Tag Archives: Inspiration

Got a Light

I’m really tempted to write about the sky actually being all water, but it seems not many want to hear about that, so perhaps another time?

This post is mostly about what is now a little nostalgia, the beginning of my art endeavors in earnest and in play . . . especially in light of the circumstances . . . now that would be an interesting title for book, and not a science fiction one either!

That beginning was almost a decade ago now, and part of what got me going included some trial and error with various things around the home. While I’ve mentioned several times how I do various things with leaves, there was one particular image of an orange that really had me going. You can see it here, with the peels, the fruit, and the white fleshy stuff:

Scan of an orangeNow I mention this picture for a couple of reasons. One concerns the 3-D aspect that I was playing with at the time. I’ve always been terrible with a camera but had some success with my scanner . . . this is a scanned image. The pieces of the orange were loosely composed on the scanner glass but because of the bulkiness of the pieces (compared to a flat sheet of paper), I couldn’t close the lid down for scanning.

So I improvised. I made shells out of boxes to block out the surrounding light, much like the scanner cover would if I could close it. I lined the inside of these boxes with white paper or aluminum foil or other materials for different effects. It was quite amazing, and still is, and the basis for so much of my art. By the way, I often used the same technique with the leaves.

To kind of show you a bit of where this led, shown below are two more pictures. The first is shows the details of what I saw in this orange picture, and so I drew that into the scan . . . between the two images there are several more variations, too many to post. So here is where this orange picture took me . . . this is far from a finished piece . . . quite blurry, but it gives you an idea of the process:

picture of an orange

To give you an idea of where this picture sits now – and it’s still not complete – here it is shown in more detail and with some leaves layered in as well:

Digital Painting called A Sweet Prayer

Finally, now for the second reason for my bout of nostalgia.

A few days ago a very kind and helpful lady suggested that I take a look at Etsy. I’ve done that and while I thought it was more for crafts than art, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by some of the artists on there. One in particular caught my attention. She does this amazing thing with photography . . . in a mini-theater. It’s kind of like what I’ve done with some scanning, but so much better. You really have to see her work to appreciate her technique.

She is becoming more and more popular and I think you will quickly see why by taking a look at some of her art. As a picture is worth a thousand words, here is a link to her Etsy shop – it’s called “Theaterclouds”. Her name is Elly MacKay and if you’re interested she explains her technique really well . . . just follow the link.

 

 

Something Completely and Wonderfully Different

There is this small outfit that does remarkable videos, some of which have gone viral on Youtube. It’s called Zoochosis and to me it’s absolutely amazing what they are doing.

There is no need for to try to explain what they do – you can easily see that on the first short video (see below).

For some reason I think of my daughters when watching anything from Zoochosis, or perhaps them and the entire young-adult population. There is a lot of crazy out there, much of it pretty disturbing, and I know this sometimes troubles them. Also, so much of the truth of our collective history is well-hidden or sugar-coated, or both?

The messages in Zoochosis productions are stark in contrast . . . some are real eye-openers. Many would find much of their work disturbing or repulsive, yet my hunch is that those same people would probably prefer to bury their head in the sand and pretend some of the issues addressed are not important or even real.

There is usually humor involved, and it’s right up my alley. It’s so much more relevant than anything you will find on mainstream television.

That’s about it for now. The video below is the Zoochosis summary mentioned above. After that I’ve shared a link to one of my favorite videos of theirs . . . really amazing how this is all done mostly on a volunteer basis . . . set the knowledge free!

Some Blues, and Black & White Too

It’s Monday. I found out on Saturday that it’s a long weekend Monday – I knew it was coming but I thought it was next weekend – so it came early this year!

It’s raining, but I’m in a good mood so I’ll spare you a link to some rendition of “Moody Manitoba Morning”. Instead, here’s a link to my favorite performance of “Rainy Days and Mondays”.

Somehow this song never really gets me down. The same goes for doing art, such as my long weekend enjoyment shown below. I’m calling it Black & White, and I suppose there’s some inner humor in there, as no matter how hard I try, my view on anything never really comes out that way!

Have a great week and enjoy the music. By the way, when it comes to art, I never want to quit. 🙂

Black & White - abstract art

“Black & White” by Lawrence Grodecki

 

 

Soft Touches

I’ve just released another new work on Fine Art America. While it is still “in my style”, it is also somewhat different for me. Perhaps it’s the lighter, almost paste shades?

Here’s a peek at it, and if you would like, use this link to see more abstract art on Fine Art America.

abstract art

Soft Touches – A new Introduction by Lawrence Grodecki

Adding some Zen and Zing to my Yin and Yang

I’m not sure if this project is spring cleaning or a little gardening. Lately it seems I can’t get enough of revisiting so many projects that began years ago. Here is one of them . . . a picture done about 7 or 8 years ago . . . it’s been dormant ever since then.

Wondering

Wondering – the original from lots of years ago – 7 or 8 anyway.

Over the past few days I’ve been revisiting some of my older pictures, taking them out of dormancy . . . what the heck, it’s supposed to be spring, right? The next picture shows more definition and detail as well as some color alternations.

Wondering_2b2b2

Wondering – the tuned-up version of the original.

After doing the revisions above, it kind of becomes “play time”. Here is one of the current renditions of the tuned up version . . . still not sure about this one, though it was playful!

Wondering_4b

Wondering – one of a handful of quite different renditions.

I do prefer simplicity, which led to this rendition . . . I’m more sure about this one.

Wondering_8

Wondering – my favorite version so far – something more simple.

There was more to this past weekend than this project, so all-in-all it’s been a nice few days.

 

 

 

Group of Five

I have just submitted five pictures to a specialized art site for review. It would be great to get some comments here, especially as it concerns a consistency of style – I hope this selection conveys some of that.

Speechless Again - art

Speechless Again

Hidden Kisses - Art

Hidden Kisses

Elle-Beau Room - art

Elle-Beau Room

Season This Moment - art

Season This Moment

Fine Feathered Friends - art

Fine Feathered Friends

10 Big Ideas for a Monday (minus nine)!

Well it’s Monday so I suppose it’s time for more about Einstein’s travelling at the speed of light? It’s tempting because not a day goes by where I’m not thinking about related topics. In a recent post – Light Surfing and Chasing the Big Ideas – I mentioned a film called How Albert Einstein Discovered e=mc2. In it the notion of matter being fixed in the universe is brought up, though I can’t remember whether Einstein is the first to come up with that theory.

When you understand the thinking behind that it’s hard to dispute it . . . a fixed or finite amount of physical matter floating around the universe . . . the question remains as to the order of thing!

Often “Oops” Follows Leaps!

But then there seems to be this leap of logic as much as a leap of faith. One may extrapolate that if there is a fixed amount of matter then the universe must be finite. That’s a huge conclusion . . . it can lead to notions of a beginning and an end, an ever-expanding universe and so on.

The funny thing is, even if matter is fixed (finite) that still doesn’t mean that it can all be counted or measured.

I find that funny in a Zen kind of way because of a bit of a paradoxical nature about the finite and the infinite.

Einstein grappled with all of this when he tried to understand unity in the universe. It’s really all there in the irony of infinity . . . an infinite universe can neither expand nor contract . . . there is a total and complete oneness about that. For me it also brings a sense of peace and calmness . . . reassuring in some inexplicable way.

Also, like icing on a cake, the fixed nature of an infinite universe is perfectly congruent with the theory of a fixed amount of matter . . . double layers of icing for the truth that none of it can be fully measured, yet so nicely understood!

My Ever-Expanding Time Travelling

Other than that, I’d like to let all of you know that I’ve moved my art over to Fine Art America. I’m really glad to be making this move, should have done it long ago. They do an excellent job and this move will allow me to devote more time to creating, not to mention the ever-expanding requirement of my social media activities!

There is some new art on my new site as well. One of those pieces is shown below. Finally, here is a link to my Gallery page on Fine Art America. Please do me a favor and use those share buttons, either on this blog or on the gallery page. Since you’ve gotten this far, thanks for reading this post . . . and as always, it’s nice to hear your comments!

Sweet Dreams by Lawrence Grodecki

Sweet Dreams – Now available on Fine Art America

 

Julie's Pets

The Precious Pet Projects of Julie Whiteley

One of the nicest surprises about self-publishing is getting to know book reviewers. They have quite the story to tell, and each one is different. One such person is Julie Whiteley, who coincidentally is the first reviewer that I ever approached about Dawn at Last. I was quite nervous back then, feeling that I must maintain a cool distance. I thought that was required of the author. I’m glad I was wrong.

After getting to know Julie better – and a few others – it just seemed right to do let my followers have the opportunity to hear what she has to say. So here’s my interview. Enjoy it and learn . . . I know I have.

Can you give me a little about your background? How long have you been writing reviews? What made you pursue this hobby?

I started writing reviews 3 years ago when I began to notice authors becoming more vocal about the need for reviews. My family said I should write reviews because I read so much and I should share my thoughts with others, plus help an author out in the process. So, I thought why not?  So, I wrote my first review for Amazon and a professional reviewer tore it apart. I didn’t know I was being graded! I took that as a personal challenge and started writing reviews all the time, for every book I read, but stayed over on Goodreads instead of Amazon.  One day I got an email from Goodreads letting me know I was in the top 1%  of reviewers on that site.  This was another indicator that authors needed reviews.  So,  that was when I started taking things more seriously and got very involved all over social media and with authors personally, also on Netgalley and Edelweiss, and I started a book review blog.

Can you describe a typical week in the world of reviewing?

Oh that’s a good question. Instead of a typical week, though, let’s break it down into a day.   I have a blog post every day. So, I schedule the post,  then I start putting it  out there on social media.  I then answer emails for review request and other emails concerning tours, blogs, reviews etc.

After that I read, read, and read, then I start writing reviews. I like to write the review as soon as possible after reading the book so it’s still  fresh in my mind.  It can take up to two hours – sometimes more – to write a review. At that point I will either need to contact the author to let them know I have their review ready, or I will need to post it to Edelweiss or Netgally or one of the other sites I review for, then on to  GR, Amazon, and LibraryThing for starters.

I start prep work on the next blog post, interview or spotlight, check on all social media to touch base with other reviewers and bloggers, authors etc.  I may chat with Lawrence. LOL

Then I read some more!  I do this seven days a week.  I work on books in one way or another for 5 to 6 hours a day.

Is there anything you would like authors to know? Is that different for indie authors than for traditionally published ones?

What should  an author’s know?  They need a thick skin,  a positive attitude, must always be professional, even if this isn’t your day job, and above all be patient. Read a lot, research self-publishing and get advice before you even start  trying to promote. Beware of scams and paying for reviews and do not under any circumstances swap reviews with other authors.  Going a little further, I really don’t recommend having friends and family post reviews for you either. Trust me, this will come back to haunt you.  So, try to prepare yourself and arm yourself with some good solid advice before publishing your book.  Knowing what to expect and having some idea what works and what doesn’t will go a long way.  Also, you might want to know that most likely you will have to spend a little money to get your book promoted. I don’t mean buying reviews, but you may consider doing some book tours and putting your book on an indie author site like StoryFinds that will get you get some reviews and a little recognition.  Costs for joining are very reasonable and will help get the ball rolling for you.

Yes, it is different for independent authors. A lot different in fact.  Indies do not have a filter. The traditionally published author has a little help even if it’s a small publishing company.  There is  more money to spend on promoting your book, there are more contacts, more ways to reach people. The indie is out there all by themselves.  If their book gets promoted it’s because they used their own money and spent their own time building up a network of contacts and it’s a much slower process and  since you don’t have an advisor, you can make a lot of mistakes and get taken for ride if you aren’t careful.  On the plus side, you have complete creative control over your work. You are your own boss, so can write a romance then write a horror novel if you want. You don’t have to fit into any set mold and you aren’t under a contract or deadline. Writing can be something you do for pleasure away from your day job or you can turn it into a career option, it’s up to you.

You must have certain experiences that really stand out for you, both positive and not so positive – can you tell us a bit about them?

Positive far outweighs the negative.  I have built some wonderful relationships with publishers and authors since becoming a reviewer. I have had my reviews published in books, in publications, and I have had people send me personal notes, become friends with me through social media and we work together to help spread the word about great talent and good books.  I love this part of being a reviewer.  Most authors are very professional and nice.  In fact, just yesterday I got a card  in the mail from an author thanking me for the review and interview I did for him. I get personal notes, swag and some authors are kind enough to follow my blog and help me gain more followers.  Most authors are aware that reviewers are not being paid for their time and so they will do some little something to pay if forward. One of the best rewards though is seeing an author blossom and knowing that in some small way I helped them out.

Negatives: Spending hours on a book, the review, the blog post, and promoting on social media and never even getting a response from the author. No thank you, no kiss by *** or anything.

While many worship athletes, musicians, and actors, it was always authors that did it for me.  Becoming a reviewer has shown me another side of the author that I wish I didn’t have to know.  A little familiarity breeding contempt I think, which can lead to disillusionment and so it’s easy to get burned out.  Some authors have written one book and suddenly they think they are Ernest Hemingway.  They don’t ask if you will do something for them, they demand it and some can be really rude.  So, I’m going to lecture authors:

The statistics for reviews is dismal. People will rate a book but will not leave comments. I have to wonder why that is. Informal polls suggest reviewers don’t want to be hassled by authors to revise, edit or even take down the review. One reviewer expressed real concern when an author began stalking him online.  Seeing reviewers being trashed on social media sites is also a real turn off.  It’s no wonder authors have a hard time getting people to review books for them.  Again, be professional, even if this is just a hobby for you.  Always thank a reviewer for their time, even if the review was disappointing.

I’ve had my moments too, when  I wanted to know “What’s in it for me?”  LOL [Note – Julie sent me this clip from one of her favorite movies – Field of Dreams – and the author gets to walk I can so relate to this :-)]

Aside from reading, what are your other passions in life . . . chocolate goes without saying!

My pets are a HUGE part of my life.  I have two cocker spaniels and three cats.  They are all spoiled and so I have to spend a lot of time with them. Somebody has to do it  LOL  I also spend a lot of time spreading the word against animal cruelty and violence against women.

Where would you to go from here regarding your book reviews, personally and professionally?

First a personal comment. I hope to continue to increase my blog followers in order to reach more readers. I want to improve my writing skills and in the process write cleaner and more interesting reviews.  I am also working on calling attention to reviewers so that authors can appreciate the hard work that goes into writing a thoughtful review and to  work on a system that will compensate reviewers in some way and perhaps come up with a way for authors and reviewers to rate their experiences with  one another after a review has been completed.  Feedback from both parties could help us learn what we need to do to improve a system that is in terrible shape at the moment.  Do you think this is a good idea or do you think it will only increase the gap between author and reader? [I think these are fantastic ideas – it’s about time.]

Professionally, the future is wide open for some really great changes in the world of books and reading.  The short story will become a favorite of fans and e-series will grow in popularity.  I really do believe that books will become more interactive in the near future, giving the reader a say in what takes place within the story and the way the story ends. Alternative endings are already cropping up as well as books that offer the reader choices within the book on which path they would like the character to take.  It’s like reading a book three different ways.   I think video reviews will also crop up more often.  There are still a lot of changes to come and growing pains yet to work through, but overall it’s an exciting time for authors, books and readers.  I hope to be part of it in some way. 

 A huge thank Julie. If you would like to follow her, here are a few links, one to Facebook and one to her blog:

Julie Whiteley on Facebook          Julie’s Blog – Cluereview on Blogspot

Stand Pat and go ask Alice

This post is going to be sweet and simple, hopefully in the style of this classy video interview with Alice Munro. I’m not sure if she speaks for every writer. She certainly speaks for me, especially when she talks about the joy of writing, the search for at least a glimpse of something universal, and of the importance of the reader’s experience.

Having said that, I’d just like to thank one reader in particular – Patricia Williams-Forgenie – for a kind book review. She’s such an optimistic person, she’s been through so much, and I admire her almost to the point of envy. She seems to be acutely aware of what a poison cynicism can be, something I battle constantly . . . it’s the opposite of inspiration. She’s all about inspiration.

Now it’s back to daydreams . . . in this one I’m wondering how an interview/ discussion would go between Patricia and Alice . . . why is it that this image of two little girls is the first thing to come to mind?

Leaves that look like rocks

The Good Men Project . . . and all that Jazz

Since my last post I’ve submitted my first article to The Good Men Project. I stuck to my guns and stayed on this topic of musing. That’s not so easy, given that the only gun I own is the one under my cap!

The Unexpected . . . 

It was a hard article to write, but with some fine editorial advice I think it came out pretty good. How do I know it’s good? Some might call it by “gut check” or intuition, but for me it has become more than that . . . it’s what I sometimes refer to as, “unexpected pleasant surprises”. They happen often enough in normal life, but when they show up in the creative process, it’s different.

Each surprise is a unique, though what’s common is this “just knowing” feeling . . . it’s a selfless kind of self-confidence. There is a personal trust in the musing that happens . . . like a little jazz? Sometimes there is this kind of a “wow” reaction, sometimes it’s more of, “Geez, that’s really nice!”

I’ve come to the point where I’ll seldom publish anything without doing that kind of check. Sometimes though, with complex or abstract issues, I’m guilty of being less focused than I need to be, for the benefit of others. One issue ties into many others, becoming complex, hence the need for more focus.

The Excruciating . . .

Strangely, the most difficult kind of writing for me is what I’ll call the promotional kind, and yet I spent the majority of my corporate life in that very activity.

There really are no “ah ha” moments in that kind of writing, except maybe with one recent exception. Like most writers, describing one’s work in a book description – the blurb – can be excruciating. It never seems to come out right. However, about a week ago a book reviewer offered to take a look at Dawn at Last. First she wanted me to answer one simple question, “What makes your book different than the rest?”

The answer flowed out with almost no effort. It took me longer to type it than to think it, which is always a good sign. Here’s how I answered her:

  1. It’s the way the lives (and stories) of six quirky characters interweave.
  2. It’s about love more than a love story – by the end you may wonder whether Love herself is the unsung hero.
  3. It’s excruciatingly difficult to peg the book into one or even two genres – it’s erotic but not erotica; it’s a mystery, though the crime is perhaps debatable; the underlying issues are really quite serious, yet dealt with in a playful & humorous way.
  4. When you read it for the second or third time, after waiting awhile, most likely you will read it slightly differently, and discover something new.
  5. Other than that, to finish the question, it has a great cover!
This is really what I’d like those curious about the book to know. I’m seriously thinking of changing my book description on Amazon and elsewhere to include these five points. You many not realize it, but my answer above says a great deal about the muses, about musing.
 
 
Now I’d like to just sit back and listen. In this context “listening” means reading, as in your comments. Since most of my readers are Americans, and given that’s basically thanksgiving now, I’d love to hear what you have to say . . . an anecdote here or there . . . one of your own little unexpected surprises . . . the ones that make for great big memories!
 
Happy Thanksgiving . . . and all that jazz!