Curves and Dips, egg tempera on calfskin parchment, 5 1/4 x 6 1/2 in.
In all my years of painting, I've generally titled works very mundanely, using plain description: Right Angle, Grays, Rocks and Concrete, Red Tanks. That practice has continued with my textile and print works. I have to qualify that as "mainly", or "on the whole", because occasionally I've come up with a title that is more metaphoric, as when a few years ago I titled a painting of an open Ag-Bag Cornucopia, or a clutch handle Pyramid. Occasionally I can't resist humor, as in Middle Squiggle. On the whole, though, I prefer a simple title that doesn't push the viewer in a certain direction, but leaves her mind open to interpret the painting as she wishes. What I liked about this image, aside from the very saturated yellows, was the play of large curves with small ones, hence the title Curves and Dips (which itself is a little bit humorous). Now I'm going to admit that a couple of other titles were in the running, funnier and more imagistic: Clamp––as expressing the sense of the curve chomping down on the teeth below––and even more silly, Jaws. I've spilled the beans...but see what happens? now it's become a cartoonish image of a ravening fish. I don't at all mind if you see that painting that way (it's kind of fun), but I don't want to push anyone there. This is why neutral titles usually work best for me. What kind of titles do you prefer for your work?