In 1976 Mary Endico received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Boston
University. This was a milestone in a quest for self expression that she
had pursued throughout her childhood.
As early as four years old Endico was richly involved in drawing, painting and
developing her passion
in watercolor. Her skills were later enhanced through study with local art
teachers. Accolades had already begun by the time she entered college and her B.F.A.
was conferred after completion of an exhaustive series of studio classes
in drawing, sculpture, oil painting, composition and studio process along
with a broad background in the study of art history. All of this combined
a firm foundation on which to build her career, leading ultimately to
The year after college graduation was
spent looking for a venue in which to pursue her art. In 1977 she found
Sugar Loaf, NY which was amidst a renaissance, establishing itself as home to
working artisans providing one of a kind, top quality hand-crafted work
to collectors everywhere.
Sugar Loaf provided the
perfect environment in which Mary could build her studio and bring watercolor art to a new
level of excellence. She embarked on the refurbishing of a
pre-Revolutionary house and turned it into a combination studio/gallery.
It was the perfect setting in which she could work while being open to
the public. Thousands of people were thus able to take advantage of a rare
opportunity to engage the artist in the surroundings of her working
Mary knew that in order
to establish her work in a highly volatile marketplace, that work would
have to exemplify the highest standards both in artistic and
Of course "artistic excellence" encompasses
a variety of elements. Cultural significance, historic style,
group taste and personal judgment all come to bear. This broad aspect insures
that a concise, clear textual definition is practically impossible. The
act of taking hold of the broad question, "What is art?" then coalescing a
viable solution is the prime
work of the artist. In Mary's case this is accomplished through the execution of
Each singular piece becomes an intrinsic
articulation of the artistic sensibility that she has carefully developed over decades
while working as a full time professional
artist. Mary's work is rife with profound and profuse arrangements of
assimilated iconography that both accept then promote her own expansion
and refinement of the artistic lexicon. Therefore description of this
aspect of Endico art is outside the purview of a white paper.
However "technical excellence"
is a function of underlying material and techniques, so it is immanently amenable to
This white paper therefore provides
descriptions of the material and techniques that Mary has chosen along
with the reasons for choosing. Though to summarize, the driving force
behind these choices is the absolute need that each finished piece must
embody robustness and longevity.
For a work of art to endure, it must first
of all last.
The preceding sentence may seem so obvious
(and cute) it need not be stated. However it embodies an idea that is often
overlooked—that a work of art, charged with projecting a message down
through the ages, must first and foremost be durable enough to survive those
No matter how
commanding, unique and instructive a work of art is, if it is not
implemented using materials able to withstand the effects of time, it will
soon fall apart and disappear, taking its message with it. Therefore Endico
watercolors are created by combining the finest paints, paper and
protectants in order to preserve their intense character for centuries. They
are as long lasting as oils on canvas.1
Under constant assault by:
airborne pollutants and natural chemical processes, stresses of changing
temperature and humidity, sand blasting effects of both natural and
artificial light, not to mention possible wear and tear from thoughtless (or
even rough) handling; all physical objects are in dire peril. This is
especially true for ground breaking works of art that bring their material
components to the finest edge of artistic excellence.
In large part the strength,
beauty and impact of Endico watercolors is a result of the precise control
of color passages, balanced and contrasted, often with great subtlety,
supporting in every way the underlying composition and design elements. The
paintings are striking when viewed from a distance, and their emerging
details are ever more meaningful as one comes closer. Finally visible:
patterns found within patterns, small fully realized compositions
intertwined in the larger perspectives. This is not an accident.
The full meaning of these
paintings will be lost if the purposeful detail of fine brush stroke and
precise color placement are obscured by the degradation of aging. Print
reproductions may exist, and digital archives may allow these to be
reprinted indefinitely, but these are only copies that cannot hope to match
the brilliant reality of the originals. The historical record of the level
of control possible with today’s watercolor will be meaningless if the
originals fade. Therefore struggle for longevity is at the heart of the
Endico creative process.
conduite watercolor is
accomplished using highest quality acid-free (neutral pH) 100% cotton rag
paper. Heavy 140lb cold press is chosen because of its physical durability
along with its specific drying and water retention characteristics.
No gouache or acrylics are
used. Only AA/A artist grade watercolor paints are used to provide the fluid
expressiveness of pure aquarelle media while avoiding fugitive colors (those
that fade easily) from lesser quality paints.
Distilled water is used as a
bar to chemical contaminants in the water source.
Paintings are executed under
5000K color corrected daylight fluorescent bulbs that provide a standard
reference, plus a promise that hues chosen under them will diverge
gracefully when viewed using various other light sources. Bulbs are
monitored electronically and replaced when they deviate from a specified
The completed paintings are
mounted using tapes, mat and backing that match the specifications of the
paper. They are single-hinge mounted to neutral pH archival matting with
acid-free glue and linen tape. Then painting, mat and foam core are
assembled and circumference bound to UV protective glazing using acid-free
framers’ tape. The whole is protected in a non-corrosive rigid aluminum
The single-hinge mounting
method allows the painting to breathe and adjust to changes in temperature
and humidity while the mat holds the painting away from the glazing, safe
from possible condensation. Each of the framed paintings also bears care and
handling information which is itself printed on acid-free paper and affixed
to the outside of the foam core backing with archival double sided tape.
Earlier Endico works, and
those outside of the
haute conduite style, may be created using slight variations on the
techniques and materials described here. However Mary has maintained a long
standing tradition of using the highest quality materials available.
For information about
preserving your Endico watercolor see:
1. Mayer, Ralph. The Artist's Handbook of
Materials and Techniques. New York: Viking Press, 1970.