Art quotes

"For the last 20 year period I've been working with ideas conceived as a child." -Red Grooms

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Jan van Eyck Was Here, What's in a Signature

Cool of the Dunes  20x24 oil on canvas
       Signatures - we all use our personal identification every day. Artists, too, have the special identification mark we use to make things legal and official. Think back to our first checking account when we had to sign the bank paper work. We learned to practice the name over and over until we got something that looked presentable and official. The artist has the same issues to consider, our official ID and one that says, “I am the creator of this work of art.” In the beginning we do wonder, should the signature be a squiggle or a bunch of letters from our name?
       One of the first detected signatures was placed on the room’s back wall of Jan van Eyck’s The Arnolfini Portrait. It said “Jan van Eyck was here. 1434.” (Source: Secret Lives of Great Artists, Elizabeth Lunday )
       As we stroll passed the paintings on the walls of our favorite art gallery or museum take time to look at the artist’s name, is it big and bold or small and hard to find. There is a purpose for the personal ID. The artist is saying to the world “my work is finished and ready for its own life.”  Sometimes it is on the bottom right or in the painting texture of the images. The date completed can be near the inscription as well. Some artists like to put this information on the back of the support or on the stretcher bars for stretched canvas. 
When one of my favorite paintings, Cooling of the Dunes, was awarded Best in Show the judge discussed light and shadows, complementary  colors, then added that he liked the signature within the paint of the dune's edge.

Morning Fog 18x24 Signature in the painted right corner. Original sold, giclee available
Giclee uses exact matching pigments in a digital capture to reproduce from the original work.  
     Collectors of art do want to have that signature as well as the art itself. We all know the famous names and their personal note to us. Don’t we all hope to find that famous signature waiting for us in grandma’s attic?  So as an artist I pledge to sign all my work and hope my creative attempts may get into that attic of dreams just waiting to be researched in the online indexes of artists’ signatures.

       PS   Let’s not forget all the artists facing that cave wall thousands of years ago hoping to be remembered for their artistic expression and wisdom. They too left their name or even better their hand print on their communication to the futures viewers. Thanks to the cave painters and petroglyph artists in our past for showing us the way. 

Enjoy the views of original art,
Lellow 24x24 acrylic on canvas, signature left corner up the side

Joel preparing signature on Lellow

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