My Organized Orgy of Art

What an odd feeling it is . . . now that I’m organized I feel like it’s time to get some things done!

It’s taken several days now to re-organize my art files. It’s not like I’m a hoarder or anything . . . it’s just that once a work of art is begun, it needs to be saved for later finishing. It’s a necessity really – there comes a point where you just know you need to leave painting alone for awhile.  As I work very much in isolation, it was quite a relief to see that other artists do the same. Seeing how one other artist struggles with this dilemma was one of my favorite parts of watching “Gerhard Richter Painting”. In that remarkable film, on a few occasions, he (Richter) clearly demonstrates the frustration and intrigue of this aspect of creating art, and how it is so very intuitive.

Given the computer aspect of my art it is much easier to put a piece away for later . . . I simply need to save the file. The hard part comes in remembering where that file is stored!

Back in May it really hit home, how much art I have done over the past 10 years.  Before I left for Calgary in early May I did a complete hard drive backup and that’s when I noticed that my collection of art files is now over 10,000.

That may sound like a lot, and it is, but keep in mind that typically one finished painting is the last file in a series of 30 or more files, and those are just the ones kept – many more have long ago been discarded. Still, as it stands right now I have a directory called Priority Projects that has 39 paintings on the go, wanting and needing to be finished. Each of these will take a matter of a few hours to perhaps a day or two to finish. However, I know by experience that I typically underestimate that time requirement, so you can pretty much double it, whatever “it” may be!

Anyways, I’d like to end by sharing with you an example of one of these Priority Projects. The folder is named after the final piece, and in this case it is called “Something About Frida”, a tribute of sorts to Frida Kahlo . . . as this painting was almost at its current stage I somehow began thinking of her, how much the image seemed to fit with those thoughts, hence the title.

There are 41 files in this folder, in chronological sequence. I’m showing you 6 of them here, beginning with the first, which is a kind of 3D scan done on my home printer. It’s just some leaves. I don’t fuss over composition in these scans, as I purposely do them quite quickly, so as to not overthink them. In other words, I can’t say that the facial imagery and the the lips was done intentionally.

As you will see, as I play along with any given picture, things start to happen – a real art adventure – and entirely new paintings emerge on the screen. I won’t say it is addictive, but it is so very alluring. It’s simply something that I love doing. I hope you enjoy the views and feel free to drop in a comment or share this post, or both! :)

A picture of green leaves

A 3D scan of some leaves – 2007

A face in leaves.

A facial rearrangement . . . still playing with this one.

Head shot in leaves.

From the face I moved to the back of the head!

leaves geometrically altered.

Some geometry, plus some personal touches.

enhanced geometry

Major alterations.

New art by Lawrence Grodecki

“Something About Frida” – almost done – June 2015

 

PS – For what it’s worth, I also have a folder of “Older Projects” which has 29 paintings in it, most of which could easily be in my priority folder. Then there is another one called “Final Touch Ups” . . . another dozen or so of the same . . . oye!!!

 

Five Uneasy Pieces

This has been one of the toughest weeks that I can remember . . . an emotional roller coaster, but one with no upsides.

It’s been crippling in the sense of trying to get  anything done business-wise. I just couldn’t do it. I did manage to care for my demented mother in the usual way. There is no choice in that matter. Other than that, the only thing possible was creating more art.

I don’t understand how that works. A person couldn’t feel more uninspired than I’ve felt this week, and yet it was possible to do some pretty decent painting. It helped me to cope in a way, but I know it’s more like a pill for symptomatic relief.

I’ll leave it at that and simply show you a few examples of what came out the past few days, though as usual, most of this art is a reworking of other pieces done several years ago, so none of them are from scratch.

Have a great weekend.

Contemporary Abstract art

Mixed Media Contemporary Figurative Art

Colorful Mixed Media Fantasy Art

Contemporary Horse & Lady Sketch

Modern Abstract Portrait Art

Ready To Go

sketch3

Mixed Results

Ever since my return from Calgary I’ve been spending less and less time on social media.

That’s been almost a month now, and while I do miss having the personal contact with my closest friends and fans, I really need to focus more on my offline art-related activities. The main one right now is taking my art into the realm of mixed media, and soon I’ll show a nice little example of how that’s going, but not in this post.

My left arm continues to be a sore spot, so I’m keeping my typing to minimum these days . . . another reason why I’ve reduced my social media activities. Thankfully this has not hampered my new art projects!

Lately I’ve had a surge of creativity, with some pretty amazing results. My days are largely a combination of trying new techniques, such as acrylic and pencil on top of my original art prints, but also creating new pieces.

I won’t be posting much of my new work on Twitter and Facebook for the next little while, but you can be sure I’ll show more in my blogs from time to time, including this untitled work (below).

Have a great week, and please feel free to keep in touch. Even if I don’t appear to be online, I do check for messages constantly, but I don’t always reply as quickly as I did in the past . . . hope to hear from you soon. Now here’s that new painting. It started with the ink-on-paper sketch (up top) that I did about 8 years ago.

new art by Lawrence Grodecki

June 2015 – Untitled

art by Lawrence Grodecki

Both Sides

The concert hall was almost full, some 1,500 friends and family there to celebrate a passage of sorts . . . 200 students being awarded their degrees in fine arts. It was special before it began, but even more so when the lights dimmed.

Soon a spotlight shone stage right on this young lady and her harp.  I’ve never heard a harp solo before, so I was caught off guard . . . everyone was, as a collective lump-in-the-throat made its presence known. We all know the power of music and this was another remarkable example. It was joyous yet calming, spiritual in a way, as if the muses wanted to anoint those brave enough to follow their hearts in the name of art.  This is how it seemed as most of the 200 proceeded from the back of the hall down to their position in the front rows.

As I listened and soaked in the sound, I kept my eyes out for my daughter in this march. It wasn’t easy, being over 40 seats away and at the far end of the aisle. I thought I saw her a few times, but no, I hadn’t. So it was a little sad as the last one went by on the far side, knowing that I missed that moment.

As soon as the last student passed, on the closer aisle, some 4 seats away, another procession began. It consisted of the older crew . . . the teachers, special guests, the board of governors and such. They all seemed so tall and stately and formal, and that was all okay. I’m sure glad I paid attention to them. That’s because half way through this entourage there was this tiny, 5-foot tall redhead looking my way, at her family. It was my daughter . . . all grown up. Still, there was her little-girl smile, eyes warmly sparkling in the midst of the formality. As part of her duties as class president She was among these dignitaries as one of her duties as class president. She seemed to know exactly where we would be seated,  so she knew where to look, and with that warm smile and the surprise of it all, another lump appeared.

I took my lumps that day. There were several emotional moments, including two honorary degrees given to the families of two students who never made it through the 4-year program. They died part way through. One of the two knew she probably would. She also knew that nothing meant more to her than spending the final time of her life studying art and being surrounded by those who felt as strongly about it all.

There was also the opening prayer, delivered by an elder of the tribe upon whose burial ground the school was built. I can only imagine the mixture of emotion that this elderly lady must have felt. She spoke so well, commenting on the place of art in culture and its relationship to nature. It seemed she had so much more to say, but this was neither the time or place . . . such bravery, restraint, and beautiful humanity. And she spoke tenderly of wishes.

At the end of the ceremony there was a bit of a tribute to native art. A young lady in a traditional native costume did a dance with rings . . . you probably know by now how I have a warm place for circles and their special mysteries, so this was another heartwarming surprise. These rings were like miniature hoola hoops, just big enough to be twirled around the waist. There were thirteen in all, though she started with one. She danced for several minutes, never missing a step as she added ring after ring, flipping them up with her feet. Like a contortionist she magically interlocked three behind her back, and eventually the same around her waist and legs. From there she spread her arms and swayed her body . . . there it was, the image of a bird, and then a few more animals as the performance moved along.

After that the lights came on, and then there was the last part of the ceremony – a standing ovation for the graduates. I was seated beside my younger daughter, some 24 rows up from the stage. I could just see the tip of my graduating daughter’s head in the second row, on the stage. Still, I impulsively blew her a kiss, knowing she would never know. Well, within an instant she blew me a kiss back, and darned if that lump didn’t come back! That’s what I like about all this wonderful art stuff . . . sometimes the love comes in such surprising ways.

My girls :-)

My girls :-)

 

 

 

Love In the Air

It’s almost a week since I returned from a most amazing trip. I went to Calgary for a few days to see my daughters – my oldest one just graduated from ACAD, one of Canada’s finest art schools, and so there was her beautiful convocation. The trip was full of love and emotions, shared with both my young-lady girls.

So much happened in just a few days, but most of that is too private to share on a blog post, though I’m sure to write a few more, without all the daddy details, but with some! :-)

This trip changed me in ways I can’t really explain. It’s funny how I sensed that coming a few days before, including a change in direction with my art. For the past six months I’ve been thinking about that, how to have my art seen and available beyond the virtual world.

Aside from the time with my daughters, I also had time to explore Calgary’s art scene, or at least a few galleries. I met a few wonderful people in the process and I learned a lot, with all of the past half year’s ideas suddenly crystallizing. By the time I left Calgary on Sunday morning I had a much clearer picture of what I must do (want to do) over the next little while, and it’s all quite exhilarating.

So was my drive home, all 14 hours of it. I wasn’t looking forward to it, sad to be leaving my grown children. But then as the drive began I started thinking of them, writing letters to them in my head. Before I knew it the trip home was half over. It was such a nice journey, though I had hardly noticed the big sky and rolling hills around me.

Cloudy Spells

That soon changed on the second half of the drive, and I have to blame that on the clouds . . . the floating popcorn just beyond my reach, teasing me . . . as if they knew how much I love my popcorn!

Quicker than I could spell “cumulous” correctly, it was time for one of those glorious prairie sunsets. Actually, that day (Sunday) was the first time I’d seen the sun since I left home the previous Wednesday. Because I was travelling east the sunset was unfolding behind me, though I could watch it by turning my head 90+ degrees to the left. This can make driving a little dangerous, especially at 120 km/ hour, so I had no other choice to pull over for a while, for a proper view.

As soon as I got out of the car, my mind drifted back to when I was five years old. While my dad drove along a very flat stretch of highway, I was fixated on the view, with a lake in the horizon . . . one that looked as big as an ocean. The body of water was in the shape of an inverted triangle, kind of like filling the bottom half of a martini glass. Even as a child it really struck me, how the water seemed to blend in with the sky. That’s when I playfully squinted my eyes to verify the truth of it.

But this sunset was even more than that. You see, instead of popcorn clouds, there was this amazing, long narrow strip of cloud in the horizon, much like a blanket. Above this strip was the orange light from the setting sun, and below it was a sea of pale blue sky. In the foreground the gently rolling hills gave the perception that I was on higher ground . . . kind of surreal. It felt like was up on a small island mountain, looking down the hills instead of up, and with the view of a blue cove of gentle water, and with another island far in the horizon. That island was actually the blanket-cloud. It was very a very dark grey given its position, and it was like a silhouette of land a few miles away, across from the cove.

If you have followed me for any length of time, by now you will understand how I like to think of nature as an ongoing work of art, though it’s all too effortless to think of it as work. So often I’ve stopped to watch the process, the light and sky changing and picture unfolding. This was certainly one of those occasions.

A few days later I painted this picture below, “Prairie Sunset”, based on that part of my trip. However, it really doesn’t exactly show the island scene I just mentioned. That wasn’t the intent. It does seem to depict the warmth of the emotion . . . not just of the sunset, but of the entire trip. And yes, it does seem to have so much to do with love, including some precious hugs for some very precious daughters.

 

Art by Lawrence Grodecki

Prairie Sunset

What Is Art?

What is art? Whether you are new to collecting art or a twenty-year veteran, you’ve probably thought of this question a number of times, read and researched it, listened to several experts, and so on.

It seems to be one those “lovely” words that defies a singular definition, and there’s a certain beauty in the truth of that, poetic and otherwise.

For me art is a way for ideas to breathe . . . to come to life. It often happens in unexpected ways, and at times the finest breath seem to flow effortlessly through the artist.

For me these ideas are sometimes humorous, often mysterious, almost always sensual, and usually kind and playful. That’s quite a group of five, and a handful to say the least! When you think about it, they all seem to have something to do with love, individually and blended together . . . endlessly.

I hope you keep that in mind as you view any of my art, and as you consider adding some of it to your collection . . . here are my limited edition creations. For me it’s impossible to put a “proper” price on any of it, though I think you will find that all of it so easily worth it.

Something Fishy About Noses

Occasionally an admirer will mention that I don’t put faces in my art. That’s almost always true, and I used to worry about that a little.

Some of those worries concerned the sensuality that fans often sense in my creations, perhaps always? When you think about it, several of us somehow get offended by that combination . . . all those heavenly curves but with no head, or a head with no facial details. There are several art teachers that would insist that what I’m doing is a no-no. I seem to have a nose for no-no’s!

I wonder whether some people see my art as disrespectful . . . the absence of the character that can be shown in a subject’s face, and so the art becomes purely erotic? Or purely sensual? This may sound a little like a bit of a hangover from some Victorian era, and I can fully empathize with that. After all, I’m quite a fan of the show “Downton Abbey”, largely because of the old-fashioned way in which the characters act. While the sexual aspect is certainly there, romance and personality is always upper-most . . . it’s more about the conscience mind than about our more primal urges and reactions.

I also wonder whether some people think that because of the lack of those faces, perhaps the artist doesn’t have the skills to draw with such detail? That’s a valid question, and again I think it relates to a lot of our traditions. I noticed this a few years ago, while breezing through a book of paintings by Rembrandt. The paintings demonstrate amazing anatomical correctness and proper portraiture, and oddly, almost always about the men. Of course the skills are there, but I’m not really struck by the characters.

The thing is, I simply have no urge to draw in this level of detail. If I did I would do so by hand on paper. When it comes to faces, for me that is much easier done on paper than on-screen, though I’m fully aware of how for some the opposite can be true and here’s an amazing example of that.

More importantly though, I strive the expression of the ideal in my art. By that I mean the expression of something beyond the individual. When you think about it, when you are really drawn to a portrait, especially the likeness of a stranger, it is that ideal which lures you, something beyond the individual . . . something powerful and emotional.

The truth is, I have a great deal of respect and admiration for those who draw in details, very realistically so, and especially when they also capture something beyond the details. In fact I have so much respect for them that I choose not to be among them. By that I mean that there are so many artists out there like that, there is simply no need for me to add to their ranks.

Snippets From The Past

When I learned to draw it was in a very traditional way . . . the basics are wonderfully simple really, and it’s amazing how quickly a person can learn. So there were fruit baskets, windows and curtains, nude models, and then there was this mounted bird. That’s when I learned not only to draw, but also that I could draw! My teacher gave me the ultimate compliment. When she saw my work, she was speechless for a moment, almost catching her breath. She gave me this warm smile and told me about a wildlife artist named Robert Bateman. When I discovered who he is by looking in another at book, I was truly flattered. However, even back then, over 30 years ago now, I remember thinking that there is simply no need for me to draw like that . . . he’s already doing it.

Perhaps it is also because of my first degree, one in psychology, where I learned about all the biases that can go along with facial impressions. While the expressions can be wonderful, our current cultural norms of beauty seem to have distorted much of that . . . thank you Madison Avenue. It’s sad really, but what can a person do? What can I do? I really don’t know . . . I just keep doing what I do!

Finally, the number one reason for me to leave out the faces is this . . . by doing so, I don’t need to worry about someone cutting out the good parts. Let’s just call it a Polish thing . . . if you watch this video you will “catch my drift”! ha ha