This is, this is your work. This is your life work. You want to be able to authenticate it in the future.
Welcome to the Bold Artist Podcast, Summer Sessions, where we're talking about hot topics for the season, that'll make a difference to your art. I'm your host, Marijanel, joined by my co-host, Charla Maarschalk. Let's skip to it. Welcome to the Bold Artist Podcast, Summer Sessions. We're talking about hot topics of the season and today Charla and I might have to fight.
Might be a little debating happening,
Might have a little debate. Tell me what you think about, um, artists' signatures, and where and how they should sign their work. This is a big question. Artists are always asking is, you know, how do they develop their signature and where, and how big to present their signature?
Yeah, it seems like a simple topic. Like what do you even have to talk about here? But as soon as we, we brought it up, and we're like doing a little pre-show discussion, we're like, uhoh, we are just gonna make some debates in here.
I know the way that it happened was I said, Charla, are we going to even agree with what we talk about on the podcast? Because I'm of the mind that an artist should sign their work boldly and proudly. And Charla was like, how big? And I said, well, not tiny, not tiny and hidden in these mysterious little, like, nooks and crannies of the painting. I mean, you, you gotta own this piece and say, I painted it with, with pride. That's my mindset.
You better not ruin it with a giant, bright red signature across your beautiful masterpiece.
That's that's. This is where I come in.
Tucked in the lower right hand corner in a good size to, to claim it. I don't think we'll ruin it. Maybe the red, I don't know. It depends on what color the painting is.
Well, I think, like, Bob Ross kind of made that famous right where he was big Ross, red signature in his landscapes. But when you and, and a lot of people wanted to be like that, I think, and it kind of started to trend. But I think we need to like, look at why that worked for him, his name and his personality was really what people loved way more than his work. And I think even he talked about his work was very repetitive and maybe even a little boring, I don't know. But he, his, his fame was about his message that he gave while he was painting and in who he was. And so his name and his signature is what sells his work. And, and it's still that so valuable today. And repeating that is not going to be the key to selling your artwork, just making a bright red signature on the front.
And I think that the example that really brings what I'm, I'm trying to say home is if you look at a, an abstract piece, like something is really calm, really serene, um, an abstract piece, and it's this beautiful piece that you put on your wall, and it just sets the tone to your room. And if in that piece, and there's a lot of big white, maybe negative space, you have a big signature across it, it's going to be a very sharp, focal point on that painting. That's gonna bring your eyes straight to the signature, and it will become the focal point of the painting. And in my estimation, and I, I believe that there's some expertise here, that will ruin the painting. So, that's an extreme example.
You don't want your signature to be the focal point of your painting. You do want it to, to be there, and you want it to be visible. However, I sign the back of my paintings. I stopped signing the front of my paintings altogether.
See, that would make me sad if I got one of your originals, and I didn't have your name on the front. Just saying.
I love to know like whose art is on my wall. I love to see their signature, and I think that might be maybe how different people perceive the artist or being the artist, because I, I am very, I'm actually pretty passionate about the signature. I've worked with a lot of artists who are too shy to sign their name, or they think it's a sign of pride.
Or they think exactly what you said. Like it will be too much of a distraction. Um, and I do think that there is an art to learning how and where to place it.
And a particularly, depending on the style that you're painting, finding a signature that works with your style to not be that distraction.
But I also am pretty passionate. Like I want artists to own it and show it that they are the artist of that piece and not hide it.
And, um, and I know too many who are, you know, like you said, putting them on the back or putting them in these really tiny places that I'm like, did you paint that? And they're like, yeah, there's my microscopic dot that I put there.
And I'm like, Hmm, own this thing.
Yeah. I agree,
Um, at the same time, at the same time, um, you, you have to be tactful about it.
Um, one thing I learned, um, from one of our guests in season one, Adam Meikle, he scratches a, like, he came up with a neat symbol. It's kind of like his signature, and it's Adam Meikle signature, but it's not like his whole name right now. And then he scratches it into the first layer of the, um, painting.
And then he kind of paints around it, and it becomes just this really cool painted in signature. I loved that idea. I think it's really original to him. Yeah. And, uh, I think as artists, we can definitely use our creativity to figure out how to sign our work in a, in a way that suits us. But also that there's not shame. I think that, that we've carried like this shame of signing our work, and a shame of developing our signature, cuz we're like, oh, like I need to stay humble. Or I don't wanna draw attention to myself or, or it's the other way around where it is like, like you said, too big of a distraction. They're like claiming too much.
Yeah, super prideful over the signature.
Yeah. Not letting the piece speak anymore.
So, there's balance to be had there. Yeah. But, um,
But I remember when I was, I was developing my signature. Um, I probably, like, drew it and wrote it out hundreds of times, like to figure out my M of like how I was gonna do my, my M. I have a certain signature that I would like sign checks with if checks were still a thing. But, um, but my painting signature's totally different. And I just remember like, actually just practicing, like how would I do that? And then I, I practice it in different sizes 'cuz some of my work is really tiny, teeny weeny, tiny. So, then my signature goes tinier.
Yeah. My signature has changed a lot over the years, too. I used to sign it and just all capital letters, which was completely different than my actual signature. Um, and I, I went through stages of, of signing it in different colors. So, it would blend more. It would be visible, but blended. And I actually don't, I, I kind of liked that era of my signature. And then I went to the back signing, and I like the back signing because I was able to sign it big, and I was able to, to use my actual signature. And I think as you grow as an artist and you be your, your work becomes more valuable, it is valuable to have your real signature on it. As a way to say that it is yours, as well, you know? 'Cause it's more unique than just capital letters across the front of the painting, as well. So, it's uh, more authentic. Or, in authenticating the artwork a hundred years from now, it'll be easier to do that. And um, so then I went to the back. Now I've kind of adopted the idea of I'm this is the stage I'm in of signing the side of the art. So like the, the side, I don't know if there's bunch of words for that.
No, that, that makes sense.
And so, yeah, 'cuz then it's visible. Because I have gotten a lot of complaints about you can't see my signature.
Yeah, we love your signature, Charla.
And we don't know who, who painted it? And then one day I was looking at a piece of art somewhere. I don't know where I was, and I was like, that's so beautiful. Who's the artist. And there was no signature. I was like, how am I supposed to know who painted this? I'm like, I wanna go look them up online. And I'm like, oh, maybe I should have my signature more visible so people will know it's mine and not have to take the art off the wall to look and confirm it.
So, there's definitely value in having your signature visible. And so I've, I've kind of changed my perspective on that one.
But it's like you said, there's balance. There's tact in how to do it. You need to develop it and figure out what works for you. And then I do think, uh, the artist that's that's shameful or, or thinks they're so humble, they don't need to sign their work, I don't think that's right. And then there's the pride of the bright red Bob Ross signature. And I don't mean that he was prideful, but I think that for us to adopt that, we think that that's going to do what gonna get us to Bob Ross status, is not going to. It's gonna ruin your art.
Right. Right. Now I have, I have had questions before about what to use to sign the signature.
Yeah. That's a good one.
And I know, I mean, and it is just a topic of good conversation because people might have differing thoughts of like, if you can use a different medium, like on top of your acrylic to, to, um, to sign or what you use. But I have not had good success signing with a little white or like let's say taking white on a little fine brush.
It totally does not write well for me. I, like, I can't paint my signature is what I'm attempting to say.
What has worked for me has been to have a variety of white gel pens, and I can actually write my signature like I want it, and then I let that gel pen dry, and I go over it with a clear medium.
Um, even if it's a little spray of a medium, and it just sort of seals it to the painting so you can't scratch it off or, you know, so that it's just bonded. And that's worked for me. I don't know if that's, um, you know, uh, a conflict for the medium mixes or whatever. It seems to work. I,t I've never had an issue with it, but it does allow me to, um, first, like you said, of keeping things small, it, it allows me to write very fine. And yet you can also write big if it's fine. So it blends in kind of nicely. If it's, you know, I can kind of do my, do my thing is what I'm demonstrating. And you know, scribble it away there. And then, and I don't have to worry about the size so much when it's so fine. But when I was using paint brushes to do this, it got clumsy.
And sometimes I was having to like paint over my signature 'cuz I didn't like how it looked or I made it crooked or something.
Or I, for using acrylic, I would paint really quickly so I could wipe it off if it was bad.
But then you're even more stressed out trying to get it on there.
I know. Yeah.
I have these pens. They're acrylic markers.
And I just buy them in different colors and um, they're... Some of them you gotta, like, push the tip in to get the paint down. So, they're not, don't all flow really nicely like a pen would, but in it, for acrylic anyways, you can get quite a variety in pens, and it's always good to have different colors around. My, my opinion is to have different colors, so that if you have a low key painting, a dark painting, you're not putting a white pen over it or vice versa. So, you have variety to put your signature on -- in -- so, it doesn't ruin the composition. Um, plus it's just an easier flow in your signature can be more consistent. So, those pens are really good. For signing the back of my work, which I always put, I print my name, and I put the date, and I put my location, I put my website, I put the title of the painting. Um, and then I sign it in a really big signature, and I use a Sharpie to do that.
Because it's permanent and nothing can happen to it. Um, and it's definitely no more toxic than acrylic paint. So I, I sign the back of my work with a Sharpie. And my work is always really thick, so I have no worries about it ever showing through whatever reasons that might happen. Yeah. And it's a canvas painting. So, those are some of the ways that I, I sign my work.
Yeah. Well, it's been really fun to talk to you about signing our work as artists. I think in conclusion of today's summer session, it would be to definitely sign your work.
Definitely sign your work.
And to do it with balance.
so that you're not distracting in the painting. Um, but that you're also, um, being proud and owning it,
And doing it boldly in your way. U.
So yeah, because you...
You always wanna be able to authenticate your work. This is...
This is your work. This is your life work. You want to be able to authenticate it in the future. This is not about being prideful. It's about owning it and being able to authenticate it in the future.
So, you really, it's really, really important to have a signature on there somewhere, even if it's just on the back,
Something more than a polka dot.
Something more than a microscopic little initial.
Thank you so much for joining us on the Bold Artist Podcast, Summer Sessions. We are happy that you're here. You can find us on boldschool.com and that's where you can jump onto our newsletters to get all of the latest that's happening in Bold School and our online community and even what's happening with the podcast.
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