Finishing an Artwork with a Signature

The Funeral For Art

The whole creative process should be stopped, albeit temporarily at least for any artwork, when the artist signs the work. There were times as a young artist when one was in a hurry to sell out the artwork, wet paint and all, without even signing the work.

With age of course, the artist’s attitude to his work become more precise, more professional. There is a greater attachment to his work- these days it is a problem to sign out, to stop working on a piece.

Above is a charcoal drawing I made recently, last relaxing strokes at the end of a hectic day finishing two abstract paintings that I started last year(the paintings will be shown in a future blog)

Then I started work on my wife’s portrait(hopefully it will be her Valentine’s Day gift). I began this portrait last year after our wedding but somehow got stuck. Recently I eased out of the more regular small jobs that occupied my days to finish painting Uche’s portrait. When I put down the brush to rest, my mind wandered to the future, when I would have finished and signed the portrait. I thought with dread about how I would live out the rest of my days confronted by the flaws I would discover in the portrait. And I wondered if it would be safer to finish the painting and never sign it….(am not yet sure whether or not to sign as at the time of writing this blog)

Definitely there will be some criticism of the portrait from outsiders, and maybe a few praise words from family members…I may yet sign it. It wont be my last painting, it will only be the last painting I made on the day I sign it. I will live with it, albeit somewhat uncomfortably. I will survive it, and hopefully have another opportunity to make amends. No one painting can fully define the professional work and life of an artist. We artists are like the weather-we have our bad days and our good days. So lets grow older, sign off and bow out smiling.

                   Unfinished Oil Portrait of the Artist’s wife.


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