I've often wondered why Vincent Van Gogh signed only his first name. After this weekend, I think I know the reason.
Let me just say that I love my last name. Scarborough.
It sounds good. Rolls off the tongue in a nice way. You can even get a little snooty with it if you like: Scahhhborough.
It's problematic for some folks, however. They give it another couple of 'o's, an extra 'r', or even another 's' in the middle. As for me, I've never had a hard time with the spelling. The letters come together just like it sounds.
Let me just say that I have been a pastel artist for nearly 20 years. After a pastel piece is finished, I sign it using a school bus yellow, Ticonderoga #2 pencil. It lets me almost draw the name out, even allowing for a little flourish at the end. P Scarborough. I skip most of my first name. Twelve letters is enough to scrawl across the bottom of any painting.
A year and a half ago I took up with oils after a very long absence. The issue of my signature became, well, an issue.
Managing P Scarborough with a pencil is one thing. Getting it out of a size 0 paintbrush dipped in oil paint is another thing entirely. It requires a great deal of concentration to match up dipping/holding on to the brush properly/spelling the name/using readable penmanship skills.
It happened first a couple of months ago. Marcy, master framer at Graham Gallery, noticed first. There were only eleven letters in my signature. I had misspelled my own name.
Concentrating so completely on getting the brush to make all those curly lines, I neglected to actually read what I'd written.
Okay, hardy-har-har. So that painting is now worth a million because the artist didn't get her own name correct. But the thing is, that only works one time. And I did it again this weekend. Twice.
So, I appreciate Vincent's approach. However, I can see the same problems arising with my first name, Patricia. And using just my initial doesn't seem like a good idea. One lonely P on the bottom of a painting just seems to invite trouble. I'm thinking of changing my name to something more easily spelled with a brush. Maybe a symbol, like Prince uses. A swoosh would be excellent, but I think it's taken.
Would a thumbprint work?
White Bark, 5 x 7 oil, P. Scarborough (spell checked)