Thursday, November 7, 2013

What's in a Name?

Walk Along the Berm,  Oil on stretched canvas, 11" x 9", November, 2013

Juliet asked. "What's in a title?" I ask.  A clue to what the painting is all about I imagine?

Titles annoy me; there's so many possibilities. Which one would  a viewer remember? Which one would make me recall the painting?   While I really think of this first small landscape in oil as Turn Left at The Sign, because that's how I'm going to remember where to turn to go down to the lake this summer, that title is too private.  So is  Walk Along The Berm, though it's the truth, and a bit more romantic, (a walk down any berM, lane, garden path is romantic). Titled categorically, this is Oil Landscape #1, not intriguing, not poetic, definitely not romantic,  but true as well.

Two titles I, as a viewer, recall:  Hand to Mouth which was brilliant for a relief sculpture of an arm, a shoulder and profile; and Hard as Stainless Steel, a pencil drawing of what I couldn't tell you. I don't recall the artwork that went with that last title, but the phrase always goes through my mind when I run into difficult situations calling for difficult decisions. I think the artist and I shared a world view.

I found it hard  to make the transfer from acrylics to oils. I threw away my first attempt, as you know from two posts ago--the one that looked like a cotton ball tree.  This one is a keeper.  The oil process is so very different from acrylics.  The drying time must be respected. No hair blowers allowed.  I used mineral spirits to speed it up, but after establishing the first values, I prefer a mix of half and half  linseed oil and mineral spirits. The paint is juicier and more malleable. I like the finish too.  --And God Bless my opposable thumb! It came in handy.  I used it for a lot more  than picking up the brushes and holding on to them. 

16 comments:

  1. Someone ( Elliot ? )
    wrote that it is difficult to give a name to cats ...
    it is also difficult to give a name to the paintings ... and the paintings in the life of a painter will always be much more numerous than cats owned by the painter himself .

    If I had my way, I would write directly to a sentence , a poem, a haiku or haibun (currently the coolest ) . I can not condense what gave rise to my paintings in three words . So I think my titles a bit ' disappointing compared to what it could be.
     I met a painter who , behind the picture , pastes a sheet with a series of sentences linked to the creation of the painting .
     . This painter is from Argentina and he tells me that in his country it is used like ...I will keep this ...


    Your painting is fluid , almost translucent , full of rhythm and color .... A name is just a name, because in the end , shapes and colors , tones, brushstrokes and transparency at the heart of the observer know how to tell it all and ... . beyond , dear Linda .
    (I hope the translator helps me to tell really that I would tell...)

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    1. It was actually great having completed a painting this week; it's been a long eight weeks of iPad drawings, pencil exercises and reading. It was wonderful having the problem of choosing a title. The translator did a fine job; I understood. A series of sentences about what brought about the painting sounds interesting and would be revealing.

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  2. What an astonishing painting! You surely jest when you name it Oil Landscape #1? And not painted for 8 weeks! The painting is a glorious celebration of nature. A joyous little gem! Good job.

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    1. Yes, it is. There is actual paint on a canvas, something that hasn't happened at my house is quite some time. Thank you! It is going to take a few more of these till I get the hang of working a landscape in oils, but landscapes are the way for me to get back in the groove. As for the title, I filed it as Hillpointe Berm, Fall 2013. Good enough.

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  3. Wonderful. Glad you are back to painting.

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    1. And standing while doing it too. The roll around secretarial chair was exhausting. The carpet made rolling around a workout, and to see what I was doing, I kept popping up and backing up to come back and pop down, which was exhausting too. I am thinking of following your example in January and attending open studio life drawing sessions. Your drawings are as inspiring as my new Van Gogh book; every time I visit, I want to reach for my charcoal.

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  4. A beautiful small painting! And wonderful title. Although I am going to look up "berm" now. I want to try oils (again) soon. It's been years and I didn't know anything of what I was doing last time. Need to buy them though, so it will not happen any time soon.

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    1. It was fun being back. My idea was to do something simple, no big deal. I did just that and learned a bit about using the brush and the paints in the process. The only oils I have came in the portrait set from Utrecht. I think they have a landscape set, but I used basic colors and mixed what I needed from them, very limited palette. I miss Thalo blue green and dioxinine purple. A berm is a border between two areas of land. It can be flat. It can be and most often is, a raised mound. This berm separates my street from the community nature trail. I cross it sometimes to walk along the path that borders the nature preserve. Sometimes I ride my bike. It goes through several communities. I stick in mine, for the farther you walk/ride, the farther you have to walk/ride back home. I'm not doing any marathons.

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  5. First ...I'm glad you're feeling better, Linda.!! This landscape is beautiful ..I love how you added those pinks and such an interesting post.. Painting is easier than naming it.. LOL!! sometimes its easier when it's a special piece.. when I paint a portrait, I can get away with just adding their name !!
    I hope to see more portraits...

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    1. The plan is to work my way back up to portraits. Landscapes are a little less demanding and a good way to ease back in. Thank you. As for titles, I'm a Capricorn. I say what it is--which this is technically two trees. How interesting is that? The interest to me was getting started again, using oils as I had never used them before and concentrating on which brushes were more effective in the small foremat. There's no title there.

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  6. beautiful painting...yes...! I love the gorgeous colors! I don't like naming paintings....but I guess it must be done! :)

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    1. I agree. But it can be fun. Maybe, just write a bunch of possibilities on scrapes of paper, put them in a hat and have the next gal to pass you on the street pull one?

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  7. This is gorgeous, Linda! The colors of the leaves, the passion in your strokes ...!
    What else DO you do with the opposable thumb??? :)
    Hugs to you
    Kath

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    1. Thanks Kathryn. And don't forget the value of your thumb nail. Excellent tool--particularly with oils and acrylics, but it has been useful with scoring watercolor paper as well, well to make a well. :-))

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  8. Hello Linda!
    I am so glad to be back on line and have access to the internet. Just returned from a Western Caribbean cruise. Great time but problems with getting on line. I missed staying in touch with all my art blogging buddies and posting my work!
    So very happy to be able to visit your wonderful blog again!
    I love, love love, love the colors in this beautiful painting! Fall and winter are my favorite seasons. Of course I do love spring and summer too!
    The colors in this work are blazing! The oranges and reds jump off the canvas. A real "Wow!" factor! A visual feast! Exciting and Bold!
    I agree with your thoughts on titles. I love your definition of a painting title. I will keep that in mind when I am required to title a work. Most of my work is untitled. I do eventually give them titles for organizational reasons and also to introduce the viewer to the work! It is hard for me to title my work mostly because like you wrote there is so much information. And most of my visual info is random. I seldom have a definite plan for my work. Never mind a title.
    I am so happy you were able to do some walking! Good for you. I love all your fall photos. I so much love your Van Gogh photos! Love the book too! I love Vincent's work so much!
    I am glad to be back home! So keep on painting and blogging! Take care Linda!
    Your art buddy!
    Michael

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    1. I'm glad you're back too. It's funny about vacations, i love to go, but I also love where I'm at and what I do everyday. Were off to Mexico in a few weeks. So far in my suitcase I am taking my watercolor supplies, my camera, my swim noodle and our water volley ball. I need my toys more than clothes. I'm also taking some sheet music--I've come a long way with Beethoven's Pathetique and there must be a piano somewhere in the hotels where I can keep up what I've accomplished so far. And, of course, some reading materials-- like Van Gogh's Letters to Theo. With all that, who needs clothes? A change of scene does wonders. We can only pack a little of who we are. So I really understand how nice it is to get back home to ourselves. Welcome home Michael. Those are really wonderful watercolors. I hope I can follow your example of simplicity; your paintings were elegant. Happy painting friend.

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