Putzing along with this new painting, I find myself yet again occupied with the effort of discovering the right title. Yes, "discovering." The idea of freeing a sculpture from its imprisoning blocks of marble is not entirely crazy. Something draws artists forward, although occasionally it turns out to be an uncooperative white whale.
But it is worthwhile, I think, to consider why we take on a demanding project. Something - a thought, a hope - seeks expression; a good title can re-enforce that original implicit intent. More easily said than done.
I am content with many of my titles. “Rapunzel” was the only possible choice for the painting which was all about the hair. The “First Valentine” portrait series of mothers and babies commemorated the first of the great loves of our lives. “Perfect Obedience” showed a fawn hiding in plain sight, exactly as her mother had taught her. And “Day 3, First Light” caught one of those moments on a canoe trip when we are in flow with the rhythm of the wilderness voyage.
As you know, I have as many rotten titles as strong ones, the “Up, Up” series being a particularly fine example; I tried for the idea of soaring vistas but keep summoning the tune from “Up in the air, you junior birdsmen!” complete with finger spectacles.
And this current work is not proving any easier to name. The shot was taken from a low bridge on one of our favourite rivers. We had pulled the canoe up onto the rocks and into the coltsfoot on river right. Pointing upstream, it is tucked in behind the whitened bones of old downed cedars which lie in the shallows.
As I paint, I am musing about a break in a journey, or a temporary choice of land over water - stillness versus movement - while celebrating both. Don’t know yet. You will see a title appear on the website if inspiration visits. If you see something like “Half a Canoe” you will know that the verbal well is bone dry!