Monday, August 17, 2009


Every so often I will start a painting with a title in mind. Even more rarely, a title will occur to me mid painting. Though, a great majority of my paintings are painted, varnished, ready to pack up to be shipped out just in time to make it to their destination by the long ago established deadline.... only to be held up in the documentation stage as I desperately grasp for a title. I am in such a position now. These "works on paper" were due two days ago. They are finished and ready to go, ugh!

In my discouragement, I researched (googled) the process of titling paintings. I found a Canadian artist named Robert Genn who said,
"The right title makes a difference as to how a work is seen and understood. Not only are titles a bridge to the viewer, they are also part of the art and need some careful thought."
True enough, but I already knew that. Some practical advice, please. He divided titles into five categories: sentimental, numerical, factual, abstract, and mysterious. I think I tend to go sentimental, but I've been known to give a little mystery to my viewers on occasion. How tempting is numerical. I would feel irresponsible.

Let's use Robert's idea and do a little exercise.

1. Sentimental: Holding the Responsibility of the Village
2. Numerical: Village #3
3. Factual: Village on Woman's Head
4. Abstract: quaker Winter's eve
5. Mysterious: Frank had said it with Candor
I just came up with seven sentimental titles and they all suck. Sentimental, who needs it. No wonder I have a hard time titling, I'm too sentimental. I should try to be a more factual or numerical artist for efficiency sake.

**Update** I went with Village of Devotion Pretty sentimental, blech.


Brooke Bowen said...

I love the mysterious. Hmm.. who is Frank and what did he say that was so important to name a painting after?

J Brewer said...

The world inside/upon my head.

pamela said...

"beautiful painting" doesn't even cover it em. i wish i had better words. you're just getting better and better.

**and a crafternoon sounds like something i'd be highly interested in!
oct 10. sounds great. get me the details.

Cassandra Barney said...

That was an entertaining post! I've been titling today too. It's so hard.

megan said...

I like the abstract and the mysterious titles!

A Little Sass said...

What about "kink in my neck" hehe

I tend to be sentimental as well. Love the background on this one. It is going to be a great show!