Virginia Gail Paradise
A renowned artist and sculptor, Gail Paradise shared the gift of her art with Zero Breast Cancer (then named Marin Breast Cancer Watch), donating a number of her original watercolors and monoprints to benefit the organization. Some of the artwork chronicles her personal nine-year journey with breast cancer. Gail was a member of the Board of Directors from 2002 until her death from ovarian cancer in August 2005.
Gail lived and painted extensively in Tomales, West Marin. She believed in the healing power of art, striving to create a world without breast cancer; one that offered a more hopeful future for her children and grandchildren. She also worked with ZBC to engage adolescents and learn more about how to reduce their future breast cancer risk.
She said of her art and her process:
For many years, I made editions of etchings, lithographs and calligraphs. I also worked as an edition printer for other artists for about twenty years.
The fun part of printmaking is creating the plate (image) and the excitement of pulling the first proof. It’s all work after that. So, monoprints as the name implies, are one-of-a-kind, unique. They have the look of a print which I’m very fond of, but the uniqueness of being just one. To create my monoprints, I start with a piece of Masonite which has been sealed with acrylic medium. Using rollers and brushes, I apply oil-based printing ink to this plate. For the most part, I use imported French etching inks as they have such beautiful saturated colors and their quality is unsurpassed. I can use the handle of a brush or a scraper to draw back into the inked surface. Sometimes, I use a rag to achieve a certain effect and often I use stencils which are inked and placed on top of the inked plate. When I’m satisfied with the image, I place the plate on the bed of my etching press, take a dampened piece of printing paper and carefully position it over the plate and gently drop it into position – starting at one corner to the opposite corner, being careful not to disturb the image. Then, with several special felt blankets on top, I run it through the press. The blankets are removed and the print carefully lifted off the plate and I have my monoprint.
Sometimes, the subject of a particular monoprint lends itself to making a “ghost print.” Without wiping the plate clean, I carefully remove the stencils, sometimes turn them over, and reposition them elsewhere on the plate or add some new color to the plate itself or perhaps some newly inked stencils. Again, with a piece of dampened printing paper, I run it through the press and the result is my ghost print. Often the ghost prints are more mysterious and richer than the original which, by its nature, is more direct. Occasionally, I draw on the surface of a finished print when it is dry.
The entire collection of twelve pieces is available for purchase, as are individual pieces. To find out more or to view the collection please contact ZBC.