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Artist’s signature

June 22, 2015

Recently I read that your art should carry your signature….without you ever having to sign your name. (I’m not sure of the source, I think it might have been here .)

Friends have said to me that they can see when something has been done by me- whether graphic design, calligraphy, oil pastel or paintings. They recognise a personal mark and/or approach in the colours and visual vocabulary.

This is less easy for me to see, I’m up too close generally. But I was surprised yesterday when going through some old work and throwing pieces away (this has to happen periodically, worth another post), I discovered a watercolour (one of the ones I’m keeping) from 40 years ago (no, I’m wrong, it was 27 years ago) which reminded me of one of my recent bottle paintings.

I’ve cropped the painting and put them side by side.

The watercolour with diamonds is done at the time I was exploring the range of colours in value- contrasting crystalline transparent pastels with dense fiery reds, indigos and earth colours. And this was inspired by my mentor Abe Weiner’s work (type in Abe Weiner either in the Search box here or google to see his paintings).

I was quite amazed by the similarity in colour feel and handling of works separated by 27 years of time and development. Here are crops of both works, and underneath are the originals.

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Grouped by colour

Grouped by colour

An artist friend whose blog I follow was interested in other’s methods of reconstituting dried up watercolours. (Do check out Richard’s blog, he paints wonderful watercolours and writes intelligently and inspiringly.)

Years ago I went through my watercolour supply and separated out perhaps a hundred dollars worth of tubes of dried paint. I then cut apart each tube and with a knife or wooden stick, scooped the sometimes sticky pigment out into the stackable plastic pots pictured, I added a bit of water, then I labelled each one. It was  very messy and took a long time but it was a worthwhile and profitable job.

I use them just  like I use my travelling watercolour box with the little squares of colour, just moisten the brush apply it to the dried watercolour and brush the paint on to the paper normally.

I had a good time with the labels. I wanted the pots to look like they were found in some old drugstore or antique shop. I took some paper I’d treated with coffee to age it, then drew the red lines and lettered the names of the colours with a very small (Mitchell 5 Italic) calligraphy pen.

Stackable containers

Stackable containers