Tag Archives: nature

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)

 

 

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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.

 

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.

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

 

Going Bananas Over Nuts and Apples

How about them apples? I don’t mean the ones for Halloween, just around the corner. Nor do I mean anything about new i-phones and such. I’m talking about gravity here, and eventually about floating apples.

I had my own Newton moment almost ten years ago, sitting near a tree and watching the squirrels at play, and then the cones falling to the ground. For some reason, Newton’s formula for gravity came to mind, as I was taught so long ago. It was an intrusive thought though, as it wasn’t equations that caught my attention in that Eureka moment . . . it was the time of release that got me thinking.

Oddly, it comes back to yet another thing that can’t be measured in nature, such as the precise time when an apple or cone begins it’s descent. In botany I learned a bit about energy in trees, and how with some of this energy the tree holds the apple to the tree. Eventually this energy is not enough to keep the fruit attached, and then it falls.

Just Before the Start of the Fall

That’s the part that fascinates me . . . that immeasurable moment within a moment . . . just before the start of that descent. It is then that the apple floats! There is no energy from the tree holding it back, and the draw of gravity has not yet begun . . . in between the two, the apple floats!

To help you get a better picture of what I’m saying, there is a pretty famous painting by Magritte called, The Son of Man, as shown below:

image of the Son of Man painting

The Son of Man by Rene Magritte

If you want another visual idea, there’s always Bugs Bunny, especially those countless times where one character or another finds themselves floating . . . here’s just one example.

So for me this is all a comforting reminder of how little we know, in spite of all we think we know. I like that we don’t fully understand gravity. That way we don’t have a hope in hell of synthesizing it, bringing dead planets back to life, and repeating our mistakes somewhere else. When you think about, what really is the point of colonizing a planet that has no gravity, as we have on Earth? It all seems so unnatural, sad really.

Finally, I do believe there is something about love in every such magical, invisible moment, something that exists freely in nature, never to be contained.

For years I’ve thought of this with every naturally falling object, such as all the fruits and cones. Lately I’ve also become quite fascinated with the notion of the sky being full of water, even in the absence of clouds. Now – just last night, while thinking this post through – another thought came to mind. This magical moment within a moment, when apples float, it seems the same is true for every drop of water in the rain . . . and then there are snowflakes!

To end on a lighter note, now I’m wrestling with a bigger mystery. Out of all those raindrops that fall in a pond, I wonder which ones float!