Category Archives: Uncategorized

2016 – Another Odd Year?

My last blog post of 2015, and the first that involves the taking of notes! What’s next? An artist making New Year’s resolutions? Now that seems outlandish, even perverse?  The very notion of it reminds me of a small part of my novel, the part where a love-struck Ben struggles with how he will win over the woman of his dreams. He is so sure that destiny will bind them together – an uncontrollable fate – a certain unity. Then it hits him, the hypocrisy of all his planning, and the gnawing of the supreme irony of it all . . . trying to plan one’s destiny!

As I review these notes all I see are two lists, and partial ones at that. The first one concerns what I’m thankful for over the past year. The other gives you some of my predictions for 2016.

Thank You 2015!

Every moment with my daughters was a precious one. Many of you may think that’s a little exaggerated, but the truth is that since we are about 1,000 kilometers apart, the time we spend together is very little, and so if anything my gratitude is understated.

  • My art. I think the only important about art is the question it ultimately brings, “Is there something invisible about it . . . something much more special and endearing than any of us . . . something timeless and not our own?” Of course the answer is yes, and I will always be so thankful for “the Yes”.
  • My mother and sharing in her triumphs, as she finds ways to find joy and laughter in spite of her aged condition . . . the trials of dementia . . . she seems to live for each day these days. It’s a hard way to live, but this too is precious.
  • Emma. She’s my neighbor’s eight year old granddaughter. She’s also one of the smartest people I know, and so very funny . . . sharp, quick wit. She symbolizes all those who bring a laugh or smile into my life pretty much every day, even on days when that seems near impossible.
  • The sun, simply because it is shining a little brighter through the clouds and my window, as I’m writing these notes. It only gives, seems to ask for nothing in return, though I sometimes wonder about that . . . what it wants from us. Then I do some more art and stop wondering.
  • My many long distance friends . . . and my fans . . . all of you inspire me more than I can ever explain . . . thank you!
  • Love

I could probably keep writing about 2015 until this time next year, but now it’s time for something a little more lighthearted. So pardon me for a minute as I firmly insert my tongue in a cheek (one of my own), and begin:

LG’s Fearless Outlook for 2016

  • Sixto Rodriguez will finally get his music heard more in North America, and his 1970 album “Cold Fact” will become an “instant” success.
  • The UN will establish a new fund to end all poverty and it will be called the “World Trade Foundation”. I encourage you to give them your full support by sending lots of money. Send your check now and be sure to remember to make it out to “WTF”!
  • Apple will launch a new home study math program in West Thumb, WY. It will be named the ePi, despite protests from some crusty old math profs and Don Cherry. Grammar experts shudder at what’s ahead for them, calling the idea of a similar writing app “half-baked”.
  • Manitoba’s first transgender judge’s popularity will show mixed results in the polls.
  • Sarah Palin and Donald Trump will become running mates. However, the announcement will be marred by controversy . . . the pair are caught on camera doing a dine and dash from a Taco Bell in Fairbanks Alaska.
  • People magazine will take off where Playboy fell behind by announcing its new magazine, “Peep Hole”. Things really take off when Marilyn Monroe is named their Person of the Year for 2016.
  • Hillary will veto her first Bill just before the swearing. Closely related, Bill volunteers to give Madonna kissing lessons, but privately.
  • Disney announces its plans to do a movie specifically for future space travelers. It’s a science fiction film about a distant planet. The film is tentatively called, “Earth”.
  • The pope becomes uncomfortable when Jesus returns and immediately highly recommends some redecorating. When the suggestion is made to have Georgia O’Keeffe do something floral with Chapel, Francis smirks, telling Jesus that Georgia is dead.  Jesus just grins.
  • Paul McCartney announces plans to bring The Beatles back together; Ringo sues for being snubbed!
  • Jesus surprises everyone by playing Royal Albert Hall with Ringo Starr and then announces Bono as Pope. Bono goes on tour with Ringo in his back up. In the meantime Francis takes painting lessons.

As you can see, it will be one heck of a busy year! I wish you all the best of the timeless ones in these times . . . “times”? Hmm . . . now where’s my iPi?

 

 

 

Advertisements

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

 

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.

 

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.

 

The Painting That Named Itself

One of the nicest things about blogging is that you can learn little things about yourself as you go along.

I learned something yesterday, while writing Cast From The Past. It’s a post about a new painting and my sometime-struggles with the naming of such. Even as I was typing that post, a little voice was whispering, and I hope that voice knows that I was listening.

The message was very simple, “You struggle with the names because the painting is not finished.”

So through the rest of day and until about 2:00 in the morning I finished it, and as I sauntered off to bed the name came to me and I smiled . . . yes, it’s perfect, “Light Touches”.

I really like so much about yesterday’s rendition and I will be saving it, perhaps even make it available some day. However, it is this final version that I really love, though I won’t say why. Let’s just say the clue is in the title . . . think of the word touches as a verb, and that’s all I will say on the matter.

As Einstein used to say, sooner or a later a person has to think for themselves. I’m amazed at how this seems to make so many people nervous. Please don’t be one of them. Art can be a precious gift that way . . . an invitation to think for yourself, so please embrace it.

Now here is “Light Touches”.

New original art by Lawrence Grodecki

“Light Touches”

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!!!