A: Usually a title suggests itself over the course of the months I spend on a painting. Sometimes it comes from a book I’m reading, from a piece of music, a film, bits of overheard conversation. A title can come from anywhere, but finding the best one is key. I like what Jean Cocteau says about this:
One title alone exists. It will be, so it is. Time conceals it from me. How discover it, concealed by a hundred others? I have to avoid the this, the that. Avoid the image. Avoid the descriptive and the undescriptive. Avoid the exact meaning and the inexact. The soft, the hard. Neither long nor short. Right to catch the eye, the ear, the mind. Simple to read and to remember. I had announced several. I had to repeat them twice and the journalists still got them wrong. My real title defies me. It enjoys its hiding place, like a child one keeps calling, and whom one believes drowned in the pond.
Once I have the best title, I make sure it fits the painting exactly. How I do that is difficult to explain. It’s an intuitive process that involves adjusting colors, shapes, and images so that they fit the painting’s meaning, i.e., the meaning hinted at by the title.
Comments are welcome!