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On Naming The Rose
by Sue Viders

Gertrude Stein once proclaimed that "Rose is a rose, is a rose, is a rose." Well may be. It all depends on how an artist names the image of that rose.

Naming ones image is almost as important, no sometimes it is even more important, than the image itself. Why? Because the name the artist gives the painting gives the viewer greater insight into the "soul" of the image.

Lets take the rose. Image a painting of a single rose. When considering the naming of the painting several aspects of the rose might be considered. Perhaps it is the color of the flower. Deep red inspires a different name than a delicate yellow rose with the petals edged in a salmon pink.

Or is it the fullness of the rose. An old fashion tea rose has fewer petals, and therefore is smaller than many of the newer and larger hybrids with a jillion petals.

And finally what are you trying to say with this single rose? Are you enthralled with the shear beauty of the flower itself, or is the flower a metaphor for an emotional outpouring such as love or eternal happiness.

Now picture a bouquet of roses in a lovely vase. What is the message this group of flowers presents and how is it different from a single rose? Or perhaps you painted a rose garden with many rose bushes in it. This will convey yet another message to the viewer.

The name you give to your painting creates, in the mind of the viewer, a starting point so that the observer will react emotionally to the painting.

Obviously realistic subjects are easier to name than abstract paintings wherein one needs to find the right word that expresses only the emotional qualities of the images.

One idea is to keep a written log of all the names you think of during the creation of the painting. Perhaps on a sheet of paper along side your palette you can jog down the various ideas as they occur to you.

Or perhaps you would like to think of the "personality" of the work.

Bottom line is, paintings need titles. Not just ordinary titles but creative ones. Titles that put a soul into the image. Put as much effort into creating your title as you do into creating the image. So remember a rose is not always just a rose.

Sue Viders
9739 Tall Grass Circle
Lone Tree, Colorado 80124

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