Thursday, 4 October 2012

Finding the right title - elemental

Elemental II   9x9cm mixed media   ©2012 Lisa Le Quelenec

I did a lot of thinking about a title for this series of tiny works. In my sketchbooks are lists of words, ideas for titles, hurriedly scribbled notes made whilst in the middle of a painting. None of these seemed to fit. Quite a few words came to mind but none seemed to capture exactly what I was aiming for. I started to look at dictionary definitions which helped to clarify in my own mind, in words, what it was that I want to say. I often find titling work the hardest part of the creative process, to articulate the idea and to be succinct can be a big challenge. I want to give the viewer a clue as to what I am aiming at without dictating to them how they are supposed to respond. I find this is a tricky line to walk.

Elemental was a word that I had kept coming back to, below is the definition of  'Elemental' as an adjective from

'forming an essential or typical feature; fundamental... related to or embodying the powers of nature... (of an emotion) powerful and primitive...'

How do you title your works? Do you find it as hard as I do? Do you think titles are important? Maybe you think that all that needs to be said is within the work itself? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Elemental III   9x9cm mixed media   ©2012 Lisa Le Quelenec


Bruce Sherman said...

Hi Lisa!... This question keeps popping up... and yet the "why" of it eludes me!

We are landscape artists who choose to express our ideas and thoughts... usually using things from our environment.

If you follow the notion that one should paint what you feel and know... then the best ideas from the title might well be found in your heart... and not only in a dictionary as a source.

What inspired me to spend the hours I have to create this image. Somewhere in my inner discussion... or often during the actual painting... the title becomes clear.

In my own dealing with it... it usually works if I think of it as an inner part of the outward painting process. Does that make any sense to you??? Hope it helps you over the hurdle!

Thanksgiving thoughts from Canada .... sent your way!

Good Painting and Titling!
Warmest regards,

Bruce Sherman said...

Hi again Lisa!... I thought that I might revisit your site and add a further strategy for you in helping you to overcome this problem.

If you check out my archived posts and bring up the post "Coming... and Going" for July 15th, 2010 I speak to ideas that I use which might help them to overcome this very problem in my own work.

It is a natural part of the way I think and plan creatively... so I "assume" that it should come easily to others.. and I know... that one must never "assume."

Hope that this might help you out. You are so very creative... both visually and in your language.Just "be".... Lisa!

Good Painting... and Titling!

Warmest regards,

Lisa Le Quelenec said...

Hi Bruce, thank you so much for taking the time to give me such an in depth insight into your process for choosing titles. I enjoyed reading the post that you directed me to. For everyone else here is the link;

Every now and then I seem to go blank when faced with titling a piece or series of pieces. (This time I think it was particularly hard as I hadn't actually made all the work needed for the exhibition and I've an inkling that the series will continue to expand afterwards.) With this series it felt particularly important to have a very short and succinct title to go with such small scale works -hence the dictionary.

To verbalize the emotional reaction that prompts me to paint isn't something that comes very easily to me. I admire people who can. Blogging has helped in this as it has forced me to think more in this way. I don't really have an internal dialogue made of words, it's made up more of feelings for which words seem too limited. Can you tell how I am struggling now to explain? You have given me much food for thought.

Happy Thanks Giving my Canadian friend.