Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Let This Be a Sign Unto You

If you ever happen to get a close look at the way I sign my paintings, you'll see more there than just my name.

The "Mark Junge" is followed by the date of creation -- nowadays without the copyright symbol. (I do put copyright notices on jpegs of paintings I post on the Internet as a way of discouraging lowdown slime from downloading and using my work without paying me for it).

I also include the Latin phrase, Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam. The translation: "To the greater glory of God." Catholic readers will recognize it as the motto of the Jesuits.

I heard many years ago that J.S.Bach used to write the initials "AMDG" on his manuscripts. That sounded like a good idea to me, and it seemed appropriate, not only in terms of my beliefs but in keeping with the 19th century American Hudson River School painters' philosophy where landscape painting was the ultimate expression of your reverence for God.

So--I started printing "AMDG" on my paintings, then eventually spelled it out as long as the painting was large enough to accomodate it.

Finally, I sometimes include designs based on Anasazi petroglyphs of desert bighorn sheep. I used to stick these on any large rocks that might appear in the immediate foreground, but lately I've just been adding them to the signature.

Maybe someday I'll simplify the entire signature process, and I often do on paintings that might be classified "modern." But most of what I do is traditional with a surreal twist, and somehow all of the above symbols seem to work as a sign unto you.

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