View Full Version : Question: Do you sign? Why?

08-25-2003, 05:06 PM
I reached the point where I want to frame a painting to keep it from smudging (such a milestone for me) hurray :)

Now I wonder about signatures. And wonder why I should sign it? Should I sign it? Is it pretentious?

And if there are good reasons for signing, how do you manage to sign when you're left handed without smudging the whole thing?
What do you guys think?

08-25-2003, 05:57 PM
I don't think it's pretentious...you did the painting so you're just claiming it... You can use a bridge to sign with...anything can work as a bridge...a ruler with a fat eraser taped at the bottom of each end...it holds your hand above the work...I feel at a certain point where you feel your work has enough value to hang...{and obviously you got there :clap: :clap: :clap:) ...then you sign it, it also marks the finish of a piece...I sometimes leave things sit for days before I sign it, because my rule is if it's signed it's DONE...no more nuttin! It also marks it as an original piece of work...not just an unsigned print of something...it's up to you to decide if you want to go bold or discreet with it...I like mine not to take away from the work but some customers like work with big bold signatures....so go ahead and sign it already...you've earned the right!!!! (Can I ask...is it the one you just posted about??? Was definately worth a signature!)

08-25-2003, 06:06 PM
I am left-handed, have signed HUNDREDS of paintings, and have never, ever smudged one so cannot see why you should.

Why not use a pastel pencil, then your hand will be well away from the picture. I often do this.

It is certainly NOT pretentious, why on earth shouldn't you sign your picture..........unless you have copied someone else's work of course, in which case it is not such a good idea!!!!!

08-25-2003, 06:59 PM
Thanks. I guess the question of pretentiousness is weird for some who wouldn't even think twice and just sign without self consciousness. It's just hear this little mocking voice in my head going "oh who thinks she's a big artist then!! nyaaah!!"

Well, I've decided to shut that little voice up, (since she never did me any favors anyway (would even stop me painting if I gave her half a chance :) and I WILL sign!
and yes, it was the doggie :). friends I've shown it to were quite amazed, how nice...
Now I need to practise. Jackie, I just have to rest my hand on something if I write otherwise it comes out all wobbly... I'll try the ruler trick.

08-25-2003, 07:52 PM
great...he was a keeper!!! yeah...shut that voice up...it'll nag you to DEATH!!! You can buy professional bridges too...clear acrylic with the legs already on them...also saw an artist here, Iconoclast, who built little wood slats with grooves in them every couple inches and put them on both sides of his studio table and then he lays a broom handle across as a bridge...necessity IS the mother of invention! And can we see this very first momentus signature???? Could be a collector's item in the future!;)

08-25-2003, 08:06 PM
I was once told that artists only sign their work when it is to be sold, so I have loads of pieces unsigned :D


Craig Houghton
08-25-2003, 08:43 PM
I sign using a sharpened General's soft charcoal pencil. It digs in enough and is quite dark. I've had troubles w/ tooth when using pastel pencils. If I don't have a sharp soft charcoal pencil around, then I use a pastel and paint it on letter by letter -- like forging my own signature.

Also, I'd recommend dating the pics -- many have said that I'd be glad I did, and I have been (when I do it).

And, of course you should sign! (it feels a bit less odd once you get used to it anyhow) :)


08-26-2003, 07:03 AM
if signing your whole name makes your hand wobble, then just sign with your initials. Plenty of artistsof the past used to do that.

08-26-2003, 07:36 AM
Mmm, now for a related question:
How does your signature relate to copyright?
If you don't sign, does anyone have the right to copy your painting? Does signing assert your rights?
Do you need to add the (c) sign?

And while we are at it. What about making a painting from a photograph?
I can understand it is not allowed to paint a painting from a photograph and then sell this, but are you allowed to copy it at all? Or copy and not show it to anyone?
Anyone out there with a knowledge of these things?

08-26-2003, 08:22 AM
you allowed to copy it at all? Or copy and not show it to anyone?

My understanding is that as long as it is for your own use you can do anything you want. People in classes or learning on their own copy The Masters' paintings and I know when I took classes as a young person we used photos in magazines. But these were all for personal use. There is one hanging in my parents' home that I did when I was about 13. It is a pastel copied from a magazine photo. It will not be sold or anything. I think kids do it all the time.
But...I know copyright is a serious issue so if I am wrong then I stand corrected.


08-26-2003, 10:46 AM
Art business has a lot of stuff about copyrights...you are automatically protected with an origianl piece of work...don't need to put the c in...and yes, signing asserts your rights...and you can copy a photograph for your own use but need permission to sell it...my tinyhead was from a Smithsonian mag...did it for practice...so I could never sell it and wouldn't...but it was an excellent learning piece for me...now I use my own photos, or have permission to use others if I use them for reference...