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Monday, April 13, 2015

Quick Tip: How to Sign a Pastel Painting

'Morning on the River'            5x7            pastel            ©Karen Margulis

It is the moment of truth. Signing the painting can be nerve wracking. Will my signature look good? Will to be to big and clunky? How should I sign my name? What should I use to sign the painting?  All of these thoughts go though my mind when I am ready to sign.

I want to get the signature right because it is an important element in the painting. It becomes a part of the composition. If it is in the wrong place, or the wrong color, too big or too small it can effect the painting. It can through off the balance. It can draw too much attention away from the subject. If it is too small or too close to the edge it will not be visible at all!

Quick Tip:  Decide on how you will sign and stick with it. Full name? Initials?  Find the tool that works best (see samples below) Practice your signature over and over until it becomes effortless. When it is time to sign pick a spot that balances the composition and sign with authority and pride!

A few signing tools: pencil, Nupastels, pastel pencil

 The signatures above were done with the sharp point or edge of a hard pastel such as Nupastel.

The signature in the painting at the top of the post was done with a sharp pencil. The pink signature above is a sharp pastel pencil.

My signature choice: I decided early on to use my initials. It was quick and easy. The drawback is that people new to my work can't really look my name up. (if you google KEM artist I do come up second but this has taken some time!) I decided to make my letter 'E' with only three lines because I thought it looked cool. I sometimes use pencil to sign on a very light painting. Usually I choose a pastel pencil or sharpened Nupastel. I choose a color that is used in my painting. I make sure the color stands out from the background. I also make sure my signature is not too dark or too thick and heavy. 


robertsloan2art said...

Great minds think alike. Your three lines E is very cool and initials with a quirk are a lot easier to integrate into a painting than trying to spell out a name.

I got frustrated with the squiggle a cursive Robert Adrian Sloan turned into with anything thicker than a Pigma Micron pen, so came up with a version of RAS that's like a bind rune - the leg of the R becomes the crossbar of the A and the S branches off the right side of the A.

On some watercolors if there's a lot of white space it becomes a deliberate balancing element. I know it's going in and leave a place for it. I'll often do it in red on those because of a tradition in Chinese and Japanese painting of using red paste for a seal signature.

On small pastels though, that's a whole lot easier to work in than spelling out my name. Making the monogram distinctive helps too. I hadn't thought of using a sharp pencil though! That works beautiful, the little mini that I bought from you is signed in pencil over part of the water and it's lovely. Hard to get that fine a line even with a pastel pencil and pens clog over pastel.

Hope Thompson said...

Thanks for addressing this. I have often wondered if there were any "standards" for this process. I vacillate from using just my first name vs. my initials. I sign using the traditional lower right hand corner, but sometimes wonder if there were better places on the painting to do so. Does anyone put the date on the painting anymore? I have started putting those on the back of the painting, mainly for my own benefit of tracking my progress over the years.