2018 Workshop Schedule. New workshops added! click here for details.
Visit my Patreon Page for more painting instruction

Friday, September 05, 2014

A Great Resource for Painting Titles

'No Question of Whiteness'           6x6        pastel       ©Karen Margulis
Some love it and some loathe it. Giving a painting a title can be a challenge that I really enjoy. I admit some of my daily paintings get the lazy title approach. You know, the generic....'Green Meadow in Morning' kind of title. Some days I just don't have it in me or have the time to reflect and find the perfect title for my daily paintings.  But when I do have time I relish finding just the right title to suit the painting.

One of my favorite resources in just a click away. Our friend Google!  That's right I simply turn to Google to help me find a title. My favorite thing to search for is POETRY.  I like to find poems about my painting subject. I read through the entries until a line of poetry speaks to me. Just a snippet.... a few words that express what I am trying to say in my painting. I love to find just the right word or words to sum up my picture.

Today's painting is Queen Anne's Lace  which is done on black paper with only black,white and gray pastels.  I did a google search for 'Queen Anne's Lace Poem'.  The first entry was to the website for the Poetry Foundation and a poem called 'Queen-Anne's Lace by William Carlos Williams. Perfect!
I found just the words for my black and white painting. Here is the entire poem for your enjoyment:

Queen-Anne’s Lace

Her body is not so white as
anemony petals nor so smooth—nor
so remote a thing. It is a field
of the wild carrot taking
the field by force; the grass
does not raise above it.
Here is no question of whiteness,
white as can be, with a purple mole
at the center of each flower.
Each flower is a hand’s span
of her whiteness. Wherever
his hand has lain there is
a tiny purple blemish. Each part
is a blossom under his touch
to which the fibres of her being
stem one by one, each to its end,
until the whole field is a
white desire, empty, a single stem,
a cluster, flower by flower,
a pious wish to whiteness gone over—
or nothing.
William Carlos Williams, “Queen-Anne’s Lace” from The Collected Poems of William Carlos Williams, Volume I, 1909-1939, edited by Christopher MacGowan. Copyright 1938, 1944, 1945 by William Carlos Williams. Reprinted with the permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.

Source: The Collected Poems: Volume I 1909-1939 (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1938)


Dana Strotheide said...

Love this idea! I am so guilty of the "pink flower" style of naming, because I am often not inspired to anything more beautiful. I never thought of looking to poetry. It is such a simple and lovely idea. Thank you!

Lynn Norton said...

Excellent idea - agree with Dana - I too have been guilty of pretty boring titles for paintings. For the first few you can get away with it, but if one does the same subject a few times, you don't really want to put I, II, III afterwards, do you? Hadn't thought of looking at Google for poetry before. Thank you. Am I right in thinking that on a previous post you said that if you found a potential title somewhere, you wrote it in a notebook for future use - again a great suggestion.