awkward step for many, myself included.  Even this blog, which is a vehicle for informing the public about my ongoing work and remains very useful to me as a therapeutic tool for organizing  my thoughts , is often a tortuous chore, one that I sometimes agonize and fret over.  Even though my work is a public display of my personal feelings, this is different.  More obvious and out in the open.

There’s always the fear that I will expose myself to be less than my work.  The fear that people will suddenly discover the myriad weaknesses in my character that may not show in my paintings, forever altering their view of it.  The fear that I will be  revealed to be, as they say, a mile wide and an inch deep.  

But here I stand with my drumstick in hand, hoping to overcome these fears and trusting that people will look beyond my obvious flaws when they view my work.  Maybe they too have the same fears and that is the commonality they see and connect with in the work.  Whatever the case, there is something in the work that makes me believe that I must fight past these fears and move it forward, out into the world.

What that is, as I’ve said before, I just don’t know.  Can’t think about it now– I’ve got a drum to pound…

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