That mystery is imagination itself, where ideas live, play? For me it is without a doubt the most real aspect of the universe, intact beyond anything physical, and fluid more than static. I think some of that is there when the apple floats – when the tree can no longer hold it, and yet just before gravity begins the descent. And I wonder, “Do butterflies “know” something of this, but in a very different, magical way?”
Please keep that in mind, as it may the best way I can describe some of the thinking behind this new painting. It’s called “Floating An Apple” and it was done somewhat with Magritte’s “Son of Man” in mind. Perhaps this is my tribute to his message in that picture, show here:
The Son of Man by Rene Magritte
On the painting’s Wikipedia page, Magritte is quoting as saying this about his painting:
At least it hides the face partly well, so you have the apparent face, the apple, hiding the visible but hidden, the face of the person. It’s something that happens constantly. Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see. There is an interest in that which is hidden and which the visible does not show us. This interest can take the form of a quite intense feeling, a sort of conflict, one might say, between the visible that is hidden and the visible that is present.
For over a month I’ve been talking about putting my art out there in limited editions. It’s only a matter of time now before I do that. I’ll easily have a dozen paintings offered in editions of 50 each, possibly 52. I’m thinking the number of paintings will be closer to twenty than a dozen, but they may not be released all at once.
I want to keep this post short, so I’ll be blogging more about this move over the next few weeks. In the meantime, at least six of my limited edition selections have never been published elsewhere, such as my site on Fine Art America. Here’s five of them, and for a change I composed a group shot – I hope you can view it okay – it looks great on my laptop!
As not all the titles are finalized, I won’t mention any for now. However, if you have any questions then please add a comment here, or send me a private email to: ljgrodecki at google [dot] com.
I hope you enjoy the view . . . the one in the middle has never been seen before, other than by me. 🙂
A collage of unpublished creations, soon to be available in limited edition.
There’s so much going on around the world that is so damn troubling. Like countless others, it seems that no matter what one does individually or collectively, these troubles persist. Yet we try.
I’m one of those who in the past few years has tried to avoid “the news”, as in “mostly the relentless accounts of the worse current events”. In fact for me almost everything about what we call “the news” is among the most troubling of our current events.
As hard as I try, one simply cannot avoid some stories, such as the ongoing Ferguson debacle. I usually don’t blog or comment about these terrible tragedies, but for some reason this one has gotten me down more than most . . . I’m reminded of an incident that happened about 12 years ago, in Birmingham, Alabama.
I was there for a few days on business, along with a few others. One evening a co-worker and I decided to go for a walk, check out the city a bit. We were close to downtown, walking distance from the convention center, and there was plenty enough to see and do. In other words, we came across a pool hall.
It seemed like a nice, safe area. It was clean, lots of lights, a beautiful evening, friendly people around, and so on. We felt extra safe when we noticed a few police officers. They stood out partly because they were on bikes, just strolling around. One especially stood out because he looked like Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime. They also had on these skin-tight uniforms – a tight shirt and shorts – at least on of the Village People would be so envious.
A few minutes after seeing these police we were safely inside this nice, clean pool hall. We got ourselves some whiskey & coke and soon the game became so relaxing. In other words I began to kick his ass . . . oh, how I missed my snooker! To make matters sweeter, the music came on. Nice tunes on the jukebox, courtesy of two very attractive young ladies in the corner, the only two others in the place, aside from the bartender. I glanced over. They really were stunning to be honest, especially with their smiles and giggles.
My friend and I continued with our game. Then Arnold entered the hall. I had my back to the ladies in the corner, which is where the policeman was headed. All of a sudden those giggles turned to loud screams. In a horrible flash I turned to see what was going on. The ladies had their arms up and backs arched away from Arnold – a defensive posture. It was necessary because the policeman had a long nightstick raised and extended in his right hand.
In this flash I saw this nightstick begin its downward assault. Almost miraculously, it stopped. No one was hurt. The young ladies left their drinks behind and made a quick exit, visibly shaken but at least not beaten. The officer had his back to us the whole time. I can’t remember if he glanced over in our direction behind he quickly left the place as well.
We asked the bartender what had just happened. She told us that apparently these young ladies did not have any I.D. on them, so it was unclear whether they could legally be in this licensed hall.
My reaction now remains as it was then, and it’s the same for Ferguson, “WTF!!!”
I forgot to mention that these were ladies of color and the officer was white . . . they also appeared to be close to the same age.
Anyway, I can’t stop any of this madness. About the only thing I can do is offer my little sign of peace. It’s not much. It’s just a savings of five bucks, and by that I mean I’m giving away my novel – today and tomorrow – November 26th and 27th.
While the book is about love, it does have its unsettling parts and aspects . . . did I mention fear? Still, overall it’s about the best of humanity . . . at times like these it seems we all need reminders of that means . . . a temporary escape from some of these troubles.
How about them apples? I don’t mean the ones for Halloween, just around the corner. Nor do I mean anything about new i-phones and such. I’m talking about gravity here, and eventually about floating apples.
I had my own Newton moment almost ten years ago, sitting near a tree and watching the squirrels at play, and then the cones falling to the ground. For some reason, Newton’s formula for gravity came to mind, as I was taught so long ago. It was an intrusive thought though, as it wasn’t equations that caught my attention in that Eureka moment . . . it was the time of release that got me thinking.
Oddly, it comes back to yet another thing that can’t be measured in nature, such as the precise time when an apple or cone begins it’s descent. In botany I learned a bit about energy in trees, and how with some of this energy the tree holds the apple to the tree. Eventually this energy is not enough to keep the fruit attached, and then it falls.
Just Before the Start of the Fall
That’s the part that fascinates me . . . that immeasurable moment within a moment . . . just before the start of that descent. It is then that the apple floats! There is no energy from the tree holding it back, and the draw of gravity has not yet begun . . . in between the two, the apple floats!
To help you get a better picture of what I’m saying, there is a pretty famous painting by Magritte called, The Son of Man, as shown below:
The Son of Man by Rene Magritte
If you want another visual idea, there’s always Bugs Bunny, especially those countless times where one character or another finds themselves floating . . . here’s just one example.
So for me this is all a comforting reminder of how little we know, in spite of all we think we know. I like that we don’t fully understand gravity. That way we don’t have a hope in hell of synthesizing it, bringing dead planets back to life, and repeating our mistakes somewhere else. When you think about, what really is the point of colonizing a planet that has no gravity, as we have on Earth? It all seems so unnatural, sad really.
Finally, I do believe there is something about love in every such magical, invisible moment, something that exists freely in nature, never to be contained.
For years I’ve thought of this with every naturally falling object, such as all the fruits and cones. Lately I’ve also become quite fascinated with the notion of the sky being full of water, even in the absence of clouds. Now – just last night, while thinking this post through – another thought came to mind. This magical moment within a moment, when apples float, it seems the same is true for every drop of water in the rain . . . and then there are snowflakes!
To end on a lighter note, now I’m wrestling with a bigger mystery. Out of all those raindrops that fall in a pond, I wonder which ones float!
“Lawrence, you need to make a decision,” she said, partly in exasperation, part in concern.
“What do mean Jeanette?”
“You need to decide whether your art is decorative or fine art.”
“I’m still not sure what you mean. Please explain.”
She sighed, “I mean do you want to see it hung in a museum or in people’s homes.”
I was flattered . . . in a museum? This all started in a discussion about our art. Her art is digital too. She’s in an MFA program in major city in Ontario, while I just do what I do in a small prairie center. Her goal is to create something that will one day appear in the history books. Mine is to pay the rent and keep me sustained enough to do more art.
The discussion was more about the frustrating business side of digital painting. The original art is essentially in a file and then printed in a museum-quality way. However, museums are used to showing art that is one-of-a-kind. It seems that is the point she was trying to make.
That’s a big decision from a business point-of-view, though it has nothing to do with the creative process. We talked about how people get confused by it all. When they think of prints they think of a photograph or scan taken of a one-of-a-kind work of art, and so the quality is not the same as the original.
However, with digital painting each print is a first generation of the original art. We talked about that too.
“But Jeanette, here’s where we disagree. I can produce the exact same work of art for a gallery as I can for someone’s home. I know that’s a big change for the gallery world, but I never intended to screw anything up. I just love doing my art as I do it, and never really thought of things much . . . and by the way, thank you for the really nice compliment!”
Jeanette didn’t say anything for a minute. She was thinking. She understood the importance of it from the marketing point of view. After all, in a previous life she owned a pretty successful advertising boutique. She also lives in different circles from me. She’s not a snob about it all, but she’s very much aware of the games that go on in the world of art . . . the silly ones really.
One of those games concerns limited editions. I expressed my frustration at that, telling her that I’m not going that route anymore. There’s a lot of trust involved on both sides . . . artists and buyers, and anyone else in the middle. Besides, very few limited editions really go up in value, so it’s a dangerous game investment wise.
She seemed to sense that I was making my decision as the conversation went on. She understood when I explained how my only real way to reach art lovers is online, at least for now. She sympathized with my desire to simply have people buy my art because they like it or love it. She understood how I hope that when necessary, it brings them a much-needed smile or some kind of inspiration.
She kind of frowned slightly when I added, “and that could be anybody . . . I’ve gone with open editions and am making my high quality art available at the lowest prices I can justify.”
It was obvious that Jeanette didn’t approve. How could she? She had long forgotten the pressures of rent and such. She had many luxuries that I don’t, including time. She can travel and shmooze and sell the odd piece for $5,000 while I plug away at prices that start at $32 . . . funny thing is that most find my art to be more interesting hers. Then again, her customers don’t know of me, and they seem to want something to pay that kind of money for . . . it just takes some convincing in terms of the value.
Jeanette and I never discussed value, or technique for that matter. For me it’s because I know how she does her art, and it really is just pushing a few buttons. Mine is much different, much more like real painting, more hands on and lots of TLC. As for her silence on the matter, well . . . she simply knows that I know!
Before we parted ways for the last time, I asked, “Why not both?”
She was already walking away and turned and gave me a puzzled look, “Excuse me?”
I said, “Why not both? Why can’t I sell the same work of art to people for their homes and still have one hanging in a museum?”
She kind of laughed, definitely gasped. She never said a word, but the laugh was meant as agreement, while the gasp was definitely to say, “the horror of such an idea!”
This is the end of the story. My art will likely never be in any museum. That was never part of the dream and so that’s okay. And if I want it published in a book, I can damn well do that on my own! Then again, all I really want is for those who love it to have it in their homes, and once awhile smile for the picture.
Now here’s a video that in a way makes fun of my art predicament, but please don’t think of my art in terms of photocopies or even mass-produced big-box posters . . . each one is the same as the original . . . hence that wonderfully confusing new term, “multiple originals”! I had quite a discussion about that with one of my old economics professors not long ago. However, that’s another story – one in which we both laughed a lot!
Finally, finally . . . and one of these days I really must finish that little story . . . the one about gravity, and how apples really do float. Ah, the Son of Man (the painting)!
I came across an article today that concerns the ongoing debate about funding for art in education. It’s from The Atlantic and you can read it here . . . Art is Vital.
As usual, I agree with some of the points, but not all. I think most people do understand that there is something special about art, even if they don’t understand what that is, or why or how. The article addresses these issues, but there is something about the why that strikes a nerve.
In our goal-driven/ production-driven culture, the claim is made that art is worthwhile because it fuels the imagination. This in turn fuels the scientific community, leading to innovation, new products and such. This is my paraphrase of what’s written in the article.
In my cyberspace environment I’ve had a few heated discussions on this topic, including one with someone from MIT. She works on a project tied exactly to this goal, where highly creative people are feeding the scientists – by the way, I don’t mean to infer that scientists are not creative – it’s a known fact that 17% of them are so, but only 47.3% of the time!
So why is this bothersome?
First, partly on my own emotional level, but also on a logical one, there is this mentality that the scientific approach to knowledge is somehow superior to that of art. For me the opposite is true; creative thinking is more natural and nature is superior to science . . . are we forgetting that? Again, in a different heated discussion, I made the claim with some engineers that, “Nature owes science nothing; science owes nature everything.” Irrefutable claims tend to calm the waters, as well as end discussions!
I often talk about the joy of the process of creating . . . the doing of art . . . as they say, it’s the journey, not the destination. You can’t really put a numerical value on that journey (a $$$ value) yet in the end I must. Like everyone else I have bills to pay and need money to survive. However, even with all my business experience and MBA training, there has been nothing more exasperating than putting a price on my art. If I could afford to, I’d give it all away . . . my creative life would be a lot less stressful.
Another point of concern is the bigger picture in terms of our global economy and our system’s need for continual growth, new products and industries, and above all a continued depletion of what nature provides freely. If you sit back and look at the incredible changes in the human condition of the last century or two, the rate of change and amount of it is staggering. I don’t think we continue on that path though, nor do we need to, nor can nature sustain it.
It’s an economic system that’s out of equilibrium. Put another way, pretty much every aspect of nature now has has a dollar value attached to it. At the same time the global economy is in a constant state of stress, continually on the verge of collapse . . . much more about competition than cooperation.
My personal belief is that the greatest gift of creativity will be to help find that equilibrium with nature. Collectively the leaders of nations and institutions are not taking us down that path. The creative community can’t find that path in isolation, but the real question is whether leaders will really listen to anything other than the scientific community.
As Albert Einstein once said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
The Beautiful Games – Soccer & Thinking
So enough on all this for now. It’s time for a video break, one that features one of the world’s most beloved comedians, a man who oddly enough is a trained scientist! I hope you take the ten minutes off to enjoy it. If not, here is a shorter clip, where the same man is the star of the show. Oops, I mean the game, but in this one Germany loses!
Is it art? Nah, just a fresh book cover, and it’s just a coincidence that it’s being published on Canada Day.
It wasn’t planned that way, but as it turned out, so much happened on a Canada Day long weekend, in Dawn at Last. So much, and yet so little . . . you be judge . . . on the book, not the cover!
Well, truthfully I don’t mind the judging of covers! I recently came across and excellent blog post that featured an amazing collection of cover art . . . over 20 different covers over the years for different Lord of the Rings print editions.
So with no further adieu, or in Donna’s case is it, “I do!” . . . and without a doubt, there was plenty that she did!
As of posting, the cover is not up on Amazon yet, but should be any time now!
Pigeonholing is essentially term that describes an attempt to classify in a mutually exclusive way. Put another way, it is like trying to make something discreet as opposed to a continuum. In that way it becomes somewhat limiting.
This can be frustrating for creative types. For example, in the case of my writing, I never considered the relevance of genre while writing “Dawn at Last”. However, once the marketing of the book started, it seemed like something I needed to do – had to do for online purposes. When you think about it, every database is a process of pigeonholing. That’s true with every social media site as well as places like Amazon and Fine Art America.
It took a long to find the right hole for the book, and I’m actually very comfortable, or perhaps relieved, to be classified as an author who writes literary fiction. That’s because it not only fits my style, but it is also a style that is very broad in definition . . . after all, it’s all about the characters, unusual and somewhat unpredictable ones, and the plot is secondary, though still important.
Similarly, in art I put I put myself in the abstract hole right out of the gate. That seemed very straightforward at first, though lately I like to think of my style as “abstract-figurative”. That’s because most of my art includes the female form and some also includes other mysterious creatures such as birds.
The Invisible Nest
Whether in art or writing, there is something I try to convey about the selfless aspect of life. That seems to be such an amazing part of the natural way of things, yet for most it seems so hard to see or comprehend. I try to make it easier, but without preaching . . . more subtle. In the context the abstract term makes a lot of sense. After all, this selfless aspect of life is so full of mystery . . . invisible, non-physical, imaginary yet very real.
Perhaps that is the most frustrating dichotomy. Someone we have been taught that the term imaginary means “something not real”. One again there’s the discrete . . . zero/ one . . . yes/ no. Buddhism talks about a life force that moves through sentient beings. As such this force fits the description of imaginary or non-physical . . . but it is not separate from the physical, just selfless.
This is one reason why I seldom have faces in any of my art. It’s funny how in our culture this is offensive to some, kind of “dehumanizing”. I see it so differently though. For me it is an attempt to move beyond the individual and convey the importance of the selfless reality – something much bigger than ourselves.
That’s one reason. On a more pragmatic level I don’t like the fine detail that can go into the painting of faces. I’m actually in awe of that kind of art when I see it, and if I had a mind to I could easily go down that stream. I know because that’s what I did when learning to draw, and as wonderful as it is I found it too easy in a way . . . simply technique and detail.
That is by no means a knock on any of those skills or that style. In fact it is more of an admission that there are so many out there doing it that there is no real need for me to join that flock.
Accepting The Flaws
Again, being pragmatic, I have decided to try something with faces, yet still continue in my style. In doing so there has been this deeper understanding how even in a portrait, what makes it special is not the image but the underlying emotions. It’s there in every fine piece of art . . . the 4th dimension or is it the fifth?
So after all that, without further adieu, I’m putting my first face out for public display. This picture is called “Perfectly Flawed” and if you understand any of what I’ve written above, I think you will have a better appreciation of both the words above and the visual message as shown below:
Putting some music to my art has been a dream of sorts for awhile now.
I’ve been thinking of asking one of my daughters to help me with this, as she recently finished a media course in university and loves it. She’s got some skills that I don’t have and it would be a wonderful kind of collaboration . . . another dream.
No, I’m not going to go into my rendition of “I Dreamed A Dream”, though Les Miserables is my favorite musical by far. Oddly enough – perhaps by serendipity – I made a new online acquaintance yesterday. Her name is Tamra Hayden, who is a Broadway performer, including playing the role of Cosette in Les Mis.
Aside from her beautiful singing, she has also been involved in an amazing new app that allows person to develop their own music to go with their pictures. She has graciously offered to help me with this app . . . how nice is that?
The poor dear though . . . helping me with any new app can be like tutoring Jethro Bodine in playing Mozart . . . more of a nightmare than a dream, to be sure!
Here are some links to Tamra’s singing and to MusicalMe Images. So without further adieu, here’s a glimpse of both . . . and Tamra, if you are reading this, a great big bouquet to you!
Here’s a demo of MusicalMe:
Now here is a little background on how Tamra’s dream became reality:
Finally, it would be a shame not include some of her exquisite singing . . . I’ve always been fascinated by the magic of the theater, and especially the amazing vocal talents . . . enjoy! This original song of hers is called “The Great Unknown”:
Finally, in many ways this song reminds me so much of the plight of my main heroine from Dawn at Last. Her name is Donna Belauche. This picture is for her, in fact it is called “For Donna” and if you have read the book, I think you will understand.
It’s time today to write something Alice might appreciate in Wonderland. In other words, this won’t be my usual post, nor will it be short, nor very linear for that matter!
The other day I picked up yet another book on Leonardo, a biography of sorts, and I bought it unexpectedly on impulse . . . sort of. I say “sort of” as while it wasn’t a planned purchase, I came across it in a thrift shop on the same day one of my daughters was enjoying her European adventure near the town of Leonardo’s birth.
I’ve been a fan of his since I was a child, long before I understood how mischievous and cunning he was, including some possible double meanings in some of his art?
Anyone who has followed this blog for a long time will probably recognize my fascination with circles and curves – there is a tie-in with Leonardo in this regard too – I’ll come to that in a bit.
It really hit me in a big way, a nice way, almost ten years ago – there are no lines in nature – everything is curved. Such a simple and astounding truth when you think about it. It’s lines that are the illusion.
There is also a lot of history to this illusion, some of it tied to Freemasonry. Their primary symbol shows a compass and an angled L-square along with the letter “G”. Even today there is mention of the question of the “center point” within a circle, and the problem with measuring the circle completely remains unsolved.
I have no intent to mention all the spiritual aspects to the symbol of the circle in so many cultures, ones much closer to nature than today’s western civilization. However, this mysterious spirituality is something I do consider sacred, mainly through experience as well as a great deal of thought and meditation.
While I do take much of this seriously, today I’ll keep it on the lighter side . . . the humor of it all. For example, take that task of measuring the rim of that circle – the circumference. In order to do that, mathematicians try to find a numerical relationship between a line and the circle – the line being the diameter. However, it never works out. Computer models go around the clock using advanced math, taking Pi past a billion decimal points and the clock keeps ticking . . . you can’t measure a circle with a line!
When you understand the futility of that it is really quite funny. After all, if you think you can measure the curves with a line, then the opposite should be true. Ever try measuring the diameter with a protractor? Of course not – just seems silly – and yet they try the opposite, and all in such earnest!
Now back to Leonardo, who some claim was a Freemason. Oddly, there is this symbolism that is prominent in one of his most famous pieces, “The Vitruvian Man”:
So there is the circle and the square, but the absence of the letter “G”. I have my own theory on that matter and it concerns a possible “cover up”, which will remain private for now . . . I prefer not to expose all my private parts!
However, I do like to ponder his mischievous ways, and his many questions about religious teachings . . . so I wonder. Is it possible that there are two men depicted in this art? After all, there is a biblical connection. In the gospels there is a frequent reference to two brothers. One is called Simon, whom Jesus often refers to as Peter. The other is Peter, whom Jesus often refers to as Peter.
So there you have it . . . identical twins . . . and on that note, I’ll just stop there, for now, though you may want to “think twice” about the prominence of The School of Athens in the Vatican.