I don't do landscapes

The "Group of Seven" did landscapes, and I have nothing against landscapes, I just don't do them and I can prove it.

I just think there is more to our Canadian identity than beer, hockey, the "great white north", and landscapes. 

Why talk about beer when you can drink one, why talk about hockey when you can drink a beer and why would you paint a landscape when you can step out of your door and stand in the middle of the "great white north", and have a beer.

Here is proof that I don't paint landscapes.

If this doesn't convince you then go to grudart.ca,  and see for yourself.

The heroe and the villan

You know how there's a good and bad Spiderman,  yin and yang Spidey, the evil twin, well guess what?

I think it finally happened! The drug abuse, the drinking in the 70's,  floundering from the righteous path, has finally taken its toll.

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I didn't even see it coming.

I was so focused on trying to be different,  I became ordinary, or maybe the whole thing just got away from me. Maybe I should just be my self, and see what happens.

If you look hard enough, I could be there, that one place I always end up.   Grudart.ca, doing something, stupid, painting, writing, drawing or just having some fun.

A revelation of painting, the continued saga.

One day I was walking down Stephen Avenue Mall, it was a warm day and I spotted a busker, A big man with a big red beard playing the harmonica while making a little wooden puppet clog dance.

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As I approached him he turned to me and nodded. He was dressed in fringed cow hide jacket with trousers to match.

I asked him if I could take his picture, he said  ”yes”.  I took the picture and thanked him and asked him how life was. He simply replied, “ I love doing this, what more can a man do?

I went home that night and made a drawing and a small 16x20  painting, and left it sitting where I could see it every day.

Here I am Oct 02, 2017, I've had a couple of martinis, and I walk into my studio, pick up a brush and start smearing paint on a fresh canvas.

This is the moment, I realized what I was missing, it was "where I live" creatively, literally, and metaphorically.

I knew what I should be painting now.

Someone I deeply respect, once said to me,  "a good artist pays attention to his environment, then paints his experiences".

I had been searching a long time for the very thing I already had.

“Urban Culture” is where I live, it is where I feel most comfortable and uncomfortable at the same time, it amuses me and annoys me, but most of all it keeps me engaged as a person and an artist.

It started with that one street performer and have expanded my vision to include a whole world of performers and narratives about the people, places, and events that make up our urban centres around the globe.

My images come from many places, and yet there is a common energy among them.

The very nature of my process as a painter is not static, so it is that vital energy of the inner city that drives my creativity and transforms my canvases.

It astounds me, that after living among such profound,  diverse energies, we as human beings are still looking outside our selves for ways to generating it.

Whenever I begin taking inner city life for granted, I witness some wild and crazy spectacle, that I  embrace and make part of my work.

Everything I paint has a relationship to my life and the inner city, I express it as "urban culture",  a living experience that is nothing short of a cultural smorgasbord.

Take a look through my gallery and you will see that common thread of energy, it's in every piece, including my drawings.

Let me know what you think in the comment section below, or by clicking contact.

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The first and final step, saga

In 2006 after a pretty severe motorcycle accident, something had changed.

My passion for painting was gone and yet I continued to paint, knowing that I really didn’t care anymore.

My part-time job allowed me a reprieve for 18 months but my head and heart did not carry me forward.

 My first good banjo, I bought for $400. with change I saved in a one gallon mayonaise jar.

My first good banjo, I bought for $400. with change I saved in a one gallon mayonaise jar.

In 2009  I picked up my banjo for the first time in years and realized, in-spite of my previous efforts to learn to play  I was now motivated.

I practiced and practiced and started to reacquaint my self with friends that were musicians and  I attended living room concerts plus I was frequenting pubs and events, anything that revolved around music.

I was involved in a songwriting seminar when I realized, songwriting was a creative endeavor not unlike painting. The only difference being that I was not nearly as skilled at music and songwriting as I was at Art.

No matter, I dug it and I did it.  I found myself among people that were passionate about their music.

#Work #Work #Work #Work #Work

During this time, I was still working part-time and even though I had a great job, I found my self, floundering with dissatisfaction. I felt a disconnection to what I thought was important and set out plans to leave my job behind forever.

The question was, what should I do?

Was music the road not taken, that was spurring me on to bigger more creative things. What about my art? my painting, this thing I had invested most of my life in.

A quandary, what a quandary, my life was impassioned, nothing coming in and nothing going out.

Time to go to bed and sleep for ten years.

What happened next was a living revelation, that changed everything.

 

 

Stay tuned everyone, this will be continued tomorrow

 to be continued

From a drawing

When you draw something you may lose something from the original idea or gain something.

 Grudman with Grudman

Grudman with Grudman

I call drawings studies because they represent the best and the worst of my point of view as an artist. The best is hardly definable and the worst is sometimes necessary to create cohesion between the concept or completed composition.

How do I know what to do and how to do it?  I don't, it just happens and it either feels right or it doesn't. That doesn't mean I won't use the drawing or at least pieces of it for a painting, but making a painting is another story.

The best way to illustrate my process is to use one of my pieces as an example. 

I just completed a self-portrait which is about 7 feet tall. I traditionally haven't done a lot of self-portraits but have found this to be a great way to upgrade my design skills.

The materials I used for this piece are black felt markers and wide cap, white, butcher paper.

I start the drawing by creating a one-line drawing, not lifting the marker from the page until all elements are in place, this takes only a few minutes and leaves me with an outline, more or less.

Proportions are then adjusted by moving my lines around,  lengthening, shortening and changing the angle and placement of my lines.

 Larger than life drawing of Grudman  7x5 Ft

Larger than life drawing of Grudman  7x5 Ft

It is at this point my self-portrait begins to come alive with dimension, form, and space, It's at this point, I start adding dark and light with layer upon layer of squiggly line, straight line, and contours.

Layers are the foundation of my work, and whether it's in my drawings or my paintings, it is the process of layering that gives my art depth and richness.

I have just added a new section to Grudart.ca, called "Drawings" and you can find it under Collections.

Drawings are being added regularly and will soon be available as, one of, originals.

Check out my paintings in my Gallery and don't forget to subscribe to my monthly newsletter, its free and you simply have to fill out the form on my contact page.

My first newsletter will be sent out this month, May 2018 and will include upcoming shows, events and give you a sneak preview of a very cool project I'm working on.

 

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9 Days

 I think most people would agree that walking down the street is a relatively benign activity.  The crazy thing is,  there is a lot of shit going on, all the time, everywhere, that most of us don't pay any attention to it.

 9 Days, 9-12x12 canvas panels

9 Days, 9-12x12 canvas panels

When I decided that I was going create art every day, back in Oct 2017,  I simultaneously began to pay attention, I mean really pay attention, to what is going on around me. It turns out there is a ton of stuff that is worthy of a painting.

I saw a guy the other day with half a beard and that is not the first time i saw him. I saw the same guy with the same half a beard about a year ago. I'm not even interested why he looks that way, I just thought it was interesting.

Can you imagine what cops see on a daily basis?  WOW!!!

"9 Days", is a collection of 9-12x12, canvases, that have been created as a visual journal. Each panel is based on actual people, places, and events.

The image of the woman with the yellow hair and the red face was based on an African Canadian. She is very beautiful, tall, and elegant, and was standing by a door smoking a cigarette. When it came time to paint her, I took the opportunityto paint her with a few injected contrasting colours, which I felt related to the juxtaposition of her features,  to where she was standing, and what she was doing at the time.

The cowboy in the red truck isn't a real cowboy, he is a BLING cowboy,  he looked like he should be in a parade, maybe that's where I saw him.

The bold colour and design of these pieces work well together or as stand-alone images.

There is a playfulness to these paintings that made me want to organize them, change their order, stack them up or even line them up on the wall.

The colours are bold because that is how I see Calgary. There is definitely going to be more of these because each day is a painting unto its self and can be sold as one, or combinations of several.

Each 12x12 canvas is priced very affordable at $300. so you can create your own collection.

Drop me a note in the comments below or contact me via my contact page, I'd really like know what you think. 

 Inquire

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Tis the Season

Is there art for a particular season?

I think colour is what we need after experiencing so much white this winter. As the days continue to get longer and brighter, so does my desire to have some eye candy

There are lots of ways to treat your self and one of them is art. big, bold, colourful paintings with dynamic personalities, vying for attention.

 Summer Vacation, 24x24, acrylic on canvas

Summer Vacation, 24x24, acrylic on canvas

The thing is, paintings can be hung, leaned, stored, carried, exchanged, filed, sold, delivered, hidden, shown, kept, promoted, photographed, reproduced or lost and yet they always seem to find their way onto some one's wall, someplace, somewhere.

A good piece of original art is like a vacation of a lifetime, with a difference, a painting is a vivid, tangible, reminder of the day you treated yourself to something you really love.

Isn’t it the season for art when you find your self in front of that one exquisite painting, that speaks to you.

Take a trip to Grudart.ca for your spring splash of colour.

 

 

 

Happy spring everybody, Yahoo!!!

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Canada Day

Did you ever do something that took you down a road you never expected, then inspired you to do something you never set out to do in the first place?

That is what happened with this painting, in fact that happens all to often with my work.

Being a painter is not a straight forward journey, but rather a plunge into the abyss.

There were all these pictures on my studio floor, some were drawn , some were torn out of old magazines and some were downloaded from my broken down Mac.

  Canada Day , 36x36 Acrylic on canvas

Canada Day, 36x36 Acrylic on canvas

Felt pen in my hand, confusion in my mind and perfection in my heart, I started drawing. The felt pen soon converged with a brush, which in turn began the spreading of paint. 

I don't really know what this whole thing was about,  I felt a sort of defeat, maybe even betrayal by this process I had always trusted.

I tossed my brushes into the cleaning jug and went to bed.

As the morning came and I rose to still exhaustion,  a faint curiosity and blanket of excitement rolled over me. I said to myself "relax" don't go into the studio yet, it's just a painting and probably a piece of shit anyway.  I took my time, I brushed  my teeth, I shaved and washed my face until my curiosity got the better of me

Its exactly 4 paces to the door of my studio, from the bathroom.

 Detail top left corner

Detail top left corner

I gotta be honest, I was blown away by what I saw. There was texture, lines of different lengths, sizes, shapes and colour and figures and a still life. Under the still life which is sideways on the canvas I noticed writing, cursive writing.

The pièce de résistance on the top left corner was the Canadian flag flapping in the wind behind 2 performers.

A celebration, wouldn't you say.

Honestly, I didn't have a definitive  recollection of painting any of it. 

The painting  introduced it's self to me as "Canada Day". It seemed obvious to me  because it's about a party, a big fucking party with a Canadian flag.

Where do you think all of the content came from?

 Detail right side vertical

Detail right side vertical

How could it not be premeditated?

I can only imagine the spectacle of this piece as something 4 times larger.

Original art is so special because every piece is a finger print, a unique experience followed by a unique finale', something that starts from nothing and arrives at inspiration.

 Detail bottom left corner

Detail bottom left corner

I hope you get a chance to see this piece, live, because it's truly an original with a multitude of layers and experience.

By the way, this is the first painting of my series "Urban Culture" which has over thirty paintings in it now.

Take a look in my Gallery for more treasures and let me know what you like or don't like.

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More than just selling art

O.K. tomorrow is the launch of my new website Grudart.ca.

I have been pushing to market this launch and generate some exposure for my paintings daily for the last week.

Nothing wrong with that, most people would say and yet something about this whole thing was missing.

It got me thinking!

What is the underlying purpose of creating exposure for my work?

Having pursued this art thing for more than 40 years, I have been fortunate to meet some  incredibly talented and creative people,  many of which have never had there work seen.

Is it because their work never appeared in front of the right people? I think that is true but another truth is, many people have a limited view of the value of owning a piece of original art.

Being a collector and owning an original piece of art is like being in possession of part of the artist's life. It seems hard to put a value on it and yet we do.

So last night it occurred to me, that this new website was about generating exposure for original "Fine Art" not just for myself but for those artists who have taken pride in creating, some for as long as I have, creating originals from scratch, from inception to a drawing to the final product.

I am really excited and proud to be part of the global art community.

I will continue to promote my work but now with the hope it will bring greater attention to the legacy Fine Art and artists are creating, through hand made pieces of art we make for everyone to enjoy,

Please go to Grudart.ca tomorrow and  when you subscribe, know that you are part of the continuing a legacy for Fine Artists around the globe.

Thanks everybody

Dave

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The Launch

I case you didn't here I'm launching my new website April 5th. Grudart.ca

If you think you're annoyed now, just wait until you see this announcement every day for a week.

My new site is full blown with around 30 paintings, some of which haven't been uploaded yet. There are new blogs some of which haven't been written yet and a new commissions page, some of which haven't been seen yet.

The new work is bold, dynamic and colourful , so be prepared, it's not for the faint of heart.

You can check out everything (next Thursday)  April 5th  for the official launch of grudart.ca and when you're there, don't forget to  Subscribe because  that will hook you up with my monthly Newsletter which will give you an exclusive sneak peek at upcoming events, shows, paintings and giveaways.

Thanks everybody

Dave Grudniski

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Don't Stop

You can't stop, you can't relax or take what you do for granted, if you want to be successful. Keep trying new things and pushing the parameters. Get help, the kind of help, that will teach you and don't forget to give back.

These are cliches, and for a reason because they are true. We all say them maybe even mean them and from time to time, try to follow through with them.

The sinister thing about these sayings, cliches, what ever we call them, is as soon as we try to make them into something tangible, they fall by the wayside, leaving a wake of undesired outcomes.

The secret is, Don't Stop. 

O.K. I know what your thinking, this is no big revelation.

The thing is, most people don't get any forward momentum before they stop.

That is why New Years resolutions don't work for most us.

My approach to not stopping is a unique combination of desire and shame.

I have a desire to continue to do what I love, at all costs but don't know what hardships lye ahead of me. Shame on the other hand is about letting myself down, yet again and having my life become an exercise in futility.

The stopping point has come upon me, this past week, reeking it's havoc on my well being and most of all, on my comfort zone. I haven't blogged or posted much in this past week and I feel a compromise to my desire.

Maybe just words but here are some people's desires.

 David Choe– Muralist/Graffiti Artist

Began spray-painting on the streets in his teens- Choe is now an American painter, muralist, graffiti artist and graphic novelist of Korean descent. He achieved his world success with his “dirty style” figure paintings.

Casey Neistat, Video/Vlogger

 My Invisible Friend, 30x30 acrylic on canvas

My Invisible Friend, 30x30 acrylic on canvas

Drinking and Painting

Should there be a law against painting while intoxicated

This is a blog I did 15 years ago, during a very prolific time. I remember the time well and
can still relate to it but have since moved on to a more stable relationship with my Art, It's still a good read.
Just ignore the links , its been a long time.

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Bob was the sort of guy you wouldn’t notice in a room. He never said a bad thing about anyone and was always even tempered. The thing was, even though he was easy to be friends with, no one knew anything about him.
One night many years ago a bunch of us, fellow painters, sculptors and mostly critics headed for the tavern.
Our intent was to drink a bit, talk art a bit and maybe even lie to each other a bit. As the night progressed and intoxication heightened I noticed Bob beginning to loosen up. His personality became that of an individual with a driving opinion and a considerable knowledge about sculpture and steel fabrication. We usually shrugged these conversations off and reduced them down to drunken ravings.
The defining moment of the evening arose when Bob stood up and staggered to the pool table and announced to a tavern full of people,
“ I’ll play 8 ball against anyone for any amount of money”.

We may have been drunk but we were sober enough to know that Bob could hardly stand up much less play pool.

A table of five fellows slapped a 20 dollar bill down on the table and said best out of five. A sharp well dressed fellow grabbed a cue and proceeded to move towards Bob and the pool table. Bob tripped and staggered looking for a cue. We were all embarrassed for Bob so I found a cue and put it in his hand.
Bob dropped the cue as he fumbled in his wallet to find a 20 dollar bill. A hand full of cash and change ended up half on the floor and half on the pool table.
Bob exclaimed “lets play some goddaaamn eiiight Baaall.”
The well dressed fellow stood back and told Bob to break.
Bob broke and from that point on never missed a shot. Three games later and several more beers Bob walked over to our table sat down and passed out.

A few weeks later I spotted Bob at the art gallery where he worked part time as a technician. I walked up to him and said WOW! Bob! I’ve never saw anyone play 8 Ball like that before, especially falling down drunk like your were.
He simply said “What can I say, alcohol relaxes me”!
It has been over 20 years since I last saw Bob and I still have carry that story with me. I have heard stories of people doing miraculous things but never witnessed it and especially not under such intoxication.
Bob is still a sculptor and is working out of Los Angeles as a teacher today.

What I bring forward from Bob and his hidden talent is how profound true inspiration is. Is it any wonder that history is just full of artists that have found their genius through substance abuse. Why do people like Jim Morrison and Jackson Pollack reach such lows in their personal life and such highs in their creative life.

Truly creative people are always thinking, creating and idealizing. Their minds are in a constant flux trying to get ahead of their thoughts and removed from the moment, constantly planning, rationalizing and second guessing their motives for art.
Artists need relief from their unconventional thoughts in this conventional world.
True artists don’t fit-in like everyone else they just react to the world around them.

Being an extremist with an all or nothing attitude is a fairly black and white way of living but has its complexities when it comes to the general population.

Over the years there have been several occasions that have lent themselves to excessive indulgence in SPIRITS for creative purposes. There have been periods of time that have extended several months and seen a proliferation of finished canvases.

Malibu Rum became my friend for during one of the more creative periods of my art career. I didn’t even really like it because of its sweetness but that never stopped me.
One Christmas I remember having a shot of Malibu after dinner from a bottle that was left in my studio. Before I new it I was having a shot as I started a painting and during a painting and after a painting was completed. 3 Months later I had over 20 new paintings, gained 20 lbs and had 2.5 green garbage bags full of empty 26 0z. Malibu Rum bottles.
I quit drinking for several weeks because that’s what I needed to do. My painting streak faded and I struggled for the next 2 years to get it up to par.

The jest of this whole thing is relaxing which shouldn’t be confused with comfort. Having a drink or 10 is the fast track to removing those inhibitions that tend to encumber ways of seeing.
Developmental studies have shown that artists and alike are more subject to definitive methods of processing information than the average person. We artists have a predisposition to using formulas to arrive at a final product like a painting or a piece of sculpture.

Just Observation
I don’t advocate becoming an alcoholic to satisfy your art career. I am just pointing out why there is a greater use of substances like alcohol among the most creative in our society.

Writers, Artists, Musicians, Actors,
Truman Capote and Ernest Hemingway were both known to indulge excessively in alcohol. William Faulkner, who won the Nobel prize in literature in 1950, was hospitalized innumerable times for alcoholism.
Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock and Vincent Van Gough all had challenges with alcohol and other substances that eventually took there toll.
Elvis Presley, need I say more!
Stephen King has had his bout with alcohol and survived it.
It all doesn’t end bad and most times alcohol has actually provided a quality of life where there wasn’t before.

What is the stigma
Alcohol input and creative output HYPERLINK "http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/119381828/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0" \l "fn1" *
ARNOLD M. LUDWIG, MD 1
  1 Department of Psychiatry, University of Kentucky Medical Center, Lexington, KY 40536, USA

*Adapted from a presentation at a Workshop titled, Alcohol Abuse and Creativity: Stigma, Legend or Fact? at the 1989 Annual Meeting of the American Psychiatric Association in San Franciso, California, on 10 May 1989.
1990 Society for the Study of Addiction to Alcohol and other Drugs
ABSTRACT
Is alcohol use a help or a hindrance for creativity? And, conversely, what effect does creative activity have on alcohol use? In order to answer these questions, relevant information was obtained from the biographies of 34 well known, heavy drinking, 20th century writers, artists or composers/performers. Analysis of this information yielded a number of interesting findings. Alcohol use proved detrimental to productivity in over 75% of the sample, especially in the latter phases of their drinking careers. However, it appeared to provide direct benefit for about 9% of the sample, indirect benefit for 50% and no appreciable effect for 40% at different times in their lives. Creative activity, conversely, can also affect drinking behavior, leading, for instance, to increased alcohol consumption in over 30% of the sample. Because of the complexities of this relationship, no simplistic conclusions are possible.
I think being a painter has taught me allot about who I am, my limitations and my potential. My successes and my failures are driven by the same psyche that keeps me searching for a creative edge. Art is a visual journal of my life’s journey and it continues to bewilder me, torment me, excite me and teach me. I can connect with the world and people on various levels from the lowest level to the most sophisticated.
"If I live to be an old man it will be with a brush in one hand and a vodka martini in the other".

Please Subscribe, and join me for a Martini