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Thursday, October 8, 2015

Best sources for names of paintings.

The unexpected comment is one of my best sources of names for paintings.  Just like a Journey Oracle card reading singles out images, aspects of nature and dream-like pronouncements that empower forces to speak that are beyond one's conscious control--chance is my favorite origin of painting titles. A name that both conveys a sense of my intended meaning and also provides insight into the mystery behind all art.

usual magic

This large acrylic painting completed during my tenure at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design had one of my favorites sources for painting names: the television.  While watching TV one evening I was suddenly brought to attention by an After Eight chocolate advertisement.  The announcer's voice said, "Catherine worked her usual magic at the dinner party...."  That's it!  A title that both captures my sense of nature, and also opens to the sensation that just beyond reach there is something more.  

What time is this?

What story is this?

These two drawings in colored pencil were completed as nature lessons for a young art student.  The titles are literally two assignments.  Can you look out at nature and say what time of year this is just by identifying the presence and condition of the plants you see?  Can you tell the story of the plants you see: their First Nations lore, medicinal uses and local mythology?

not an exit

While attending Martin Prechtel's school of spiritual ecology in New Mexico, I would go for walks to sketch the area cemetery. When standing next to the fence gazing at possibilities for a composition, a local man mistook my interest for trying to find a way through to the road beyond and said," There's not an exit from here, you know."

no more waiting

Later I was telling a friend about my work with Martin and how the study was changing my sense of purpose, especially with my work on the Journey Oracle divination deck, and she said, "There is no more waiting for the time to be soon, or better, or whatever.  Just do it now!" 

nothing is coming

My favorite name for a painting in this cemetery series is the one that I completed after I returned back to Cortes Island.  I asked my partner John what he thought would be a good name, and he said, "nothing is coming."  

The true magic of these three sketches is that no one title carries the full impact of the three pieces together.  When taken as one statement these three names certainly open to the sensation that something deeper and more thought-provoking is afoot.