Saturday, August 28, 2010

Feel Alive

Been adjusting to some new schedules and having "blog-writer's block." Promise to post some updates soon.

"The only time I feel alive 
is when I'm painting.
- Vincent Van Gogh -

Do you feel alive?

-Joshua Grabowski

Sunday, August 1, 2010


"The ability to focus attention on important things is a defining characteristic of intelligence." 
        - Robert J. Shiller

Okay... time to define my intelligence and stop playing with my paint and get to to work. I think it's a rather fun picture though! :)

-Joshua Grabowski

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Quick Painting #3: Orange & Easel

This is the 3rd of my recent "quick paintings" - Orange & Easel - 8" x 10" oil on stretched canvas. The blue strap is from my apron that I made myself from some extra denim and canvas (hopefully I translated the denim fabric texture well) This painting took just over 2 hours, time to eat this orange!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Quick Painting #2: Apple

Well, I know I said not every day, at I still know that will be the case but I saw my Granny Smith apple today with a visually pleasing mix of reds and greens and the mason jar with iced coffee that didn't get a spot in the painting yesterday so I thought, what the heck, why not!? So here is number two, my apple and coffee! :) BTW - this one was completed in one sitting under 2 hours.

- Joshua Grabowski

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Quick Painting #1: Banana

There are plenty of groups out there devoted to creating a new painting each day (or as close to it as possible). These types of paintings are typically small, simple still life type pieces which they they post on eBay for immediate sale! Great way to generate some money... and interest to your work! One group in particular, the Daily Painters, are definitely worth taking a look at. Most of these artists are well established artists that are working on major works and using these daily small paintings as a warm up! I'm not going to say that I'll be attempting to paint a new piece each and every day, but I think that I'll be trying to "warm up" with these small studies a couple of days a week. Today, I had a banana to throw in some oatmeal with me in the studio, so I painted the solo banana. I got about 1 1/2 hours of work in before lunch, and finished the last 30 minutes while digesting the subject! MUAHAHA! You can see some of the progress shots below. To liven up the composition, I was going to include a mason jar with some iced coffee I was drinking which you can see the outline of in shots 1 and 2; however, I was already nearing the 2 hour time limit I was trying to set for my self.

Enjoy the banana folks! They are basically one of the cheapest fruits you can find in the grocery store and they are so, so good for you!
- Joshua Grabowski

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Facebook Fan Page

For those of you that aren't already following me on Facebook, I've created a "fan page" for my art. You can check it out here. I've also become a tweeter. Thanks everyone for your support!

-Joshua Grabowski

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Fruit Still Life Series

I've been working on a series of new still life pieces that mainly involve 3 key ingredients: colorful fruit, high-contrasted victorian wallpaper backgrounds, and of course oil paint! (ok maybe the last ingredient is a little bit obvious!) The first piece is the Lemonade Press that I've wrote about before already. After creating this composition, the results inspired me to continue with a series; the second still life that I am working on is on Oranges & A Vase (which I've also wrote about earlier). The third and fourth still life is Blueberries & Yogurt  and Carmel Apples (both are new to the family as of yesterday so there are very rough sketches!). I have a bunch of new canvases tinted with a combination of naples yellow, cadmium red, cadmium orange, and loads of turpenoid w/ a touch of cold pressed linseed oil. Going to shoot for 10 paintings in this series but not sure on the details of the entire vision I have with these...

Hope everyone is doing great! Have a wonderful day! 

SITE UPDATE INFO: I'm working on updating the "under construction" page and including a little more functionality and content. When this new stuff is live on the net, I'll still be working to get full functionality up and running. Prints, online image galleries, contact pages, about pages, THE WORKS! Coming soon! :)

-Joshua Grabowski

Monday, June 28, 2010

Monday Painting Advice #3

Don't get overwhelmed by all the fancy stuff you will find in the painting section of the art store! There are always going to be fancy products that come with fancy price tags (read: overly expensive). Walking down the aisle without knowing what you're getting yourself into can become a lot to take on! I remember when I was getting started with oil paints, seeing all the different oils and solvents was like reading an ancient language that I had never heard of before. I'd consult the internet and books on which products to use, but then I realized something, each recommendation was originally coming from some other artist... and it turns out that each of them essentially have a different idea of what works for them and their work. It really had come down to the moment of truth when I started to mix my own mediums and started to realize what was working for ME and the work that I WAS DOING! Experiences are what make us grow. Each piece of artwork is a growth opportunity and should be taken as such. Start simple. Simple ways to get into oils are starting with acrylics and understanding what it is like to have your paint dry within minutes. Traditional oil is a different beast and will dry much slower, but if you want it to dry faster/slower/shiny/matte/texturized/etc., there is HUGE selection of options and Google seems to offer the answer to just about anything now-a-days. So start small, get a couple items you research via web or books, yes, you can still find things in books, and get painting. You'll find out sooner or later what works for you and what doesn't.

In most of my oil paintings to date, I've enjoyed using Galkyd Lite as my medium of choice which in most cases I end up mixing directly with the paint. It typically dries overnight and adds a high gloss to the finish. I've been getting creative with the medium concoctions lately, adding stand oil and poppy oil to play with the drying time and making the paint more fluid. If I could explain the way the oil paint with medium feels under the bristles of my brush with words, I would... for lack of better words, it is "awesome" and complete satisfaction; enough of a reason alone to keep painting!

Keep Painting Painters! You too can enjoy that sensation... today!

-Joshua Grabowski

Monday, June 21, 2010

Painter's Mistakes takes on New Name!

Last Monday I decided to start including a blog post about some type of mistake novice painters might make, sharing my wealth of knowledge to those who may not know what I know (and hopefully inspiring others who are reading that know more than I do to in turn share with me!). I've decided that instead of limiting it to "mistakes" that I will just make it "Monday Painting Painter Wisdom" or something else catchy, suggestions anyone?

Anyways, my advice/tip/whatever-you-want-to-call-it for today is, plastic wrap! This is a must have in the studio! Unless you are working with small palettes that you use in one day, you will most likely have paint left over and the easiest way to not waste the left over paint is to simply cover it with plastic wrap. Simple! Cheap! Disposable! The next day, just peel off, toss in garbage (or get crafty and make a collage or something), and paint. :) If working with acrylics, you might want to spray with a water bottle to add some moisture to paint and give the plastic wrap a little something extra to stick to. When working with oils, you just want to make sure that the big globs of paint are secure under the wrap. Chances are, when working with oils, you will have to worry less about it drying out overnight, but if you don't plan to be back to work for a couple days it is just nice to know your paint is protected from dust aside from the drying issue. I'm still a firm believer in disposable palettes which are very similar to wax paper. They make a huge selection of options including some shaped like a traditional hand-held palette with a thumb hole. You can pick up a pack of sheets at most craft stores carrying oil paint supplies for under or around $10.

Again, the best advice I can offer is just trying things out. Jumping into it yourself will show you what works best for you.

-Joshua Grabowski

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Untitled 5

Another piece from the Reflections series:

4ft. x 4ft. - Untitled 5 - oil on stretched canvas
click the image for a higher-res photo

This piece was to embody more of an aggressive, yet deep and passionate type feeling (at least to me). The colors seem to make a black, but it actually is dark green posed next to rich, deep reds to make the contrast really pop. In my opinion, this was one of the most successful pieces in the series, strong enough to stand alone from the group of paintings; however, I still believe the series works together to strengthen each other (one the very good reasons for creating a series of paintings in the first place).

-Joshua Grabowski

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Oranges & Purple Vase

Working on another still life and thought I would share the progress. The image posted below is the current progress on the second day of work, but you can click here to view the work from day one with the black and white acrylic underpainting.

oranges & purple vase - 24" x 48" oil on stretched canvas

There is much more work left to do, but I am trying different methods and getting better and progressing through these still life paintings quickly. I'm going to need to stock up on larger canvases or hardboards since I have come to realize that I truly despise working small! I need the freedom of large brush strokes, even though it takes more paint and materials... ;)

-Joshua Grabowski

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Reflections Series - Untitled 4

Untitled no. 4 - 4' x 4' - oil on stretched canvas
click to load higher resolution image

My series on color studies, Reflections, consisted of 9 large canvases (this piece above being one of the smallest sizes). The series was to created large scale paintings which the viewer can take in the feeling of the color. Each piece was then titled simply "Untitled [1-9]" since I didn't want the viewer searching endlessly for lets say an apple if the title was something like, "Apple Orchard." Somehow we can trick our brain into thinking that we see something, just because we are expected to. This happens all the time with Magic Eye 3D art. "What do you see?" "A rabbit!" "Oh... uh, yeah! Me too!" I wanted each of the nine canvases to speak for themselves. See what you want to see in them. Reflect on why you think that you see the things you see. Do you see dark, morbid images of monsters, or do you see happy, blossoming flowers? Why? What experiences in life brought on the thought process that led to deciphering the images like that? 

I know I keep mentioning that my online art site will be up and running soon, and there you will be able to view the entire Reflections series cohesively, read about the ideas behind it, and even see more progress shots of how it all came together.

-Joshua Grabowski

Monday, June 14, 2010

Painter's Mistakes

Recently I have been getting emails and messages from fellow artists looking for advice in oil painting. Since I enjoy writing about my "craft," I figure I can post tips on my blog regularly (which will keep me up on my game anyways). So here it goes:

Mistake No. 1 - Cheap Brushes
When starting out with painting, you may think that most brushes are the same. Walking through the aisle of the art supply store seeing high price tags on some brushes might just seem silly when there is an economy pack on the end cap with 10 brushes and a neat-o little plastic holder for $9.99... but please, don't think these value brushes are anywhere near the same as the more expensive brushes (this also applies to most all materials, but this post is particularly about brushes - stay on track, josh!). Shell out a little bit of money for nicer brushes, it will be worth it. Shown below, I've posted a picture of bristles in my paint! How frustrating! I actually think that the culprit here was excessive shedding from my head (notice the dark color compared to the white bristles), but non the less... hair/bristles in your paint makes a poor quality piece - that also means all you pet owners out there should be cautious too!

I've found that the more that you work, the more that you will realize that you have favorite brushes. My favorites have been with me for quite a while now and I think that has something to do with taking care of my brushes! Treat them well, and they will treat you well - and last long! My best advice to easy cleaning and care for your brushes is a combination of Silicoil Brush Cleaner Tank, followed by Ugly Dog Brush Soap (click links to purchase). Rinse well, then apply a small amount to the bristles again and reshape the brush back to the correct shape. I store the brushes bristle up to air dry over night.

Hope some of this advice can pay off to someone out there. I'll try to make this "Painter's Mistake" thing a regular weekly post... I have plenty of mistakes I've made to share! Paint on, painters!

-Joshua Grabowski

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Star Wars Finished

Unless another commission comes my way requesting otherwise, I think that it is pretty safe to say that my first and only Star Wars painting is on it's way out of the studio and to it's new home as soon as the paint is dry enough to varnish. I enjoyed working on this piece: the texture in the building, detail in the boy, experience (always a bonus/reward with every next painting). Enjoy it friends.

click on the image to load a high res. pic.

-Joshua Grabowski

Saturday, June 12, 2010

website...coming soon

coming very soon in fact... there is so much work that goes into making a site live and building it from scratch, but mark my words... it will be AWESOME! Thanks to all you trusty readers and followers of my blog in the mean time. I'll be sure to post about it when I have the first edition of the site up and running... then you can tell me all about how great it is, and also about all the kinks and problems that need to be worked out! ;)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Caucasian Flesh Tone Paint - WASTE

One of the worst colors that most oil paint manufacturing companies offer is premade caucasian flesh tone. Granted this is a nice option when starting out mixing colors, but what colors are you really using? Perhaps the mix is more on the warm side of the color scale and adding the wrong blue might leave you with muddy, dirty colors that are flat and weak. When painting human skin, it is best to mix your own. Don't waste money on the premade stuff, here are the basic pigments found on most palettes that I use while making skin tones:

   cad. yellow med.
   yellow ochre
   flake white (warm white)
   cad. red light
   burnt umber & sienna
   ultramarine blue

For light flesh tones, start with flake white adding the yellows and a bit of red, using the burnt browns as shadows and blues to cool the color down if it gets "too warm." Medium tones can start with the yellows, adding white only to the highlights. Dark flesh tones use only the burnt browns, red, and blue. Typically, I try to stay away from any black in my work to keep from flat paintings. The best way to figure out which color mixes work best for you is to actually do it. Yes, oil paint might be expensive, but without trial and error you'll never get any better! Jump in, try it yourself!

-Joshua Grabowski

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Little Skywalker

Here is a detail shot of the progress which I am totally happy with! I may not be a Star Wars buff like some people (see: Star Wars Fan 1, & #2) but working on this piece and a recent episode of Family Guy tributing the series has really got my sci-fi movie viewing desires at an unusual high. Maybe I'll relive the SW experience via Netflix someday, until then take a look at my version of Anakin below:

This is just a detail shot of the full painting that I posted a few days ago. The lower half of the boy is needing the most of my attention, but the upper half is coming along nicely! Since this piece was a commission, the client was already excited before I even started it, but now he is literally overjoyed! It's great seeing such a positive reaction to my work. :)

-Joshua Grabowski

Progression - it feels good

I love having my pieces approach completion. Here is a little snapshot of the stage this painting is in currently. Previously I mentioned that I would have this piece completed by today, and even though I didn't meet that self-imposed deadline, I came pretty close. Just a few more sessions of work with this painting and it will be ready for varnish and a frame.

"Lemonade Press" WORK-IN-PROGRESS - 24" x 36" oil on canvas

You might think the picture looks the same as it did last time I shared the progress, but the magic is in the detail now. It's only going to get even better! Enjoy!

-Joshua Grabowski

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Working through the Resistance!

Some days (today included) I just do not want to paint (also note: here I am writing instead of painting), but I'm here next to my easel. I've shown up and that is half the battle. An artist creates art, and if I'm not painting because I just don't feel like it, well, that is no excuse at all! Some fellow artists have recently written to me asking for advice on painting, a golden rule that every painter MUST know. Well, it's not any genius wisdom that I can give out myself but I can borrow the words of a master to pass along a very important thing to keep in mind:

"If you feel as though you can not paint, you should simply paint, and that voice within will be silenced"
                    -Van Gogh

That sounds simple enough. After I get out the paint, the resistance does just seem to melt away. Here it goes...

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Little Anakin & Shadowy Darth

A couple postings back I mentioned that I was working on something with blue skies and sand huts, now progress of that work:

This is a larger rendition (36" x 48") of an existing photo (10" x 15") from a Star Wars calendar. A few questions about making a painting, a couple conversation to discuss details, and a large amount of naples yellow later I am happy with where this piece stands. There is more detail work and a final varnish of this piece left to go, however, this photo gives you the basic general idea of what this will look like in it's final stage - just a little more texture and darkening in the sand & shadow, detail and a tad more color in the boy (Anakin), and  I also plan to brighten the sky a little bit as well. Thanks to the wonders of commission work me and Anakin Skywalker are now acquainted on an artistic basis, otherwise I would have never touched a Star Wars piece... "the force Luke, use the force!"

-Joshua Grabowski

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Wallpaper Duty

I'm sure that laying actual wallpaper with such an elaborate design would be much easier, but probably less gratifying than the end result from working magic with my paint brush (I'm sure I have no business messing around with adhesives and whatever else it takes to put up wallpaper anyways). Today started in a great position with the main design elements blocked in and dry from previous painting sessions - all I had to do was spend 6 1/2 hours painting in the details, and voila!

A little more about the painting:
This still life was inspired from real lemonade freshly squeezed from lemons grown here locally in AZ. Michael and I were walking along picking lemons and grapefruits from the fruit treats in the neighborhood and we spotted the best lemon tree around... many problems arose: water flooding the ground around the tree (which posed no problem for Michael and his braveness), branches that jump out at you from no where (leaving battle wounds on Michael... bless his heart for sacrificing himself for the good of my art and our lemonade drinking pleasure), and seems on the bag we used ripping apart carrying 20 lbs of lemons the size of two fists each back home to introduce them to our new friend... the juicer. After making a mess and enjoying the smell of citrus in the air, the peels just seemed as though they were begging to be painted. Digital camera and shadow box to the rescue! Piecing the idea together and settling into my new studio, I created the design, transfered it to canvas and began working. Three weekends of painting later, I have progressed far enough into the piece to share my work so far. Keep in mind that the only part that is "done" is the background... backward to foreword is how I'm working the painting (in other words, now that the background is done, everything that is "in front" of it will be painted in next). I love the still life so far and can't wait to finish it soon! :)

-Joshua Grabowski

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Feeling Good

Today is a great day. Feeling great in the studio, just wanted to make a little post wishing everyone a great day just the same. Getting ready to paint a blue sky and some sand huts... don't ask, you'll understand as I progress through the piece a little further and post it up. So many good things are brewing, I'll share more soon!

Enjoy your Thursday! Good moods are contagious... spread the word!

-Joshua Grabowski

Monday, May 24, 2010

Raw Sienna

Tinting canvases today for a warmer color base. Turpenoid, raw sienna oil paint, and a nice sized brush will do the trick... all I have to do is wait for the base to dry and I'll be on my way to completing the commission piece. :)

Traffic to my blog is looking up, which could possibly mean that it is about time to get my "real" art site up and running. Look for [at least] two brand new finished large paintings by the 6th! Smooth sailing folks!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

New Canvas

Occasionally, a new blank canvas can be intimidating. All that possibility, virtually limitless within the confines of your materials and your own imagination. Sometimes, that feeling of intimidation can completely be wiped away when you know what you are going to be working on ahead of time. Starting a commission piece is a great example of this, I already have the image and can basically envision the painting in it's completed state before I've even put the bristles to the canvas. 36" x 48" of canvas are ready for me in my studio, better not keep it waiting! Progress will follow soon. I've set some ambitious completion dates for myself on this piece in particular, looking forward to meeting my goals! :) 

-Joshua Grabowski

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The smell of oils.

For those of you that might not know first hand, oil paints have a very distinct smell, unpleasant to some and a fond and meaningful aroma to others. I happen to fall into the "others" category which also just so happens to be overly convenient for me since the profession I chose to follow requires me to use paints... see definition of artist: oil painter. Today marked the first stab at oils with my newest still life creation and the color I mixed up is a beauty! I have a long way to go, mostly because of the elaborate involvement of the subject matter and textures and patterns I'm attempting... but I always love art that challenges me. I'm not ready to share visual progress just yet for this piece, so I will some pictures another day, but in the mean time you can take a look of this fun little pic of my paints that I used today: phthalo blue, viridian, titanium white - all diluted with turpenoid. I got out some galkyd lite (amber colored liquid) and didn't even use it... but before you pass judgement on my wasteful action, rest assured that I sealed it up in a "medium jar" for use another day. ;)

what a fun, artistic little picture we have here! the paint color shown above turned out a little more blue than it actually is though... it's more of a turquoise.

-Joshua Grabowski

Monday, May 17, 2010

Untitled 1, 2, 3... part of my previous large body of work created over the previous winter months that I've only shared a small portion of so far. These three paintings form a triptych, which by definition is a work of art that is divided into three sections. Each stands alone at 7ft tall by 3ft wide for a total width of around 9ft depending on the spacing between the pieces. The colors used here are also in every other painting within my "Reflections" series. They were my favorite pieces from the whole collection... but as the proud artist of this great work, I can not discredit the others, which are all strong and great in their own individual ways. Currently these pieces reside in WI but I have eventual big plans for these, as well as the rest of the series,  with a confidently higher price tag than what I am used to. Below I've included some of the pictures of the construction and painting process of these beauties. Custom HTML by yours truly should allow you to click on any of the images to view them in your full browser window. Enjoy, everyone! Questions as well as comments are (as always) encouraged and welcomed! :)

-Joshua Grabowski

Sunday, May 16, 2010

New Space w/ GREAT Potential

To keep everyone in the loop of the things going on in my art life (read: "life"), I thought I would post a little something about the new space I have been creating my newest pieces at. In the land of sunny Arizona, there are plenty of opportunities around for artists to gain exposure, which one is the "right place" is different for everyone and sometimes can take many attempts to find what truly works. Originally I was skeptical about moving my things into my current studio, but after the first official week (tomorrow is the 5th day there!) I have found that the exposure is going to really be a great thing. SWAP$MART is the name of the business harboring my working space, available to the public Friday through Sunday for all your artistic needs! Within the first weekend, I have spoken to many people interested in what I am creating and handed out plenty of fliers directing people to back to my work. Commissions are coming in from every direction and should keep me plenty busy! During the days there, I sit and put on my headphones and paint my little heart out and pause for the occasional interested potential client looking to buy some of my stuff on the walls, get a price quote on a new piece, or just talk about art (which I always love to do!)

Keep a look out for progress on my new "lemonade" painting (not sure of the title just yet), and newest set-in-stone commission Star Wars piece... not my typical subject matter, and I love that about it! Anakin Skywalker, you pose no painting threat to me! Also talks of portrait work... portfolio expansion, I think so! AWESOME!

side-note: speaking of "sunny AZ" we are looking at 100's next week... that's another AWESOME!

-Joshua Grabowski

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Artist Necessity

Thanks to a special "art connection," I was introduced to this book in the form of a gift! When I recently had hours and hours of time to fill on both airplanes and airport terminal waiting, I dove head first into this golden token of art knowledge. Any artist, no matter your craft, should read this book if a career in art is the goal in mind. Personally, coming from the painting side of things, I feel that this book spoke to me directly. An easy read with so much information on what to do and where to do it, and with a price tag that will most certainly not break the bank it is a no brainer... go get your copy now of How to Survive and Prosper As An Artist: Selling Yourself Without Selling Your Soul by Caroll Michels!


-Joshua Grabowski

Friday, May 14, 2010

Bell Peppers

Somehow time passes so easily between posts on here! I thought I'd share another still life piece. In the mean time I have taken a little trip back to WI, gotten settled into a new studio space, and just been enjoying life. As work progresses, I will always be sure to share the new stuff! Currently I am working on another still life (as well as other projects that pop up). This new still life piece is a little bit "graduated" from the simplistic compositions that I've previously been posting, much more elaborate and carefully planned. Use your imaginations until I share the progress and think, "lemons!"

Delicious! I love bell peppers! Especially of the mexican stuffed variety, and even more so when they are made by my mom!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


As I progress with working with the easily available fruit from the produce section, I have decided to follow in the footsteps of many "daily painters" and work some smaller pieces, in this case 5" x 5" stretched canvas. This is great because I can start and finish a piece in one sitting; however, I find myself trying to paint more expressively under a time limit but tend to work continually until hours have passed and the piece looks more like a photo than an expressively painted piece made of a limited number of precisely placed strokes. Either way, I think this piece is a success and works well for the size... BIG painting on a SMALL canvas.

Look familiar? This is the middle, last row from yesterdays post of the thumbnails. Of course there is more to come. :)

-Joshua Grabowski

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Apple Thumbs

After a failed attempt at jumping into a 5" x 5" piece of an artichoke, I decided it would be a good idea to start out safe with a direction this time... thumbnail sketches to the rescue. Twelve 5" square compositions later, I feel like I have at least a few solid ideas that I can translate to canvas comfortably. These are made on newsprint paper in my big sketchbook with drawing graphite pencils and a white prismacolor to highlight. Which one do you like the most?

For those of you interested in art books, I am currently reading a couple that peak my interest:
- "How to Survive and Prosper as an Artist" - Caroll Michels... great book on advice to artists about how to make a career out of your passion, without selling you soul!
- "The Artist's Way" - Julia Cameron... interesting approach to discovering and recovering your creative self, more of a spiritual path, must look at this one with an open mind! Still great!

Also just watched a movie, "Local Color," about a young artist studying under Nicoli Seroff, a great Russian Impressionist. Great movie... it totally touched my sense of artistry and approached contemporary art with near the same views that I myself have. According to Netflix, this movie got my 5 star vote. Feel free to share any books or movies worth checking out.

-Joshua Grabowski

Monday, April 19, 2010

Tea Time

Grabbing things around the apartment to put together a still life piece will naturally include a tea cup or two. The green tea cup I used for this setup is my favorite from the bunch of tea cups randomly found by Michael's dad (funny, and very random story). Going with the fruit-filled still life theme, I setup this composition using an orange that I picked from one of the trees outside. I loved the texture from the odd-shaped rhine. It gave more depth and angle to reflect light on... delicious! However, actually not so delicious, since the oranges hadn't fully ripened at this point... more accurately, very sour!

The picture quality isn't completely amazing. If anyone is interested in seeing more, let me know. Also, BTW... as with most of my art you see on my blog, these recent pieces are for sale. If anyone is interested please feel free to contact me: Hope everyone is having a great start to the week enjoying the great weather. Get outside to see the green life! :)

-Joshua Grabowski

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Pair of Pears + 1

Since my recent exploration of fruit still life piece has come about, I've been posting some of the results. Here is another piece that I have decided to add the finished still life collection. There was only one surviving pear; however, the procrastination of throwing it away turned into a fruit fly safe haven. When it finally saw the garbage it looked nothing like the way I've shown it below.

This was my favorite when i was working on the four still life piece at once but the oranges have come out to be my favorite completed piece (so far). As I progress with these pieces, I am getting more comfortable using my medium of choice, which in most cases seems to be oils. More to come soon.

-Joshua Grabowski

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Not from Concentrate

It has been common practice for artists throughout time to find an idea that works and reuse that idea until it has run dry. This particular piece wasn't created for the purpose of following my longtime-past concentrations of "oranges" and "faces," but since it is familiar working with the subject of oranges this piece called out to me. The color, the smell, the texture, of course the taste - oranges are by far my favorite fruit! When the orange trees are blossoming, AZ is the place to be! Every gust of wind carries the amazing aroma of sweet, fresh flowers and the trees start to bear large, ripe fruit ready to be picked and eaten! Delicious. If that doesn't make your mouth water with orange cravings, I just don't know what will.

A few weeks ago, I was reading up on some art blogs that I follow and found some postings about the use of a "shadow box" to create dramatic, controlled lighting for still life masterpieces (actual results may vary). Inspired and determined to make my own still-life-masterpiece-creation box, POOF, I was a still life junkie. Four piece later, I am starting to use my creativity more. I've also noticed my comfort with my color mixing, medium use and dilution, etc. I'll post more on the other three pieces-in-progress as they approach completion; however, in the mean time, I'd like to call the oranges finished (of course I will second guess this, over and over, including the possible color correction on the blue bowl... but that is just a possibility, no matter how likely I actually think it is). This picture was the best I could get. You can see the outline of my black shirt against the reflected white wall behind me. Damn reflection! Anyways, Enjoy!

Details about this piece: 12" x 12" oil on stretched canvas.

On a note aside from art, I have been able to run consistently without much pain in my foot! BONUS! The weather has been wonderful and mountain side running just can not be beat. Tax time is here (or at least the dreaded due date) and it feels great to have gotten them done in time and not have to have that weight on my shoulders... make sure to stop out somewhere that has "Tax day specials" and take advantage of the savings! Just don't eat McDonald's, it's plain nasty - unless you are eating chicken nuggets, in which case I say GO FOR IT!

-Joshua Grabowski

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Dabbling Back Into Pastels

Just the other day, I received an email from someone interested in my "Swirl Sunset," oil pastel piece. This got me interested once again working with this medium. Easy clean up, fast application, vibrant colors, easily blendable (yes, that's right, I did just make up that word). To kick off the pastel fun, I decided to simply make a 2010 version of the original. The picture below is the results from attempt no. 1! 

Vibrant & fun colors. I was using my newsprint sketchbook, and the weight of the paper is just simply not acceptable for the pull on the pastels (in other words, the paper can rip quite easily since it is so thin! be cautious!...or just use better paper!) Since this medium is so "hands-on," I'm left with a oily, gritty (yet colorful) film on my fingers, which now is spread throughout my keyboard. Yay!

-Joshua Grabowski

Monday, April 12, 2010

Let there be sunflowers... least one, so far. After looking at this piece hanging on the wall untouched for a couple weeks, I decided it was time to work on it some more and call it finished! The reason that I started this piece was for the Photo Challenge of a sunflower I found. Submissions take 1-3 days to appear on their site, so I can't link to the image on their site, but I can however share the image on here. Enjoy!

This piece is an 8" x 10" oil on stretched canvas. Yes, to answer your question, the piece is for sale! Inquire within! :)

-Joshua Grabowski

Sunday, April 11, 2010

More of the Reflections Project

I'd like to share a little collage of pictures from my Reflections series. This collage of images was put together for a gallery viewing opportunity but I went with another image instead (I didn't think this image showed them well enough). After browsing many sites for hosting my artwork, I think I may have found a couple that offer services with advertisements appearing on the page for their "free version" where at any point you can choose to upgrade for a reasonable monthly fee... I figure, what do I have to lose? It's free! I'm going to try to get these images up soon since it has been about a month and a half now and I've done plenty of research at this point!

I've been working on some still life pieces recently, just for fun. I'll put the results and the works-in-progress up over the next few days.

Hope everyone is taking advantage of the wonderful weather, and if not... get out there!

-Joshua Grabowski

Friday, March 26, 2010

Close-up Detail

In the effort to slowly reveal my work but keep everyone interested... I figured it was a good time to share some more photos of my recent series that I put together earlier this year. By now, I would like to assume that the pieces are close to completely dry, but will continue to hold off on the varnish for the recommended dry time of 6 months for the oil to fully cure and oxidize. These pieces will need to be removed from the stretcher bars I built (from scratch!) and then rolled up for shipping to either their new owners or the galleries I find to show them. I've casually titled the series "Reflections: A Series on Color" but that isn't set in stone and could possibly change as I put together the series statement.

Over the past few years, I've scoured the net for images of work, videos of the creation of that work, and written words about it. While doing this, I've stumbled across some interesting blogs, wonderfully put together sites, and even more importantly, some truly great artists. Most of these artists find a focus, a theme, and run with it as far as their creativity will take them. When the idea has run dry, they reinvent their "direction" and follow that path until... well, you understand the idea that is happening here. I've always been an artist to try many different things. One week I am focused on texture, the next week is figurative pieces. Later I start to study roses, while shortly after I get myself painting sunsets & clouds. I've been trying to keep centered on one idea as much as I can but it just continually seems that I can never stay held down for too long. My concentration goes awry, my motivation drops dramatically, and I find myself needing something else to reignite my creativity. Earlier today I decided that it was time for me to find some art groups, classes, ANYTHING that wasn't accessible exclusively through my computer (of course the numbers to contact were found through the internet, on my computer... so i understand and appreciate the importance of it, thank you vaio). After a few phone calls, I found myself talking to real live people. ARTISTS! Artists that weren't snobby acting as though they couldn't give me the time of day. I understand that calling out of the blue asking for help is awkward, and I am most certainly not asking for any handouts, but it was nice to get some genuine people on the phone offering assistance to classes, groups, showings, etc. I found a place located in Scottsdale called BRIO Fine Arts Center. It was founded by a woman originally located in the Chicago area who was an absolute wonderful pleasure on the phone. It's a start. Very easy conversation. Suddenly I feel like I could be part of a group of other artists. Artists with faces and a physical presence, rather than exclusively online. It's a great feeling.

Another great feeling: possible sale of my three rose studies about to be finalized. Trying not to get my hopes up until everything goes through, but I would like to thank Michael for helping post these on the internet and actually turn them into $$$$!! 

-making small still life piece daily to participate in "painting-a-day" programs, teach myself discipline, better understand my materials, as well as simply create more work!
-order some books... or finding them at a used bookstore! DISCOUNTS! (everyone loves a discount)
-get a new "glass house" for our little pet Jalapeno, the betta fish

All the best everyone! Happy Friday!

-Joshua Grabowski

Friday, March 19, 2010

Online Sales

After posting my paintings on numerous sites hoping for sales, I figure the best way for me to not go crazy over it is to just simply wait... and see what happens. If they are meant to sell from one of the outlets I have used, then quite simply, they will. In the mean time, I will try my hardest to put it out of my head will I continue working on my other pieces. Happy Friday everyone! Hope you all have exciting weekends planned!

side note: if the weather fails you, go to the movies! Michael and I went to see Valentines Day, awesome, lots of favorite actors/actresses! Alice in Wonderland is also a definite recommended flick. Be sure to load up on candy and popcorn... it's just not the same without it. I hear that Sarah fell asleep during Shutter Island, did you really think it was that bad?!  ;)

-Joshua Grabowski

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A Rose Affair

OK FOLKS... they are done, framed, signed, ready to besold and placed in their prospective homes! I've been frequenting Michael's Craft Store due to their amazing sale on gallery wrapped canvas's. Something to note, 12" x 24" frames are not sold at Michael's, but rather Hobby Lobby (for those of you that just happen to have hardboard paintings laying around waiting for the perfect, non-overpriced pre-made frame to pop up... it's entirely common, right?). The first piece is from another recent post saying that it was finished and ready for the frame; however, without the additional leaves that were added (thank you creative mastermind Michael, with our wonderful brainstorming-sessions/art-critiques) it was flat and boring. Adding the leaves not only brought more color but more excitement to the piece. Overall, I think it is much better off with the additions. You'll notice my initials in the lower right hand corner of the yellow "frame."

Next up is "Study of a Rose #2." You might remember the original yellow rose I did almost a year back, if not, you can find it in the previous posts to my site. The light source here is strong and I like the way everything came together in the frame. Again, you'll notice my initials in the bottom right.

And last, but certainly not least (as it is my favorite of the bunch),  "Study of a Rose #3." I know I know, my creativity in the titles of these pieces is overwhelming. Try to contain yourselves. This picture shows a small glare from the light while taking the picture (again, credit to Michael for taking pictures of these today for me, THANK YOU!). This frame was very dramatic. Since the bimbos at Lowes cut these hardboards inconsistent sizes, it was about 1/8" too WIDE for the frame, so it is back-set in the frame which turned out very nice after all was said and done but you can't really notice here in the picture.

All three pieces are for sale on my Artbreak Site and hanging for sale inside SwapSmart here in Arizona. If anyone is interested in any of the three, you can contact me directly and I can hook you up with a sweet deal... maybe... has been peaking my interest once again with another project they are having right now: sunflowers! It is a simple photo challenge, they give you and image and you use your creative talents to recreate it however you see fit. Since I have a surplus of canvas on my hands, I plan to try out a couple ideas that I have; some are well within my comfort-zone and others bursting out of it. As I complete these pieces, I plan to share my progress... did you expect anything less? :) 

-Joshua Grabowski

^ getting in the habit of putting 'Joshua' instead of 'Josh' to transition smoothly into my new domain/site. Enjoy all the links I've embedded and click the roses to view them larger! :)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

New Etsy Store and craft store deals!

Yesterday and today, I've spent probably more time that I should setting up my account on a website devoted to providing artist with the ability to sell anything handmade, Great site with great features made for aritsts trying to sell their work, whether it be clothing, paintings, pottery (the list goes on and extends to basically anything made by your own two hands...within the legal guidelines of our country of course). The store I've started putting together is much more elaborate of a process than I'd imagined and I've realized it will take a little more than just 20 minutes. Over the next week or so I plan to work on the in's-and-out's of Etsy. I put together a banner for the top of my page that I was pretty pleased with. You can see a preview of it below:

Hope everyone is having a great week so far. The rain in AZ is brutal, but the way I see it is, "at least it is NOT snow." Either way, I think it has finally eased up and I think there is expected 80's next week, should make it hard to want to stay indoors, but my paints and brushes will keep me motivated and working. Last night, Michael's Craft Store has a great sale going on this week of 50% off gallery wrapped stretch canvas's. They also had a buy one get one sale on their frames! (ATTN: all broke artists looking for a deal, get there ASAP! artists are like mad dogs during business hours, buying canvas's like no one's business!) I had to indulge in the sale and walked out with plenty of painting surface to keep me busy for a while. Hopefully these frames will make some of my pieces more appealing at some of these venues I've found in AZ to turn my paintings into cash! Lots of progress will be posted as I create it... thanks for reading and keeping up with my stuff everyone!

-Joshua Grabowski

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Working through the list.

Trying to make my way through some older pieces I had been working on a couple of months back. Let's just hope that I can get these out the door and make some money. :) Maybe this piece looks familiar? (this time around I was using a much better camera than my cell phone...the difference is 5.1 megapixels baby!)

This picture doesn't show it yet, but all I have left to do is sign it, varnish it, and put up a FOR SALE sign. Finally I can cross this off my list of unfinished work and move along to the next one.

-Joshua Grabowski

Saturday, February 27, 2010

the pictures are in!

Thanks to the help of some friends of mine, I recently was introduced to a young photographer willing to help me get some quality photos of my work ready for the new site! :) It has been a blast putting the work together for this collection and I can't wait to share it with everyone!

a very awesome detail shot from the photo shoot 
last night of one of the new pieces

Info on the new site & body of work will be coming soon. Pooling the materials together now, including photos, website, and business cards (if you'd like one of my snazzy cards let me know), so I can present this new material properly. Looking forward to what the universe will send for me ('universe' can also be read 'often-times-harsh-and-cold-world').

Live life passionately, create your path.

-Josh(ua) Grabowski

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

.com is a reality

Today I officially registered the domain for my site which will launch featuring my newest series of paintings sometime in the very near future. For the time being the domain forwards visitors back to my blog (maybe you know this by now from being redirected here already). Looking forward to stretching my HTML building skills and seeing what I can come up with.

Site address to bookmark:

Thanks for all the support it has taken for me to get here. Much more to come.

-Josh Grabowski

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


after all the preparation and planning, my current work is coming to fruition what seems to be effortlessly. stay tuned for the "unveiling" of my newest series and (hopefully) a link to my new art site. :)

creativity is inevitable, being able to actually create it is a blessing.

-Josh Grabowski

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Special Thank You

I would first like to start this post out by thanking anyone that has made it to my blog to check out my work. With encouragement and feedback from family, friends, and the many people who appreciate artwork, I continue to post my progress and further myself in my work.

            "All art requires courage."
                        -Anne Tucker

"Artistic growth is, more than it is anything else, a refining of the sense of truthfulness.  The stupid believe that to be truthful is easy; only the artist, the great artist, knows how difficult it is."
                -Willa Cather, The Song of the Lark, 1915

There is so much going on with my work right now and it is all very exciting. I look at it all with extreme optimism and hope, but also understanding what-it-will-take-to-get-there and desire for greatness. Again, Thank You to all the people who matter most, you know who you are!

You can expect some pictures of more recent work coming soon.

sketch i did quite some time ago, i still really enjoy it and thought i'd share it.

-Josh Grabowski

Friday, January 29, 2010

The scent of oils...

...has filled my painting space. Working on some masonite boards right now (as well as many other projects) shown below. Each is 24" x 48" primed oil on board. Work-flow on full force forward. Something has to happen, the universe must align soon. I can feel it.

above left is progressing well. you can see my attempt at putting a reflection for the lowest "angel", right is the start to another similar scene with a parthenon dome in the sky rather than columns. considering addint wings or angels to this as well to link these as a pair a little more.

Other projects going on that I will share more information about later. Thanks for reading friends.

-Josh Grabowski

Sunday, January 17, 2010

prime time

The body is constructed, time to put on the final supports, stretch the final pieces and prime. Patience and anticipation is key here everyone. The hard work for the proper, well-executed beginning has been put in. Everything seems a little easier when it is done correct the first time. Looking forward to where this project is headed. Consumingly exciting, just as much as it is excitingly consuming. Just some pics here that I took while working over the past couple days. Maybe they will come in handy if I ever compile all my thoughts and "lessons learned" to write that book I've always been looking for everywhere that sells oil painter books. Book due date: 20-and-longtimefromnow! Lots of work to do before I get ahead of myself. Preparation meets opportunity nicely, I'll be ready.

above left is the nail gun and wood glue used to brace the corners, right is the blank canvas with staple gun used to stretch the material taut over the framework.


-Josh Grabowski