Sometime in a previous life, a friend of mine out of New York who had been to many different galleries and museums growing up, asked me to ALWAYS title my art. She was beyond frustrated with all of the "untitled" work out there. How could you even communicate with someone else about a special piece if it was "untitled"? "Untitled" told your listener nothing.
More recently I learned that the title was one of the artist's tools for communicating about the piece... and if the artist chose not to communicate, then the viewer would extrapolate (or remain clueless about that random squiggle). That's not necessarily a bad thing, just a result as an artist you have to decide if you want or not.
Then I had my own real world experience... I named a whole series Filoli Rose 1, Filoli Rose 2, Filoli Rose 3... And guess what? Even I have trouble remembering which is which. It's one thing when you have just completed a series, but add a year or two and things get forgotten. (Cough.)
As a result of these tidbits, I've decided to always title (and be a little bit more original than 1-2-3...).
The nice thing is that right now, titling seems to come easily for me. Very often things happen in the world around me at the time I'm creating a piece. The feelings and the influences go into that painting... and words come back at me as I paint, coalescing into a title that just seems to work. It's very much a gut feeling process for me. It seems to balance out the fact that the composition of a piece can be so very planned ahead of time.
However, should I ever need assistance with titling, I know there are at least two great links where I could start. They go into more detail about the variety of things that can go into a title.:
Now I'm just left wondering... should I rename these Filoli pieces or let it go as the learning experience it was? -- R.B.