Monday, December 19, 2011

Flash Fill Photography

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My Back Yard, Photography
©2011 Mary Rush Gravelle

Recently I learned about flash fill photography in my Photography II class at the university. This is an easy technique to grasp and promises to delight most photographers of any level who try it. The results can look magical. The flash crystalizes focus on the object of the flash. The rest of the composition goes out of focus and gets treated to some unusual effects.

Blue Railing at Fort Bayard.
©2011 Mary Rush Gravelle

Our class took a field trip to try this technique out. We headed out to Fort Bayard in Bayard, New Mexico, 20 minutes from campus just before dusk. We ran around the grounds of Fort Bayard flashing anything and everything in total excitement of seeing the outcome. Most of us were thrilled with what the process delivered. I certainly was.

Tapestry, Photography at Fort Bayard.
 ©2011 Mary Rush Gravelle

I became enthralled with one particular place on the grounds and took many photos from that location. See "Tapestry" and "Blue Railing".

Sir Kitty and the Cement Block.
Photography in my neighborhood.
©2011 Mary Rush Gravelle
I recently did some flash fill shooting while walking my cat, Sir Kitty, in the neighborhood. Soon, I had a squad of young boys flashing the neighborhood with their point and shoot cameras. It was quite fun.

Let me know if you try this technique and how you like it. Find out more by googling “flash fill photography”. There is a ton of information on it.

Please accept my humblest apologies for not posting last week. I was down with the flu.

Have a great week. Flash away!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Coffee Pot Theory of the Creative Process: Part 3

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@2004-2011 Mary Rush Gravelle
This process may not be shared for professional gain.
Please obtain written consent. All rights reserved.
You may share it for consideration in the way I have set forth in the article.
Please share only by giving full credit as follows:
"A creative process developed by Mary Rush Gravelle."

Last week I explained Stages One and Two of my creative process: Coffee Pot Theory of the Creative Process. Today we will finish up with the remaining three stages. I have used the word “idea” throughout but you might also consider interchanging it with “project” because I think that the process is the same for any creative endeavor. No matter if you are an artist, writer, musician, businessperson, layperson, or another kind of person (;-0), this process applies.

Original article was published in 2004 in the ARTistic FX magazine in Hartford, Connecticut.

3rd Stage: Revival
If the idea has managed to survive to this point that means that you have a newfound hope for the probability of your idea. You revive it and ask, “How can I make it happen?” You might research other ideas that are similar or ask others for advice. You might also enlist the help of an expert in the field of your idea. You begin to grapple with how to bring it forth. Possibilities exist.

4th Stage: Shaping
Now that you have given your idea a reason for living, you move into action by organizing your thoughts. “Okay, I think it’ll work” is what you say now. You plan your strategy and feel confident that it can be done.

Featured artwork.
Snow Window, Photograph. ©2011 Mary Rush Gravelle
Purchase a print here:
5th Stage: Yippee!
You have given shape and form to your idea, and it is now a livable and breathable thing. “What a great idea!” you declare. You have moved through all the stages of moaning, groaning, crying, and laughing. Now it is time to celebrate because the idea has been made manifest into the real world.

Although a coffee lover, I realize that I feel the same buzz from creating something new as I feel from drinking my coffee. 

Run my Theory through your own creative process, and see if it fits the way you create. I would love to hear your comments.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Coffee Pot Theory of the Creative Process: Part 2

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Coffee Pot Theory of the Creative Process.
©2004-2011 Mary Rush Gravelle

Last week I introduced you to my Coffee Pot Theory of the Creative Process. This is a process that came to me in 2004. I called it a theory because it was something that I was thinking about as a possibility in outlining the creative process. Creativity is a rascal that does not want to be tied down. It is a free spirit. But, what if we can get a handle on the process of creativity? Wouldn’t that make life a little easier? Wouldn’t it help us create if we knew the process?

This theory was published in 2004 in the ARTistic FX magazine in Hartford, Connecticut. The magazine is no longer online, otherwise I would give you the link. I will reproduce it here on this blog for you over several weeks so you can take it in, or drink it in!

Beginning of article:
Published 2004 in the ARTistic FX magazine


We are the Coffee Generation, judging by the many different coffee establishments. Why do we love our coffee so much? Does the idea of drinking a cup of coffee conjure up the scene in your mind of being jolted from your sleepy-headed state and revving your feet into action? It certainly does for me.

Let’s think about the act of drinking that cup of coffee as metaphor for the creative process. Think of the head as the beginning of the process and the feet as a completion of our process. Coffee wakes our head so our feet can get moving.

Now, let’s compare Coffee with Ideas. Ideas come into our minds so our feet can bring them out into the world in some form. We begin with an idea and find ourselves immersed in a process of making it happen.” [This is much like placing the coffee grounds and water into the pot and then letting the process take over to make that cup of coffee].

“Let’s begin with the old-fashioned method: the percolator coffee pot. How does it make coffee? The percolator takes its time heating the water and then takes more time sending the water upward only to come back down over the coffee grounds. Then, the water seeps over the grounds, and the fresh aroma of coffee fills the kitchen as the coffee makes its way into the pot with a final brew. [Let’s compare this process with the creative process].

1st Stage: Yahoo!
This is the moment in time when an idea arrives in your wondering mind, ‘Hmm… I have an idea,' you might say to yourself. This is the very exciting stage when you salivate at the very prospect of pursuing this idea. It’s like the first kiss, so savory delicious you can hardly contain your jazzed-up emotion over it.

2nd Stage: Ouch!
Featured artwork: Landscape of the Mind
Abstract photograph. © Mary Rush Gravelle.
Purchase a print.
Your idea takes a nosedive after running it through your Reality Checking System. ‘It’ll never work. What was I thinking anyway?” is what you might be saying at this stage. You ramble on, “There are no new ideas, anyway.” You doubt everything about yourself and this idea: its feasibility, your skill level, your thinking abilities, blah, blah, blah, etc. Your acrimonious remarks continue. Pragmatism rules. The Critic takes over.”

End of partial article

So, think about these two beginning stages of this theory. Run them through your own creative process and see if it fits. I’ll continue this next week unfolding the final stages to the creative process.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Coffee Pot Theory of the Creative Process

Coffee Pot Theory of the Creative Process.
©2004-2011 Mary Rush Gravelle
Part One: Introduction

Years ago I thought about the creative process quite a bit. As a result my intuition played along and gifted me with many ideas. The creative process was revealed to me in several ways.

One of these was a process that I developed (along with the Muse) which called itself “Coffee Pot Theory of the Creative Process”. After I wrote it up and talked about it in one of my creativity workshops I realized that the idea of the coffee pot was a dated one. Some of the younger people in the audience did not know what a percolator-type coffee pot was. Ouch. Did I feel old at that point? Oh yeah!

But anyway, I think the idea is still relevant. So if you do not know what a percolator-type coffee pot is, look at my illustration. That’s what it looks like. Sometimes they are electric. The simplest ones are heated on the stove. The water comes up from the bottom through a tube and falls onto the coffee grounds. See the links at the bottom of this article for more information.

I’ll talk more about the process in subsequent blog entries. Let’s start a conversation. What do you think about the stages of the creative process that I have outlined here in theory?

About the Percolator Coffee Pot -- the parts and the process.

Reviews on the Percolator Coffee Pot -- they make excellent coffee!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Learning From Art History: Pop Art and Minimal Art

Basically the lesson from Art History of the Pop Artists and the Minimal Artists boils down to the fact that it is the artist’s intention that makes an object a work of art. The idea behind the intention is what matters. The object has no meaning in the art process, it is just a means to an end, and a statement that it is art because the artist says it is.

The context in which the object appears is also important. Is the object located in a place where objects are seen as art? Duchamp’s urinal and bottle rack are simply objects, ready-mades that he deemed as art objects. He placed them in the context of an art gallery, therefore, and voila, art object! With “Bottle Rack” he then took this idea full circle by taking the common object, bottle rack, back to its original location where it then ceased to be an art object. With Minimal artist, Dan Flavin, his fluorescent light pieces carry this idea out also. Once the lights are unplugged on his Light Art Objects, they cease to be art objects. The object can vacillate between being an art object and just the plain common object.

The other thing that the minimal artists were getting at was that the object was to be simply the object itself and not be an aesthetic or meaningful presentation. It was to give to the viewer an experience of simply being present with the object, much like meditation as Matthew, my art history professor, says. Musicians were in on this scene as well. I really like the pop music artist, John Cage’s piece “4:22”. I’m not sure how I would have reacted during the concert. But, the idea behind it was quite interesting, that the sound of the audience was the music. This is akin to the idea of the minimal artist who wants the viewer to be the experience with the object. It’s like the person witnessing the “thing” becomes part of the piece. This is pretty cool, really. It takes on the meaning of being interactive art.
My Cat, Sir Kitty, loves my Nature Art piece.

Andy Warhol was pop art personified. I have seen numerous documentaries on him. Every time I see him he plays the shallow role, like there is nothing, absolutely nothing behind those eyes and nothing in his brain, like a ghost. Chilling, actually, now that I think about it. But this is what his art was showing us, the shallowness of the time and that we too wrapped up in the wrappings like packaging and celebrity. So this makes perfect sense. He was his art. He was his message. And he played it to perfection.

I appreciate Carl Andre’s pieces. They remind me of a past experience when I went to a gallery in New York City, most likely the Whitney. One installation piece was just a room piled with dirt. At that time, I thought, “It is just a pile of dirt”. And it was! Now I know that was the point. I guess I got it back then when I didn’t think I did. Ha!

One of my favorite art and artist of this time period, late 1950s and early 1960s, is the Light Art of Dan Flavin. I know I am not supposed to have an aesthetic experience with his light fixtures, but I do. I think they are just the most elegant beautiful art objects. They glow with simplicity. One of his pieces especially gets my attention. It is the multicolored grid of lights. I also like the fact that this can be turned on and off as an art object which is the statement of the minimalists.

Do you like the art of this period? Does your art have any of these qualities? If you are an art collector, do you collect art of this period or contemporary art work that is influenced by this period?

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?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Color your World Red

Gorgeous red pot by Michael Nowack.
Photo by Mary A. Gravelle.

"Artists can color the sky red because they know it's blue." ~ Jules Feiffer[1]

I attended a clay workshop over the weekend on how to achieve the color red in the glazing and firing process using copper reds. Our workshop leader was Michael Nowack of Tucson, Arizona. 

Apparently there is an art to achieving the color red in the world of potters and ceramicists. I’m so new to this field that I had no a clue about this. I was curious to find out more.

Michael shared his technique and his glaze formulas with us that also included beautiful matte colors of black, green, and blue. He also shared how he achieves his personal color of red by layering two different reds. His first glaze layer is a tomato red. Then on top of that glaze he uses a thin coat of a blue red. The combination of these two reds provides a luscious red color that is unique to Michael’s pottery. However, even for Michael, the achievement of these reds is difficult and does not always come out as expected. There are so many variables even when he uses his tried and true method of layering these reds. So when they do come out, it is exciting.
Pottery by Michael Nowack.
Note his beautiful glaze colors of luscious red,
matte blue, and matte green.
Photo by Mary A. Gravelle.

Attendees at the workshop were privileged to use his glazes. Our pots will come out of the kiln right about now (10:00 am mst). I cannot wait to see how my pots came out.

As an artist who loves color, I have my own favorite colors and red is one of them. To me, red is passion and warmth. Many of my landscape paintings use red. Being a painter I use color perhaps a little differently than a potter, but not really. I mix and layer my colors to achieve the desired color just as Michael layers his reds.

How do you use the color red? Is the color red important in your work?

"Purple Mountains Majesty", acrylic on canvas,
36 x 30 inches. Original is available.
Contact Mary at

Here are a couple other sources on using red in your artwork:
  1. Color Theory: Know Your Reds [2]
  2. Use the Hidden Meaning of the Color ‘Red’ in Art & Design
  3. Color Theory: Know Your Reds

[1] “color”.
[2] “Color Theory: Know Your Reds”.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Heal Thyself: The Wisdom of Painting

Reaching Out, approx. 42 x 28
©1998 Mary A. Gravelle
Buy the framed original painting: $400 plus shipping.
Or purchase a fine art giclee print today.

Did you know that everyone benefits from painting? And that everyone can paint? Wisdom Painting for self-discovery teaches this principle. Painting for painting’s sake and painting for self’s sake is what its all about. Learning to release judgment and allow what needs to show up are keys to the process of Wisdom Painting.

How does Wisdom Painting and fine art painting differ? For one, the beginning point to the process. In Wisdom Painting, we begin with a blank sheet of paper, same as in fine art. However, it is from this point forward where the difference lies.

In Wisdom Painting we allow our materials to take the painting to the place it needs to go for our inner healing. Choices of brushes and color are all part of the self-discovery process. Yes, fine art can heal too. But, the difference is that in fine art we plan our paintings out beforehand. We know what we will paint. There is usually a discovery process that goes along with fine art painting as in Wisdom Painting. However, in Wisdom Painting, the discovery process is solely for the Self. The discovery process in fine art painting is generally more about the painting technique. In Wisdom Painting, art world talk does not enter into the equation. This helps keep the painter loose and unrestricted by rules.

You can try this at home. Or if you want more direction I will be offering personal and group Wisdom Painting sessions at my studio. More information on Wisdom Painting for self-discovery can be found on my website, Inquire today about your personal Wisdom Painting session:

Monday, September 12, 2011

New Camera Puts the Focus Where You Want It

August 30, 2011.
Photography by Mary A. Gravelle.
©2011 Mary A. Gravelle
There's a new camera coming out later this year from Lytro. The new technology allows the photographer to worry about the focus later in the studio. What does this mean for the fine art photographer? What does this mean for the visual artist who paints from photographs?

Fun for both, I would say. For the photographer, it means shooting for the fun of it and creatively focusing the shot later in the studio. Knowing good composition and framing are still key. So, this will not change what to shoot in a photograph. It will change how to shoot a photograph, taking the emphasis off of focus.

For the artist using photographs, this brings many options available to them. I'm thinking series of paintings using focus as the main theme. I suppose the photographer could also make a series of photographs out of one photo using different focus / focal points.

Can you think of other ways in which this new camera will change the way we do art? Please leave a comment. I'd love to hear your ideas.

Read more about his new camera at:

Try out the technology at this interactive link:

Monday, September 5, 2011

Movement and Visual Art

Passage, oil on masonite, 20 x 16 inches.
©2006 Mary A. Gravelle. Original is not for sale.
If interested, inquire about a giclee print.
I came across this Video on Moving to Visual Art yesterday and I thought "how cool!” so I thought I would share it with you. Painter, Andrew Purchin, and collage artist, Lisa Hochstein, teamed up in a “day-long artist residency at MAH on Sept 3rd from 11:00AM - 5:00 PM” where they hoped to create a community of dancers to move to their works.[1] Andrew says in his artist statement that his work is about “carving the space” with his paintbrush.[2] He integrates his dance improvisation experience with his painting-in-the-moment experience to provide what he hopes is a moving experience for the viewer.

During my Wisdom Painting sessions, I ask participants to move to their paintings. But, these paintings are purely personal and painted for the spiritual purpose of self-discovery. What about fine art paintings? In the video mentioned in the first paragraph, people are asked to move to fine art paintings and collages in a gallery setting. How very refreshing! People are actually asked to respond to the paintings. What a concept.

With much the same message as the above video, another article I found talks about an exhibit called “MOVE: CHOREOGRAPHING YOU, ART AND DANCE SINCE THE 1960S". During the exhibit, visitors are choreographed inviting them to partake in a more physical experience of the art.[3]

And what about this video: “Art of Moving?” The fluid and sometimes-funky movements of the dancers invoke an abstract painting where the artist utilizes fluid and free brushstrokes. And in another video from Mirabai Ceiba, we see a woman who is moving her body on the landscape to her own song. I class this video along with visual art because the images are beautiful and are fine art themselves. This video is a spiritual and visual treat that any artist could get inspired by. These two videos turn it around on the artist to become inspired by movement in creating their art.

Which is exactly what Hans Moore is doing in his YouTube video. He sets his computer generated art images in motion while a song plays in the background. I found it mesmerizing. At the same time, it was inspiring thought in me of how to integrate movement into my own visual art.[4]

So, the question for you, the dear reader of my blog, is how do you want to move the viewer with your art? Do you want to move them emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, or physically, or any combination of these? How would you need to change your art to meet your desire? Please feel free to share your thoughts by posting a comment here.
442 words

Monday, August 29, 2011

Three Techniques for Creating Meaningful Art

Living with Faith, 72 x 106 inches, triptych, oil on wood.
©2003 Mary A. Gravelle.
Original is available. Contact me NOW!
Are you creating art that is meaningful to you? Or has your art making become dry, cold, and lifeless?

By meaningful, do we mean to the artist or to the viewer? Creating meaningful art, to me, means that I create art that is meaningful to me. I can only hope, that by creating art that is personally gratifying this will in turn be meaningful to someone else.

So, how does an artist go about creating meaningful art? I think that if the artist finds a heartfelt connection to something and creates from that perspective, this will indeed create a work of art that is meaningful to the creator. If a work of art is created from the heart, love energy will be implicit in the final creation. In turn someone looking at the work of art will feel this love energy.

As an artist, how do you find subject matter that is meaningful? Is the subject matter really important? Or do you create from feelings? Maybe the art materials used are themselves inspiring and meaningful to you.

Here are three techniques that will serve as beginning inspiration and fodder to instill meaning into your next work of art.

1. Observation
Get out of the studio and into the world. Go for a drive to a new place. Or simply take a walk anywhere. Movement is key. By moving, your eye is awakened and exercised to seeing new sights. Observe everything around you. What do you see that excites you? What are you feeling as you encounter this place? What colors and shapes do you see that are thrilling for you? Does nature bring you a sense of awe and wonder? Does the urban landscape arouse your curiosity? Could you extract any of these observations to be used in your next work of art?

2. Journaling
Journaling is an important way to capture your thoughts, ideas, and feelings. Vow to write everyday on what’s happening in your life and what is transpiring over time. This will give you insights into your own life creating material for what is meaningful to you. Use your journal in conjunction with the observation exercise above. There must be something that is happening in your life right now that you could use in some way to create your next meaningful piece of art.

3. Sketchbook
Many artists consider the sketchbook one of the most integral aspects to the creation of their art. Some use it as others use their journal, except they draw what they observe instead of writing about it. I suggest that you do both. Draw what you observe. Then write about your observations noting shapes, colors, content, smell, feelings, and anything else you deem worthy of capturing. Find out if there is something here that can be used in your next creation, if only a small part of it, that could create more meaning to your art.

Do you have ways that you create meaningful art? What does it mean to create a meaningful work of art? I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Mary's Fine Art -- Shop on Facebook!

Dawn's Light, 28 x 22 inches, acrylic on canvas.
©2008 Mary A. Gravelle. Original is Sold.
Purchase a fine art print from my
Facebook Fan Page.
Are you on a budget but would love to uplift your space? Now you can purchase fine art giclee prints of my artwork,  right from my Facebook fan page. Click on the "Shop" tab to begin shopping. LIKE my page to stay informed.

What is a Giclee Print? Giclée (zhee-klay) - The French word "giclée" is a feminine noun that means a spray or a spurt of liquid. A giclée print is a high-end fine art print recognized as "the next best thing to owning the original." The quality of the giclée print rivals traditional silver-halide and gelatin printing processes and is commonly found in museums, art galleries, and photographic galleries. Giclée prints are created typically using professional 8-Color to 12-Color ink-jet printers. These modern technology printers are capable of producing incredibly detailed prints for both the fine art and photographic markets. Giclée prints are estimated to last over a hundred and forty years and are a valid investment for art appreciation because they are much more affordable. Every image is an original print in its own right; individually inspected from start to finish.

Go to Mary's Fine Art Shop on Facebook Now!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Wall Artists Need Walls

Exhibit in 2007 of paintings by Mary A. Gravelle
College Avenue Collection,
Silver City, New Mexico

This might sound like a strange idea but it is one that has come across my radar screen recently.

A friend told me that she never wants to pay rent or make house payments again. She wants to live in a tent or a yurt.  Another friend told me he never wants to own anything again, especially a house and property. And then a married couple told me that they had no wall space left to hang art. I guess I have been taking walls for granted. I never really thought about the implications of my art making requiring wall space. But it does. I’m a painter and my art hangs on a wall. That makes me a wall artist. Most wall artists are referred to as muralists who actually paint on a wall. For purposes of this article, I refer to anyone who makes art that hangs on a wall.

So, this has me wondering about my career as an artist. If people don’t have walls, where will my art hang? I could begin doing sculpture that stands alone. I could create environmental art like Andy Goldsmith. I could do sand painting that disappears with the wind or rain. I could do performance art. I could make any other kind of art that does not require wall space. But I love to paint.

Then this past week a magical thing happened on my way to my favorite hiking trail. I decided to take a different driving route. Instead of taking my normal left hand turn, I kept driving down the road all the way to the end. Much to my amazement it went up the mountain where a beautiful housing development of sorts had been created. Obviously these were people with enough money to build such beautiful homes on beautiful land with amazing views. Well, I’ll tell you, these people have walls and are most likely proud of those walls. So now my challenge is how to get my art up on those walls. I think walls will be around for a while. So my worries are over.

Have you had insights on wall issues as an artist? What are they? How have you reconciled them?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Organize Your Studio for Success

Organized for Success Art Studio in Silver City, New Mexico

Are you able to go to your studio and make art at any moment? Or do you have to move things and wade through the mess to get at it? Good for you if you are in the first category. If you are in the second category, you are painfully aware of the inhibiting factor to your art making capabilities and success.

I recently re-organized my studio after being in this house for almost two years. It is so refreshing to be able to walk right up to my painting and paint. I no longer have to clean off the table or move things out of my way.

I challenge you to get your studio organized this week. And then let me know how it feels. Or if you have already organized your studio, let me know how that feels as well. How does getting organized set you up for success?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Essence Painting in Process

Essence of Mary Alice Rush. Stage One

Stage 2. Tree branches filled out.
Rainbow whited out.
First of all, for those who have been reading my blog, you most likely see that I changed the look. I hope you like the change. Let me know.

In January I received a spirit message to create Essence of You paintings. This idea backfired on me at that time.

I have decided to paint the Essence of Me and discover the process for painting the Essence of You (i.e. someone else).

I'm using my birth name in the title of this painting since I believe that my true essence has not changed. I was most likely born with it. And you were born with your true essence intact too.

The Being on upper right of the painting is from an Igniting drawing I did 9/20/06. When I was figuring out what my essence might look like, she popped into my head that she is my essence.

That is all I would like to say at this time about my essence. I would like to hear your comments and ideas on the idea of Essence paintings. Do you think you would consider commissioning me to do an Essence of YOU painting for you with your input? Or would you prefer to hire me as a Painting Guide to help you paint your own Essence painting?
Stage 3. Left column and its foot rounded out.