Olszewski Paintings, Prints, Papier Mâché , and Sculptures

1960 - 2001 Era

Bob with Stilllife At the Crossing

"Bob with Stillife"

Photo courtesy of Joe Ryznar

Taken 1966

Artist's Age - 21

"At the Crossing "


Artist's Age - 21

Portrait of My Father

"Portrait of My Father "


Artist's Age - 25

Artist's Childhood Art Influences 1945 - 1954
I was born May 2, 1945 in a small town, Natrona Heights, Pennsylvania, just 21 miles Northeast of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  In fact, the town of my childhood was named "Birdville", and "Birdville", in my heart is where I am from.

   Map of Natrona Heights

We first lived in a house on High Street, a stone’s throw from a back entrance to Mt. Airy Cemetery. I don’t have a memory imprint of the house except for an experience in the kitchen. I remember our Mom had just finished making butter icing and she let me lick the beaters clean when I got my tongue stuck. Without this experience I would have not remembered this house at all.

My real childhood memories were forged at our second home whom our parents, Anna and William “Bill” Olszewski built on Burtner Road just about six blocks down High Street from the house where we used to live. Mom and Dad purchased the property from our Grandparents, Michael and Theresa Ajak [Aciak] who lived on Painter Avenue behind us.

The Olszewski Family

The Olszewski Family (l-r)

William "Bill" Vance Olszewski

Raymond Vance Olszewski

Robert William Olszewski

Anna Marie Ajak Olszewski

c. 1947

As far as I'm concerned, this house had it all. The two-story red brick house sat on the front third of a huge country lot and had a commanding view of the fields and woods across the road which led down towards the Allegheny River. Our side of the road was sparsely populated with homes, but the other side of the road was au natural for miles either way. The land sloped away from us and down the mountain to the river.

Bob's Childhoodl Home

"Portrait of My Father"

Original Painting by Olszewski


My brother Ray and I shared the large second story bedroom that had a window facing our neighbors, the Lynch family, to the right. Next to our bedroom was a second smaller room that had a tiny window that faced the woods and connecting all of this to the stairway was an open hallway type area with a window that faced the left side of the property. These 3 windows became my portals to the world. The visual world I live in today, how I see things as an artist, began here. Of the 3 windows, the one at the end of the hallway was my favorite. For some reason, it was low enough architecturally, to allow me to sit on the floor and comfortably lean on the window sill, giving a little boy, a commanding view of the fields, woods and the road that disappeared up over the hill. Even better, the gravel driveway was on this side leading up to the garage and this is where I could watch everyone come and go. So, the whole second story was ours and I spent my time checking out the world going from window to window.

House Drawing by Bob
4th of July Painting by Olszewski
Drawing of Childhood Home
Fourth of July
Sometimes I would look out and see my dad, shirt off cutting the grass. Sometimes I would look out and see the land filled up with snow. I was maybe 4 years old when this began and about 8 when it came to an end. In 1955, Mom and Dad decided to sell their home and temporarily move into an apartment in Birdville with the idea of building another home in the near future. My happy feelings about this time were captured in a painting I did some years later, and has turned out to be the very favorite of all my paintings. Personal Biography to be continued.

A Young Bob

Robert Olszewski


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