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Posts Tagged ‘San Luis Obispo’

GC Myers Streaming Peaceful smHe who lives in harmony with himself lives in harmony with
the world.
    – Marcus Aurelius

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This is a new painting that is  titled Streaming Peaceful, a  24″ by 36″ canvas that is part of a group of paintings that should be arriving today at the Just Looking Gallery in San Luis Obispo on the Central Coast of California.  This very much a signature piece for my work in form and content, a deep landscape under a gradated sky with the Red Tree holding central  focus.

But for me the central aspect of this piece is the placid feel that emanates from it.  It has a rich and supple feel that I find brings immediate calm as soon as my eyes lock on to the image.  Even at this moment as I write, there is an instant sensation as though I am releasing a deep breath when I shift my gaze upward on the screen to this painting.

And that sense of being near some sort of core of peacefulness is what I am looking for in my work, at least in my own personal relationship to it.  I have maintained this quite a few times over the years here that my primary personal goal in painting is not in mere representation, not in pure design or technical prowess.  No, what I want, my ultimate goal,  is to simply move myself with the work to an inner point where I am finally calm and at peace with the world.  For me, feeling that calming envelope surround me is all I truly seek in my work.

Everything else is secondary.

And  this piece hits that mark– for me.  I can’t speak for others.   We all seek different things and have differing reactions to art.  What others see or feel in this is their experience alone and that is as it should be.

But, like it or not, I am at peace in it.

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Ralph Gorton in Rossion Supercar  on Car ChasersThe guy on the right in the picture here is Ralph Gorton, who owns the Just Looking Gallery in San Luis Obispo, CA, a gallery where I’ve shown my work for three years now.  I had a solo show there in late 2012 and my work has done really well in California thanks to Ralph and Ken at the Just Looking Gallery.  It’s been a great ride but getting to know Ralph a little bit has been a real kick.

He is a a larger-than-life character in all ways, including the height that helped him become a Division I basketball star in his college days.  He is known to be an astute  entrepreneur, a lover of art, a well-known college basketball coach and mentor, an athlete, a father and husband, a mountain climber and wilderness explorer, a sometime model (there’s a story there!) and a world-class storyteller.  And a pretty good guy , to boot

I think he would be a perfect specimen for reality television.  Well, tonight he makes it there on The Car Chasers on CNBC at 10 PM.  It’s a show where they try to locate specific cars for would be buyers and Ralph is in the market for a Rossion Supercar, a limited edition hand built sportscar built here in the US that has crazy speed.  Zero to sixty in 2.8 seconds.

Here’s a link to a short clip from tonight’s episode.

And in case you were wondering what it feels like to go from 0-60 in under 3 seconds, here’s a video from Tesla who makes a new electric four door sedan with the ability to do just that. It gives you the immediate reactions of a few normal folks who were also wondering.

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GC Myers- Winding Through smJourneys, like artists, are born and not made. A thousand differing circumstances contribute to them, few of them willed or determined by the will-whatever we may think.

-Lawrence Durrell

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This new painting, Winding Through, is making its own journey, heading out to the Just Looking Gallery in San Luis Obispo, CA along with a group of other new work.  The idea of journeying, inwardly and outwardly, is very much the theme of this  36″ by 24″ canvas and the above quote from Lawrence Durrell fits well with this theme.

We can set a course for a destination and make all sorts of plans toward arriving at that endpoint.  But plans seldom account for the obstacles encountered along the way and the way in which we react to and are changed by them.  These reactions and changes mold us, create a new version of ourselves.  And despite our best intentions to remain true to the course we set earlier, we may find our new selves on a completely different path headed to a very different endpoint, sometimes much better or worse than that originally intended.

But occasionally, we wind our way through the obstacles and changes and find ourselves at a place where we had hoped to be right from the start.  We are much different than we began as a result of the journey and how we see that endpoint may be slightly different than we first imagined.  In fact, it may only seem like our original endpoint because as we adapted to the bumps of the road our endpoint adjusted as well, moving to coincide with the lessons we were learning along the way.

We become what we are to become.

This is only a quick, early morning reading of what I see here.  Off hand, I can think of hundreds, maybe thousands, of exceptions and additions to the paragraphs above.  I may not even agree with it by the end of the day.

But that, too, is part of the journey…

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GC Myers- The Internal Landscape 2012I’ve been hobbled a bit over the last couple of weeks by a pinched nerve in my neck that has made any work (or sleep) almost impossible to accomplish. Hopefully, it will soon fade and I will be working feverishly again.  But while it has kept me from work, it has not prevented me from thinking back on 2012 and what it meant for my work.  It was truly a great year for it, one that will be hard to replicate.

Four solo shows in galleries.

In June, there was A Place to Stand at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria, Virginia.  It was my  thirteenth solo show at a gallery that has meant very much to my career.

July found my show, In Rhythm, opening at the West End Gallery in Corning, New York.   I started my career at the West End and this show, my eleventh there, may have been the best of the lot.

Inward Bound opened in October at the Kada Gallery in Erie Pennsylvania.  I have  been  showing with the Kada for what will be seventeen years  in early 2013 and had a show there every two years since 2004.  This was one of my favorites there or anywhere.  There was a wonderful review in the Erie paper that I featured here.

December found me on the west coast with an opening of my show, The Waking Moment, at the Just Looking Gallery in lovely San Luis Obispo.  It was my first show with this long established California gallery with whom I began a relationship earlier in the year.  They have done an absolutely terrific job in exposing my work to folks from LA to San Francisco.  It was a pleasure meeting the collectors and staff out there I look forward to a long term partnership with them.

Of course, the biggest event this year was my first ever museum exhibit, Internal Landscapes: The Paintings of GC Myers, at the prestigious Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, New York. It opened in August and just closed this past Sunday,  A fitting end to a great year.  The show featured a group of my work from the past several years including the new The Internal Landscape , shown above, which is the largest piece I have painted and one that I featured on this blog early in the year as it was being completed.  The response exceeded my expectations in all regards and remains the high water mark  in my career to date.  It has given me a new perspective on what my work is and what it might be.  A great experience, all in all.

In between shows, there were gallery talks as well as my work being featured on the cover of a new CD, Lowe Country.  Plus, several of my paintings found their way to Uganda to hang in the US Embassy there, accompanying the new ambassador.

Along the way, I met scores of great folks who shared their stories with me.  Many thanks to everyone I encountered as well as more thanks than I can ever fully express to all of the  staff at the galleries and at the Fenimore who gave me the gift of this year.

As I said, it was year that will be hard to match.  But as soon as I am able, I will be trying to do just that. Or more.

 

 

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Eyvind Earle Three OaksI just wanted to share a few more tidbits from the recent foray out west.   The image shown here is from the late artist Eyvind Earle, who I have mentioned here a couple of times before.  I have quite an attraction to his graphic style and as we finally emerged on our drive westward  from the wide agricultural  central valley  I began to see how the landscape of the coastal hills of California inspired his work.  Golden hills with perfectly crowned oaks placed sporadically upon them were in abundance.  It was hard not to see paintings coming to life as I drove through the hills.

Just before these hills, as we crossed on Rte 46, we came across the James Dean Memorial Junction near Cholame, the site where Dean crashed and died in his Porsche Spyder back in 1955.  It’s a sparsely populated area with little of note anywhere in sight  and it seems like a strange and desolate place for such an iconic figure to have met his end.  Not being a big  James Dean fan, I wasn’t aware of the place beforehand but found the space fitting in an odd sort of way.

But though there are several other things I could recount here, the one I most want to mention is about meeting Mike and Lilia at the opening .  They are from a few hours north of San Luis Obispo and Mike is a police officer in Salinas, a city with a very high violent crime rate.  Mike has formed a connection with my work that really touched me, making me feel as though there was a value in it that I had never seen.  Mike sees a lot of terrible things in his job.  A lot of violence.  A lot of carnage, a lot of  flowing blood.  He has a strong sense of association with colors and it had gotten to the point that the color red was so associated with blood and injury that it bothered him immensely when he came across the color anywhere.

But Lilia and Mike had come across my red trees a while back and the image and the harmony in it helped Mike disassociate the color red from the violence it had come to represent for him.  He found great peace in the work and used it to soothe him after his shifts.  It was a much better choice  for both him and his family than turning to the bottle, as he pointed out to me during the show.

That painting, the first they had ever bought, had also inspired a greater interest in art.  Mike is now drawing and going to local artists’ studios near their home, eager to explore more and more forms.  It was wonderful to hear him tell his story.  You could see how art had  affected his life on a deeply emotional level and simply made it better.  You could definitely see it on Lilia’s face as she listened to Mike tell the story.  If no one else had shown up at that show that night, just hearing Mike’s testimonial to the power of art would have made the whole trip worthwhile.

I really wanted to mention Mike’s story.  It makes my work here in the studio feel much less solitary, as though the eyes of Mike and Lilia are present.  I consider that my gift from California.

 

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GC Myers- MoondancerI am slowly trying to get back into some sort of rhythm in the studio after getting back from what for me was an extended absence  while traveling out to California for my show there.  It was only a week or so but it was enough to disrupt that fragile balance and set me a bit off kilter.  I can sense it in getting back into my painting rhythm as well as writing this blog.  Just a bit more of a struggle at the moment. I don’t fret over this as I once might have because I’ve been through this more than a few times.  If I put my head down and forge forward, it returns after a bit.

Sometimes it also helps to look at some of my recent work, trying to find the string of continuity that might run forward from it and latch on to that.  In doing so, I looked this morning at a piece from the show at the Just Looking Gallery  in San Luis Obispo, a 12″ by 36″ painting called Moondancer.  It’s a piece that’s built on bold color, one that instantly catches my attention.  The central figure of the red tree here definitely has the feel of a performer,  either as an entertainer doing an expressionistic dance before the moon or as some sort of shaman doing a ritual dance asking the moon for whatever gifts or powers  it might bestow.  The moon definitely is in audience to the performance.

It;s that sense of performance that I will probably take from this painting today in the studio, both as the central figure acting as a performer as well as seeing myself as a performer before the easel.  I often think of myself as a performing artist, each painting a new performance.  Each day is both rehearsal and performance.  I think that’s why breaks in my routine disrupt my rhythm so.  It’s like a musician not practicing for an extended period.  The ability is still there, just a little work away from returning.

Here’s a video of a classic song, Moondance,  from Van Morrison,  that might be the namesake for this painting.  I choose this song today because if you were to watch many of the available videos of it online, you would be hard pressed to find performances that were not unique.  Morrison does the song in different tempos and cadences, each time taking the same song and bringing something new to it.  Again, that’s echoes what I try to do in painting, trying to bring something new in common forms and images that populate my scenes.

Anyway,  it’s a great song from many years back.  This version is from a concert in Montreux in 1980.  Enjoy!

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Yosemite Valley with El CapitanOn our recent  trip west, we headed first into Yosemite National Park before heading over to San Luis Obispo for the show.  Both Cheri and I had always wanted to see the iconic sights with which  we were so well acquainted and thought that a few days there  beforehand would better acclimate us to California time.  We’re really glad we did.  Yosemite was everything we had hoped for, even with the iffy weather as the storms that buffeted California would occasionally pass through.

Yosemite Half DomeGoing as we did, in late November when the hustle and traffic of the  high tourist season has long passed by,  there were very few people there which added to the drama of the place.  It’s easier to reverently take in the full  power and magic of the place without the constant sound of human voices.  And there is an elemental power there.   It is all granite and water and wood and mists that shift  quickly,  one moment shrouding the cliffs and the next moving on to reveal a grand vista.  Awe inspiring.

One of my favorite moments was on the first morning.  I was up early and went out into the meadows near the lodge as the light came into the valley.  There were no other people out there, none to be seen or heard.  There were still leaves on the trees there due to the moderating effects of the protected valley and to stand there and look up at the cliffs with Half Dome hovering over the golden crowns of the trees was pure magic.  Absolute silence.  I could hear leaves touching the ground after they fell from trees a hundred  feet or more away.  It was as close as I’ve come to the Big Quiet in some time.  All I could think was:  If you didn’t have to leave this place, why would you?

I think that thought is what makes the folks that live and work there seem so purely happy.  We met so many local people there that were as friendly and engaging as any I’ve met.  If you ask, they will admit to knowing how fortunate they are to be living in such a place.  We met two local high school girls who were giving free hugs ( I told you they were friendly) at the Village Store.  They talked about being torn about leaving to go away to college because of their love for the Yosemite.  I doubt they ever leave, at least in spirit.

I know that I’m still there, in my mind at least.

 

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