How I Name a Painting

Posted by Jess Perna on Nov 16th 2021

The challenge when naming a figurative painting is to avoid stating the obvious. For instance, “Woman Holding an Owl in the Woods” or “Woman Reading Letter” tells the viewer what they can see for themselves. I try to evoke a story with a title that is merely a hint.

I named my oil painting “The Owl’s Serenade” as it seemed like a romantic title which may cause speculation in the viewer. Is the owl perhaps a prince turned into a bird? Is it just an owl singing in the woods? Did the woman capture him for the moment? Does he belong to her? I don’t know? What do you think?

I want my viewers to feel free to use their imagination and enjoy the experience of creating their own dialog for the art. I believe an oil painting should be a thought-provoking experience that can be enjoyed again and again. If it is to hang on the walls in your home, I want it to be more important than the couch!

There is nothing wrong with matching colors of your wall hangings to the rest of the decor however, it certainly adds to the experience if you want to look at the art over and over for years and speculate?

The best pictures call you back to them and beg to be noticed. Interesting art invites guests to look and comment on your art collection and can start a dialog. I have noticed that people like to know something of the person who created the art.

Deciding what to paint and how to execute the idea is always a challenge which is not decided in a minute. It takes time and thought to come up with an idea that will be interesting for me and my hope is that it is interesting to art collectors.

If you buy a painting or print of mine, I would be delighted to see a photo of it hanging in your home or you holding it up when it arrives. Receiving these photos is always welcome. Please also let me know if I might show them on my website. Naturally I will never put your name or private information online in any way.

Thank you for taking the time to visit as I read all comments.

You are invited to comment on your thoughts about each painting and what the theme says to you. I am very interested in your take on the theme, title and anything else you want to express.