I think titles are very important and I often begin a painting with just a title idea. Titles enhance the meaning of an artwork, or add mystery.
A recent painting that I created began with the title “Abandoned” and was based on some winter photos I had taken of an abandoned house east of Traverse City, MI. I wanted to express the lonely feel of the house and retain the palette of greyish blue-green and white with a touch of gold.
After a week of painting, there were 3 to 5 layers of paint on the surface because I tried 3 different versions of the house: measured and realistic, simplified and symbolic, exaggerated and emotional. I was unsatisfied with each attempt, so, in frustration, I glued a square cut from a watercolor over the house and painted some more. I painted from the gut with no photo references. Faces appeared, rising from my unconscious…no specific person or even gender…just souls. Now the original title no longer fit.
I said that aloud in class today…that I needed a title for a painting. One creative student took up the challenge. After I described the image, she suggested “Lost Souls”. Close, but the souls aren’t lost, so the work will be titled just “Souls”. Thanks Kate!