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Saturday, May 21, 2016

From the Archives: 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. 


Sue Marrazzo said...


robertsloan2art said...

Yours is very cool and has one thing in common with mine - it's made up of short straight lines. That makes it easier to do small and to use in other mediums. It can be tapped onto an oil painting with a small flat brush used on end. It can be carved into stone or wood or pottery easily. It can be scraped out of oil pastel or other sgraffito mediums.

My RAS was designed to be runic as I had the vague ambition to carve wood or soapstone someday. It works really well for pastels though and brushes on easily. I use the same line for the lower right stroke of the R and the slanted crossbar of the A so have something like your cool legible E. That binds all three initials together like a bindrune when one side of the A is also part of the zigzag S.

I had a lot of curves in mine but blocked them into angles to get that effect. It's easy to create a stamp or print it and I am planning to carve it in a soapstone ink stamp for sumi-e painting.

Writing out my name in cursive was cool back when I did ink drawing but anything that line width is too great turned it into Initial-Squiggle so fast. Monograms are very effective and become a cool little decorative block that I sometimes hide and sometimes make prominent depending on the piece.