Thursday, November 26, 2009

Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh

Happy Thanksgiving, to those of you celebrating today!
We've got works by artist Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh.
I love the expression on her face in this photograph:
Photographed by Annan, c. 1906

She lived from 1864-1933 and was married to architect/designer/artist Charles Rennie Mackintosh, who said of his wife, "I have talent. She has genius."

Margaret did striking gesso panels. Gesso is a thick, traditionally white fluid made of a mixture of plaster or chalk and glue. It is usually used to prepare a canvas to be painted, but obviously, it has other uses as well.

Cheap Joe's Art Stuff says: "If you are not comfortable with using gesso, then you need to change that. Gesso is so much more than a surface preparation or primer for your paintings. It is a tool for creating some really great art. Did you know that you can mix gesso with paint to create colored gesso for creating tinted grounds? You can also use gesso mixed with paint to cover up mistakes, even big mistakes.
A few coats of gesso can turn even the most mediocre painting surface into a heavenly place to paint. If you enjoy painting on a rough surface, you can add texturing materials to your gesso or paint gesso right over a surface with great big “tooth”. For a smoother surface to create your art on, add several coats. You can even sand your layers once they dry to make a canvas that is like painting on fine porcelain."

"The Four Queens": Queen of Spades, 1909
by Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh
from the Hunterian Art Gallery

A detail from Opera of the Sea
by Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh

Artists Dai and Jenny Vaughan create gesso panels inspired by Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh. Here are two details from their interpretation of Margaret's original gesso panel, "Willow Wood," which is in Kelvingrove Art Gallery, Glasgow.

details from Homage to Willow Wood
by Vaughan Art Works


And here's one by Margaret's sister, Frances:

A Paradox, 1905
by Frances Macdonald McNair

Links:
~ About "The Four" (Margaret, Rennie, Margaret's sister Frances and her husband Herbert McNair)
~ Rennie Mackintosh Society article about gesso.
~ BBC article about a work by Margaret that brought a record price for Scottish art.
~ Two recipes for making gesso

4 comments:

Jenny Wilson said...

Do you know where you can see Opera of the Seas ?

Tabatha said...

It was sold at auction along with The Opera of the Wind -- I am guessing it went to a private collector.

Jon Tillyard said...

The painting of the Opera of the Seas is in the DARMSTADT MUSEUM.

Tabatha said...

Thank you!