digital painting by Lawrence Grodecki

Considering The Forks

Lately I find myself drifting into thoughts of “down the road”. What will I do when I can no longer care for my demented mother?

As I press the enter button there is a large crack of thunder on this moody Manitoba morning, and I kind of like it that way. This future of mine, will it be in this small prairie city? If I cannot find a suitable alternative, then yes, at least for awhile.

I am not very well traveled, except from coast to coast in Canada and 17 different American states. At my age, and given my life over the past ten years, moving back to a large city would be a pretty big deal. In some ways I’d really like that, depending on the circumstances. In no particular order there is Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary and Montreal. And then there is Vermont. If money was not an issue for me I think it just might be somewhere around Stowe, Vermont . . . if only they would annex and become part of Canada?

These days I’m not sure that matters as much as it perhaps might have, in the olden days.

In the past month I’ve been watching a lot more TV than usual. This started when my common cold kicked in – the lethargic days. It happened to coincide with our current way-too-long forthcoming federal election, and with all the talk of change. Very, very little of it is inspiring. The same goes for the speeches being delivered at the UN, while the journalists continue recording another chapter in the new World War.

If I were a much younger man, Montreal would be a wonderful choice. Toronto is a nice place to visit but not somewhere I’ve ever wanted to live. Calgary would be just fine, but mostly because my daughters live there, but for how long? No one knows. As for Vancouver, it remains a possibility.

Why move to a large city? Mostly because of my art, and the increasing realization that my art needs visibility in metro markets . . . there are too many severe limitations to restricting my art to only the internet.

Anyways, for now it is nice to make plans in my dreams. Nowhere in them are there long commutes. Instead, there are nice coffee shops and restaurants, the odd book store or gallery, and lots of people watching . . . I don’t get to do enough of that . . . it’s a hobby I miss.

I am convinced that no matter where the road takes me, the art will be just fine . . . no worries at all in that regard. For now I’ll just bask in that Manitoba moodiness, go with that flow, and hopefully things will work out. Finally, when I use the term “moody”, it is not meant to be anything negative. It means I’m surrounded by serious issues, a need for reflection, some relatively quiet time, and so on.

For inspiration there is still the children, so thank you SpiderMable and all your helpers!

PS – I wouldn’t be surprised if just return to the city of birth in the end . . . Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Art by Lawrence Grodecki

Born in 57, but soon 58

Perhaps the oddest thing about art is that a lot of people seem more interested in the person doing it than in the art itself. That always makes me think that there must be something wrong with my art!

It’s even stranger that I’ve become the same way in many cases, “Who is this person behind this painting or song or sculpture?” So maybe I shouldn’t be surprised about getting what feels like a lot of personal attention from some very dear fans . . . still, it’s a little unnerving putting one’s self out there . . . often it feels downright narcissistic, but mostly it feels undeserving.

To make matters worse, it seems the blog posts people enjoy most are the ones that include my little blasts from the past . . . those personal little stories.

Time to get out the birthday suit!

So tomorrow is my birthday – 58 and painting like I’m thirty-something – and I wonder if there will be any surprises? I couldn’t get to sleep last night because I was drifting back to so many milestones, in particular this time of the year but 39 years ago. I was the same age then that my youngest daughter is now. She is finishing her university life this term, while I was just beginning mine back then.

That started in Vancouver, at Simon Fraser University . . . it’s on top of Burnaby Mountain, to be more precise. It was a newer school, renown for it’s architecture, designed by Arthur Erickson. It wasn’t a huge university back then – a recluse for the fans of the liberal arts – the smart, driven folks went to the much more conservative University of British Columbia (UBC). That was a long time ago though – I’m sure much has changed since then.

I went there for one main reason. In my youth I was always fascinated by the movies and in 1979 Simon Fraser was the only school in western Canada that any kind of film studies program . . . and a minor at that . . . I majored in psychology.

Yes, I did take one psych course – intro psych – plus a course in intro botany or biology, which I never took in high school, so I damn near failed that one, though I loved all the line art and photography in the text book. There was another intro course that I simply cannot remember and then there was this double course, a six-credit doozer called “History of Italian Renaissance Art”.

Apparently that art course had something to do with the film studies program, though I have no idea what that may have been. What was more apparent was that the man who taught really knew his stuff. Through the term I found out that he was one of the world’s leading experts on the subject, and he had the passion to go with the reputation.

He had all his own slides and we would spend hour after hour in a theater looking at every square inch of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in great detail, while he told us all kinds of stories. In hindsight though, I think we really only grazed the surface on the lives of Michelangelo, Leonardo, Botticelli, and so many more.

Then there was the smaller, once-a-week workshops on more specialized topics . . . I chose the literature one. It was all about some dude named Dante, and myself and about a dozen other became intimate with The Divine Comedy and La Vita Nuova. What I remember most is how Robin (the first name of the professor), would explain who each character was in real life . . . the ones portrayed in one part of Dante’s Inferno.

They represented various merchants, bankers, clergy, and other people in some form of “leadership”. It was all very awful, yet fascinating at the same time. As was Dante’s quest to write about the notion of pure love in La Vita Nuova.

What has stuck with the most over all these years is that the art of that time was very much intermixed with the developments in science and technology . . . the introduction of perspective by Leonardo, for example. This has helped me on a personal level, as I’ve struggled through the years of, “but is it art?”, in terms of being a digital painter.

In the past couple of years that has finally changed – digital art is becoming more mainstream, or at least finally “accepted”. Yet I’m still uncomfortable with that. Frankly I’d like to drop the reference to “digital” altogether and just focus on the art as being simply art.

I don’t see that happening in the foreseeable future any more than I can say that I can just paint and keep my personal stories just that . . . personal, as in “private”. Then again, I suppose I could just write another novel about love and continue to hide a few anecdotes in there? It has not all been a divine comedy, but then is anything funny without a little tragedy?

Anyway, there’s no sense getting too philosophical the day before one’s birthday. Now I’ll sit back and wait for those precious well wishes . . . and the magical surprise of some glorious birthday cheesecake?

Finally, here’s a wonderful clip of a nearby park. It’s the place for where I first got to see a bison eye-to-eye, at the age of nine. We were only about ten feet away, and the gazing was only for a few seconds, but I can still remember it so very clearly. This park is about a 10 minute drive from the town where I grew up (Dauphin) and an hour’s drive from where I’m sitting right now (Brandon). It’s beautiful there. I don’t know that it has influenced my art in any way, but one can always hope.


Chasing Away the Blues

One of the most positive trends I’ve come across in a long time ties into something that’s been around as long as the cave people. It concerns art, and more specifically the activity of coloring.

I’m not talking about kids’ stuff though, I mean adult coloring. Amazon’s list of top selling books now includes several coloring books for grown-ups. Maybe you’ve seen them or are already using them? If not, you can easily find lots of info by doing a basic search, so I’m not going to add a bunch of links here.

Why All the Fuss?

If you do that search, you will quickly discover lots of talk about the stress-reducing value of losing yourself in the process of coloring . . . a way to temporarily forget what troubles you. When you are coloring, you’re not really thinking about anything else – you almost go back to being a kid again. Coloring provides a bit of escapism. It’s almost like a different kind of yoga or form of meditation . . . the benefits are much the same.

I’ve written about this in many different ways in older posts, including the joy of living in the moment. Personally I think that’s the key to all of the wonderful benefits.

I’m lucky as I’ve pretty much known this my whole life, though it’s really in the past ten years, ever since I accepted my passion for creativity as a career choice. When I first started out I didn’t have a solid business plan, though while immersed in the joy of creating, I do remember thinking about how I could share this joy by making my art very affordable to everyone. I must have been thinking along the lines of very inexpensive art prints, perhaps posters?

A Dream Come True?

The dream was that people who bought my prints would somehow get the same pleasure that I get from the process of drawing and painting. I still hope for that, even though I don’t think that’s totally possible, even with my finest pieces . . . even the ones people flatter me with by calling them masterpieces.

Then it happened . . . awhile ago I finally had this “ah ha” moment. Why not let people share that joy I get by getting more involved in the process themselves? And there you have it . . . I’ve now developed a set of black and white art boards for coloring! I can’t really do that for every piece of art, but I’m really happy with the set of 10 that I’m introducing here.

As usual, my blog post is getting a little long-winded, so I’m going to add a link that will explain more and show you a sample from this set, as well as an option to buy it . . . for only $7.95 USD.

So if you want to learn and see more, please visit my coloring page now, and I encourage you to share the page with some as your friends as well . . . this is probably for their benefit more than mine, though I do appreciate each and ever order.

In case you missed the link above, click here to go to the page, “Color In Joy” – A New Adventure For Colorful Adults.

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Branching Out

Privately (known only to a few), I’ve been working on something different in terms of my art.

It’s something I’ve been thinking about for several years . . . how to get people more involved in my art more than through the viewing of it. So today I’m doing just that, offering a free black and white download of one of my earlier pieces, appropriately called “Branching Out”.

The download is available to anyone who is currently enjoying the very popular activity of adult coloring. Did you know this kind of coloring book is topping many of Amazon’s best selling lists?

It’s a wonderful new trend and I’m glad to be able to offer a small contribution. The picture at the top of this post is a colored version of the black and white rendition. Both are included in the pdf file, available for free here:

Branching Out – A Coloring Page for Grownups

Soon I’ll be adding more – a full set of 10 images – but they will be for sale. I originally thought of doing that in hard copy, on art-quality card stock, but the shipping costs really get in the way. So to start with, the pdf route makes more sense, though I may offer both options down the road.

So enjoy the coloring, and even if you don’t take part in this activity, please pass the word on by sharing this page with your friends. Thank you for your continued or new support.



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Changes in the Making

I’ve been pretty inactive online in the past few weeks, at least in terms of posting stuff. That’s mostly because of a lot of research I’ve been doing, all art-related.

If you’ve been following my blog much, you’ve probably noticed how it has become more and more of a commercial site for my art. It’s really hit home recently how much better that my can be shown online – but that means designing a new site – that’s exactly what I’ll be doing.

By better, I don’t mean the pictures will show better, though that may be one aspect. The site will have a much more contemporary look. It will be easier to use, and more features, such as the ability to offer electronic creations, either free or not quite free.

If all goes well, it won’t take me long to be up and running . . . I’m shooting for Sunday to be live. I’ll still keep this blog going for at least a few months, though I’ll probably take out the e-commerce aspects. Eventually all my blogging will be part of the new and independent site (i.e. not on

That’s about it for now, though I’m pretty excited about the way my new logo is coming along. A good logo is not an easy thing to design, and I’m still working on this one, though I’m hoping the essence remains intact . . . still need to make it simpler, but it should work out just fine . . . any comments?

new log for a new site

My new logo

Original art by Lawrence Grodecki

Enduring Tears

Not long ago NASA made their big announcement about Pluto. I was happy for all the people who worked so hard on the project, but “happy with a small h”.

You see, I don’t need NASA to “prove” there is life elsewhere in the universe. I’ve come to understand that long ago through a couple of simple truths. One is that the universe is undeniably infinite and the other is that Earth is alive. From there the realization comes easily . . . life exists everywhere around us – everywhere –  though so far away.

The Teacher and the Teaching

In the past ten years I’ve learned a lot and seen a lot, including this remarkable cloud that kind of parked itself between me and the sun. I stopped my bike ride to just gaze up and watch it. The cloud was in the shape of Africa, and it was a better rendition than I could possibly draw. After maybe 5 minutes of being still it slowly drifted away, but oddly intact – it’s shape didn’t change as the light of the sun came out over the top.

I mention Africa because many years ago I read about a pre-Christian sub-Saharan culture that had an intimate understanding that Earth is alive, that it had a birth, and that eventually it will die. That’s pretty profound when you think about, especially in the context of understanding this without all the bells and whistles. Nature can be a very precious teacher . . . so I wonder about what that relationship was, way back then, that led to such wonderful wisdom? It must have been very special.

Those Darn Words

Now here’s the stickler about those things we call words. I must have seen at least half a dozen news clips about the NASA news and each time the excitement was about “discovering another planet that supports life”. They could have said, “it may be another planet that’s alive”, but they didn’t. And it is very much a cultural thing.

Today it took a music artist from the states to remind of all this – Azealia Banks – her thing is hip hop. I watched her do a highly charged radio interview some of it really got to me. First there was her anger and frustration at the current and ongoing racial degradation. Then there was her genuine and tearful dismay at what she sees as a further loss of memory of all that was the Africa of long ago.

You may think all this is weird, coming from a white guy from a Polish background, living in Canada. Maybe so, can’t figure that out myself, but I’ve long ago given up on asking myself “why?” about pretty much everything. Finally, it’s not really weird at all if you strip away all those labels . . . they really do seem dangerous.

We have so much to do before celebrating Pluto too much, given how we can make the fruit here on Earth so very bitter. NASA can’t help in that endeavor.

Digital art by Lawrence Grodecki

Humming At Pie

This unfinished piece is one of my earliest on-screen creations. It’s about 10 years old now. I’m showing it here and now for a couple of reasons.

First, lately I’ve been asked more questions about my art in terms of meaning and such. Frankly it is much easier for me to talk about that in the bigger picture context rather than in any one piece. However, that can be a bit like opening Pandora’s Box, even though it really revolves around a simple truth, “There are no lines in nature.”

By the way, this painting up top is simply called “Hmmm”.

It is meant to be a playful statement – more like a question – and it is about nature. It’s also about science. The scientific method came about as a different way of observing nature. As it can all get quite complicated, it can also be easily forgotten that the essence of the activity is really that simple. Perhaps the thing that disturbs me the most is that it can easily be forgotten that it is only one way to observe nature. The only thing more disturbing is when someone claims that it is the ultimate or superior or “only true way” to make these observations.

On the more positive, playful side of things, “Hmmm” represents a lot of fun I had in wondering how nature observes us, doing all our science, as represented by the pie chart. Thanks for stopping by.