Thursday, October 27, 2011


With all the titles being shared with "caws" added in them, it was fun to think of painting many of them :)  But I have a question for you all:  Is the title as much your creation as the painting/drawing??

The best title I've come up with was for a painting I'd tried 5 times and never got right until I painted it on Tyvek (the stuff Myrna Wacknov uses that is the construction wrapping for houses). It was a painting of cows at a feed trough with their behinds towards the viewer and I called it: Dairy Aires

Say it out loud - get it! ha ha ha ha
When I was struggling with the painting, I shared it online with a watercolor group and one of the artists in the group liked it so much she asked if she could use that title for her own painting (something different but still about cows).

But isn't a title as much the artist's own as the painting? I thought so since I'd never heard this title anywhere before and it came to me immediately so I felt it was mine.

What do you think?
Titles are okay to be used over and over?
Or are they your own as much as your painting is your own?
And what about artists who ask for titles for their paintings from blog viewers or friends?  Is that okay if the people jump in and share - or do they need permission?

I know a lot of sayings are tossed around freely and they all mean something when said so perhaps something that is commonly used - like A Stitch in Time Saves Nine or something like that - is free to use.  But what about a title you come up with that is fun, clever, or just fits that work of art so perfectly you don't want to see it used by anyone else on another piece?

I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts.  I don't think there is a right or wrong about this one and is probably a personal choice.

(Sorry, no painting today or tomorrow - cleaning instead - ugh!)


Carol Blackburn said...

In the literary world there is no copyright on titles so I assume it would be the same for art unless of course there is a famous painting by that title. One would have to be quite ignorant to paint a lady and call her Mona Lisa unless of course it was his Italian Mama :) That's just my opinion.

Jeanette said...

I can't say that I have a strong feeling of ownership about titles to my paintings. Perhaps I'd feel differently if I came across another with the same name, but even then it would be entirely different in subject and style.

And asking for suggestions of names from friends, either online or otherwise can sometimes help spark other thoughts about names to come up with something or a mix of several ideas.

Ultimately, it is the painting that makes the painting, not a clever name. Yes, people will smile at the name but the image is remembered in the long run.

Anonymous said...

I don't know either, about rightness or wrongness, but I know I'd not copy someone else's title. Love that Dairy Aires title though! LOL You made me laugh out loud.

RH Carpenter said...

Thanks for the input, Carol, Jeanette, and Sherry :) It seems, if there is no copyright on titles, we would be reading a lot of books with the same titles - but we don't. Maybe it's self-limiting by authors who don't want to copy another's title?

HABIT said...

Many years ago I did an etching that included cow heads as the centers of Morning Glories - I titled it "Bovine". No one got the humor.
I think that titles grow with a work, and are a part of the work, when they come from the artist. Someone may use your title but it isn't in the same context and may or may not work with their piece. Words conjure up images, and images call for words, it is the confluence of linear and visual thinking.
Carol mentioned painting a lady and calling her "Mona Lisa"- many artists have painted variations on the same lady (La Gioconda)and called her "Mona Lisa", but there is still only one Mona Lisa.
I don't think you need to worry about your titles getting snatched.

debwardart said...

You can't copyright titles - and I've named paintings and then seen that same name, in print, on a painting. "End of the Line" for me was a train, as was the one I saw in print. Over the years I've seen other same names. I think the title is part of our creation - and the title does come from our experience - but I think that some paintings evoke similar emotion, thus the similar names.

RH Carpenter said...

Habit, thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment :) I'm not worried about titles being the same - and I got your title!! :)

Deb, strange that titles aren't part of the creation but I guess there are just too many words out there - you can't copyright words unless there are a lot of them and you call it a book! ha ha I know I've seen similar titles on different paintings and assume it was just creative thinking on both artist's parts and not copying :)

Pam Johnson Brickell said...

Good question, Rhonda. Great play on words for your 'Dairy Aires' :) I don't know if I'd feel possessive about a title. While a good play on words can embellish, I'm with Jeanette, it's the painting itself that will leave the impression.

RH Carpenter said...

Thanks, Pam :) I'm sure the title doesn't mean anything to anyone but me because it seemed so cute to call it that - but maybe it's too cute! ha ha