Signing

For the past couple of days, all I’ve done is sign paintings. I’ve got a show coming up (Nov. 24-25 at the Yellow Barn Studio in Glen Echo Park, Maryland), and I’ve got to sign and frame dozens of paintings between now and then. I’m often reluctant to sign because paintings are never really finished. (As Leonardo said, art is never finished; it’s merely abandoned.) It’s also a bit nerve-wracking to “write” with a paintbrush, especially when the paint is still wet, so I often wait to sign until the painting is dry to the touch.

Anyway, I thought I’d share a few examples of my various signature styles. First up, here’s a full painting, including signature, to provide context.

 Geoff Watson, “Fourth Presbyterian Church, Bethesda,” oil on panel, 6” x 6,” 2017.

Geoff Watson, “Fourth Presbyterian Church, Bethesda,” oil on panel, 6” x 6,” 2017.

And here’s a close-up of the signature in the lower-left-hand corner. That location is unusual for me; usually I pick the lower-right. In this case, I felt I had more room on the left.

 Geoff Watson, “Fourth Presbyterian Church,” detail, 2017.

Geoff Watson, “Fourth Presbyterian Church,” detail, 2017.

Here are a few others, without the full picture. The first is a signature from my copy of Sargent’s portrait of Lady Astor. Do you think my “SARGENT” is clear enough?

 Geoff Watson, “Lady Astor,” detail (after Sargent), 2017.

Geoff Watson, “Lady Astor,” detail (after Sargent), 2017.

The next one was done in gouache and watercolor, which gave me the luxury of signing with a pen or pencil, allowing me to use cursive. If I had my druthers, I’d sign my paintings this way too.

 Geoff Watson, “Seated nude” (detail), watercolor, gouache & graphite on paper, 2017.

Geoff Watson, “Seated nude” (detail), watercolor, gouache & graphite on paper, 2017.

Actually, my very first oil painting does bear a decent cursive signature. Maybe I shouldn’t give up on signing this way.

 Geoff Watson, “Wine and apples” (detail), oil on canvas, 11” x 14,” circa 2006.

Geoff Watson, “Wine and apples” (detail), oil on canvas, 11” x 14,” circa 2006.

But block letters are easier, especially if I’m trying to sign something while painting plein air. Some purists say a painting isn’t “plein air” unless everything is done on the spot, including the signature. I’m not a purist, but if a plein air piece is done, I will sign it to make the purists happy! I’ll leave you with a few examples.

 Geoff Watson, “Mallina (detail),” oil on panel, 11” x 14,” 2018.

Geoff Watson, “Mallina (detail),” oil on panel, 11” x 14,” 2018.

 Geoff Watson, “Cherry Trees at Peak (detail)”, oil on canvas panel, 16” x 24,” 2018.

Geoff Watson, “Cherry Trees at Peak (detail)”, oil on canvas panel, 16” x 24,” 2018.

 Geoff Watson, “Apple with construction paper (detail),” oil on panel, 6” x 6,” 2017.

Geoff Watson, “Apple with construction paper (detail),” oil on panel, 6” x 6,” 2017.