Frequently Asked Questions

M Curry Arts LLC

If you have a question not addressed here, please email your query to:

mcurry@mcurryarts.com 

"What about oil painting?"
Oil paint was invented in the early 1400's. It is colored pigments suspended in some kind of oil, usually linseed, which comes from flax. Painting is done fat over lean, which means that the first layers are applied thinly, and lightly, and the subsequent layers are applied more thickly. This helps the paint not to crack as it dries and ages. When painted, it takes about a year to fully dry, after which, varnish can be applied, which takes another year to dry fully. The painting can be displayed in between these times, and is dry to the touch. The canvas should be open to the air (not covered by glass) to allow it to "breathe." This medium, with proper care can last over 600 years or longer.

"What about acrylic painting?"
Acrylic paint is a modern invention. It is essentially plastic, once it is dry, which is very rapid. Acrylic paint dries while you are using it, so you must work rather quickly. There are some products to slow it down a little. It can be used to get oil looking effects, or thinned down to look like watercolor. It is durable, and easy to work with, so it is very popular. It can be used on paper and put behind glass, or on canvas, and left open to the air. If it is on canvas, it should be varnished to protect the painting. 

"What about watercolor painting?"
Watercolor has been around forever, dating back to paleolithic cave paintings. Watercolor is available in tubes or pans, and it is the perfect medium for sketching on the run, wherever you are. If it is squeezed out on a palette, and allowed to dry, it can be reconstituted, and used. Watercolor is a transparent medium, and has to be carefully thought out lest the paint becomes muddy, or lower layers show through where you don't want them to. Both with brushes, and the paint, you get what you pay for in quality. Watercolor should be painted on good watercolor paper (acid free), and matted and framed with archival acid free materials, behind glass. As with any painting, it must be kept out of direct sunlight. With proper care, watercolor is known to last hundreds of years.

"What about pastel painting?"
Did somebody say "painting?" Yes, pastel is considered painting. The pigments are just not suspended in a wet medium. Fine soft pastels are applied to acid free papers, that have a "tooth" which is a rough surface to hold the pastel pigments. These art works should be matted and framed with acid free materials, and placed behind glass. There are pastel paintings that are hundreds of years old.

"What about graphite?"
Graphite is a pencil, drawing medium. Drawings are made with different pencils, based on their mark-making qualities. The B pencils are very soft, and dark, ranging to the H pencils, which are hard, and light colored in value. Done on acid free drawing paper, and matted and framed behind glass.

"What about colored pencil?"
The colored pencils I use are Prismacolor, a fine quality artist's colored pencil. They are an oil based (wax) medium. They are done on an acid-free Bristol vellum substrate, that has a rough tooth to receive the pigment.

"What about digital media?" 
We live in a wonderful time, of new inventions. There is no greater time to be living as an artist! Just as oil paint was invented, or tube paint in the 1800's, or photography, or acrylic paint, the new medium is digital! I use Corel Painter 12, and a Wacom Bamboo tablet to paint pictures on my computer. Every single stroke is done by my hand, just as if I were using a brush or pencil! I also use Adobe Illustrator, and Photoshop to create images. If I use a photograph I use only my own, (or buy it, or royalty free), and then the image is changed to be a completely new entity. The image becomes a physical piece of artwork when it is printed. I offer these in different sizes as hand signed, archival prints using Epson pigmented ink and substrates, which with proper care last up to 200 years before a color shift begins to occur. They are matted, or framed using acid-free archival materials.

"What about Epson Printing Technology?"
Epson uses state of the art technology to create archival fine art and photography prints which, with proper care, have the longevity of up to 200 years without a color shift occurring. The print heads create a giclee (which means "to spurt, or spray"), with an accuracy never seen before until recently, with amazing results. They use pigment inks, and specially coated substrates to make prints. The Boston Museum of Fine Art uses this technology for their fine art printing and reproduction. I use Epson technology to make reproductions of some of my work, and use it also as the "expression" of digital mediums. Each print is created one at a time, (slowly), allowed to develop for 24 hours, and then carefully monitored for value and color correctness as closely as possible to the original. 

I may decide at some point to allow other printings of my work, which may not be archival. If so they will be clearly labeled as non-archival.

"What is the meaning behind your logo?"
The logo is a play on my name, Michelle (Shell), like a rebus.  It also draws reference to times before containers, when a painter would use seashells to put their bits of pigment in. The nautilus shell is a perfect example of the golden section, used by artists and musicians from the time of the Ancient Greeks, through the Renaissance, something which I attempt to incorporate in my images, (however loosely) behind the scenes. The white portion in the center is a reference to the prismatic quality of white light that refracts into all colors. White is also the color of a blank canvas, which is a symbol of new possibilites. The gold paint spot is a symbol for a high standard of excellence, that I try to achieve through my work. The paintbrush is my symbol for the artist's tool that I employ, and create my artworks.

"How do you price your artwork?"

Whether it is a commissioned work, or a piece I have created, pricing is held at the same standards. Pricing is based on size. Commissions require 1/2 of the total end cost paid up front before starting work. Original artwork up to 36" on one side, goes for $1.50 per square inch.  Original artwork above 36" on one side is $3.00 per square inch, because the dynamics of creating an artwork that large changes the costs, composition, and problem solving issues that ensue in creating that piece. Digital paintings, and archival hand signed prints are priced at .50 cents per square inch. If the pieces are matted and framed, and need UV protected glass, the cost for that is added to the per square inch price of the art piece. (Some frames are less expensive than others, so whatever I have invested in them is reflected in the final cost). This pricing makes my art affordable for anyone who would really like to enjoy it. Note: prices are subject to change without notice, (but probably not anytime in the near future). I do accept Layaway payments, by arrangement, and I am willing to trade goods for art, based on an agreement.