Author Archives: Lawrence Grodecki

About Lawrence Grodecki

I'm a visual artist with a contemporary look. My art is not so easily classified and some have told me I'm developing a new style... "Lawrence`s unique choice of combining his drawing, natural found objects and digital painting represent an evolved and mature art language." - Laara Williamsen

The Art of Defiance

A few months ago I watched a biopic about Renoir – the painter, not the sculptor or film director – the latter two were his sons.

Parts of it were disturbing, much more was fascinating, especially from the perspective of an artist, painting while the world is at war . . . much of it very close to his home in France. I think of myself in those terms these past several years, “Why do art when there is so much else going on . . . so many important movements . . . causes?”

Of course one must answer such a question in order to feel good about doing art, and it took me perhaps a few minutes to figure it out, though I think about the matter often. That answer is kept close to the vest. However, it was warmly reassuring to see how basically this answer comes out about the same through the views of this man Renoir.

Sadly, since the making this film, there has been a group established proclaiming the irrelevance of this artist’s work. Renoir’s talent, subject matter and aesthetic merit have been severely ridiculed; someone has taken it upon himself to try to have Renoir’s art dismissed – banned from museums, and other such endeavors. By his own admission, this person knows little about art, but he does seems to know something about causes – apparently he is having some success. This kind of madness is not so separate from so many others . . . it’s just not violent.

So in the midst of madness I’m continuing with my creative projects.  The picture below is called “Defiance”. It came from a five-year-old creation that is featured at the top of this post.

Defiance

 

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A cropped version of art called "Hoping"

Hoping

It’s tempting to write something about Canada’s recent election, which I followed so closely, looking for a glimpse of a return to some form of human dignity. I won’t do that except to say that something quite remarkable happened. It has to do with the newly appointed Minister of Justice. She’s a lawyer, so no surprise there. To learn more you can read her story here.

In an election full of big promises and tons of symbolism, this shines through as much more than a symbol and I wish her well . . . yeah Canada? I hope so.

I’m tempted to write about my little dream, another one about black holes, and the notion that they are impenetrable because they are full of Love . . . intense beyond comprehension, a universal force and something to do with new creation . . . and so love conquers all after all? But conquer is not the right word, as in that place and situation there is simply no fighting allowed. That has always given me hope too.

So in the end I won’t write about anything other the release of a new painting which has turned out to be very, very well-received in all my social media circles. I had been leaning toward launching it as a limited edition print, but instead I’m adding to my selection of Open Edition Prints – see the main menu above.

 

Surreal art by Lawrence Grodecki

Back to What Drives Us

Now what movie-loving blogger can resist posting something about Back to the Future Day?

It’s funny how all the talk is about the technology, though to me the movie was also a romantic comedy. Speaking of which, last weekend I saw a wonderful film called “Learning to Drive”, though it had nothing to do with DeLoreans and hover boards. Actually it’s not really a romantic comedy either. However, it has several moments of lol surprises, and even more about what evolves into a very endearing relationship between two middle-aged people, played by Ben Kingsley and Patricia Clarkson.

In many ways the film defies categorization as well as stereotyping. The film is superbly written by Sarah Kernochan; I’d say that is the underlying strength of it all – especially the dialogue – though the acting is splendid as well. As you can tell, I’m no professional when it comes to reviews, but I will say that all the reviews I’ve read about “Learning to Drive” are very accurate, and all quite positive. I highly recommend it, especially for those of us who get tired of the presence of too much technology in so much of today’s cinema.

As you can see, this has very little to do with “Back to the Future”. There’s enough stuff on that all over the internet today. As for that hover board, here’s a little segue for all the tech fans! 🙂

Montrealer develops Hoverboard Prototype

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.

 

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.