Sunday, October 4, 2009

On Signing Your Art

I have had the privilege over the last few months to work with several knowledgeable and respected judges of fine art competitions. I have also judged myself and am getting ready to judge the Richeson 75. I would like to pass on some thoughts about your painting signature and how you sign your art.

Your signature is generally the last thing you do when you finish a painting and therefore it is as much a representative of you as your painting. A sloppy signature, a boastful signature, a cutesy signature will impart those qualities to your painting - and quite often ruin the appearance of a good painting. A few suggestions:

• Locate your signature in preferrably the bottom right or bottom left corner. Remember to place it so it will not be cut off by a mat or frame.

• Your signature should NOT be the first thing that jumps out at you when you view a work of art. It should never compete with the painting and never be the focal point.

• Be careful about strong color, signatures on an angle, signatures that strongly contrast with the background they are painted on, signatures in other locations than bottom right or left corners.

• There is no need to boast by making your signature huge. If the painting is good then give the viewer a reason to come closer to see your name. A huge signature is like an artist with a Napoleon complex - If you can read it from across the room your signature is way to big!

• Your signature doesn't need to be your name. But such a mark should be tastefully done. I have an oil painter friend who has designed such a mark with her initials. She uses the back end of her brush to literally carve it into the wet paint as she finishes a piece. It is quite lovely, readily identifies her, and is quiet because it is composed of the paint upon which it is painted.

• If you are submitting art for competition where you will be judged by digital file, or jpeg, please do not imbed your signature typographically on your painting. Judges would prefer that no signature is visable altough that is usually not possible. When I judge digitally I place a yellow sticky over the lower right corner of my computer screen so the signature will not affect my impartiality.

• Above all be respectful. To yourself and to your painting.

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