Monday, October 31, 2011


Guardians, 22 x 28 x .75 inches
Acrylic on canvas. 2008.
©2008 Mary Rush Gravelle
I'm reading Steve Job's sister's eulogy right now. It's beautiful. Here is something she said that I liked, kind of art-related,

"His philosophy of aesthetics reminds me of a quote that went something like this: “Fashion is what seems beautiful now but looks ugly later; art can be ugly at first but it becomes beautiful later.”"

If you want your heart to be touched this morning, read this eulogy. An eloquent writer, his sister, "Mona Simpson is a novelist and a professor of English at the University of California, Los Angeles. (article)".

On a happier note, I created my 2nd art auction video. I would really appreciate it if you shared the link. Send your bid in now. This is great chance to get one of my paintings at a really low price. It is the one pictured here.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Double Ooops and What's New

©2011 Mary Rush Gravelle. Pink and Green,
Photograph on paper. Let me know
if you want a print.
"When I work, I work very fast, but preparing to work can take any length of time".
::: Cy Twombly :::

A double oops for not getting my last two posts out on time. I promised to deliver every Monday by noon. The past two weeks I certainly slipped up. I am very sorry for letting you down.

I would like to catch you up this week with what is going on and where I see new things happening.

As some of you know I'm going to art school full time. The past two weeks I had mid-term exams and was studying pretty much every waking (sometimes sleeping while at it) moment. So my schedule has been a little off these past two weeks. I'll try real hard to get back on track for next Monday. Is Monday a good time for you to read my posts? Is there another day that would be better for you?

You may have noticed that I am playing around with video. This has been a lot of fun and very exciting new development for me. Many people have been doing this for a while now. I'm a late bloomer, what can I say? Expect to see more videos.

I'm in my 2nd semester of photography. The photo in this post is from my latest project. It is one photograph from a series of four. I'm very tickled with the result and see more photography in my future.

Writing and thinking about creativity just gives me a thrill. So, please converse with me on this subject and expect to see more writing from me about it.

And, oh yeah, you may have noticed my name on the caption of the above photo. I want to matriculate back to my maiden name or at least use it somehow. Rush is my maiden name. Gravelle is my ex-husband's name. So, for now, I would like to go by Mary Rush Gravelle.

Finally, I'm trying the new viewing of this blog. Do you like it? Should I revert back to the old view?

That's it for now.

Actions for you
Please comment on the following:

  1. Is Monday a good time for you to read my posts? Is there another day that would be better for you?
  2. Do you like the new blog view? Should I revert back to the old view?

Summary of what's new for me

  • Video taping stuff
  • School full time
  • Photography
  • Mary Rush Gravelle
  • New blog view

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Talk to an Artist about Creating

I just did this video on creating. Artists know how to create. Do you? Talk to me or your artist friends on how to create a life that you love. We know. If you do not have an artist friend to talk to, talk to me. Email me at

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Buy My Painting, Light Force, at Huge Savings -- This Weekend Only!

Light Force, Digital Media
©2010 Mary A. Gravelle
Giclee print on Canvas, 28 x 36 x 1.5 inches
Watch this short video (less than 6 min) on how to place your bid for my painting, Light Force. This weekend only!

Please share this with your friends.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Learning From Art History: The Beginning of Self-Expression as an Artist

"Living with Faith",  Triptych, 72 x 108 inches, Oil on Wood.
©2004 Mary A. Gravelle. Original is available.

Art is not separate from our lives. We can learn a lot from what has gone before us. As artists it is important that we learn from art history. We owe a lot to the artists that went before us. 

Throughout history artists have been creating, painting, sculpting, drawing, etc. But, it was not until the 1800s when artists really came into their own right. That is to say, it was when the art patron ceased to give commissions that the artist found their own voice and means of expression. Of course, this has caused economic hardship for the artist as well.

It was in France when this shift began. The beginning of this shift happened with the philosophical writings of John Locke in 1690. He wrote "Concerning Human Understanding" and believed that ideas were innately our own. Ideas were personal property. Along with this idea came the thinking that property and wealth was something that should be shared with everyone. This was a radical thought. At the time it was believed that ideas came from God and that property ownership came through bloodlines. In 1762, Jean Jacques Rousseau wrote "Social Contract" outlining the “General Will” of the people with ideas on democracy. These writings of Locke in 1690 and Rousseau in 1762 along with revolutions along the way, helped free mankind from the monarchy and the rule of aristocracy.

The art during these times were neo-classism and rococo and a third style which straddled both of these. Napoleon declared Neo-classism the official style of the revolution. It was photographical realism in style and showed heroism and stability as the main theme. Whereas, Rococo art was the art of the aristocracy. Artists were commissioned to paint lovely and delightful scenes. Rococo art was an art of denial of the times. It depicted romantic and fantasy ideals. When the aristocracy fell, the artist lost their job. This began the artistic quest for self-expression.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Destruction: The Sledgehammer that Cracks Opens Your Creative Process

Raku piece, 22 x 24 inches, ©2011 Mary A. Gravelle
Cracked and broken (destroyed?) during the firing process.

This past weekend I fired a large Raku piece -- glazed it on Friday, fired it on Saturday, and cleaned it up on Sunday.

I had built the 22 x 24-inch piece a year ago during my Raku class. I had measured it from side to side and top to bottom to insure it would fit into the Raku kiln. I failed to consider the diagonal measurement, however. My piece did not fit lying down in the kiln, so I had to stand it up. I fired the kiln slowly warming it to prevent breaking and cracking. But maybe the fire was too hot in the center of the piece due to it standing up because that is where the flame enters the kiln. I really do not know. I’ll talk it over with my clay professor, Curtis Dinwiddie, tomorrow during class. Hopefully, he will be able to shed some light on the cause of breakage and cracking.

With the destruction of this piece, my mind has opened to see new possibilities in this process. As for this particular piece, my friends tell me to go ahead and hang it as is and call it art. I think that the small piece on the right could hang by itself. That makes me think along the lines of diptychs and triptychs; making artworks from a collection of smaller pieces. Or maybe just make smaller pieces. Also, I wonder how I could achieve this look in the cone 10-kiln without having to fire it in the Raku kiln. My mind and imagination are lit up now as a result of the destructive turn of this art piece.

I have always thought of destruction as an integral part of the creative process. With this experience, I have a newfound respect for it. I wrote and published a paper on this subject in 1999. Here is an excerpt:

 “Destruction or death is a natural part of life and the creation process. We cannot keep everything as is. Life moves on with or without us…. Sometimes we need to break our mold, break our patterns before we can move onto new ways of thinking. I like to call it shattered thinking. Think of a stained glass piece of art. It is made up of shattered glass pieces. Sometimes they are meticulously cut into pre-designed pieces. This is all part of the creation process. We can plan the pieces from a whole…the glasscutter might start out with a new sheet of colored glass, [then breaks] it down into several pieces. [Sometimes] we destroy our original creation in order to create something new. This is the hardest stage of the process.” Excerpted from: THE THREE STAGES OF THE CREATION CYCLE AND THE SCRUNCH IT!® PAINTING PROCESS , Mary Gravelle, Creativity Consultant. This article was written for the Innovation Network as part of a pre-conference workshop.

How has destruction helped your own creative process?