Award Recipient Maxim Grunin MFA

In 2007 I was nominated to receive an Honoris Causa. The recipients of this award are selected by The National Ethnic Media And Press Council of Ontario. Every year one or more people are nominated for the award by every ethnic community media office. The candidates have to have a history of contribution to their community. I was picked by the Russian media due to my close to 8 years involvement in private art education. Newcomers and art students of Russian background often lack the information on how the Canadian fine arts education works. I shared my personal experience via media interviews, documentaries and articles. As a result many enthusiastic students of Russian background enrolled in art programs throughout our province. When I came to Canada in 1992 there weren't many resources on what a competitive fine arts portfolio was or what were the steps to getting an undergraduate or a post graduate degree in art. Canada was a new country with new rules.


Displaying paintings on the wall

Woods At Sunset, 2009, acrylic on canvas, 30"X30" gallery wrap

What is the best way to install a painting in a room? Paintings come in various sizes and configurations. They are generaly rectangular shaped. Some pieces can be arranged together to form a larger picture. For example two panels that go together are called a diptych, three are a triptych and so on. Many spots around the room can be suitable for hanging a picture. A wall above a couch in a living room, empty spot in a kitchen or a dining room. You, the owner of a painting will have to do some interior designing and have fun with it. Here are some things to keep in mind once the right spot for hanging a painting is found.

Lighting is responsible for how full of colour and brightness the piece will be when caught by a viewer's eyes. Acrylic, oil and paintings/drawings on paper that have to be encased in a frame with glass will all look better on a wall adjacent to the one with a big window in it. If a painting is placed on a wall directly across from a bright window it will reflect the light. This will result in unwanted shine and glistening on the surface of a painting. Direct light also grays out the colours in a painting therefore considerably reducing the vivid qualities of any piece. Avoid displaying a painting on a wall that gets bright sunlight. Direct light will contribute to quick fading, yellowing and aging of a painted surface. Galleries and museums often install moderate strength, overhead spot light above a painting to increase it's brightness. This approach makes any artwork look to the best of its visual potential and the most glamourous. Many rooms come equipped with pot lights or tracking lights that can be directed to give additional lighting to a piece.

The distance between paintings and the hight at which they are positioned on the wall is also important. Anyone looking at a painting shouldn't be distracted by other artworks placed too close. This setting will not allow the viewer to fully appriciate an individual piece. Allow generous spacing between the paintings. In this case "less" is "more". The hight of the painting on the wall is related to the hight of a human body, the average hight of the very people who will be looking at the art. Normaly the middle of the painting should be on the eye level of an average person. This is not often possible in the home setting, that is why it is possible to elevate a painting a little higher on the wall than the museum instalation would require.

Consider thinking of how the paintings work together when they are hanging on the walls of a room. Do they match, complement each other, go well with the furniture? Do change them around to get a different perspective. You may find that the new configuration is better and if not you can alway go back to the way it used to be.

Paintings collect dust and other bits of dirt when they hang on the wall. Like most other objects they need to be dusted and whiped with a damp rug every so often.

by Maxim Grunin MFA

Paintings Maxim Grunin

Figurative paintings 2012 NEW 
Gallery 2
Figurative paintings 2011

Abstract Paintings 2010 
Gallery 1

Figurative paintings 2010 
Gallery 1 
Gallery 2

Landscape paintings 2010 
Gallery 1
Gallery 2

Figurative paintings 2009
Gallery 1
Gallery 2 

Landscape paintings 2009  
Gallery 1
Gallery 2
Gallery 3
Gallery 4


PORTFOLIO paintings June 2009

In my new body of work the subjects are land and light. The focus is on the mountains, trees, rocks, watter and ground. I am formulating a kind of sublime landscape with each piece. My paintings are designed to suit the interior, bring rich visual and intelectual accents. Currently these works can be purchased on eBay at a great price from $250 USD. Paintings come with finished sides, hanging wire installed, shipping included and gallery wrapped (sides 1.5" deep). Please contact me at maximgruninart@yahoo.ca for further information.

Light Of Gold, 2009, acrylic on canvas, 30"X40" gallery wrap

Calm After The Storm, 2009, acrylic on canvas, 30"X40" gallery wrap

Stop And Stare, 2009, acrylic on canvas, 30"X30" gallery wrap

Beautiful Day, 2009, acrylic on canvas, 24"X36" gallery wrap

Sunlight All Around, 2009, acrylic on canvas, 30"X30" gallery wrap

Native Land, 2009, acrylic on canvas, 30"X40" gallery wrap

Sun Is Out Again, 2009, acrylic on canvas, 30"X36" gallery wrap

Country, 2009, acrylic on canvas, 30"X30" gallery wrap

On The Edge Of A Forest, 2009, acrylic on canvas, 30"X40" gallery wrap


What's better gallery wrap or?

Gallery wrap stretcher is 1.5" (inches) deep or slightly greater. Canvas is wrapped, stretched and stapled on the back of the stretcher with heavy duty staples.There are several common ways to finish the sides of a painting. Sides can be painted as a continuation of a painting. They can be finished with one colour all around, for example black or the sides can be left white. Gallery wrapped canvas hold an interior hanging without a frame. It has a powerful presence due to it's depth. Gallery wrap is a great choice for almost any contemporary interior. There are also many choices for framing a gallery wrap.

Regular stretcher is under 1" (inch) in depth. Canvas is stretched in exactly the same way as the gallery wrap with staples on the back. The sides of a painting created on a regular stretcher can be painted or left with primer exposed. This stretcher is commonly presented with a frame, although there are many examples of installing regular canvas unframed. It is often better for the owner of a particular piece to choose a frame that works with their interior. Regular stretcher is a good choice when a frame is required.
A note for commercial artists who are aiming at selling to a wide audience. Gallery wrap is more expencive than a regular canvas, but it is a better choice for making a painting marketable. You won't have to invest in a frame and gain a satisfied customer at the same time. A cheap frame or "do it yourself" may not match market standard. However, regular canvas should not be dismissed altogether.

Maxim Grunin - CV

2002-2004 University of Waterloo, MFA
1996-2001 Ontario College of Art and Design
1988-1996 Art Schools in Russia, Israel, and Canada


2009 - 2011 eBay auctions
2008 Varley Art Gallery, Unionville, Ontario
2008 Richmond Hill Art Tour and Sale
2008 Mill Pond Gallery, Richmond Hill, Ontario
2008 Markham Theatre, Markham, Ontario

2008 Burr House Craft Gallery, Richmond Hill, Ontario
2007 Artcube Gallery, The Human Canvas, Toronto, Ontario
2007 Artcube Gallery, Weston Collective Exhibition, Toronto, Ontario
2007 RHATS, Richmond Hill, Ontario
2006 Mittica gallery, Toronto, Ontario
2006 Unknown Russia 7 and Russian America, CASE Museum of contemporary Russian art, Jersey City, NY
2005 Etobicoke civic centre Art Gallery, Colour and Form Society juried exhibition, (Award), Etobicoke, Ontario
2005 The poetry of the urban life, (solo show) Noveks Art Gallery, Toronto, Ontario
2004 Propagandista, Toronto Free Gallery, Toronto, Ontario
2004 Antecendants, Artery Gallery, Kitchener, Ontario
2004 BLANKETCHUPCHUK, Gallery 1313, Toronto, Ontario
2004 Mediated Environment, MFA thesis (solo) show, University of Waterloo Art Gallery, Waterloo, Ontario
2004 Drawing 2004, Juried Show, John B. Aird Gallery, (3rd prize), Toronto, Ontario
1999 Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition, Ontario
1999 Scarborough Arts Council Exhibition, Ontario
1997 Malvern Town Centre, Scarborough, Ontario

Related Experiences:
Teaching drawing and painting privately 2000-2009
Teaching and assisting teaching during masters program 2002-2004
Internship under Andreas Jauss, Tubengen/Germany, July-August 2003

2007 Distinction in The Arts, National Ethnic Press & Media Council of Canada, Honoris Causa
Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS), 2003
Senate Graduate Scholarship, 2002/2004
Shantz Fellowship Award


Quality paintings

There are many artists who produce beautiful paintings. Artworks can be so diverse in their appearance. If someone appreciates a particular piece it means that an artwork is good. Although taste in art can be so diverse, the idea of the quality of any piece of art is worth discussing.
Paints change colour and fade unless they are proven to be stable.  Good quality paint will keep it's beauty and last longer. Some pigments have an ability to fade over a period of time. Using paints containing these pigments results in discoloration and reduction of saturation in a painting. It is better to use stable pigments that can last unchanged for centuries. These paints contain chemicals that have been thoroughly researched.

Oil paints have been around since the time of the Renaissance, 12th-14th century.  Acrylics came to be invented in the 20th century. The difference between these paints is their medium. Linseed oil is mixed with powdered pigment to produce oil paint. Acrylic polymer emulsion has been introduced since the mid 1900 and it binds a dry pigment powder. Even though acrylics are relatively new, they've been perfected by the industry. Today acrylic paintings are by no means inferior to oil paintings.

Chemical properties of the pigments and paint application are largely responsible for a good quality end result.  Applying thin coats of paint first and then building the layer up thicker is mandatory when creating a painting. The bottom coats need to dry quicker than the top layers in order for the paint not to crack. Sometimes artists use this knowledge to produce crackled surface in their work. Mixing of water and oil based paints will create cracks and quick deterioration of the painted surface.

In order to produce a piece of a lasting quality it is required for the paint coats to dry. Varnishes are used to give the paintings various degrees of gloss or matt finish. It is OK to varnish an acrylic painting soon after it has been completed since acrylics are water soluble and are fast drying. Oils however dry slower. Linseed oil has to go through 8 - 12 months solidifying process. If varnish was applied to a dry to touch oil painting right away, it will fuse with the paint and will become permanent. Varnish creates a nice finish ion an artwork but it's longevity is short. It yellows due to it's chemical composite and it wears off from dust, sunlight and climate conditions. Old coat of varnish needs to be removed and fresh one applied every 30 - 50 years.

by Maxim Grunin MFA


Painting Price Esse

How much do original paintings cost? In order to produce a painting an artist needs time, studio space and supplies. To sell the product of his/her labor artist needs to research the market and the advertising costs. Let's look at someone who lives in Ontario, Canada and decides to make fine art painting his/her livelihood. Dedicating time to working on the paintings means less time for work elsewhere. A painting needs to be resolved through trial and error. An artist's longing for perfection leads him or her to hours of struggle with each piece.

Formal education can be useful alongside with consistent individual practice. Teachers and peers can gradually offer invaluable feedback and support to a scholar. Funding of art education and practice may prove to be difficult. Not everyone can afford to immerse themselves  in an artist lifestyle without paying a cost. The inevitable bank loans added to scarce income will cause problems. An adequate living/studio space in our time can cost anywhere from eight hundred and up per month. Anything less may not be sufficient for working on the paintings.

Paint is toxic, it releases vapors and can be hazardous in many ways. The art supplies amount to considerable expense every month. Stretched or unstretched canvases, paints, brushes, gels, solvents, varnishes and various other accessories constantly run out. These may add up to hundreds of dollars. Easels, palettes, protective tarps may also be needed, however they last longer. Once the paintings are made they have to be photographed and documented in order to be assembled into a portfolio. Therefore an artist needs to buy a good digital camera, a computer as well as word and image processing software. Learning how to use the gadgets will take a good amount of time and effort. Once the body of paintings is produced and supplied with a portfolio the advertising and pitching begins. Now the artist is making his/her ends meet financially, is producing amazing work and is running about to introduce him/herself to the world.

If an artist passes a test of being involved more than just a little bit in creative practice, he or she develops a kind of an emotional stigma.According to the popular media our world is a mixture of good and evil. Truth goes hand in hand with deceit and everything has to be taken in, to be turned into personal experience. Lets look at the emerging artist. This inspired person is quite enthusiastic about what he or she does An artist bares a gift, a mastery of the craft worth being noted.

Years of character development, pride and talent wrapped into a portfolio are laid on the table. The artist now a master, a spokesperson, a presenter and an entrepreneur is challenged by many scrutinizing critics. Burdened by working with a modest budget an artist needs every bit of determination, health and luck to carry out his/her mission of the show and sale of their artwork The critic, in other words, the world will put up a worthy fight before the tie will turn. Planning the success ahead is wise and rational. There are numerous examples of artistic careers in the past and the present from which a student can learn. These examples are not fully universal. A person encounters individual challenges along the way.

Let us say that the positive circumstances are on the artist's side. Now he or she is exhibiting and making sales. How can an artist determine what price should be put on each piece? The supplies used to produce an artwork as well as the advertising costs, time invested in working on a piece, should be kept in mind. Artist's living costs: rent, groceries, transportation, utilities, phone, the Internet connection, insurance and other necessities also need to be taken into account when it comes to pricing an artwork. In addition to labour and cost of material, works of art have the value based on the merits of cultural importance. This last set of values is anything but straight forward.

The institutions in charge of assigning the value when it comes to the merits of fine art are the universities, museums and galleries. Knowledge is classified and transformed by the educated minds throughout the History. When polished enough a notion of what art actually is, becomes a potent formula, at least for a period of time. An easy example is Picasso's Cubism. Pablo Picasso, trained in classical realism and studio arts, broke away from a tradition of his time by painting unusual geometric shapes. His act was studied and eventually seen as an important kind of an intellectual revolution by the academics. Picasso pushed forward the boundaries of what was considered art in the past. Antique art is the most valuable when it has the Historic importance much like the works of Pablo Picasso or Leonardo DaVinci. Art that has less theoretic content and was created to serve a purely decorative purpose, even if it is an antique, is of lower monetary value. Contemporary visual artists attempting to achieve the Historic importance in their work have to try very hard to get elevated to a permanent museum status.

Many factors are at play when the stakes are high and not everyone can become a modern hero. If a museum career should occur for a particular artist, that artist's work value will elevate considerably. There are artists alive today, who can be worth up to several millions of doll1rs per piece. Many professional artists can get to a mature phase in their practice and artworks baring their names become valuable commodities and collectables. The works of these artists can often cost within tens of thousands per piece. Emerging artists, students and amature artists often cost less. Their works can be purchased for several hundreds or tens of dollars a piece. Collecting art can be profitable espesialy if a collector knows how to spot a promising future sensation.

by Maxim Grunin


Painting "In Bloom"

"In Bloom" 2009, acrylic on canvas, 24"X24" (gallery).

Some time in May standing outside of a condo, I've noticed the blooming of crabapple trees. Memories of the occasions when I've admired a similar sight quickly ran through my mind. I moved closer to have a better view of the flowers. Suddenly, at that moment, life appeared to me full of joy and beauty. A sublime moment in my, at that time, uncertain and anxious state of mind.
I videorecorded the process of painting
"In Bloom" to illustrate the stages of making a piece.


PORTFOLIO paintings 2008-2009

Time Of Tranquility, 2009, oil on canvas, 20"X24" (available)

Warm Spacious & Tall, 2008, acrylic on canvas, 40"X30" (available)

White Garden Roses, 2007, oil on canvas, 22"X28" (available)

Sunlit Pinks & Whites, 2007, oil on canvas, 24"X30" (available)

Time Of Wivid Colours, 2009, acrylic on canvas, 24"X30" (available)

Sunset At The Lake, 2009, oil on canvas, 20"X24" (available)

Stroll By The Stream, 2009, oil on canvas, 20"X24" (available)

Romantic Souls, 2009, oil on canvas, 20"X24" (available)

Nature's Symphony, 2009, acrylic on canvas, 24"X30" (available)

A Breath Of Fresh Air, 2009, acrylic on canvas, 24"X30" (available)

Flight Of The Setting Sun, 2009, oil on canvas, 20"X24" (available)

Tropics, 2008, oil on canvas (triptych), 24"X54" (available)

In Bloom, 2009, acrylic on canvas, 24"X24" (available)


PORTFOLIO paintings May 2009

The Native Land, 2009, acrylic on canvas, 30"X36"

The New Day, 2009, acrylic on canvas, 24"X36"

Mother Nature, 2009, oil on canvas, 16"X20 (sold)

Native Beauty, 2009, oil on canvas, 16"X20" (sold)

Streaming By, 2009, oil on canvas, 16"X20"

Northern Land, 2009, oil on canvas, 16"X20"

The Wondrous North, 2009, oil on canvas, 16"X20"

Wild Stream, 2007, oil on canvas (framed), 28"X40" (sold)

Under The Sun, 2007, oil on canvas (framed), 27"X23" (sold)

Warm Summer Sunset, 2008, oil on canvas, 34"X40" (sold)

Birch Forest, 2008, acrylic on canvas, 24"X30" (sold)

Sunlit Woods, 2008, oil on canvas, 30"X30" (sold)

Wild Time, 2008, acrylic on canvas, 30"X30" (sold)

In Cool Air, 2008, oil on canvas, 30"X24" (sold)

Golden Path, 2008, oil on canvas, 30"X24"

Time For A Walk, 2008, oil on canvas, 46"X46" (sold)

Road Of The Setting Sun, 2008, oil on canvas, 30"X36"

Native Land, 2008, oil on canvas, 34"X40" (sold)

Far In The Distance, 2008, oil on canvas, 30"X30" (sold)

Town Up Ahead, 2008, oil on canvas, 30"X36" (sold)

Beyond The Hills, 2008, oil on canvas, 30"X30 (sold)

Big Sky, 2008, oil on canvas, 38"X40" (sold)