Wednesday, August 21, 2013

My Name Is Good Enough

What’s Your Signature?  I’m not talking about the way you sign your checks I’m talking about how you sign your artwork. Some artists sign their artwork as if they’re embarrassed...they hide their signature in the painting, or make it so tiny no one can read it. Don’t hide your signature…let people know who you are!

I use to dread signing my artwork. I felt my signature wasn’t interesting. Many years ago I fell in love with old trucks and I began painting what would become a large series of paintings. I needed a signature that looked strong, and not like a sissy girl. I decided I would change my signature. I put a lot of thought into this and worked on the style over and over until I was pleased. I still have the sketchbook that showed how my signature evolved until it became what I use today. 


I'm often asked if I use a stamp or stencil to sign my name. The answer is neither. To be honest at first I was a little annoyed with the question and one day I realized I had achieved what I wanted, people not only recognized my signature they remembered it…they remembered me. Now when people ask if I use a stamp or stencil I take time to show them how I do it. I sign my name freehand with a brush.

Many artists sign their names with those funny little initials after their signature, I don’t.  People may think I haven’t achieved signature status in watercolor societies, I have.  I am a signature member of North West Watercolor Society (NWWS), San Diego Watercolor Society (SDWS) and Watercolor West (WW). And I am proud of those initials. What are my reasons for not writing these esteemed initials with my signature? Placing a societies initials after my signature feels like I’m adding a logo or advertisement to my artwork. I don’t wear clothes with a logo across the front or back of my clothes, either. The initials I have earned belong on my resume, not on my artwork.  I have a choice what I put on my paintings. My name is good enough! 
I know this topic is a very personal choice and many will differ in their opinions and that’s okay. We all have a choice.
In closing I’d like to share a thought. When our lives are through and leave this earth we take nothing with us but our name. Don’t tarnish your name or hide it. Let the world know you were here!

Happy Painting!
Brenda 

32 comments:

  1. Very well said and I have to admit I tend to shy away from writing my signature boldly and it's normally written in tiny letters in the corner of the painting - if at all! But you're right our signatures should be prominent! Yours is great!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Well said and I have even started signing my quilts with machine stitching

    ReplyDelete
  3. "My name is good enough." A simple, yet powerful and true statement! Most people diminish the power behind names.

    Thank you for sharing this inspiring post, Brenda.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I so appreciate what you said here Brenda!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I think you signature is the neatest and most distinctive one I have seen, it is a little work of art in itself

    ReplyDelete
  6. Interesting you don't add the society initials. I was told by several artists that they thought it increased the value of their work. In my experience however, most art buyers have no idea what watercolor societies are.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree. Either collectors like it or they don't...they don't care about initials.

      Delete
  7. Your signature is both distinctive and as you note emblematic of your themes. It confirms my own choice to create a distinctive signature that epitomizes the blend of oriental and western art that I hope to achieve. Thanks for sharing your success with your own choice.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks for sharing this info as it was something I was curious about.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This is a wonderful post and so timely! Thanks for focusing on this important issue.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Timely indeed! We are in the midst of show season.

      Delete
  10. This might be your most wonderful painting ever! Painting what you love, rusted old loved abused trucks. You must have been in blissful painting mode as you worked on this. It's wonderful. I smiled for you and with you at such wonderful work.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I was one of those people that asked you if it was a stencil or stamp, and was amazed watching you paint it freehand. I'm so glad you weren't annoyed by the question. I love your artwork and your signature too.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks Brenda, I agree. For a long time I signed E. Merriman because people told me that buyers are not as interested in female painters so keep my gender private. I no longer care as I paint mainly for my self and if some one wants to purchase a painting, that's fine, too. Now I use my entire name on larger pieces and initials on my smaller work.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thank you for the great response. It's nice to know when I find a topic that touches the heart of my artist friends.
    Happy Painting!
    Brenda

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thank you, Brenda, for giving your opinion on this interesting subject. Since many years I sign my works of art with my first name (Inge), with the first letter (I) in a distinctive style. The signature needs to be seen, to show who made the work of art. Yes, it shows I am a woman ... if someone doesn't appreciate that, he is very old-fashioned!
    There are artists who seem to think it isn't right to have such a clear, readable, signature. They sign very small, almost invisable, or in a way you can't read it. I never understood why.
    I agree with your opinion on signing with initials of societies: it's like advertising some brand. Your own brand is your own name / signature!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Inge,
    It's nice to hear you are of the same thinking!
    Happy Painting!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Such wonderful watercolor technique. Beautiful work!!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Brenda, thank you for the inspiration to "sign my name" to my art work. I want people to know I'm here, so now I'm signing bold and proud of it. I love old cars and trucks as I know you do. I set out on a two year journey to photograph old rusty cars and trucks just so I could keep my mother (age 94) on the road and moving. She and my sister enjoyed the ride as much as I do and whenever I have a show, I credit my family and the old, rusty junks, for being my savior. I read your story and love your journey and how you found peace in that beautiful truck. Thanks for the "push" to go bold.
    Barbara Sammons

    ReplyDelete
  18. Barbara, you're very welcome! Thank you for sharing your mutual love of old vehicles and how they have touched your life. We have a lot in common =)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Great post! I totally hide mine and often forget to sign things... this has inspired me. I need to work on my signature. my check writing one is illegible and my art one is boring. Thanks for opening my mind. Oh, and I agree about initials ... I think it looks strange.

    The trucks are gorgeous!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hi Brenda,
    your arts always make me happy.Thank you for sharing.;)

    ReplyDelete
  21. Yes, our signature is our BRAND and we need to have it clearly placed. I've had people ask me to make it small, other asked me to take off my first name, Esther. I took 15 years to develop my signature into EJ Williams and I sign it in script form using about a 15 hair sable brush in oils. Although I kept off the Esther, I do make it a good enough size to spot right away. It's my art and I'm proud of it, they are getting my signature loud enough but not too loud as to overcome the art. In red!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Thanks for the great post Brenda! I totally agree! It took me a long time to develop how I wanted to sign my name on my paintings. I remember practicing it for a long time before I was brave enough to actually put it on a painting... I also like signing it with a brush, but it did take practice.

    I also agree about the initials of art societies. They don't add anything to the art and I would not like a painting more if I saw which organizations the artist has signature status with. The art will stand for itself and I want people to know I painted it! :)

    Great Blog Post....thanks!
    Brienne :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Brienne, Thanks for your comment. I'm delighted how many people agree with my thinking. The response has been wonderful .
      Happy Painting!

      Delete