Canvas dating

How do you date your paintings? DO you date your paintings?

Working towards my Open Studio event for SALA in August has given me the opportunity to take lots of little paintings off the wall and ‘finish’ them.

Last year when I returned from regular outdoor painting sessions the kit went down to the studio before the painting itself and if it was left ‘lying around’ it would be hung on the wall. I realise now that it’s because I live with a tidier-upper (who of course has great taste in art). There was an image of the jam-packed living room wall in an earlier blog.

Quite a few paintings done in 2010 or 2011 are now being completed. It often helps to leave a piece for a while to see what it needs, but I wouldn’t expect to leave it for a year or so! My old friend, the late David Dallwitz used to take his paintings off the wall and work on them even after a few years. New vision or understanding can help take a painting from good to ‘terrific’ (Dave’s word). He used to say “That’s the best thing I’ve done!” or “That’s the best thing you’ve done!” A great boost (note his huge self-belief), but I digress. I am pretty sure that David used to alter the date like this: 1986-88. It looked as though it took 2 years to complete, and perhaps in a way it did. He was also busy composing and performing ragtime.

I usually add the year to my signature. For some of the recently completed paintings I have added -12. Last week I started erasing the date altogether and noting it on the back of the canvas.

Should that information be consigned to the back of the canvas? How do you handle this issue?

In the meantime, here’s what is happening outside!

Adelaide South Australia

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5 thoughts on “Canvas dating

  1. For moi, on the reverse of the canvas or paper always – I don’t want any mark on the art that isn’t an intricate part of the image. Like David I revisit some of my work – as my understanding grows so does my art – it’s an endless process. Each time I revisit I add that date to the previous one – da capo…

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