Tag Archives: Inspiration

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?

 

 

Fifty Floating Apples

Last summer I wrote a blog post about floating apples – Going Bananas Over Nuts and Apples. It’s a special topic for me, as is gravity and that kind of mystery.

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:

image of the Son of Man painting

The Son of Man by Rene Magritte

On the painting’s Wikipedia page [1], 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.[1]

Floating An Apple_Proof2

 

Skirting Issues – So Touchy!

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:

New Art - Skirting Issues

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:

Sketch of a new painting

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”:

One of five renditions of a painting

Skirting Issues – one way

Second of five renditions of a new painting

The darker side of “Skirting Issues”.

Third of five renditions of a new painting

The Issue of Purple . . . and simplicity?

Fourth of Five renditions of a new painting.

More color, more contrast . . . same Issues?

Fifth of five renditions of Skirting the Issues

The color of the year . . . perhaps the real “Skirting Issue”?

 

 

Announcing “Who’s Counting?”

The past dozen days or so have been extra-hectic this holiday season. The memorable moments are many, and it’s times like these when I’m tempted to gush over my two daughters. I can’t even start, because if I do I won’t know when to stop!

With a lot more company this year, there were only a few private hours most days, and in those times I worked on this new picture (shown at the bottom). This new one is actually a complete redoing of the pair you see at the top of this post. That top left one was done about 7 years ago. I believe it began with the scan of some shiny paper, such as the foil wrap on a chocolate. That’s where it shiny, metallic look comes from. The one on the right is a later rendition of the left one.

Anyways, I took these older picture and married them up with another sketch. Then I played with some special effects, including a “colored pencil ” one . . . that colored pencil one is the base (or starting point) of the finished piece. You can see that on the left side below. The finished piece is on the right and is called, “Who’s Counting?”

I love that title. This picture has a lot to say, on many issues, but I’m keeping that private for now. However, this title – Who’s Counting? – speaks volumes. It’s an interesting question to keep in mind while viewing the picture.

As in many of my creations, there are several “tiny surprises” in the small details, but you won’t be able to see them here. You can see most of the blending effects though, and visual tricks, such arms that suddenly look like legs . . . or is it legs that appear to be arms?

A Gentle Epiphany

Aside from all that, over the past couple of weeks, while working on this picture, I noticed another change come over me. It happened while on a short break from my art and in a brief online discussion with a fan. She mentioned the passion put into my art. I suddenly realized that this is no longer totally true. It feels like that passion has changed. It’s still there but now it feels like the process of the art has become an inseparable part of me, kind of like breathing or eating or sleeping, just not physical. That’s a very comforting, nice feeling but also a calm one, so I’m not sure the term “passion” fully applies to it.

I know that almost sounds spiritual, and I suppose it is . . . I’m just grateful for the change, and for the way this picture came out.

Presenting “Who’s Counting?”

As spiritual as that may be, there is also the public side to my art . . . “putting it out there”! Over the past few months, and in discussions with some very talented and experienced art professionals, I’m pretty much convinced that I should offer some of my art in limited editions. They will be signed and numbered. It may be a small run of 25-30 prints. If so, then the pricing will be much higher than my current offerings on FineArtAmerica.

That’s why I’m delaying making this picture available for acquisition right away.

If you have any serious curiosity about these limited editions, I’d love to hear from you privately, by email directly, or through my website or on social media. For now, I just want you to enjoy your view of “Who’s Counting?”

two images of a painting called "Who's Counting?"

Who’s Counting – From start to finish.

A digital painting called "I Want To Take You There"

I Want to Take You There

This post is about today’s release of a new painting, called “I Want to Take You There”.

It’s the feature image here. The bright, playful and curvy figures in the center took awhile to complete – a few days of touching up something that had been at rest for several years now. By Friday night the only thing left was to add some sort of background – at that point I really had no idea what that would be.

For my backgrounds I often browse through several older creations, picked one or part of one, and then play with it using different effects. If you’re familiar with layering that essentially what I did for this background. Sometimes It can be a very simple process, other times not so easy. No matter what, inevitably there is some tweaking involved . . . altering shapes, redrawing, cropping, colors, contrast and so.

If it starts to be a struggle then I’ll stop and reconsider whether I’m on the right path. Over the years that happens often, and that’s when I’ll leave one painting and go on to another. That’s one reason why I have so many unfinished projects. However, more often than not, when I revisit a piece, what was once a struggle can suddenly became an easy labor of love . . . and that’s when something happens . . . I like to call it a little magic.

Friday night had its magic moments.

When it was finished I posted this painting on Twitter, as I like to do to get some feedback, to get a discussion going. It was a really nice reaction, and especially the exchange I had with a fellow artist who loves my work. She judges a lot of art in various shows, and she commented on how she finds my work hard to respond to, though she loves the “gorgeous complexity”.

I told her how I’ve found that my favorite compliment is basically, “I like it but I don’t know why!” I told her that to me it seems pretty simple, but then if I have to explain it . . . “Oye!”

We also talked a bit about those hard-to-explain moments when something special happens in the process, that little magic . . . the “wow” moments. I look for those moments, but mostly wait for them, and definitely cherish them. She understood exactly what I meant.

Finally, often there’s something ephemeral about a piece, something I really want to convey, to somehow pass on to you as a viewer. It is kind of spiritual. We talked a bit about that too, and for some reason it got me thinking about Madonna’s old hit, “Just Like a Prayer”. That link takes to a video of a live performance of her song, and through the course of this viewing, a few minutes before midnight, came the title, “I Want To Take You There”.