Saturday, March 8, 2008

Finishing the piece...

I've been a little distracted this week, especially Friday. We haven't gotten more than a few flurries of snow this year, until yesterday. I've been disappointed many times this year, from listening to forecasts of snow, only to get none. But this time it came! Finally it started snowing Friday at noon and didn't stop until well after midnight. We ended up getting 5 to 6 inches, which is a lot for around here. So this is what it looked like this morning. I had to take a picture before it melted too much. (I know, I know...those of you from the North do not understand why I'm so excited over a little snow, but it will be gone and warm in a day or two!)

Since I've had no time for my own art this week, I thought I would answer a couple of questions.

Many artists give advice on use of new materials and composition and drawing tips, but often the little questions are left unmentioned. They may seem like little questions to some, but they are important! For example, I was asked about how I sign my work and preserving my work, after I'm finished. So I decided to write a post about some of these little questions. I think those things deserve more than just a quick answer. I will answer those questions from Debbie, and if anyone that reads this has any other tips or suggestions, or questions, feel free to post a comment and we can discuss those further.

I was asked how I sign my work...she said 'so neatly'...but I'm not so sure about that part! Well actually it depends on several things. First, I plan where it might go and do not finish that area too much. When I'm almost finished I plan where it will blend into the composition without standing out too much. I don't want it to take away from the drawing/painting. Then it depends on the color of the background (dark or light) and it also depends on the paper or surface that I'm working on.

~If the background is going to be dark around it, I will impress my signature into the paper. This will help to save the white or light color. Then I will add more color around the signature to make it stand out more.

~If the background is going to be lighter, then I choose a darker color for the actual signature.
I will do this lightly at first. If its not neat enough, I will lift it off with scotch tape.
(See explanation below)

Now for the neatness part of the question. If I'm going to impress the letters into the paper, I will write my name on a small scrap of paper...I usually print my name to make it neater. But I may sign the scrap piece of paper several times before I decide if its neat enough. Then I will lay the scrap of paper with my signature onto my paper, then trace over my letters, using enough pressure to impress the letters into the paper. When you color over it, the color will skip over the impressed lines, leaving them the lighter color.

If you already have color on the paper, you can lift some of the color off the paper. The way to do this is to lay a piece of clear scotch type tape onto the drawing and write the signature onto the tape and this will lift off the color off where the tape is pressed onto the color. (This takes a little practice and a sharp pencil point.)

Another question that I was asked is, 'Is there anything that you apply on top of it to preserve it?' My answer is yes. I spray a few (3 or 4) light coats of Winsor & Newtons Artists Workable Fixative. Some colored pencil artists will use a glaze on top of that. So far, this is all I've used.

Another thing that I do to finish a piece, is to sign and date the back of the piece. I will also take one of my business cards and write information on the back of it: Title, size, medium, and date. I will later record who purchases the piece. This is for my records. I will also fill out another card that goes with the artwork to the new owner as a 'certificate of authenticity'. I believe that some artists will print out an actual certificate for this, possibly with a small photo of the piece.

So, if you have any other tips or suggestions, please feel free to comment. Thanks!


  1. First things first! I love that pic of the snow! We just moved to NY 6 months ago and I'm totally mesmerized with the stuff... Can't get enough of it!

    You are such a doll and I truly appreciate you taking the time to address my questions very thoroughly.

    Hubby and I are taking a time out back home in TX at the moment but as soon as we get back to NY I will be putting your suggestions to great use. Thank you so much Beth, I truly appreciate your generosity.

  2. No problem Debbie! Enjoy your visit home. Its always good to go home for awhile!

  3. Thanks for taking the time to publish your process of signing and preserving a piece of art. I appreciate this information. Your generosity for sharing is noted.

  4. Look at that snow!

    Nice article on finishing your artwork. That's something I haven't seen discussed before.

  5. Thanks for dropping in Fannie.

    Hi Cindy. I'm sure that 'big' snow for me is just a 'little' bit of snow to you! haha

  6. I'm glad you're enjoying your snow. Personally, you can have it! ha ha But it IS pretty to look at.

    Thanks for the tutorial on how you sign and finish your pieces. I learned a couple things!


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