How Do You Choose Titles for Your Art?

How Do You Choose Titles for Your Art?

On facebook I asked the question, “Do you have some great ideas on how to pick titles for your paintings?” I received a tremendous amount of responses. Here are some of those responses?
  • Song titles
  • Bible verses
  • Poetry
  • What the painting says to you
  • Wine (not sure if I was supposed to drink it or read the labels)
  • CD covers
  • Hold a contest asking the viewers what the painting means to them.
  • Song lyrics
  • Places or words about the painting, then find less common words to use
  • Find a small object in the painting to name the art, making the viewer search & look at the painting
  • Name a painting before you start to get the creative juices going
  • Use haiku poetry
  • A spouse names them
  • #1, 2, 3….
  • Locations in the case of landscapes
  • Write down an idea before you start, keeping that in mind as you paint
  • Color of pigments used included in the title
  • Tell the viewer what it is you want them to look at. the emotion, or the color, or memory… because they may not immediately see what you saw in it. It’s may be your one chance to tell them what to look at.
  • Descriptive, but as brief as possible
  •  Make three lists- 10 nouns, 10 verbs & 10 adjectives that might pertain to the piece. then use one from each list randomly
  • A title usually comes during the painting process
  • Working on a series, generate ideas before painting
  •  If I see or hear a word or phrase I like, I write it down making a list
  • Choose the emotion that it evokes in you.
  • Musical terms
  • Be vague with the location, let the viewer choose
  • Initial concept of the painting is the start. Keeping one idea almost names the painting

My thoughts: Locations are OK, but I think there needs to be descriptive words. A little poetry or emotion. Sometimes (often) my titles are dry and to the point. Emotion is a part of selling, titles are a part of that emotional connection.

The stories about your art are important too.  Questioning how you felt when you painted, what moved or inspired you?  How did you convey that, what do you want the viewer to feel?  All of these are important to get across to the viewer. I have always had trouble titling my paintings.

What started this conversation was taking a painting to the printer. We talked about marketing, titles, stories. He asked me the name of one of the paintings that I brought in. I couldn’t remember what I chose, so I said “just put it down as “Sonoran Sunset”. He just looked at me and didn’t say anything.

We started talking about titles, etc. He then told me that the title I gave him was very cold for a painting that he felt had a lot of emotion in it. I left thinking that I need to work a little more on this area. He also gave me a better name for my painting. I left with “Sonoran Blush” which I felt was much better and appropriate for the featured painting

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