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Old 01-20-2003, 07:52 AM   #1
Hanna Larsson Hanna Larsson is offline
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Signing the portrait




I have during my months on this forum often read questions abuot the signing of the portraits. These questions are most of the time asked by the pros to us wannabe-portrait-artists. This has made me start wondering more about signing and signatures, if not to say worrying about it.
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Old 01-20-2003, 08:02 AM   #2
Hanna Larsson Hanna Larsson is offline
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I also thought that it would be easier to do with a brush. And that it maybe could be good not to give away if I am male or female. When asking friends and family I got ~50/50 on keep/change. My generation said change and my parents generation said keep. Since portrait painting is looked at as pretty low status and silly it might be better not to sign as a happy amateur.

Am I making sense?
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Old 01-20-2003, 09:21 AM   #3
Margaret Port Margaret Port is offline
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Hi Hanna,

I am more likely to belong to your parent's generation. Happy amateur and female, hmmm, you qualify for two of those.

I'd go with the initials rather than your first name. The initials are more professional and will identify you without telling the world who you are (if that makes sense).

I used to sign with my first and last names until I realised that I was more comfortable just using initial and maiden name and married name hypenated. I had to use both surnames as there are at last count 15 females with my married name, in Cairns. Port is very rare however.

I have a pastel portrait in my collection done by a man and he signs his full name and the date as well as the subject's name and it all takes up a substantial part of one side of the background. He used similar tones as the background and unless you get close up you don't even notice it and it becomes part of the overall design.

So maybe we females need to be more out there and confident of our abilities.
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Old 01-20-2003, 11:37 AM   #4
Mike McCarty Mike McCarty is offline
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Personally I sign my full first and last name, and two digit year. I try and do it unobtrusively in position and tone. If I think enough of the work to sign it I don't see any reason to have people guess as to who I am.
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Old 01-20-2003, 11:53 AM   #5
Timothy C. Tyler Timothy C. Tyler is offline
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Year?

I too would use the whole name. You can date and add all kinds of info on the back. I do and suggest you do, too. Not only will people over 100 years from now appreciate it, but 10 years from now you may be glad you did.

When you date a picture, it can cause problems, with portraits it can serve as a dating device for the picture and the model. Some models (clients) would prefer that were not the case.
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Old 01-20-2003, 01:25 PM   #6
Chris Saper Chris Saper is offline
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Hi Hanna,

You should definitely use your last name, and probably at least your first initial. I think that there's an amateur bias and it's harder to have your work taken seriously with a first name only. Larsson is probably not an uncommon name in your area, so I don't see why you shouldn't use your whole name.

In pastels, I sign my name just as I would sign a letter or anything else. I'd do the same thing in oil if I could figure out how; instead, I just write "SAPER" in block letters. For all my paintings I also include a copyright sign and the the date, last two years.

At least in the United States, copyrights are best protected when the name, date and copyright sign are placed visibly. That's not to say you can't protect your copyright without these things, but they would all weigh in your favor.

As to concealing your identity as a female, in theory one would think that it would be possible for female painters to earn as much as comparably skilled males (if anyone wants to discuss this, it's a better topic for the Cafe), but the reality of portrait painting is that you have to meet your clients, so it doesn't really make any sense. Unless you paint for people who will never meet you, even landscape painters et al, for the most part, eventually want shows and exhibits at which they can be present.

I have an androgynous first name, so I tend not to think about it. However I have, a number of times, had people act surprised, and have been told: "Oh. You paint like a man." I still don't know what to make of that.

However (a long and circuitous route getting to the point here), I think you should choose a signature that looks good, that is not contrived, that feels natural for you to use, and that is placed with careful consideration.

For signatures, size, location and color matter. They will become part of the design of your painting, whether you want them to or not.
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Old 01-20-2003, 03:07 PM   #7
Leslie Ficcaglia Leslie Ficcaglia is offline
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Hanna, I would cast my vote with those who suggest that you use both first and last names. The lower of the two signatures seems a bit self-conscious and contrived, to me, and may not suit you should you continue painting into middle age and later. I too sign my name as I sign my signature on documents. I want it clear that it's my work, and not that of someone who may share my last or first name.

For signing in oils I use two small crafters' brushes with short handles. Where possible I write the name first in pencil, but if the background is too dark for that to work I just go freehand. One brush is loaded with whichever color I'm using for the letters and the other is loaded with the background color, and I switch between them as needed to produce a fairly clear signature. I also include the full four-character year along with a copyright symbol.
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Old 01-21-2003, 04:48 AM   #8
Hanna Larsson Hanna Larsson is offline
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Thank you for your input. I actually agree with you 100% about signing with both first- and surname. I would give that advise to everyone else. If I had any of your names I would certenly do that too. But I cannot write my name beautifully, believe me I have tried...

Already when I was a little girl I was asked "How can you, who is so good at drawing, write so ugly?" And it
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Old 01-21-2003, 09:00 AM   #9
Leslie Ficcaglia Leslie Ficcaglia is offline
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Hanna, haven't looked at the link yet, but I've always loved Carl Larsson's work and have a book about a farm with his paintings. Personally I think Hanna Larsson is prettier than Hanna Hedman. But of course it's whatever makes you most comfortable. My maiden name is Pastor and I far prefer that, but I have some name recognition in the area as Ficcaglia so I've retained that for my paintings as well. Something else to think about....
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Old 02-04-2003, 07:05 AM   #10
Patt Legg Patt Legg is offline
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I did a search for this exact subject as it has been something that I have fretted over for a long time.Gladly I found it here. I too have a great problem deciding for myself.So, Hanna, let us know how you decide.

At the present and for awhile now I have signed only Patt. My name is Patricia. I added the extra t. I have heard people pronounce it as if it is Patt-y. Eeeeek. My maiden name if Barker but my married name is Legg. As suggested from this forum, at least a letter and last name -well, say it " P. A. Legg" Doesn't go at all. and has suggestions too. P. Legg - not!!
I have tried doing my initails but they come out as P A L - pal. Not good either.

I can relate as to changing my name. I love the flow of Patricia but so common.Then I vision people seeing my paintings in the future and mouthing "Patt" who??? Or Patricia who. I also have thought of changing the spelling as in Patrizia or Tri-zia. Is that legal? Book writers have had pen names before and even 2 different ones. And, Hanna, I like too that the viewer does not know if the name is male or female. What is that all about-beats me. Just like them to wonder.

I have a friend and fellow artist whose name is Romney Shelton ?. I won't give her last name but flows froms the lips. Love it.Sounds like a writer and she signs that way.

I am happy to hear I am not alone in this decision. I am also leary of changing locally as they know who I am here but then why not?? A new artist in town? Maybe? Help!!!
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