Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
Home Artist Blog About Me Life in Alaska Purchase Site Index Speak
Home » Archives » November 2004 » Signing your artwork

[Previous entry: "Osiris and Lemoni"] [Next entry: "Artist Trading Cards Part II"]

11/29/2004: "Signing your artwork"

Well, a question came up in the comments of the Works in Progress entry about how I should sign my paintings? I've gotten a few questions about this and it came up at my last opening as, here are some thoughts.

First of all, I've read many places that you should always sign your work on the front of the piece *and* that you should sign the piece legibly...meaning, no initials or creative slashes or scribbles. People should be able to look at a piece they like and see immediately that the person who painted it is you!

As far as collectors go, they always want their paintings signed on the front. I always ask people who commission works from me if they want them signed on the front or back and they always always say the front.

I usually sign them in the lower right hand corner unless there is something there that it would interfere with, then I put it in the opposite corner. I try to use a color from the painting that will add balance, for example, if there is a lot of yellow in the upper left and the lower right is dark blue, I'll sign in a matching yellow. Sometimes I dilute the pigment with liquin, it makes it more fluid for signing and also makes it a little less obtrusive.

If the painting is large, I use a larger signiture, if it's small, I use a smaller one. I also allow for a 1/2" border to accomodate a frame's overhang.

I always sign with a brush and paint. I've read that you should sign the work as soon as you finish it as well. That the paint bonds better and if the authenticity of the work is later challenged, it will match the rest of the paint in the painting and make it easier to authenticate.

I guess with a few of the paintings in this series however, I'm afraid that the signiture might detract from the broad plane of color, in this case the plane of pink in one and the plane of blue in another. Both paintings are smaller than I normally do and very simple. I'm still not sure what to do but I guess I will probably just sign them very small and with dilluted pigment.

I usually add a template label to the back of the piece that has the info on the painting, title, size, medium, etc. and sign that as well.

Also, a question came up from someone awhile ago who's teacher told them not to sign their paintings because they were only a student. That generated an interesting conversation as well.

Any other thoughts?