Thursday, September 13, 2007

Signatures and Other Such Details

Out In Front, 2007, Oil on Panel, 16x20

Bridgette made mention of how I label my work the other day on her blog. I must admit now that I have changed things a bit and no longer apply the printed labels. I stopped using them for several reasons. One was that the back of the beautiful birch panels that I switched over to are so much nicer to write on and look much neater than the backs of the hardboard that I previously used. The hardboard was dark and so even when I wrote the info on it with a Sharpee, the writing was barely visible and so that's why I added the labels initially. So since the writing shows up better now and the written info is the same as the info on the printed label, it seemed foolish to do both. The other reason I was happy to discontinue using the labels was that they were so dang irritating to make up. No matter how many times I proofread them, invariably there were mistakes and I'd have to print them a second (or even third) time. Plus it's just another step that I don't really have time for anymore.

I should add though, that I still believe having a label on the back of an artist's work is a good idea, especially if it isn't possible to add your info any other way.

So this is how the back of my paintings look now.

I make a huge effort to write neatly. You'd think as an artist, I would have nice handwriting, but I don't and despite my best efforts, my handwriting is not very attractive. I also tend to write slower (or maybe faster?) than my mind thinks, so I have to concentrate in order not to make any mistakes with that permanent Sharpee. Alas, there a few of my paintings floating around out there with a crossed out word or two.

I also decided to change the signature. I toyed with eliminating it altogether, but not because the current fashion is to NOT sign the work. I was going to stop adding my signature because I was sick of doing it, finding a good small brush, making it look nice, yada, yada, yada. Pure laziness, frankly. But then after looking at some art in a museum, and then at a collection of work owned by some friends, I found myself looking for a signature, or at least some kind of identifying mark by the artist. I realized that the signature is an important aspect of art for me and so the signature stays. I did compromise though and stopped adding the year below my initials.

By the way, the painting I have posted today, Out In Front is the piece that will be included in the upcoming Blogger Show in NYC. I was reasonably stressed about which piece to enter, especially since my work is pretty much in country bumpkin territory compared to the other artists who are participating. But I decided to embrace my bumpkin tendencies, I do live on a farm after all, and enter a good old classic red leaning barn. What the heck, right? The trees next to the barn are nice, and I am putting up a close up shot of them.


bridgette said...

oh, good, now I don't have to make labels! :)

Glad to know that I'm not the only one who dislikes adding a signature. But I find myself looking for a signature as well when I'm looking at paintings. I will just need to practise more.

Love the painting. You may be painting scenes from the country, but there's nothing "Bumpkin" about them!

Daphne said...

Wow, I hate adding my signature too.

I feel like it ruins the design of the piece. I've tried painting my name, inking it, writing on the front where it can be discrete, writing it on the side, but in the end the only time that I feel okay is when I sign the back of the canvas frame and leave it at that.

I hadn't thought of putting in a symbol or initials instead...

Also, I've been meaning to ask what type of panels you paint on. Now I know.

Tracy said...

Bridgette, thanks, and perhaps I was exaggerating when I said bumpkin, but I still think my work does have have a bit of a country flair to them:) In a good way, but it does seem odd to me still. I don't see myself as country.

Daphne, You may want make sure and get your name somewhere on the actual painting, whether it's the back or side or front. If you put your name on the frame (stretchers?) they may become separated from the canvas at some point and the piece loses your name.

I would actually prefer to sign my whole name, but my last name is too long and kind of clunky and I can't paint the thing with any kind of flair, country or otherwise:) so I have settled for my initials.

Lindsay said...

I'm one of those people who wishes she was a bumpkin!! Go for it! I'd have egg laying hens but my husband and neighbors would be really upset!

Shawn McCann said...

Having the country flair with the big city in the back of the mind is the best way to do it. The great thing is you can take the best of both and use that sense to give your country paintings that excitement that make the city folk wish to be where you are at. That feeling of its always greener on the other side for them is true because you are living in the greener pastures already! Great piece for the show by the way. It reminds me of an identical white leaning barn that is just down the road from me out here in Elk River, Minnesota.

Pod said...

very nice!

Tracy said...

Lindsay, is there a rule against chickens where you live? Because if you can get chickens, just give your neighbors and occasional dozen to smooth things over. We give a lot of eggs away, and have yet to hear any complaints about our rooster's crowing!

You are right Shawn, the grass is always greener is a good way to handle the country thing, and I hope my work has that. And you gotta love a good leaning barn. i know that owning one is lousy, but they sure are great to look at:)

Thank you Pod!

The Painted Sky said...

Hi Tracy,
I prefer to sign on the back and never on the front.
Anyway, I noticed that you put your name, year & title on the back.
I also add the medium, the size and also my signature. Just makes it easier for people.

:) JT

Steven LaRose said...

Lady. . .
you took the words right out of my mouth.

Tracy said...

Jim, that's a good idea, to add the other info on the back. Thanks for mentioning it!

Steven, Sounds like rendering you speechless might be a compliment, however, I am not quite sure what you are referring to. Can you give me a clue? Once you get your words back, of course:)

Steven LaRose said...

I suppose I appreciate your attention to detail. Even regarding things on the back of a painting. I smiled when I noticed that your title, signature and date, are all aligned to the left, as if you were typing. I smiled because I have the most squirly handwriting, and when I try to write nicely, I become so self conscious that my "i"'s might as well be dotted with hearts.

I understand what it means to treat the paintings with respect. I wonder if you signed 2005 paintings differently? You are having better and better years recently, and you are treating the "goods" accordingly. I get it.

Tracy said...

Steven, Justified left! Hasn't typing affected us in so many ways! Nice to hear you have goofy handwriting too.

I think I signed my work the same way in 2005, but somehow now, there is more pressure (self induced) for it to look respectable. Or at least as if I respect it, you are right.