Saturday, August 10, 2019

8 ways to Title an Artwork


8 ways to Title an Artwork-HuesnShades


How do you title an artwork? 

These days I am in the midst of preparing for a show that is coming up next month and so I am not only engrossed in creating the works but also pondering on the apt titles for the same. I, for one, am not an advocate of “Untitled” which often point towards no-direction, lack of appreciation even culminating to not providing considerable thought to your own work (or else one needs to the blue-chip/elite artist to do so, just saying). It may sound a bit extreme but that is what I personally feel unless and until the work is so self-explanatory that it defies a title or maybe belittled/ shrunk/ compartmentalized by one.

Sometimes the titles pose themselves naturally even before I start to paint and at times I need to give it thorough thought.

So here are some ways (with some famous examples) you can come across a wonderful title:

1. The work itself suggests a title! Yes, it often does. The concept or what you are trying to paint/create often points toward a title, the obvious one.

Three Girls - 1935 - Amrita Sher-Gil
Three Girls - 1935 - Amrita Sher-Gil

2. The names of the prominent colours used in the work.

Red Poppy No. V -1928- Georgia O' Keeffe
Red Poppy No. V -1928- Georgia O' Keeffe

3. Suggestive/reminiscent of something/place etc.

Tuscany-1963-Helen Frankenthaler
Tuscany-1963-Helen Frankenthaler

4. Titles of literary works, movies or albums or even influenced by its authors.

Pére Ubu-1936- Dora Maar
Pére Ubu-1936- Dora Maar


Kara Walker on Toni Morrison
Kara Walker on Toni Morrison
cover of The New Yorker-9 Aug 2019

5. Song lyrics or a line from your own poem even meander through aphorisms. I use my own Haiku as titles for many of my paintings. It makes it a bit long but then I like it!


It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue- 2018 -Bob Dylan
It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue- 2018 -Bob Dylan


6. On feelings and emotions.


The Destruction of Life - 1974 - Louise Bourgeois
The Destruction of Life - 1974 - Louise Bourgeois


Misery – 1895 – Kathe Kollwitz
Misery – 1895 – Kathe Kollwitz

7. On historical events, day-to-day struggles and happenings, natural occurrences.


Salazar vomiting the homeland -1960 - Paula Rego
Salazar vomiting the homeland -1960 - Paula Rego

8. Series can have a single title, followed by a number or variations of the name. I have a series of 6 paintings called "Repercussions" but then each painting owns a Haiku of mine.


Infinity Net series - Yayoi Kusama
Infinity Net series - Yayoi Kusama 

Wave Returning- 2009 -Maggi Hambling
Wave Returning- 2009 -Maggi Hambling

There are several personal ways in which you may go about selecting a title. This is just what I follow when I contemplate on it. Please do share your ideas in the comments.



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Image courtesy: Google except for the title which is my own.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Art Exhibitions, Preparation and Practice

Often I take up some personal pet projects and try to work on it, that helps me to feel that I have done some work, worthwhile. It needn't be anything fancy, just something to get into my zone. Come to think of it, I have a lot of such projects in mind. Right now I am preparing for a group show that is coming up in September and is to take place in Lalithakala Akademi Gallery in Kozhikode (famous as City of Spices once upon a time), Kerala. It's quite near to Mananchira Square where you come across the sculpture of Musui as Terra-Fly by the eminent K S Radhakrishnan. People of Kozhikode are ardent fans of art and literature; the real connoisseurs, so I have heard! Shall share the pictures of my works when the exhibition opens up. Here's a teaser for now.

Girl with a Halo - Cropped detail
Acrylics, 2x2 feet 

Back when I was in Dubai in April, my daughter and I took a trip to Dubai Public Library nearby. We both found that it was a great way to unwind and get into our zone. It was quite satisfying if it had not been for the heat! This particular sketch was made there referencing a book, Pen and Ink Book by Desarae Lee. It's a wonderful keepsake and I do have it in my wishlist. 



PITT pens on Moleskine

So this illustration was carried forward into this painting of a buck and that led to the other two and "I see you" happened with gouache. You can see my other gouache works HERE. However, they aren't going to be included in my show though. These are done on Moleskine as a means to get into my full-fledged zone, to prep me up. It helps me to focus before going into my actual work.

 I see you-1

  I see you-2

 I see you-3


Finally, I would like to share the postcards I had sent to the New Hampshire Institute of Art's International Mail Art Exhibition, "Errors, Fakes and Oddities" held from 8 Mar to 14 April 2019 at Sharon Arts Center Exhibition Gallery in Peterborough, NH. Grateful to Murali Cheeroth for sharing the 'Call-For' which otherwise I would have not known. All the works can be found Here.



These were done on Indian postcards using Winsor and Newton acrylic inks and Pigmented drawing pens. The gold ink isn't that visible here though.

As usual, linking it to the Awesome ladies at PPF!


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