30" x 40" oil on canvas
Finding a title for a painting can go one of two ways.
1. The title flows, almost intuitively and fits the painting.
It can be an idea that's been floating around in my head for awhile or an emotional connection to something that the painting represents that will provide the title for the piece. Sometimes its even a song that I'm listening to while painting the piece as was the case in this one. "Sitting in the Morning Sun" was inspired by the Otis Redding song "(Sittin On) The Dock of the Bay".
Sitting in the Morning Sun 12" x 12" oil on canvas - SOLD
2. The painting resists being titled as if its life depended on remaining anonymous.
So what do I do in this case? I start analyzing elements of the painting that can trigger reaction in a viewer. It may be colour, or location. Sometimes the most obvious and the simplest things become part of the title.
If that doesn't work, I start doing some research on other paintings with similar subjects to see what their titles are. Its amazing how many paintings of a subject have the same name.
24" x 24" oil on panel, custom framed
My final trump card is the thesaurus. I put in words that reflect aspects of the painting then see what results come up. Its quite a good way of looking at alternate wording or may trigger other thoughts about the piece.
Throwing a piece out for public input on titles can provide results that can be worked with, but as the public don't have the same connection and insight to how the painting was created and what inspired it, suggestions may be based on common visuals only. i.e. black dog, red boat, etc. And while these can be good titles, try doing an online search of "black dog paintings" and see how many have the same name.
Creating a title that is meaningful to the artist and the viewer can be a challenge. Leaving a title as a number is a final resort but makes cataloguing very difficult for the artist, gallery and doesn't provide information that inspires viewers or helps them create their own story about the painting.