Paintings and Prints by Mary A. Gravelle (click on an image for more info)

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Art Quote of the Day

Monday, October 27, 2014

Varnish -- The Final Part of the Painting Process

Brushing the isolation coat on two paintings.
Isolation coat of Golden Gel Gloss Medium
plus water.
Finishing an acrylic painting via final isolation coat and then varnish is one of my least favorite parts of the painting process. Even though I don't like this final stage, it is one of the most important parts of the process.

When I say I don't like this phase, what I mean is that it is a nerve-wracking part of the process. It is the final stage. What happens if the varnish streaks, runs, and looks uneven? Extreme care needs to be taken to insure the final surface creates the quality and look that I desire for the painting whether is matt, satin, or glossy.


Purpose of Varnish

Varnishing a painting serves a couple of purposes. First, it protects the painting surface from the elements, dust, and UV rays. Second, it unifies the surface in terms of sheen creating a better-looking painting and a feeling of quality craftsmanship.

Isolation coat.
The final varnish should be archival and removable. After about 50 years of hanging out in the open, unless it has been placed under glass, dust and other environmental contaminants have built up on the painting surface. If the painting has not been varnished, these elements embed themselves in the paint. So, it is better that these elements have embedded themselves into a final varnish layer instead. Because once removed, all the dust and other contaminants get removed with it. Then, a fresh new layer of varnish goes on to protect it for the next 50 or so years.

Apparently, I'm not the only artist out there that fears this part of the process. I found an article which made me feel much better about my angst. This article, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Varnish, talks about the final varnish coat and gives us artists tips on varnishing.

I would bet that the final varnish coat is personal to the artist and their medium like Edward Hopper in the quote below.
I use a retouching varnish which is made in France, Libert, and that's all the varnish I use. -- Edward Hopper

I want to hear from you!

Please leave a comment below.

If you are an artist

Do you fear this part of the process? Do you have any tips on varnishing or tips on releasing the angst of this stage in the process?

If you are an art collector

What is your feeling about purchasing a painting with or without varnish?

Mary Rush Gravelle

Until Next Week

Sir Kitty
• Create art
• Appreciate art
• Buy art

About the author: Mary Rush Gravelle is an artist who resides in Sedona, Arizona with her beloved cat, Sir Kitty.

Monday, October 20, 2014

SOLD Purple Mountains Majesty Acrylic Painting

Purple Mountains Majesty, 30 x 34 inches,
Acrylic on Canvas.
Copyright 2007 Mary Rush Gravelle.
Prints Available.
It's always great to report when I sell a painting, which happened during this past week.

This painting has been my signature painting, gracing the header of this blog and at times, my art website, business cards, art show invitations, etc.

It is a southwestern landscape scene from Silver City, New Mexico. I hiked many times there, a place called Boston Hill, an open space area created by bicyclists so they would have a place to ride. It is open for hikers as well. It's a beautiful place. I painted several paintings of my favorite hiking haunts there.

I am grateful to the art collector who lives in Sedona, Arizona for purchasing this painting. It was love at first sight when she saw it. I wish her many happy years of living with it and looking at it hanging in her living room above her fireplace mantle. Her cat immediately jumped up on the mantle and sat there erect and still as if to say that the painting was home.

I want to hear from you!

Please leave a comment below.

Mary Rush Gravelle

Until Next Week

Sir Kitty
• Create art
• Appreciate art
• Buy art

About the author: Mary Rush Gravelle is an artist who resides in Sedona, Arizona with her beloved cat, Sir Kitty.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Photographer Bill Cunningham is a True Lover of his Work

Documentary of Bill Cunningham
New York to Paris
I watched it on Netflix.
Photographer, Bill Cunningham, lives, eats, and breathes fashion photography. From a different perspective than most fashion photographers, he does it from the streets of New York City. Spotting trends, he is published in the New York Times newspaper.

From His Bicycle

He works tirelessly from his bicycle, riding around the streets of New York City looking for his next shot, standing on street corners, watching with a discerning eye, looking for beauty. Nothing is more important to him that getting the shot.

Attends Charity Events

He works from morning to night. In the evenings, he can be found attending gala charity events, again, looking for the shot. The shot of beauty that he finds is in real people to celebrities who are wearing fashion in their own way. He makes no delineation of who's who. If they are wearing something beautiful that intrigues him, that is what excites him.

Works in Accordance to His Idea of Integrity

He strives to work within his own guidelines of integrity, never eating nor drinking at any of these gala events. For him, his food, is his work. He lives in a tiny apartment full of file cabinets that house his many photos and negatives from over the years. His work is never done. He basically works seven days a week. He turns down money to do his work. This affords him the freedom to be in integrity and not swayed in any one particular direction away from his vision.

That's him!

Friends? Oh Yeah!

He has made many friends over his long career, many of them he has photographed for years, sometimes looking for them to arrive so he can see what they are wearing. He is loved for who he is, what he does, and how he does it.

A Shining Inspiration

He clearly is doing what he loves. What a shining example of what that does to the person. He appears to be extremely happy. It is soooo very inspiring!

Watch the documentary about him. I think you, too, will be inspired. The image in the beginning of this article is what the cover of the movie looked like in Netflix.

Videos of his work

In recent years, the NY Times have required him to do video of his work. Find those videos here, where it says about him,

The legendary Times fashion photographer Bill Cunningham spots and distills the latest trends from the runways of Paris to the colorful streets of New York.

I want to hear from you!

Have you heard of Bill Cunningham? Have your watched the documentary? What's your feeling about him and his work? Please leave a comment below.

Mary Rush Gravelle

Until Next Week

Sir Kitty
• Create art
• Appreciate art
• Buy art

About the author: Mary Rush Gravelle is an artist who resides in Sedona, Arizona with her beloved cat, Sir Kitty.