View Full Version : Signing work

06-21-2005, 01:39 PM
Hi, are there any guidelines beside the obvious when signing your finished painting? For example:
Can you sign a painting copied from the WC Image Gallery?
Can you sign a painting from a photo from a magazine or calendar even if you modify it a bit?
Should you sign a painting only when you may sell it?


06-21-2005, 04:20 PM
Question #1. Yes, but be sure and thank the contributor if you can recall who it was...it's just a nice thing to do!

Question #2. Probably not unless it's changed a LOT from the source picture...so much so that the photographer wouldn't recognize it at all. In other words, just adding a bush or leaving out a tree isn't enough!

Question #3. That one's up to you. Isn't it nice to have a choice for a change? :D

06-21-2005, 07:07 PM
Here's a couple links on signatures and signing your work........


I'm not sure if any of these links touch on copyrights, but there is some good info in them regardless. :)

06-23-2005, 10:55 AM
I rarely sign anything, except if I frame it, and sometimes then forget. But you should probably sign everything (except copyright violations) in case your art becomes popluar after you are dead and your kids can clean up!

06-27-2005, 01:02 PM
There is actually quite a bit of debate on this topic throughout the arts community. Keep in mind that some of the masters had apprentices working under them -- the apprentice was taught the master's style and then replicated it -- when the apprentice completed a piece of work, the master's signature was placed on it, not the apprentice's. I understand that Thomas Kinkaid works from the same approach now. There is another European artist of some repute who does the same -- he has a studio of artists working for him, trained in his style, and then the work is marketed under his name. I'm embarrassed that I cannot think of who it is off the top of my head -- maybe someone can help me out with that :)

I, myself, will only sign work that is entirely my own. If working from photographs, I have taken the photos myself. I may make one exception; if I had permission from the photographer to use their photo as a jumping off point for my work. I typically alter elements from a photo to build a stronger composition, but I still want the initial work to be my own. I would not work from calendars or photo reference books to produce artwork that I intend to sign and sell.

A good friend of mine has shown his acrylic and oil paintings internationally. His own philosophy is that the work must be entirely his own -- including stretching the canvas.

As an artist, I would be angry if I found someone selling a piece of art that they copied from my own work.

I sign any work that I've done if I'm showing it. If you're putting it out for the public to view, you should have your name on it.