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Monday, April 02, 2018

Painting Titles That Work

'Cannot be Tamed'        9x9         pastel        ©Karen Margulis
available $155
Paintings deserve a good title. I admit that I am not the best at naming my paintings. Usually the titles are afterthoughts. And usually the titles are just descriptive like 'Morning Marsh' or Summer Meadow'. I do realize that titles should be given with thought. I know that when I like someone's work, I also look at the title and I am drawn to the more evocative titles. A title such as 'Kingdom by the Sea' is more interesting than 'The Sand Castle'. These evocative titles give me a little more insight into the artist and the painting. As Robert Genn says in his post about Painting Titles "... titles serve to confirm what's seen but also to add knowledge, insight, and a glimpse into the author's mind-set." Genn says artists should take the time to determine what they are trying to say with their paintings and if the titles they choose supports or detracts from their purpose. 

So today instead of naming my daily painting something generic and boring like 'Dunes by the Sea' (which was my first thought). I took a few minutes to think about what my story was for this painting. What did I want to say? What did I want my viewers to feel? For this painting it was all about the weather...the moody and somewhat stormy sky with hints of rough weather in the sea. It was about the wildness of the seashore. So I chose 'Cannot be Tamed' for the title. This fits my concept much better and when the title fits the concept it elevates the painting.

 Robert Genn talks about five types of titles we can consider: Sentimental, Numerical, Factual, Abstract and Mysterious. He suggests considering each kind for your painting and seeing which title type fits your intent the best. That takes time and effort but don't your paintings deserve it?

How do you name your paintings? It is a topic of discussion over in our Patreon FB group and I wanted to get some more input. Feel free to share your ideas in the comments.

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