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Natural Awakenings Tucson

An Exploration in Color: Artist Danuta Jakubowski

Aug 31, 2022 10:01AM ● By Suzie Agrillo
Our animals touch us in so many ways. Danuta Jakubowski’s art captures their unique personalities with vivid colors, active poses and charming expressions. Her goal is to bring joy to your home or office with original canvases that will make you smile.
A native of Des Plaines, Illinois, Jakubowski has always been doing art, even before it became a career. She majored in theater at the University of Colorado. After that, she attended the Art Institute of Colorado for art design. When she graduated, Jakubowski realized she hates snow, and applied for jobs in Tucson and San Diego.
Jakubowski received equal offers in both cities. Because the cost of living was higher in San Diego, she moved to Tucson to work in commercial art, doing designs for brochures, promotional materials and mailers. Next, she worked for a T-shirt company, then shifted to custom embroidery design until the year 2000, when she literally fell off of a horse. The resulting traumatic brain injury put an end to her full-time employment as a commercial artist. She became self-employed by necessity, painting subjects she loves.
Painting in her studio in northwest Tucson, animal art is Jakubowski’s passion. Her focus of bringing joy to others defines her artwork. Her style is loose, expressive and designed to evoke happy feelings. Jakubowski’s art is bright, colorful and fun. Her whimsical paintings make ideal gifts, and she will also paint custom portraits of beloved pets, mascots or any animals that tickle your fancy.

Q&A with Artist Danuta Jakubowski

What is the genesis of your animal art?
I’ve always been into animals. I have a horse named Tango, two dogs, one cat, a bird and four fish.

What is the process of creating your art?
My creation process comes from images that I see in real life. I may paint animals I see at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, like a mountain lion. I also will leaf through photos I’ve taken and browse the internet for photos. I’ll often find an insanely cute dog or cat someone’s posted on Facebook, and I’ll send a request to paint it.

Can you tell me about a recent discovery or learning experience that has changed the way you work?
I’m taking a course online at the Professional Artists Academy, on how to live in this century. Since the head injury, I’ve had problems with technology. I’m in the process of rebuilding my website. I’m using a great new host, so visitors will be able to see and buy off the page. My next big step is to get my art into galleries. Art shows are a tremendous amount of work, and sales can be hit or miss.

Who is your favorite artist?
Eugene Delacroix. He’s one of the first painters who would multiload the paint brush, meaning one stroke would have two colors, to highlight and shadow. I’m all about multiloading my brush and mixing the colors on the canvas.

If you weren’t an artist, what would you do?
I’d absolutely be doing something associated with art. If I weren’t an artist, I would have gone into architecture or interior design, or something else creative.

Who are you listening to now?
Led Zeppelin and Chopin.

What book is on your nightstand right now?
Life Lessons Learned from a Ranch Horse by Mark Rashid.

What are your favorite restaurants in Tucson?
I like Charred Pie, Just Kebobs, First Watch and Snooze.

What is the biggest challenge you face as a professional artist?
Being a businessperson and being a salesperson is the hardest part.

Where can people buy your work?
Find me on Facebook. I post everything I paint on Facebook and I take offers.

Are there any words of wisdom you want to share with readers?
Don’t do it if it’s not fun. Stay hydrated!

Connect with Danuta Jakubowski at 520-882-3608 or

Suzie Agrillo is a freelance writer in Tucson, and a frequent contributor to Natural Awakenings Magazine. She focuses on writing about the arts, inspirational people and the human connection. Connect at [email protected].