Monday, May 9, 2016

May the Vortex Be With You

May the Vortex Be With You, Acrylic on 140 lb. Watercolor Paper,
11 x 14 inches, copyright 2016 Braylee Rush.
"May the vortex be with you", these are the words that came to me after this painting was completed, playing on the famous, "May the Force Be With You".

Sedona and the Vortex

Living in Sedona, it's all about the vortex and the beautiful energy that emanates from them. A vortex energy is a force of its own.

End of day results of painting at Bell Rock.
All of Sedona is a vortex. But there are four main vortexes (or sites where the vortex energy can be strongly felt) according to the website, A Guide to Sedona. Bell Rock is one of them, which is where I began this painting while on one of my Sedona Art Hikes locations. It's a place where Cathedral Rock, one of the other four vortexes, can be viewed as well as Courthouse Butte and Baby Bell, and many other Sedona sites. Cathedral Rock is painted in partial site on the upper left of this painting.

En Plein Air Painting

To the right you can see my set up and the final stage of the painting after my en plein air painting session for the day. Can you tell that the view is spectacular from this site?

It was windy that day and my easel fell over a few times. It's all part of the plein air painting process. A little Sedona dirt dust does a painting good. lol

A rough sketch begins the painting process by
mapping out the shapes and the part of
the scene I want to paint.

Sketching the Scene

I like to begin my plein air paintings and most of my other acrylic or mixed media paintings with a sketch on the painting surface. As you can see, it's a rough sketch! Especially in nature, I find this an important part of the painting process. Mother Nature is immense. This makes it important to narrow down the scene and focus on one area to paint.

The blank canvas, or paper in this case.

The Blank Canvas

And, of course, it all begins with a blank canvas. Many artists from time to time dread the blank canvas. But, this is where all the potential lies.

Possibilities await the paint, brush, and the artist's ability to listen. I feel more and more that the painting is already painted before I begin. All I need to do is show up, listen, and paint as best as I can to honor it.

The last plein air painting I did, Walking in Paradise, was on watercolor paper. I wasn't sure if I liked that super dry and absorbent surface. So, for this one, I gave the paper a heavy brushing of gel gloss medium before I began. In the end, the texture added another dimension to the final painting.

The Painting Has a Life of Its Own

At the end of the day, there was a beautiful light shining through the trees over the mountain. The wildflowers glistened its glow.

I sat my painting, for reasons unbeknownst by me, facing the light. I was taking photos of the glistening wildflowers. When I saw this photograph, it amused me because it looked like the painting was enjoying the end of the day light as well.

Your Turn

What are your thoughts on anything I have said or shown you today? Have any memories arisen? Please share in the comments below. I would love to hear from you!

And, if you would like to own this painting, let me know. Email me at

Until Next Week

• Buy art
• Appreciate art
• Create art

Mary Gravelle (Mary Rae Rush)

About the author: Mary Rae Rush (Mary Gravelle) is an artist and writer who resides in Sedona, Arizona with her beloved assistant, Sir Kitty. Her art can be seen on her website. Book a Sedona Art Hikes tour to have your own experience of painting in the vortex energy of Sedona.

Sir Kitty

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