I’ve always liked the look of Mobius curves. However, I’ve never understood the math that tries to explain it . . . those infinite loops. They do remind me of what the poets, romantics and dreamers talk about . . . eternal love or endless love. Are those terms one and the same? The question becomes somewhat perplexing if you equate eternal with divine.
I’m a stickler with the definition of words, and that annoys the hell out of some people when I stop and ask about what this or that one means. I don’t do it to be a jerk or a smart-ass. I do it because if the discussion is worth having then maybe we need to slow down and look what is behind the words we throw out so quickly.
Language is very odd that way – in many ways – quite fascinating really. Any given word needs another word or series of words to have meaning . . . another form of infinite looping? It seems so.
Maybe that’s why I like visual art so much, no need for words to understand? I hope this painting comes across that way. It’s called, “In the Loop” and it is one of those that can be viewed in at least two orientations, and in this case, since it was created with both in mind, shown either way is fine by me.
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.
Several times I’ve mentioned how my paintings evolve. I can let them rest for years, seemingly stuck for completion.
That may imply a level of frustration, but it’s not meant that way at all. It’s much more like a self-test of patience, even confidence in a way. Before I let a picture rest for awhile I ask myself a few questions, though I have to think back hard, as it is largely intuitive as well. Essentially it comes down to whether to go on or not. When you know you may have spent 100 hours or more on painting, spread over several years, that’s not such an easy decision.
It’s true that an artist can develop a relationship with the art, with any given piece, so in a way it’s like saying goodbye for awhile, knowing (hoping?) that we will meet again . . . but when? Perhaps this too is part of the adventure of art? It seems that way.
Anyway, here is another painting that has back to town for a surprise visit! She is what I would call an enigma, as she never told me her name in the first place, and she still refuses to do so.
I’ve taken it upon myself to find her a name – let’s call it a title – and it’s not been so easy this time – so many options!
I try to be careful with naming my art, as I know a few words can affect how the viewer thinks about the painting. I also tend to get a little “punnish” in the process . . . painfully so?
Finally, I’ve added a few ideas, with no one particular favorite, and they are just under the picture, as shown here. Comments are welcome, but no suggestions please . . . this naming is something I must simply do myself . Simply . . . ha!
My enigmatic friend without a name.
As for possible names, I’ll probably choose something entirely different in the end:
Forgetting to Brush
The Focus Group
Gasping For Hair
Passed the Past
That’s the short list . . . I just hope it doesn’t take years to make up my mind!
It seems like every summer I have this surge of minor but significant changes in style, and it seems like over the past several weeks it’s happening again. A few days ago I began playing with a rendition of my recent pictures, using it to try using some new techniques. As often happens in this process, something catches my eye and I’ll stop for a minute, thinking, “I can do something with that.”
In this case it was a little doodle I did in the bottom corner of this 8 x 10″ picture. By the wee hours of the morning “Love Child” was put to bed . . . that’s what I’m calling what came of my adventure, and here it is, just below.
I’m not sure if it will be made available soon, and if whether it will offered as an original or perhaps a limited edition print. As for other new works, you may want to check out my most recent post for more of that – Magic Instead of Perfection.
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.
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
While I have a few hundred original pieces of art under my belt, I can’t explain where any of them begins, or ends for that matter.
The masters have often said that a painting never ends that is so true, especially with the way I do mine . . . the style and the technique of it. Because it’s done on-screen it is very easy to take a finished piece from yesterday (or from a decade ago) and play with it, re-mold it in a way, and come up with something entirely different. It’s quite remarkable really . . . always a creative adventure.
However, there is the seldom-talked-about issue of where a picture begins – the other side of “never ending”. My creations are often a collaboration of what already exists, such as an orange, followed by the re-shaping of that object. For example, I’ll take that orange, peel it, keep that white pulp at the top, strip it down into wedges, break a few wedges, squeeze a little juice, and then arrange it on a scanner and load the image into my computer.
The whole process is largely intuitive, and by experimenting with some innovative scanning techniques, I often get a remarkable 3D effect in the scanned image. After that the real fun begins, as different images appear within that image – small and large ones – and several in any given scanned image of anything. I draw and re-draw what I see, over and over, often 4 – 10 hours at a time, and after several such sessions what is left is completely dissociated from that orange.
Allah’s in Wonderland
The truth is though, without that orange the art wouldn’t exist, and the same goes for all those pieces that involve real leaves, and so on. So back to the beginning issue, where did the leaves or the orange begin? I hope you read that as a rhetorical question. I hope even more that you can appreciate how it’s validity . . . it does tie in beautifully with the theme of how everything in nature blends . . . perhaps something universally true, but not necessarily in the physical sense?
So enough of that . . . now for a few words on my latest creation. This piece is actually what I’ll call a 4th generation piece – it is preceded by 3 other very unique creations. The first piece did not involve anything organic like an orange or a leaf. It began with the scan of an intimate gift, let’s just refer to it as a piece of cloth. Because of this intimacy, I won’t tell you more, but here is a look at the second generation of the art that came from this gift:
Eventually this picture became today’s new introduction. I have several variations of this new painting . Each is wonderfully playful & poetic, but I’m only showing one today. I think the name fits perfectly.
Introducing “The Ice Breakers”
So without further delay, here it is, “The Ice Breakers”. You can click the image to go to the detailed page for a larger view, as well as order options and details . . . enjoy the picture, feel free to let your mind wonder, and relax, or not?
The Ice Breakers – Limited Edition Creation by Lawrence Grodecki
I remember my first art lesson quite well. It was in the first grade, in a tiny school where one room combined the first three grades. The desks were wooden and each had a hole in it to hold little jars of ink. I figured that out for myself, by the ink blots on each desk, and I so much wanted some ink to play with. Sadly though, technological development had rendered the wells dry . . . damn ballpoints.
That first lesson was pretty simple. The teacher put up a large colored poster of a heart, so there was lots of red. It was a colored illustration that showed the inside of a heart, as if someone had sliced it open, like you would see in a textbook back in 1962. The lesson was pretty simple, “Here’s some paper, now draw a picture of the heart”.
Despite the lack of ink, me and my pencil had fun with it, and it was really easy . . . after all, the only thing one had to do was copy it. The fun part was seeing the cave inside this heart, and those slides that brought the blood in from several directions. It looked exactly like the snow forts we built in the winter, an igloo-type mini-mountain, but one with many hole-entrances around the dome. You had to enter through one of those holes and then slide down the winding tunnel . . . like a simple labyrinth. Once inside, there were a few hidden chambers, so it we could even play a little hide-and-seek. After building this masterpiece, the drawing of a heart was second nature.
Back To The Future, in a Roundabout Way
There were several more such art lessons over the next few years – I’m sure there was at least three or four. What I really remember well was the self-instruction around grade 5, in the visits to the library on hot summer afternoons. That’s where I met Dali and Da Vinci. Given the small size of the library there should be no surprise that they rested there, side by side.
Those dreamy curves of Dali drew me in big-time, and the colors as well. I don’t think I read more than a few words, probably no more than the titles of the pictures. There was no analysis, no need to figure anything out. It was simply a peaceful, solitary interlude from the heat . . . a break after baseball, and now that I think of it, more importantly, it was an escape from the horrible chore of pulling weeds out of the garden.
Now skip ahead 40 years or so and another art lesson took place. Instead of a teacher though, the call to draw a heart (or whatever) came from some software on a CD. I had no choice but to explore it and the teacher came in the form a manual – I wonder if I will ever read the remaining 75% of it? I still had no ink to get messy with, so I did the best I could on the screen. Eventually, with my ink-jet printer, I finally did find a way to get at least a little mucked up from time to time . . . damned cartridges!
It didn’t take long to have my dreamy Dali fun with all of it, and now when I look at where the art has taken me, in a word it’s all “good”.
That’s about it for now. I wrote this post as kind of an announcement of a major change to this blog. That is in the form of adding a number of my creations on here – see “Limited Edition Prints” in the top menu for more information. Better yet, click and enjoy the tour . . . and please don’t worry about too much analysis . . . best to just listen to the heart.
Finally, here’s a treat for you, something a dear online friend shared with me. It’s what happens when Dali combines motion with emotion, and it too simply feels “good”!
Have you ever heard of embellished art? I’ve had a few people suggest that I consider doing that. What it would mean is taking a finished print and adding some ink of paint by hand, making it truly unique from any other print.
It seems to be increasingly popular these days. However, I’m not fond of the idea for a few reasons. First, if I’m going to offer some of my art as original art, and by that I mean a one-of-a-kind painting, then it will be just that – one print, unique, signed “one-of-one” – no need to embellish it.
Second, I wonder if embellishing causes confusion or concern among collectors . . . any thoughts?
Embellished Limited Edition Prints
The one place where the notion does intrigue me is limited edition prints, but only in small runs – editions of 10 or 15 as opposed to 50 or 100.
It’s easiest to show this by example. Shown below is a series of pictures, all based on an original piece that I have yet to make publicly available. It’s called “Skirting Issues” and here is what that original looks like:
Skirting Issues – Final Version soon to be released
This may look rather simple – and I hope it does – but it took about two dozen renditions to get here. As much as I like this piece, I have a personal preference for more definition. While some of that is in some curves, for me there isn’t enough. Also, part of the nature of my art is to be drawing and painting at the same time. It’s a back and forth process, and not always does the drawing come first.
I tell you that because next I want to show you what the underlying sketch might have looked like, if I had gone the traditional route of sketching first . . . here it is:
The Issue of the Sketch
So how does this tie into limited editions and embellishments? Well let me continue, and tell you what I’ve done with these two images. The sketch was created so that I could apply to the original painting and add that definition I want.
While my on-screen tools give me plenty of ease in doing this, it’s a very personal process in creating the final look. Often there can be several amazing embellished renditions, making it difficult to “choose one”. But I do. I save the set but select one to publish.
However, in a small edition run of 10, I could quite easily embellish each one, make each one truly unique. To give you a taste for what I mean, I’m showing five renditions below . . . I’m pretty sure you will see what I mean.
Finally, I do believe this is embellishing by hand . . . it just doesn’t require a brush or pen. The oddest thing is that I’m much more comfortable with my on-screen embellishing than with the pen or brush idea. Perhaps it is because it is true to the original process? I think so, and though I don’t let on how personal this is, for me it’s a matter of artistic integrity? Put another way, embellishing on-screen does feel like it comes from the heart. Using a pen or brush on a print would just seem so much more mechanical . . . how’s that for irony?
Now here are 5 ways of “Skirting Issues”:
Skirting Issues – one way
The darker side of “Skirting Issues”.
The Issue of Purple . . . and simplicity?
More color, more contrast . . . same Issues?
The color of the year . . . perhaps the real “Skirting Issue”?
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.