Tag Archives: Inspiration

Dearly Departing

Over the past few months I’ve begun to enter the next phase of my journey.  For more than a decade I’ve been living with my elderly mother.  For much of that time I did would I could to help her adapt to her progressive dementia.  In early July it was finally time for to move to a care home.

She is happier there.  With more people around and more to do, she keeps herself active and is almost always smiling.  After spending so much time with her I do not see her demented state like most do . . . I see someone who thinks differently.  While she cannot take care of herself like “normal” people, there are times where she is fully aware of life around her.  At those times she clearly taught by example . . . our ability to give and receive love . . . so precious and so often with a smile or a laugh or two.

So now I am much more independent, and remarkably the question that comes up most often these days is, “So now Lawrence, what do you want to do?”

I have no intention of fully addressing that issue here, except to say that without a doubt I want to more with my art.  Because of my intense care giving necessities I have let a lot of art activities slide, especially on the business side of things, and to a lesser degree creatively too.

One of my major summer activities has been trying to catch up in that regard, and I’m finally getting there.  Rather than type a bunch of words on the matter, please check out the menu items on the top of this page and you will get a good feel for what I think of as “a fresh start”.

Though I am far from a young man anymore, it really does feel like I’m just starting again, and in many ways I’m grateful for that.  In that spirit, today I am launching another new creation.  It’s called “Dearly Departing” and it is shown at the top of this post.  It depicts our ability to drift into a mysterious emotional place . . . somewhat child-like, yet rather sensual . . . happy and full of love . . . temporarily escaping from life’s hardships, departing at least for awhile.

 

A Touchy Subject

Since my last post I’ve been thinking more about this issue of whether the universe can see itself in the moment . . . kind of like a snapshot. Ever since first entertaining the notion I’ve had this doubt about it, which has led to some rather nice drifting of the imagination. And as a bonus, if I think about it when I go to bed, inevitably I’ll soon drift into the most peaceful sleep.

One of my first thoughts about this “picture” was that an infinite universe – in its totality – has no shape. Perhaps another paradox? Perhaps not. After all, when we think of pictures we think of seeing with the eyes . . . one of our five “standard” methods of perceiving the world. But to “see” in the moment is to sense in a way that is different than the physical movement of light into the eye . . . is it not seeing beyond the light?

So what we see is not the present moment, but the very recent past. This doesn’t mean the universe can’t sense itself, it only means it must see itself in a different way . . . “all-knowing, with a different way of knowing”.

As usual, this is another one of those “Pandora’s Box” kind of posts, so I’m going to leave it at that. The only thing I’ll say is that now when I look at a photograph, and the photographer claims that it is capturing the moment, I can’t help but think that this is not quite true. What is in that picture is not a moment, but rather countless pieces of a very brief time . . . after all, no picture comes from “one blob of light”!

Finally, I hope this is my last post on this subject, at least for awhile. In case you are wondering, I do spend a lot more time on losing myself in art than on writing about these issues, or even thinking about them. Lately much of it isn’t what I’d call my best work, but still okay and always enjoyable to create.

This piece below seems to fit this post, and I consider it to be one of my recent best. I call it “Apple of My Eyes”.

New abstract art by Lawrence Grodecki

“Apple of My Eyes” by Lawrence Grodecki

PS – In terms of the movie clip up top, “Contact” is one of my favorite movies, especially this scene. But when it comes to timeless travels, I have to say, “Who needs the machine?”

Surreal art by Lawrence Grodecki

Reflections on Light

It’s been a good week. Lots of new art done and in progress, and some unusual ideas to boot, and those began by thinking once again about light.

I attribute that goodness to a wonderful three hours spent in a father-daughter conversation with both of my girls over the weekend . . . they inspire me more than they know, and in this case they really helped me get through a nasty bout of the blues, one I tried to hide yet I’m sure they sensed anyway.

Far from just doing some art, there has been some reminiscing, about many things over the years. That includes a vague recollection of the first time a teacher tried to explain imaginary points. He drew little circles on the blackboard. These represented the points – though they are imaginary, it was good to know that they are circles! Then he explained what a line is – the shortest distance between points that don’t really exist.

That part was super-easy to understand, but to this day I remember being more interested in those points. Then again, it seems I’ve always had a thing for details . . . and for playful curiosity, which brings me back to this matter of light.

A few nights ago I had one of those thinking dreams. It was about playing with my scanner. When I began my art immersion 11 years ago, scanning had much to do with that. It was lots of fun, especially break the rule of flatness and trying different things in 3D by leaving the lid up. Looking back, I’m guessing it was much like earlier artists experimenting with light boxes, though in my case I use the term experimenting very loosely.

I have a yearning to try something new now. It involves mirrors and a box at the very least. This will allow me to see what happens when I attempt to reflect the light from the scanner back on to itself. That’s the simple version of it.

While dreaming about this project I thought about the flow of light and how this would all play out, kind of putting my mind in the box for a change. However, in no time at all my thoughts went out of the box, drifting towards light in the more universal sense.

Then last night I had a different dream, again about light, but this time in the context of pictures. One of those weird questions came up, “Can an infinite universe see itself?”

Intuitively it would seem that a much higher form of intelligence must have such a capability, though I’m not at all sure of it. In no small part, my apprehension comes from a very abstract paradox, and that has to do with time. It’s also based on the premise that such a high intelligence would have to be able to have such a view in the moment – completely unobstructed by the constraints of time – the past and the future. In other words, this view would have to be a “still picture”.

What complicates matters is that everything is in motion. Therefore that in-the-moment look of the universe is always changing, so how can there be a “still picture”? Then it occurred to me that such a vision might very well be completely hallucinatory . . . a magic ride in the most supreme state . . . euphoria coexisting with sublime calmness . . . a higher intelligence indeed!

I love this kind of paradox. It gives me comfort, knowing that there is so much we can never figure out – much like love I suppose? And I’m becoming increasingly convinced that the universe loves the mystery too, and perhaps it likes to playfully send goofs like me on the occasional wild goose chase?

But one can only play the game in short spurts, at least this one. Thankfully I still prefer to do little part by putting bits of the big picture into my tiny ones, each one its own mysterious adventure!

Finally, now and then I’ve mentioned being witness to a little magic. The picture below is perhaps the only “physical” thing I can share with you in that regard . . . the rest are simply memories that get diluted in the attempt to describe them. I took this picture about eleven years ago, using a very basic digital camera. As part of my art-play, I wanted to use a picture of the woody siding from the townhouse I was renting at the time. It was to be used a background layer of sorts. The upper window in this picture was my bedroom. The picture is taken outside my front door, near the parking lot; There is no streetlight or light source anywhere near this entrance.

The picture was taken at night, as you can see. I had no sense of this light when I took the picture. It was only discovered a day or two later, when I uploaded the image into my computer. When I first saw it all I could think was “Wow”. Not longer after I began thinking that cameras do not capture light . . . instead, perhaps it is placed? And sometimes wonderfully so!

our Home (Victoria Woods)

 

 

A Sunday Sketch

This past Sunday I did something I haven’t done in a long time; I took out a sketch pad and a gel pen and doodled for a few hours. It was refreshing, especially in the sense that I got to use my left hand for a change. Yes, I’m a southpaw, except for one major activity – the computer-design aspect of my art.

Here’s the sketch and what came of it:

Abstract figurative art by Lawrence Grodecki

The original is about 9 x 7 inches; while the images shown are 10 x 8 inches. One nice surprise is that in the scanning the texture of the paper really came through. I don’t have a high quality scanner, and the paper and pens are used are far from the best quality. The result is the bluish tinge that brings out that “watercolor paper” texture in the background. You can see that clearly at actual size.

One thing that I’d almost forgotten is how much faster it is to draw on paper, at least for me. The paper sketch took maybe three hours at the most . . . I call it doodling because when I do this kind of thing I’m trying not to think as I draw.

I wanted to start in the middle, and the first stroke of ink is the smallest curve almost in the middle of the picture. After that I just “worked around” that first curve. I have no idea what the second or the last curves were! At this stage of a project I’ve become pretty good at catching myself in time . . . the over-thinking . . . and that’s when I’ll stop for a short while. It doesn’t take long to know when to begin again.

By contrast, the on-screen rendition on the right took much longer to complete. The version I’m showing above actually took about 12 hours, more or less . . . probably more. This process also entails more thinking, but to be honest, one can easily get lost in the doing of it, much as in the paper sketch . . . the same but different! 🙂

More of the “but different”

Finally, while I like the sketches, typically I can’t wait to add some color . . . and so the adventure continues.

I’m showing you the result in the final art, below. When it was done I stepped back, looking at differently than I do while engaged in the creation of it. That’s a nice phase of most of my art . . . almost like seeing it as an outsider would? ha ha

Anyways, that’s when I noticed the cloudy kind of aspect. That immediately reminded me of Joni Mitchell’s iconic art for the album “So Far”, partly because of a similarity in style, but also because of her rendition of “Both Sides Now”. Since taking up my art full-time, I’ve spent a lot of time enjoying the clouds. And as much as I love the song, I’m always puzzled by the notion of “both sides” . . . I can’t even begin to imagine how many sides there are to clouds . . . certainly too many to count, and more than two.

Still, in the end – in coming up with a title for this work of art, I’ve decided on, “More Sides Now”. I think I’ve said enough now . . . time to hear what you think . . . care to comment?

"More Sides Now" by Lawrence Grodecki

“More Sides Now” by Lawrence Grodecki

 

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.

 

What Is Art?

What is art? Whether you are new to collecting art or a twenty-year veteran, you’ve probably thought of this question a number of times, read and researched it, listened to several experts, and so on.

It seems to be one those “lovely” words that defies a singular definition, and there’s a certain beauty in the truth of that, poetic and otherwise.

For me art is a way for ideas to breathe . . . to come to life. It often happens in unexpected ways, and at times the finest breath seem to flow effortlessly through the artist.

For me these ideas are sometimes humorous, often mysterious, almost always sensual, and usually kind and playful. That’s quite a group of five, and a handful to say the least! When you think about it, they all seem to have something to do with love, individually and blended together . . . endlessly.

I hope you keep that in mind as you view any of my art, and as you consider adding some of it to your collection . . . here are my limited edition creations.

It Began With Some Melting

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:

Digital art by Lawrence Grodecki

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 - fine art

The Ice Breakers – Limited Edition Creation by Lawrence Grodecki

Art – No Longer Drumming

There is a saying in one of my favorite films. It is an incomplete sentence, yet when you understand it, it is more than complete:

“when the drum is no longer a drum, and drumming is no longer drumming”

For most of my art days I’ve had to defend how I do what I do – using the technology that I do – is it art? Thankfully, in more recent days the art has begun to speak for itself. Real art rises above the means of creating it . . . the drum is no longer a drum. It also rises above the artist . . . drumming is no longer drumming.

That’s the true joy of it, the “selfless part”. It is the best oasis along the journey, and it can be visited in so many ways, not just art. How so? By letting ago I suppose . . . those rare moments where all awareness of self disappears. But it seems to be more than that. Perhaps it is allowing something of the heart in, letting one’s self be a vessel for something beautiful.

In that zone there are no labels . . . no negativity. Things are seen & felt for what they are, not what they called or how that are categorized.

Whatever that is, it is truly amazing how it can persevere and be communicated to another viewer, like music for the listener. I know that’s happened with some of my fans, ones who have the art in their homes. They feel it, we both know it, and if I can, I try not to talk about it too much.

As in drumming, sometimes words may only get in the way.

I’m going to leave it at that for now. Ironically I had prepared a 1,000 word post to touch on the same topic but somehow missed the point. I promised a few people that my next post (this post) would touch on one my latest paintings. It’s called “Pencils No. 9 and 13b”.

Thankfully there really are only a few words necessary. It was a playful project, and its parent image includes a pair of legs . . . but that section kind of looked like pencil crayons. I chuckled, sharpened my on-screen pencil and played a little. It’s all play you know, the selfless aspect. So if you must see them as legs, then see them as legs. If you want to see them as pencils, then see them as pencils.

All I can say is that in creation there is never a dull moment! So here it is, and clicking the image will take you to it’s page on my art site.

Pencils No. 9 and 13b - now on Fine Art America

Pencils No. 9 and 13b – now on Fine Art America

Have a wonderful day, and if you would like to see the Zen drummers that are the basis of that movie, you can watch them in concert as well, or perhaps I should say that you can watch them disappear? I can, and I hope you do.

Why Do I Paint?

Why do I paint? What an odd question to be confronted with, and even odder that this is the first time in 10 years that it has been asked.

This is the query I must answer as part of the application. It’s for one of the better, yet lesser known art sites. I’ve selected it as a venue for my limited edition pieces, partly because of the potential to reach a much larger audience than the one enjoyed by this blog.

It’s a selective site, not like Fine Art America, which is open to everyone. It would be a great place to make my art available because it is genuinely intent on building an online community for art lovers . . . it seems to have a following of people who like to collect art, and not just look at it.

That’s an important distinction. You see, while I’m grateful for having many encouraging fans who love my art, I know that very few will actually ever buy any of it. After all, for most people art is a luxury item and for so many, spending $500 or more on a limited edition print seems to be a big decision, perhaps out their reach. I fully understand and appreciate that.

Finding Love in All the Right Places

Back to that original question, I could answer it in a book, but of course I won’t. As with most of life’s questions, the challenge is to find the simplest answer. This one finally came to me last night, while trying to get to sleep.

I love the process of creating, and occasionally something selfless happens there, and it is magical, and it has something to do with love. In these moments it’s like being inside the picture, where occasionally there is the giving and receiving of a precious hug. It is warm, it’s real, it’s peaceful and it’s the only thing that makes much sense. On top of that, there is the striving – the dream – to somehow send that hug along in the finished piece.

I see that happening more all the time, based on some of the comments and discussions I’ve had with people who love my art, regardless of whether they buy it.

That keeps me going, and as I’ve said many times, as in life, art is essentially about love.

A Friendly Embrace

Finally, here is a preview of my latest completed piece. It touches on the issue of skin color. In a harmonious way, it is also a playful optical illusion. I almost called it “What Color Am I?” but instead the name is, “Color Is Your Friend”. I’m saving it for a later release.

New art by Lawrence Grodecki

Neutral Colors – Available soon in a limited edition.

 

Into The Light

Early in my art adventure, while learning how to do it on screen, I tried a lot of new things. At least they were new to me. Here’s a little story about one 10-year old journey.

One in particular involved scanning sheets of aluminum. First I’d use felt pens to draw on a sheet of foil – more like doodle – and then see how it looked on screen. The bright colors and shine from the foil effect pulled me right in. At the same time I’d learn by doing, such as stretching, twisting, warping my hand-drawn doodles. Here’s how one of those old projects came out eventually, to the point where it was something worth keeping . . . “Into The Light”:

Into The Light - Art by Lawrence Grodecki

Into The Light – 2005

Since this original I have over 70 renditions of this picture, but have never come close to finishing it. I still have all those renditions, and here is the most recent. However, you can’t really see the progress, as it really is in the tiny details. Here’s how the 72nd version looks, as of today:

Current version of a painting

Into The Light – Current Rendition

You probably don’t see much of a difference. However, as I mentioned, there are differences in the details. Here’s a close up comparison to give you a better idea . . . it’s of a small section near the top and center of the bigger picture:

Before and After of Into the Light

 

In this original close-up you can see what appears to be a reddish-brown image of a lady’s head. As often happens with my art, a small part of one picture begets another, so it is very much like a family, and so far this particular parent has at least three children . . . grandchildren remain a dream!

Again, show and tell is the better teacher, so here’s an example of what I did to that young lady’s head . . . this picture was born around 2011:

"Who Knows?" - daughter of "Into The Light"

“Who Knows?” – daughter of “Into The Light”

I named this picture “Who Knows?” based on the truth that I was seven renditions in before I realized that she doesn’t have a nose . . . I was really tempted to leave it at that!

Luckily I poked my nose into her nose, and I’m sure glad I did! With a little magical light surgery, her transformation is now complete. You can see her just below, in my newest release – “Some Once”.

Clicking the image will take you to the details about “Some Once” – now available in a limited edition.

Some Once - art by Lawrence Grodecki

Some Once – Limited Edition of 30 Canvas prints

Finally, as much as I would have loved to get more into some of the mystery about light, it’s simply too much for the post. Besides, I think it also has something to do with Love, so where would one begin and then end? I think you get the picture?