When your signature makes your Watercolor a mix media

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Randy E posted on 2 Dec 2008 9:00 PM

I sat in on a lecture by a well known artist who said if you painted a purely watercolor painting and signed the painting with an ink pen, it was now a mix media painting. What do you think?

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Unless the signature is a key element of the painting, I think this confuses the issue and does not reflect the at-large public's expectation.  On the other hand, we should be careful that the device used for the signature is archival and does not promote decay of the piece.

cr8vnuke -- where left and right brains collide...

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The point she was making is that a watercolor is only a watercolor and if I sign in ink I have introduced a second media...ink. I know that my signature is placed, for the most part, into an element where it won't stand out and disturb the viewers reflection into the painting. So I feel a need to sign in watercolor.

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What I think is that that is just silly unless your signature is somehow incorporated into the painting.

I, personally, usually sign in watercolor - but would be very confused if I saw 'mixed media' on a painting that was only signed in ink.

You can also find me on Facebook or visit my blog to learn more about me and my work. Smile

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Unless you are trying to court the favor of people who obsess over such minutia, I wouldn't worry about it.  No one who really matters will give a hoot what you signed it in.  Smile

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If you ever have an interst in jurying into an upper level watercolor show, you may.

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Rubbish.  Nit-picking to the extreme!

If you wish to drown, do not torture yourself with shallow water.  (Bulgarian Proverb)

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I've been involved in the watercolor world for 15 years as a professional. I've never heard anything about the signature before. The last thing we need for artists is another rule that doesn't do a think to increase the quality of the art itself.

What really matters is how well the work is done. I've heard more said about the size of the signature being disruptive to the painting than what media it's painted in. Besides, it's rather easy to sign in watercolor, but in a pinch, I've used a sharpie.

I think what we're dealing with here is worth another discussion:  Are watercolor societies too restrictive with their rules?

I personally don't enter any watermedia shows because they require matting and glazing, and I varnish my watercolors and frame like oils. Also, with the new watercolor canvas.. does that not make it a watercolor?  I think there ought to be some competitions that are open to using newer media and substrates.  I think I'll start a new thread.

I'm not angry, just a bit frustrated by limitations.

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I don't think I've seen anything like it in watercolor society rules but it was brought up in aI think it was a Pat Dew's workshop as a point to consider.

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I'm not saying we should worry about it, just that it is an interesting point to consider. There is a lot of varriations on what different watercolor societies define watercolor as and what they will accept, from just transparent to what surface something is painted on.

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I hear ya and understand what you're saying, but I haven't found a watercolor society that accepts varnished work without matting or glazing. I started another thread on this - "Are watercolor society's rules too restrictive?" Maybe I'm in the minority - just coz I like to buck the system Wink

Let me know your thoughts.

Lori

PS I gotta do some work this afternoon - off line, so if you don't hear back from me right away, that's why.

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My problem with conforming to restrictive society rules is the............comformity.  In my opinion conformity and creativity are like oil and water.  I'm resigned to being a mixed media artist who does the bulk of his work in watercolor.  Getting advice from professionals is valuable but in the long run I doubt I'll enter many competitions.  If I like my work then it's good enough for me.  If someone else likes it enough to pay for it....all the better. 

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TJH,

I am a traditional painter, but I really don't like being told exactly what to do with my art - sounds like you're in that boat too. There are all kinds of limitations - even with galleries.  They like to tell me to paint what they can sell, but I'm disinclined to do that as well. Why? not because I'm a mean person, but because when I sell directly to my collectors, they really don't care about what the medium is or how I sign it. They buy the work because they love the image - because it strikes an emotional nerve.

I often look at the prospectii.... is that a word?  of watercolor society competitions, but I usually decide not to enter because I have to follow their guidelines for how the work is presented. When I used to mat and put plexi on my watercolors, I got into shows, but that was before we had other options with framing of watercolors.

Oh, now this has turned into a framing topic.  Old Paint... didn't mean to change the subject entirely - why I started another thread on this forum. OK... I'm procrastinating again Surprise

 

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Pat Dews should know better. There are members of the American Watercolor Society who routinely sign their work with other than watercolor. One who comes to mind is Mel Stabin, who (if memory serves me) signs his watercolors in ink. And, if Dews' premise is true, what about watercolors that include a "chop" stamp -- symbols or words, usually of Asian origin -- in addition to the artist's signature? As far as I know, chops are stamped in ink and to the best of my knowledge they don't render a painting as mixed media. Pieces with chops have been included in AWS shows.

Jack 

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Don't point at Pat. I'm old and I think she said it. I have sat in on alot of artists. My mind puts those together. Your point is well taken, and its the discussion that is important. I don't remember Stabin using ink, but maybe so.

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