Thursday, July 8, 2010

"What's in a Name?"

According to the poet, "a rose by any name would smell as sweet." That's good because naming a painting is quite hard for most artists. Some choose not to name at all so as not to influence the viewer's perception. Hence the amazing number of Untitled's out there. Others simply describe their painting as Cecilia Beaux did in "Man with Cat" or label it with the subject's name, "Madame Georges Charpentier," the title of Renoir's complex portrait of Madame, her children, their dog, and a few treasures from Madame's Parisian apartment.

Then there are the artists who let someone else do the job. For instance, Andrew Wyeth's wife, Betsy, named most of his paintings.

Perhaps the most dangerous, but potentially the most fun, title is the witty one that suggests layers of meaning. It's dangerous because it can be just too, too cute, imply something the artist never intended, or simply miss in the wit department. One practitioner of the last method who seldom if ever misses is the contemporary artist Carol Marine. The fruits and vegetables in her still lifes burst with character and personality that's often reflected in her titles.

What's in a Name? is an open studio 14x11 oil.


  1. Beautiful painting, and very interesting insight about the titles. As a viewer, I am sometimes slightly annoyed by "untitled" works - just because I'm thinking, "couldn't you at least tell us what this is or try to define it in some way??" There's always an intense curiosity for me about how an artists sees his or her own work.... what does it mean for THEM? Ultimately, though, I like the idea that MY perception of it (what it means to ME, the viewer) is paramount. I guess that's the whole point - to show the world something from your eyes and then have it affect everyone in a very different, personal, and unique way?

    In any event, I very much love the idea of getting a glimpse into the mind of a real, talented artist like yourself. Great idea for a blog and fabulous first entry.

  2. Lovely painting, and I'm fascinated by what you say about titles. I had never thought about the reasons behind not titling them before! Wonderful to see your blog, and I look forward to learning!

  3. Dear Raquel and Frankie,
    Thank you for your wonderful comments.
    I think I will be the one learning the most through this blog!

  4. In addition to being a wonderful painter you write beautifully! I, too, look forward to more from your blog!


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Pieces by (clockwise from left to right) : Susan Harlan, Janet Garner, Shirley Fachilla, Mike Martino and Topper Williams. So many ...