In the animated logo for Watching Paint Dry a group of hands are choreographed to move like a school of fish. They are put in motion to suggest a family of fish as it would move in the water.
The concept for this animation started about 30-years ago when I was developing my original logo for Watching Paint Dry.
How I started with a hand in the first place.
I have always felt that my artistic forebears could be traced back in a long line to artists who were cave dwellers. The early artists in the caves had a tradition of blowing chalk or soot around their hand to leave an outline of their hand on the wall of a cave. Sometimes many layers of silhouetted hands could be seen in a cave. Some of these dated from 30,000 – 40,000 years ago.
So, in about 1990, using a drawing of a hand surrounded by a stylized representation of soot, became my original trademarked “watching paint dry” logo. This first logo was designed by Deb Rogers, St Louis, MO.
We started with our original logo which was a child’s hand with dots around it. As I recall, it was Deb’s daughter’s hand—but I could be misremembering that. Since then, there have been many, many logos very similar to ours. I won’t say we were the first…. but we were certainly at the front of the pack using a hand.
The company I started, Watching Paint Dry evolved into a brand that emphasized education, especially education in art. People who know me know that I have always been interested in art: doing art, teaching art, thinking about art, learning about art.
As we evolved from an early, 2005-ish, version of a website that just talked about stuff, we decided to focus Watching Paint Dry on our videos, our classes and our downloadable essays and supply lists. To help brand the new channel we are launching on YouTube, we decided we needed a new animation for our logo as well as a proprietary musical jingle. We hired the very talented Matt Musselman, from the performing group Grandpa Musselman, to create our music, our original audio.
We also knew we had to find an equally talented animator to create a visually engaging story for our logo. Before we hired our animator, we had brainstorming sessions about what message we wanted to convey via our logo video.
Since Watching Paint Dry is about learning, my team drilled down on thinking about how we learn. We learn from one another, and often we learn in groups, In conversation or as teams we often work sharing ideas back and forth.
Many of the most important movements in art were created and evolved when artists worked together and learned from each other. This is what happened with the painters in the Italian Renaissance, the French Impressionists, the Abstract Expressionists, or various photography movements.
The idea of “schools of fish” jumped out at us as a visual concept of moving and learning together. It occurred to us that the concept of “school” in fish, even though it doesn't actually mean the fish are in school, could be appropriated to animate a “school” of our logo hands.
We hired a brilliant animation artist from Los Angeles, Jessica Engels. She created an interpretation of a “school” of artists (represented by a grouping of an ancient symbol: a hand) and interpreted the movement of a school of fish as they move in synchronicity through the water.
In my original instructions to our animator, I said, “I want the fish to appear eager, 'dance-y.’"
I imagined them as playful, synchronized, nimble, almost magical, maybe shimmery if possible. The "Mother-hand-fish" was to be portrayed as nurturing, loving, gentle, elegant, persuasive, wise, patient, and can shrink and grow as she goes "into the space" and comes toward us. But in the final frame she should be back to her dominant size and position in the logo panorama.
The colors can shimmer and change—as in sunlight—but also “should re-center back to their ‘true’ logo colors in the final frame.”
The Watching Paint Dry team could not have been more pleased with Jessica’s interpretation and creation of our hand-fish with the Mother-hand-fish leader.
Why did I start my independent company and art career branding with “Watching Paint Dry?”
Dozens of years ago when I first started teaching watercolor, I would advise my students to “stay in the moment,” to sit in front of their watercolor painting, and watch their paint dry. I said it often; I knew it absolutely was a core skill for learning watercolor. It is one of the most important skills.
Now I have learned that one of the most exciting and rewarding aspects of watercolor painting IS watching paint dry.
Due to a phrase popular at that time, my students laughed and teased me in good fun. It became a long-running joke, so I purchased it as my website URL.
At the time years ago, people were familiar with the phrase “watching paint dry” to mean that something was as boring as, literally watching paint dry. It was quite hilarious back in the day.
But I digress… in the eons since those days, it eventually occurred to me that the non-ironic meaning of watching paint dry was an essential skill, and as I mentioned above, it is a gift to every watercolor painter.
The astonishing moments happen while you are watching your paint dry. Watercolor does something no other media can do. (That I am aware of.)
The water and the pigment work in communion with you the artist to create the painting. There are so many subtleties of the ratio of water to pigment; water on your brush to water on the paper; and, the water in this shape barely kissing the edge of the adjacent shape with its own water and pigment. These are dramatic, Ah HA! moments in watercolor.
The branding of Watching Paint Dry is so integral in our teaching of watercolor, that it morphed into being the division that focuses on teaching. Although our teaching division is not exclusively about watercolor. It covers the other art forms I am interested in. But most of my educational content is, and I expect will continue to be focused on teaching about watercolor, watercolorists, watercolor history, and how to do watercolor.
Watching Paint Dry continues to be the division within Jane M. Mason that focuses on education. All our educational resources like videos, blog posts, online teaching, and downloadable essays and worksheets are within the Watching Paint Dry brand.
With our new website, the three divisions will be structured under one umbrella brand:
- WatchingPaintDry continues to encompass our educational resources. That’s where you'll find updates on lectures or classes Jane is teaching. And the online courses that are under development will be found there, too.
- HandMadewithFiber is our division that encompasses the textile projects that I work on, from my rug hooking projects; my shibori art pieces that use embroidery to mend or put pieces of fabric together; to fabric-layered collages, to other textile-based art-pieces. The art pieces will be available for you to purchase, and there will be articles on the processes and the history or equipment of the textile pieces.
- JaneMMason is traditionally the website where I offered my original art, my reprints, my note cards and greeting cards, and occasionally other products. For the past couple of years, it has been difficult to navigate the current platform that has hosted Janemmasom.com. We moved the current site under the new umbrella brand. The division JaneMMason will feature art to be purchased.
The new umbrella brand is “FromJaneMMason.com.”
Everything will be easier and more straight-forward. You are still able to reach janemmason.com, watchingpaintdry.com, and our YouTube videos. Bringing all the brands together make it easier for you to find what you want, to use one simple shopping cart to check-out, and to employ the most current, sophisticated technology for protecting your privacy and your data.
Thanks for being on this wild artistic roller coaster with us.
If you have any questions or feedback, please contact us.