Tuesday, June 12, 2012
What's in a name?
Some paintings seem to name themselves, while we struggle with others forever before finally slapping something, anything on them to differentiate them from the last one painted.
So how important is a title to a painting? Its pretty important for both artist and viewer. For the artist it becomes a part of the piece, describing an emotion, a place, a memory and it serves well as a reference point in inventory. How many "Red & Blue" or "Untitled # 8"'s can you have without having a clue what they are visually in the future? Its a gallery nightmare to have untitled paintings in stock.
For the viewer it becomes a direction signal into the process and placement of the painting to help them understand the piece more, even though they will create their own story around it.
Titles for most paintings fall into place at around the halfway mark, when the direction of the piece is known and coming together more clearly. Sometimes a title comes first, then a painting to represent it, but that's less the norm. And then there are those orphans who end up as completed works but with no name attached to them. Those are the challenges to name without reverting to 'Untitled' again.
Painting titles range from sentimental phrases to obscure references with meaning only to the artist. Whatever the association, its helpful to have something that gives the viewer a direction without revealing too much of the thought process and allows them to create their own thinking around the image.
The above painting, Metamorphosis, is 24" x 36" on gallery canvas. The image isn't wonderful, taken early in the morning withe sunlight filtering across it through the blinds. But the colour is fairly true and the final image will be taken in better light soon.
It is quite abstract, but still represents water. I used a palette knife to apply thick layers of oil paint and to give texture and a split of hot colour to contrast the blues.
Why is it called Metamorphosis? I'll let you create your own story around that...