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