Collective Wisdom | Creating Titles for Your Artwork

Creating titles for your artwork

Coming up with great titles for artwork can be a real drag. Many artists feel like it’s more work to come up with a title than it is to create a masterpiece. If you were a natural wordsmith you would have become a poet, not an artist. So, the question is, do titles really matter, and how much time and effort should you spend titling your work?

From a gallery owner’s perspective, I can tell you that I do believe titles matter. A buyer wants to feel like that artwork they are about to purchase from you is one of your best ever – that it truly is one of your masterworks. They’re going to have a hard time believing that if you’ve called the piece “Untitled No. 427”. A good title becomes a part of the buyer’s narrative. A particularly good title will help sell the artwork. Conversely, a bad title can hamper sales.

So what makes a good title, and how can you come up with good titles without going insane? I have some suggestions, and I would love to hear yours (leave them in the comments below).

What Makes a Good Title?

Titling your artwork is a challenge because you have several potentially conflicting goals with a good title:

  • A good title will provide insight into your inspiration for the artwork, and may help the artwork tell its story.
  • A good title will leave room for the viewer to bring his or her own meaning and interpretation to the artwork.

Additionally, a good title will

  • be memorable and catchy
  • be original (or at least as original as anything can be in a world where nothing is ever truly new)
  • not be too cheesy

How to Come up With Titles

So the goal is to come up with a great title – but how does one do it? After having dealt with tens of thousands of pieces of art and having spoken with hundreds of artists about titles, here are some ideas that might help:

  • Start with the obvious – if there are elements in the artwork that are key focal points, use those elements as a jumping off point.
  • Was there a driving emotion or inspiration that lead you to create the work? If so, try and draw a title from that inspiration.
  • Is there an underlying story behind the work? Try to clue the buyer into the story with your title.
  • Try to put yourself in your viewer’s shoes – what will they see when they look at the work? What do you want them to focus on?
  • Keep it short. While there are obviously exceptions, if you need a 30 word title, you are probably doing something wrong (and maybe you should have become and author instead of artist!)

Coming up With Titles can Become more Difficult over Time

This all sounds great in theory, and will work for the first dozen or so pieces an artist creates, but what about after you’ve created hundreds of pieces? Eventually you are going to run out of creative, unique titles. To combat this issue, try to come up with a naming system. I’ve known artists who look to poetry or mythology for inspiration. Having a dictionary and thesaurus around can help. Get help – my mother helps name most of my father’s paintings.

Examples of Great Titles

Here are some examples of works that I feel have strong titles.

Lorri Acott, an artist I represent in my gallery is a master of titling her artwork. Here are a couple of the best examples of her titles.

Who Rescued Who? by Lorri Acott

Who Rescued Who? by Lorri Acott 

The piece of sculpture is fun and engaging by itself, but the title adds a whole new layer of meaning to the art. Last night at artwalk I observed a couple looking at this piece.

“Look at this one,” the husband said.

“I love it,” replied the wife.

“Now look at the title.”

“‘Who Rescued Who,’ Oh, I love it.”

“The title makes the piece.” Said the husband. The wife agreed.


Conversation with Myself by Lorri Acott

Conversation with Myself by Lorri Acott

Again, the title makes you stop and think, and the more you think about it the more intriguing you find the piece.


“Okay,” you are saying, “so there are a couple of brilliant examples, but my work doesn’t lend itself to those kind of title fireworks – how about some more down to earth examples?”

You have a point – here are some strong, but simpler titles:


Aspen Elegance by John Horejs

Aspen Elegance by John Horejs


Commitment by Guilloume

Commitment by Guilloume


Chicago to Arizona by Dave Newman

Chicago to Arizona by Dave Newman


Desert Flame by Joshua Dean Wiley

Desert Flame by Josh Wiley


What are Your Thoughts about Titles?

Do you struggle when titling your artwork? Have you come up with a great system for titling your artwork? What would you suggest to other artists who struggle with their titles? What are some of your favorite art titles ever? Share your experiences, challenges and ideas in the comments below.

Did you find this post helpful?

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About the Author: Jason Horejs

Jason Horejs is the Owner of Xanadu Gallery, author of best selling books "Starving" to Successful & How to Sell Art , publisher of, and founder of the Art Business Academy. Jason has helped thousands of artists prepare themselves to more effectively market their work, build relationships with galleries and collectors, and turn their artistic passion into a viable business.


  1. Fun topic, Jason. I have pithy, pun-laden titles for many of my paintings and my clientele appears to appreciate that. Often titles come to me even before the idea for the painting, giving me ideas for subject matter and composition. I keep a small notepad by my easel, and sticky note pads everywhere, to write down ideas when they pop in my head.

  2. I actually love coming up with titles for my artwork. I feel they are an integral part of the artwork. I often do a meditation where I gaze at the painting and let ideas, words and concepts float around. When one or two strike me as interesting I go to my computer thesaurus and start bringing up words until I get something that clicks. Sometimes it’s very quick. Sometimes it takes awhile. On occasion I’ve put my painting on Facebook and asked for suggestions. That usually leads to something interesting.

    1. I completely agree with you on this, Carrie. This is a perfect application for meditation. I use that word from time to time, and most people look at me as if I just said the most hippie thing they’ve ever heard. I’m a very firm believer in meditating, eliminating the distractions of hustle bustle noise, and letting the thoughts manifest themselves.
      Art is art, and good art has been given the time necessary, however long that may be, to be completed in totality. The title is just as important as the work that it identifies (I might even venture to say the title may even be slightly more important than the work). Just as long as we always remind ourselves that art is art, it’s not a microwave dinner. It’s finished when it becomes readily obvious to its creator that it is finished. Really liked your answer here, Carrie. Good stuff!

  3. Good topic… and one I struggle with many times, especially after creating well over 1000 pieces of art that needed to be named. Several years ago I decided I should have some kind of system. So I did as you mention above about a poetry book. And, I have used a thesaurus to help with slight variations of words. My best antique Victorian poetry book is the source when I remember to use it. I saw the back of the book had a directory of phrases to help one find what poem it was in. So I created a document of 100 phrases, after reading those phrases in the back of the book. Just using two words or three out of a phrase was ambiguous enough to spark the imagination. Gave me some great phrases that could be tweaked for a title.

  4. Hi Jason, I will tell you. If I am painting a scenery, it’s an easy title for me as I name it after the place I’m painting, i.e. Tenn River at Spring City Tenn., found in my scenery gallery on my website. I normally paint places I have visited and taken pictures to paint from. However, when it comes to my abstracts, those are the hardest to figure out names for. I need to be really creative as all my abstracts have many hidden pictures in them and depending on which way you hang the abstract as to what you see in the artwork. All my abstracts can be hung four different ways so I need to come up with names to fit it. There have been times it takes me months to figure out a name. Like you said above, takes longer to name than to paint.

  5. Music is my inspiration when it comes to naming my paintings. Not in the way of naming them after songs, but the way a song title is named. Sometimes it’s obvious what the song is about by the title, other times it’s just a little hint but doesn’t give too much info so you can decide for yourself what it means.

  6. Jason

    I’ve indeed struggled with titles as I thought they should have some deep, philosophical connection to the viewer. Now I don’t worry op much about this and work with the title that pops into my head, I record it in my sketchbook snd look at it over a few days. Often I find that I have a title before the piece is completed; when the artwork matches the title, I’m finished.

  7. Great topic, I actually have tried different ways on this subject. I often come up with the title while I am creating a piece. I also have been”stuck” and go with something obvious. Thesaurus has been a good stand in. Having observed this subject also on forums of different platforms that I partake in. It seems some artists do not title their as they want the “client” not to be led astray but to discover their own title for an artwork. I have also found that sometimes if a piece isn’t really moving I may rename it and then it often sells.

  8. This is very good and useful advice. “Untitled No. XX” is always a terrible title. In my case, my son is a creative writer. He complained about some of my clunky, perfunctory titles and he came up with some great suggestions. So if any of you artists have writers in the family, tap into that resource!

  9. I don’t know if my titles are good or not, but I’ve found that the more I agonize over it, the more difficult it becomes. Usually something just pops into my head as I look at the finished or almost finished piece, and I go with it. I try not to second-guess this initial reaction.

  10. I keep a list of attractive words and poetic phrases in the Notes section of my phone. When I am reading a book or anything else and come across a word I like, I enter it then and there. Simply reading through the list when I am naming a work seems to stimulate the right title. For example, I entered “flame” after reading your article, Jason.

  11. One of the strongest elements for naming an original artwork is emotion. Begin here. Another strong element to name artwork is where it takes you the artist upon observing it once it is set aside for a while; if the art work has a rightness to it then it will speak to you.

  12. When I am working on a series, I keep an ongoing list of words that standout in the research I do for the body of work. Then, as I am painting I will look back at the list and start playin with words. If I get stuck, I will work with a thesaurus.

  13. I recently prepared for a solo exhibit. What helped the most with titles and with the whole show was a theme: Prairie Images: The Way I See It. Not only did I keep a consistency with the the paintings but also this theme provided me with titles.

  14. When it comes to naming my paintings some come easier than others. I just relax and wait until the title comes to me through my intuition, which is how the piece was created in the first place. It became confusing to just reference the images by the titles so each piece is numbered as well. The number includes the year it was completed which also helps with inventory. Thesaurus is a great tool to come up with names that are not so obvious.

  15. I attend a spiritual center and write down titles that come to mind from inspiration from the music and lessons presented each week. Sometimes I look at a title and get an idea for a painting. Other times, I look at the completed piece and look down the list of titles to see which one jumps out.

  16. I like doing a “creative session” with my partner and another creative friend … kind of like an ad agency, where everyone throws out ideas until something gels.

    At Titling Time, I usually have a fair number of finished pieces that need titles.

    We make it a bit of an event. I pick up some quality Scotch (this is how I get interested participation from others – well, ok, I like it too) and we prop a group of pieces around the room with enough space between so that we can focus attention on each piece.

    I tend to free-associate and introduce a lot of feeling, music or memory that the piece evokes. Some of my favorites that arose from that kind of thinking were “Essence of Firebreather” – for an abstract, fiery piece, – or “2am at the No-Name Bar”. No explanation necessary.

    My partner is a literalist (is that a word?). He likes to have imagery and bring something to it either from myth, legend, or literature. He’s done some really stellar titles, my favorite being my first underwater abstract with a couple of weird shapes, which he titled “Pequod, Beneath” (Pequod was Ahab’s ship, in Moby Dick).

    My creative friend lends balance to the two of us and is not afraid to let us know if something is ridiculous. Mostly, we bounce the titles back and forth. Some get shot down, some just sing.

    Titles sell work. I was exhibiting at an art fair, when a cute Scottish Jazz singer zeroed in on “Pequod, Beneath”. Turns out that snorkeling was one of her favorite past-times and she loved the underwater feel – but when she read the title, it clinched it. She was also a reader. “Pequod, Beneath” happily resides in Scotland, and spawned a whole new series for me, too.

    ps don’t try this with gin martinis

    1. Linda… my husband and I do a similar thing if I’m stuck for a name… so fun that I often find us having a ‘session’ when I’m pretty sure I already have a title. I love the scintillating, stimulating back-and-forth of it. Wordplay!

      1. Exactly! The titles end up imbued with that sense of wordplay, the fun and sometimes unexpected seriousness and always meaningfulness of the session! Glad you have a willing partner, it makes it fun.
        ps I love your last name. I’m assuming that wasn’t from a Titling Session?

    2. What a great idea. I could see a having a titling party in my future with friends and neighbors. It may also be a great way to get them involved and introduce new pieces for them to talk about before I have shows or open studios.

  17. I would rather just number mine. I have too much else to stress over. And I am not clever with words. I would just ruin a sale. But I am not good enough for a gallery yet so I am going to just worry about other things….like learning to speak in color. Then when I get good enough I will make somebody else title them so I don’t lose sales.:)

  18. I always name the piece AFTER I complete it, never before or during, even though I might be subconsciously thinking about it of have an idea of what it is about before I begin the painting. Some are easier to title than others, that’s for sure. I don’t have a “system” but try to do it more organically. When I hear a word or short phrases that I like, I have a list on my phone that I add to. Then when I need a springboard, I have some ideas handy.

  19. I’m torn here. One of my closest artist friends likes to use tongue-in-cheek humor, creating “situations” for his still life arrangements. I find his titles to be trite and leading. I usually devise titles for my abstractions while in process. The titles might be descriptive or they might describe a feeling I’m having while painting. If I’m stuck, I’ll ask my partner. She’s a creative writer and has a good sense. BUT, my artist friends gripe. Some find my titles distracting and say I should use “Untitled” or “Abstraction,” etc. So, in the words of Rick Nelson, “You see, ya can’t please everyone, so you got to please yourself.”

  20. Except for my “Experimentation” series (which are numbered and always 16×20), I am strictly an ideasthesia painter….meaning I am only inspired by things I hear – music lyrics, poetry, talk radio, a random conversation. I see color and form when I hear words or music….therefore, I always have the title before I have the painting. Instead of a sketchbook, I keep a small spiral where I write down things I have heard that inspire me.

  21. I am a landscape artist, so for me it is perhaps a little easier to come up with a title. Although i suspect that my method could be adapted to any subject. I start by writing a very short description of what drew me to the scene and how i feel about what i was trying to capture on canvas. Out of this will most of the time come a short phrase that captures in words a title that i can work with.

  22. Had a giggle at what you said: “If you were a natural wordsmith you would have become a poet, not an artist. ” I have it easy because I am a poet AND an artist.
    Yes, a great title is important. It’s like naming your children. Helps you sell them. Err… wait…not an expert on that. Excellent ideas, Jason. Definitely do not call them all “Untitled “. That’d be like the mother who went to the Welfare Office with 14 children, all named “Harry”. The clerk was dismayed. The mother explained: “it saves time; you just call ‘Harry, dinner!’ and they all come running!” “But what do you do,” the clerk inquired, “if you want to address them individually?” “That’s easy,” replied the mother, “I just call them by their last names”. So there. Moral of the story: use at least two words. And make sure they are different. 🙂

    1. Too true Daniel. I’m surprised how few have mentioned the importance of naming to be found among the millions of online art works available. I’ve been daily painting for three years, so I have nearly 1,000 pieces of art and each one has a unique title. I started out with names like “Curiosity” and “Passion” but soon found that non-descriptive works didn’t sell as fast even with careful SEO. It’s probably less crucial if you sell mainly from galleries and shows, but online you need to use every advantage to stand out. I don’t have any trouble finding names because I’m also a published author and the paintings seem to name themselves shortly before I’m finished. However, I’m very careful to include one descriptive like “Rose Sorbet” or “Fish Soup”. One of my very best paintings has not sold in 3 years and I’m convinced it’s because it’s called the generic “Gaia Energy” rather than something like “Flower Power”.

  23. Very informative article. Giving Title to an artwork can be very challenging, especially if one is creating a whole lot of artworks on a similar subject. Reading the replies as above, I realised that a lot many artists follow very similar steps. Many a times the title comes easily to mind. When it does not, then I keep it aside for a while. Later I go through Thesaurus , or through beautiful poems on similar subject. I also go through popular sites which sell paintings and refer to titles of different paintings. Some word, some phrase connects to my painting and I make a small note of it and later on modify it. This way I know that the onlooker will be able to feel and understand the painting better. The Title , I feel should be able to help tell the story of the painting.

  24. I love this topic! I have fun coming up with titles for my paintings that are interesting yet not too “out there.” And your dad’s aspen painting title made me laugh because I have paintings titled “Aspens Ablaze,” and “Aspens Inspired.” I paint a lot of aspens in our region of northern British Columbia where sometimes it feels like we only have two kinds of trees!

  25. Insightful….thank you and the painting by John Horejs… of the aspens…. is beautiful….very fresh. Your father (I’m assuming as you said your Father is an artist)…is very gifted, Jason.

  26. I actually enjoy titling my work, and I tend to use the core subject as a jumping off point. I try to incorporate a poetic slant into my titles, and not re-stating the central subject or theme. IE: I have a small series of boats on the water during fireworks celebrations paintings that never mention the fireworks which are central to the painting(s). One was “Lighted Boat Parade”; another and larger one was “Lighted Boat Parade- Vallejo”, Vallejo, right across the bridge from me has a lighted boat parade, but no fireworks, so I added a bunch. Being from east coast/midwest, I have seen quite a few of these. Another was an over the top / bordering on pure abstraction piece; a tribute to the over the top fireworks by the Rossi Brothers for the WEBN Labor Day fireworks celebration in Cincinnati. The piece was titled “Mouth of the Licking”, which sounds leading, but refers to the junction of the Ohio River and Licking River where most of the fireworks barges were parked.

  27. This is a perennially interesting topic. I am a landscape painter, and for years have just named a painting for the place I painted it: for example ‘Tree at Needles Overlook’ or ‘Cliff at Comb Wash’. I did this because when I see a landscape I like, I want to know where it is. After a previous discussion of titles in one of Jason’s Google Hangouts, I changed my approach to naming, using more evocative titles. The two paintings above were renamed ‘Dancing on the Edge’ (the tree looks like a clifftop dancer) and ‘The Sharp Edge of Time’. The paintings are now generating more interest and sales. People tell me they like the titles, which they never mentioned before.

    1. YES Lynn! “Tree at…” or “Cliff at…” do absolutely nothing for me. But even without seeing your images, “Dancing on the Edge” and “The Sharp Edge of Time” evoke all sorts of imagery and feelings in my mind!

  28. Even when I’m painting a landscape, whether in the studio or en plein air, I rarely (if ever) title the piece after the place I’ve painted. For example, I did a painting of a canal in Venice that had a small restaurant along the edge of the water. Title? “Table for One”. Another landscape of a local pond with a fence along the treeline was titled “Fences Make Good Neighbors”. Usually the names seem to come to me during my painting sessions, or immediately after. I did post one painting on Facebook and asked my friends for their suggestions; many of them were very good. Once I started my resin paintings, however, I struggled with names because they were abstract. Since then, I’ve taken your advice, Jason, and started working in a series. That’s been making it a little easier. I love the ideas here about using poetry, songs, a thesaurus, etc. All great ideas that I may look to for future paintings.

  29. I titled a piece “Biodiversity” and the potential buyer liked the painting well enough, but he couldn’t get pass the title which became a political challenge to his world. The painting is still with me.

    1. Someone who owned an art gallery once told me not to be political with my title. I don’t quite agree with that because art is a form of expression and the title I feel, should be what the artist wants it to be.

  30. Great Blog! Insightful and inspiring as always!
    I have found that 1 or 2 word titles carry the most power
    and have the greatest impact.
    Now, I have to update an old website. Having an out of date
    site , with none of the new paintings for 2 years, is doing more
    harm than good……… regardless of a Good Title.

  31. But what about works in a series? I paint succulents, and at first I used the species name as the title, but then I ran across a couple of gorgeous plants that I absolutely could not identify, so I started numbering. Admittedly, “Echeveria Agavoides” gives more information than “Succulent # 42” but for me at least, numbering has been a godsend and it hasn’t hurt sales.

  32. Great subject and article. I start a piece with a title in mind. I ask my self how do I feel about the title and the piece. Art is about feeling and the two need to be in sync. There are a few times after I finish the work that I change the title.

  33. I’ve been working in series the past few years. When I ponder my inspiration I try to encapsulate the experience at the outset into one or two words or a brief phrase. My home is in a multicultural city, so linguistic possibilities provide many more options… but I have to admit it’s easy to get carried away. One recent series I titled ” Cambio” which means “I change” or “change”. The concept was related to images of models backstage preparing for a show , changing & running to the stage, runway. Most paintings in the series were small dramatic images of figures moving quickly from the darkness into the light. During that time I had also been travelling in Italy and as well experiencing remarkable personal change; but while the paintings were of actual events the images communicated how I was feeling at the time. Titles can also be important when they open a dialogue between the costumer & the artist. The title “Cambio” did just that. It gave many opportunities to discuss the story behind the work.

  34. Titling… it can be a bane or it can be exhilarating. I do close-up nature photography and many images name themselves – or at least establish a groundwork – before I even set up the tripod. Others… well they’re the bane.

    As with anyone’s collective works, some of my images are,”lesser images”. These seem to tend to be the harder ones to name. Makes sense… they have less to say, they carry less emotion, etc. They evoke less in the viewer.

    I, too, get my SigOther to help. She can look at these images with a mindset different from mine and maybe see something there that I missed.

    In any case, try to use only a few words and leave it somewhat ambiguous or open-ended so the viewers can bring their own experiences and feelings to bear on each of their unique interpretations.

  35. My titles are part of a story, they are descriptors or suggest entry points into my work and how it came to be. I do not know if they are “good”, but they feel right for me and I do get comments that are positive about how the titles tie into the works. I think the list of Dos and Don’ts in this article are pretty good. Try them out and see what happens. The neat thing about titles that is they are only a few words… so lay some down and see how they fit. If changes are needed, then change them.

  36. Another interesting aside to my reply to Daniel, is that using foreign language in the title doesn’t work well when your customers are mainly in the USA. I speak several languages and often the most appropriate word is in one of them, not English which is much less colorful. When I give in to the urge I can almost guarantee the painting won’t sell. Luckily I’m currently opening up European markets so I can let loose more often.

  37. I paint a lot of local places, so place/date works for both description and uniqueness. Thing is, some of these are sketches, and some are larger works from those studies ( or, more often, photo sketches, since I carry my camera waaay more often than my painting kit). Can I be confusing people, using the same naming for both sketches and major works? Or is it useful to distinguish “real” subjects from invented scenes?

    (BTW, that’s a good subject for a column. Real views vs. invented scenes. I watch a lot of Antiques Roadshow, and for a lot of artists, they tend to rate paintings specific locales higher than generic scenes. But a lot of modern artists will rearrange a scene or create a completely fictitious one, either in the name of artistic license or to avoid claims of copyright infringement. So what to do?)

  38. I have several methods for finding titles for my work. One is to base it on the concept for the painting–What was my focus or purpose for the painting?–before I ever pick up a brush. This will often suggest a play on words, a song or poem title, or other recognizable allusion. In other cases, the title occurs to me while I paint–through the physical rhythms of the work, or from ideas that accrue during the process, or it argues with me what it’s all about and suggests its own name. Occasionally, though, I need to live with it a while before it tells me its name. If it’s similar to another painting I’ve done, or in a series, I’ll sometimes borrow the title of the original, and add a number (“Hidden Pond, #2”)

  39. Titles are fun to me. Typically they come to me early in the painting, sometimes even before when inthe midst of planning it, and are usually related to the center of interest in my paintings, particularly my horse paintings.

  40. Usually the title comes to me as I paint. Sometimes I even start out with the title as my inspiration. But I 100% believe that the title is an important part of the artwork.

    1. I frequently start out with a title as I paint. Sometimes I keep the title throughout, sometimes it changes midstream, and sometimes after completion. For me the title helps me paint the underlying concept, but I also have to remember to let the painting develop and not force it to fit the initial title. Most recently I painted one piece to be part of a triad. The titles were tied together. Then I chose not to paint the 3rd piece and the first piece became spoken for. Which left me with a sad little meaningless title for the remaining work. I wasn’t happy, and had trouble finishing the piece until I came up with a title that let the work stand on its own…

  41. When I started out, I was writing a haiku to go with each painting, and posted them online with images of the paintings. One person said that although the haiku were beautiful, they limited the interpretation of my abstract work too much – they didn’t leave the viewer any freedom. So I took them off the website. I seem to use places and events in my titles. Some examples have been ‘Mardi Gras Sunrise’, for a colourful, active piece, ‘Klondike Neon’ for a piece with lots of white and a little brilliant colour, and ‘Kites on Saturday’ for swirling shapes on a blue ground. My purpose is to radiate joy from my paintings, so I want the titles to do the same. A visitor to my studio asked about that last one, “Why Saturday?”, which told me he was really paying attention to the title! So I told him, “Because that’s the day I saw the kites dancing over the beach!” He enjoyed that image. As I paint and the piece begins to remind me of some experience I have had or imagined, I develop my own story around it, which leads to the title. One piece sold to a friend named Nancy before I had a chance to make up a title – so it became ‘Nancy’s Bouquet’, and giclee prints of it will carry the same title. I don’t know how ‘good’ my titles are, but they seem to help!

  42. As a landscape painter, I find that many clients want to know the location of my paintings. They do not want any river, they want the James River. They do not want ‘everymountain’ they want House Mountain. If my title reflects this, even as a subtitle, it is more meaningful to them. In the same way, a FILE name that includes the location is more likely to turn up in a google search. Often, people who are looking to buy art have a specific goal in mind. They will not search “beautiful rivers”, but ” Mattaponi River” or “James River at Richmond”. I’m not saying all, but many.
    So, while I love to come up with clever, thought-provoking, or humorous titles, I will include the location, IF IT IS PERTINENT TO THE PAINTING (the stand of trees beside my house would be an example of what does NOT need a site locator). I add a number to multiple paintings of the same view.
    This certainly applies to the description on my website, social media sites, and wall labels.

  43. Great article I always have fun with naming my paintings, making it a game that anyone can take part , I take a good image of my work put it on Facebook and ask the public to name it for me, sit back and have some fun . I always throw in a prize for the winner maybe a gift certificate or one of my limited prints , And it always gives you some great exposed. Asked them to share it.

  44. A buyer of mine jokingly asked me how I ever came up with the title “Brown Horse #3”. I told him he could call it anything he wanted since he bought it. He smiled and said, “Nope, it’s *saddled* with that name now.” I told him I agreed because I didn’t want to *stirrup* any trouble. It *spurred* me on to be a little more creative with my titles after that. 🙂

  45. I used to dread naming because my work is abstract and not easy to describe. I also, thought I wasn’t good with words…I found that isn’t true about myself. I now keep a note book with me in the studio and when words come to me I write them down. Later they evolve into titles. I just recently wrote a post about naming paintings and asked for ideas from my followers for fun!

    PS I really enjoy your posts… keep em coming!

  46. If I’m stumped, I found was listening to the lyrics of my favorite songs and making a list of phrases helps. My work has a lot of light, glitz and shine, so I found the phrases “Moments of Gold” and “Flashes of Light” fit perfectly. I’ve also found that these phrases can inspire me to do a particular piece. Also, words can inspire me: Bliss, Blessed, Prosperity, Passion, etc. Sometimes the title comes first, sometimes last – it’s all part of the process.

  47. If I’m stumped, I found listening to the lyrics of my favorite songs and making a list of phrases helps. My work has a lot of light, glitz and shine, so I found the phrases “Moments of Gold” and “Flashes of Light” fit perfectly. I’ve also found that these phrases can inspire me to do a particular piece. Also, words can inspire me: Bliss, Blessed, Prosperity, Passion, etc. Sometimes the title comes first, sometimes last – it’s all part of the process.

  48. After I displayed art in a couple of art shows I quit naming my art. I felt that it was too time consuming and took away from the enjoyment of other artwork that I could create. A friend of mine liked a painting I did and asked the name of it. I didn’t have one. I realize the importance of naming my paintings and will start doing this, but also do you have any suggestions as to how I would organize them? Is it O.K. to put the number on back of the painting along with the name? I have some acrylics but quite a lot of watercolor paintings in plastic sheets in books, but things can still easily become mixed up.

  49. These are really great tips on how to go about titling work. Thank you! It can be challenging, as some others have mentioned, to find a title that doesn’t pigeonhole a viewer into your own interpretation. Sometimes I try to choose a title that can be interpreted in more than one way, or I might give the title a twist so that it seemingly says the opposite, or at least something different, than what is depicted in the artwork. Examples: “Where the Wind Blows” has a raft that is at a standstill, “End of the Earth” sounds depressing but the artwork depicts joy, “The Caged Bird” has a girl in the cage, not a bird. Now I’m laughing ~ maybe I’m just making things confusing for people. Another thing I’ve done is post a new work online and asked people for title suggestions. Even if you don’t use any of them, it’s interesting to see what surfaces and it could spark a new idea or two.

  50. I rarely have trouble titling my work – here’s a little website that can get the ideas flowing when you’re stuck.

    Also, I keep a notebooks of potential titles to use… currently I am doing a series based on David Bowie song titles – some great inspiration there!

  51. Who Rescued Whom?
    Sorry…the grammar police have struck again.

    One would not say she rescued “he”.
    Or he rescued “she”.
    Hence: Who (he/she) Rescued Whom (her/him)

    This does not change the beauty of the work, but it is jarring to read the title.

  52. Hi Jason,
    If you are going to sell prints and cards of a painting do you think the title should be the actual place name if it is obvious to viewer or do you think that localises the market to that area?

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