When I stand back and look at a painting that I have just finished, three things go through my mind: #1 relief, #2 gratitude, #3 dread of having to come up with a name for it.
I would prefer not to name any of them. Unfortunately, I have to because well…I have to. Not only because people prefer it, but because I need to have a point of reference for inventory and such. I guess I could just number them, but again – people like them named.
So I am forced to come up with something. Once I thought about giving them people names, like this painting is Gerald and this one is Tina, but when I mentioned the idea to Vincent he rolled his eyes SO HARD that I knew immediately it was a bad idea. Then I thought about the names they give perfumes like Obsession or Eternity and tried to think how I could adapt that to my paintings. I guess a painting named Infinity might be thought provoking, but I find these kinds of names burden a painting by forcing the viewer to try to find “infinity” in a simple landscape. That just gives me a headache. Not to mention the pile of pretentiousness it dumps on my shoulders.
I always feel sorry for those folks who have to name the paint colors for Benjamin Moore. How many names can you come up with for green? Wouldn’t it be funny if they threw out trying to make the color names sound appealing and just named them what the colors looked like? Color #2786: Mud, color #1253: Greasy Paper Towel (an off-white), or color #7869: Urine.
Luckily, since I choose pretty subjects, I don’t have to avoid using names like Garbage Dump or Oil Refinery. In the end, I usually just stick to basic descriptive names that relate to the work itself, like Autumn Pasture. This kind of name is simple and lovely, but can get a bit repetitive – hence my struggles.
It is one of those problems in life that I will probably never solve, but am indeed lucky to have.