Friday, October 30, 2009

Parks and Running

Not really too much art related news here, but today I just got a brand new pair of running shoes. BIG NEWS! I'm overly excited and felt it absolutely necessary to christen the shoes with a nice 10-miler through the park. Over my past couple running trips, I've paid special attention to the park trails, trees, and landscaping. Since the park that I recently painted in the "skyline piece" went so well, I feel especially drawn to the intricacies of the elaborate pathways running through these parks (pun intended). Maybe a start to a series of works involving parks? Too early to tell, but I can promise that I will keep posting my recent stuff.

I recently put up more artwork (nothing new, but rather items that would ship easier if a sale was made) on my page from After only a couple days, there is more comments and hype coming in from it. Exciting. Inspiring! Entertaining! HA! Take a look if you feel inclined to do so, but don't expect anything too special just yet: I have to credit Artbreak with a successful sale earlier this summer, so to any other artists, this is a simple FREE site you can utilize to get your name out there and possibly make some sales in the mean time! Lots of great artwork to browse on the site too!

My personal mental note for the day: Just Keep Running, Just Keep Running!

-Josh Grabowski

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Skyline FRAMED!

After many hours spent planning, painting, material researching and purchasing, PATIENCE, and creative flow... I am please to present the final product from my recent skyline commission:

Click the image or here to view it larger. The frame was the new fun thing for me on this project, since it was my first official custom framework job. I finally signed it, varnished it, and let it dry. WORDS OF CAUTION: Arizona is VERY windy and the air is VERY dusty... WET PAINT SURFACES BEWARE! After a trip to ACE Hardware to pick up some final materials, this bad boy was set in place and ready to hang on the wall! Since this piece is a little bulky with the thick black frame being so large, I triple wired the hooks for three times the strength. Not much else to write about this piece right now other than it's done and the client LOVES IT! More paintings to come soon.

-Josh Grabowski

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Quotes and Brain Cell Loss

Another quote from my current favorite book, Letters to Young Artist, by Anna Deavere Smith:

"As an artist, you are a student of the human condition. There is no syllabus. You can go to school and seek structure, some technique, some advise. Ultimately you must make your own course description, you must discover your own book list, you must make your work regimen, your own discipline. You can work as hard as you like. Or not. You can use the time, or not. You can use the world - as much or as little as you like.

Your job is not defined. There is no bar exam for you to pass; there is no oath for you to take. Nonetheless, you have a large responsibility and possibility if you would like to take it.

Are you becoming an artist because you want the world to look at you? Or are you becoming an artist because you would like to use your ability to attract attention - and the ability to get people to look at your work - in order to cause them to see themselves and the world differently through you?"

I'm not even kidding you, this book is fantastic. AWESOME! Not to mention the list of references in the back of the book for artists: it's a gold mine in itself. I have read and purchased some amazing art books within the past year, and this one will most definitely be gracing my collection soon.

Chicago skyline frame is complete, minus the hanging hardware. Some words of caution for you all: spray-polyurethane smells absolutely disgusting! Be ready to lose some brain cells on this one people! The actual painting needs a few finishing touches, a couple coats of high gloss varnish, and placement into it's final resting place. As the final piece comes together, I will post pictures for you all to see (and be jealous that it is not hanging in your living room, therefore commissioning me to make one for you...maybe wishful thinking?). Next commission work is in line and the order for supplies has been compiled. Subject matter: race car! Should be an exciting change from the norm!

-Josh Grabowski

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Another Perspective with a Heavy Dose of Inspiration

Here we go again... more on my recent creations! First I would like to say that I'm not thrilled about the lighting here in the above image, but it is 3AM and no sunlight, which gives a much better light for pictures of artwork (something I learned from my wonderful highschool art teacher, Mrs. Nancy Wells). Secondly, I would normally say that you can simply click on the image above to see it larger, but it's come to my attention that those of you reading this on any other site than direct from my blog (ie. email, facebook, etc.) this link doesn't always work. In any case, you can also see a larger version by clicking here. The painting is coming along wonderfully and despite some misjudged timeframes, it is about one session away from completion! The composition here really moves the eye through the piece which can be difficult with such a wide piece. After working hours at a time on a particular piece, simple composition mistakes are hard to find or recognize; however, another little trick I've learned from Mrs. Wells is to look at your piece in the mirror which will give you an entirely different perspective making it easier to spot mistakes you might have otherwise looked over. I've horizontally flipped the image through some editing software on my computer which you can take a look at here. What my initial reaction to seeing my skyline creation this way is: a. I LOVE the depth that is shown in the detail of the park in the distance! b. maybe there is too much dark space where the cast shadow from the row of trees falls... but what do I do to fix it? Currently I'm at a loss on the magical fix-it remedy, but maybe a couple of days with the piece facing the wall will refresh my perspective and allow me to come back at it with a new idea? I'm absolutely open to any suggestions! Another thing I am considering is placing people throughout the park. Risky, since I'm not sure if I really wanted to focus on that aspect, not to mention that the original photograph this picture was inspired from shows NO people in it whatsoever. Park lamps that were in the big brother (as I'm calling it) are also on the list of upcoming tasks. Finally, the frame will be put together tomorrow night and painted. The projected idea for this is going to be a 5.5 inch thick black border that will have a nice 2.5" depth to it. This is going to look sharp encasing this piece! SHARP! You can guarantee the quality of it will be just as wonderful as anything else I have made in the past (special thanks to my stepdad Dave for teaching me the ropes of handmade, quality woodwork), also you can look for pictures posted when the final product is ready for hanging.

Creativity flows uncontrollably sometimes and you need to be there ready to make it materialize. Fortunately, right now I am completely ready and willing to act on it and hopefully that shows in my next couple art ventures. I know that as an artist I can not expect to wait for a fit of inspiration, which I am not, but when that feeling really clicks inside it feels like nothing can stop you. The feeling is real, and any artist reading this could most definitely agree that "unstoppable TOP OF THE WORLD feeling" is not only unexplainable, but intoxicating leaving you wanting more, much more. Successful consistent production of artwork is exciting and makes you want to create more! The more work you produce the more insights and breakthrough you'll have. BAM! Suddenly, more inspiration! This inspirational flow will produce better paintings... and the process is endless. What could be better than a life spent actively pursuing your own unique inspired vision? Keep the creative wheel turning, my friends.

side note: the time, once again is 3AM. I don't intentionally mean to be making this pattern we have here... I guess this just must be my prime-time baby!
-Josh Grabowski

Monday, October 19, 2009

missing the beautiful colors

After a seemingly LLOONNGG week of working in black and white acrylic, I am completely ready to bust out some color work. If you know what Alizarin Crimson looks like from the brush smoothed over a fresh white canvas or board, you'd know the feeling I'm talking about (which happens to be my current favorite color to date, indanthrene blue mixed with a bit of cerulean blue is also amazing, vibrant, cool... any insight on what yours is?). Tonight happens to be another night that I am painting, painting, painting and stopping to realize IT'S 3AM AGAIN! Where does the time go? Especially when working on fine details across a 5ft. surface... it seems like the amount of work I accomplished in this session is next to none, until the next day when I return back to the studio and admire the detail work that I won't have to do! Not much to write about here other than the fact that I am ready to retire the B&W acrylics for while; also makes it easier that I've purposely not kept much acrylic material around the studio. A simple strategic move on my end to get myself used to painting exclusively in oils (at least for now)... if I want to paint, it looks like I need to work in oils... well it's not a question of if I want to paint, it's rather when the pain of not creating overwhelms the pain of creating. Could be a little artsy of a statement and maybe not understood by everyone, but honest nonetheless. For fear of letting my artistic and sleepy mind spill all over my blog, I'll turn in for the night. With that, goodnight my friends.

side note: I find myself using "..." quite often. Don't judge my writing, I'm not a writer!

-Josh Grabowski

Saturday, October 17, 2009


If you get me painting, there is little that will stop me. Last night I pumped out a painting session until 3 am after everyone had already gone to bed (absolutely NOT uncommon for me since I seem to be most productive late at night... fewer distractions, more ME time). It's funny, I will specifically think to put on music or turn on a movie in the background but once I sit back down, I can not justify getting back up to do anything but continue painting! CDs will stop playing and it will be an hour before I even consider putting another one on let alone realize that it even had stopped. Sometimes I even have a conscious awareness that I would like to turn something on to cut the silence, but in all honesty, silence is a virtue. Right? All is well though, the skyline painting is going great and is definitely on track for being finished either later tonight or tomorrow. After that, the fun really starts and I get to construct the custom frame job that I have in mind for this piece. Originally my design called for lighting similar to my Lights On Water painting as it really gives the piece a very sophisticated, museum-quality display; however, it will all come down to what the framework will allow and what the client wants. Pictures will soon be following this post! :)

On a side note, acrylic paint dries SO quickly! I had almost forgot after spending so much time with oils. Not to mention the fact that it calls for the absolute easiest, most available method of diluting/cleaning... H2O. Clean up is a breeze and it doesn't smell nearly as potent as any chemicals needed for oil painting (even though I have come to enjoy the smells, they can still be a little harmful to your brain cells unless you have good ventilation and air circulation... is that why I like it?).

-Josh Grabowski

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Chicago Skyline pt. 2

I thought it would be good to share with you all some progress shots of a recent "commission piece." I can't really share much more information about this piece's final resting place just yet but i can tell you a little about my work. For those of you who are familiar with this painting's big brother... YES, this is a rendition of the original and still done in the same medium of black and white acrylics; however, this little bugger is created on masonite board rather than stretched canvas. The width is a considerable 3 feet less and the height dropped a foot as well. You will notice all the details in the buildings coming together much more fluidly than in the first edition. The contrast and brightness needs a little attention, but as the label reads, this is still a WORK-IN-PROGRESS. By clicking on the image, you can view a larger version. Enjoy everyone. As always, I welcome your comments and questions! Just do it... don't hesitate. You must have an opinion, if not just a simple reaction.

Have a wonderful day! :)
-Josh Grabowski

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Primed Boards

Recently I spent some time prepping some masonite boards as a suitable ground for painting with a new wallet-friendly primer I picked up. I was a little nervous about the results of this material... would it hold the paint? would it work with both acrylic and oil? Well, the results are in... and this painter is satisfied! Today I spent almost a solid 8 hours in the "painting zone" and am very happy with the way things are turning out. I'll be sure to post more information about the work that comes from my next couple sessions as I plan to finish a piece here within the next couple days pending on how much time I can throw at it.

Another thing I would like to mention is the list of books I've found at the local library:
1. Portraits from Life in 29 Steps - John Howard Sanden
2. Encyclopaedia of Oil Painting - Frederick Palmer
3. The Fine Artist's Career Guide - Daniel Grant
4. Letters to a Young Artist - Anna Deavere Smith

There were a total of 10 that I walked out of the library with on my initial visit to the oil painting section, but 6 of them didn't make the first cut and were returned shortly after. The first book on the list above has great step-by-step information and pictures showing the process of painting portraits in a single session; I have been searching for a book like this for what seems like AGES! Who'd have known that there it was, printed in 1999, waiting for me at the library here in Arizona. Anyways, book #2 is a nice reference guide that I haven't cracked into much but thought it useful to keep around for a little while. The same would apply for #3. The thing that sells me on this title is the table of contents. It would seem that a lot of the chapters hold some valuable information that I would like to read about, we'll see. The book standing out the most to me is #4 "Letters to a Young Artist." Anna writes in a way that keeps you wanting more. She is a playwright and actress writing to young, up-and-coming artist about the trials and tribulations experienced first-hand through her incredible journey on the creative path. I could write about all the amazing things that I have read so far (not even half way into the book yet!), but it wouldn't do justice to the amazing influence this little sucker packs! If you are an artist and want to read a nice book about being an artist... get this! Total gem!

On another note, I just watched Atonement. Visually beautiful, and a great storyline. Get this as well. You might even be able to get it for free at the library while you're checking out one of the books i mentioned, I DID! :) Turns out the library here is my new favorite place supplying me with all these amazing things. Go get your library cards kids!