annunciation diary day fourteen: naming the painting

The votes for the title of the Annunciation have divided pretty equally between Annunciation with Sunflowers and Plummet. I liked them both for different reasons. Beth was persuasive in favour of the former and Philippa made a really good argument for the latter. Marly Youmans felt that both were good and either would serve well, but then offered her husband Mike’s suggested title of  Overshadowed. And so Overshadowed it was going to be, until Peter came down to breakfast this morning and said…

“Why don’t you just call it Touched?”


… and that’s just what I did. I hope no one is too disappointed. Thank you so much for taking such a lively interest in the painting, and for entering into the spirit of  naming it. Given that the exhibition is called Touch, the title of the painting will now put it at the heart of  things, which seems to me be to be right.

Tobias and the Angel is up on the easel. I’ve made progress today but I’m too tired right now to know whether I’ll be able pull this last one off in time to deliver it to the framer in Cardiff next week. If I can then that will be great. But if I can’t I’m not going to beat myself up about it. I’ll have done my best and that must suffice.

Today the Artlog has beaten its previous record for hits. Moreover … and quite coincidentally… Peter has just pointed out  that this is my hundredth post on the site. I started it as an experiment, not at all sure whether it was something I either  had time for or particularly wanted to do. It was certainly only ever intended to be a temporary glimpse into the studio to show some work in process. A ‘pop-up’ blog.

However  in practise it’s been illuminating for me too. Your  encouraging comments and thoughtful questions have made it all far more lively and enjoyable than I’d anticipated. The upshot is that I intend to continue with it. I’ll be keeping things going with daily posts up until and including Monday. After that I’ll be taking a break for a few days until after the Private View of  Touch. But then it will be business as usual in the studio as I get working on a commission to paint The Woman Taken in Adultery for the Methodist Art Collection, produce an altarpiece for Saint David’s Cathedral as part of my residency for the Music Festival there this Summer, complete a body of work for my dealer to take to the 20/21 Art Fair at the Royal College of Art in the Autumn and make a suite of lino-prints for a volume of poetry by Dave Bonta. And paint two book covers for Marly Youmans. Not to mention all that has yet to be done for my sixtieth birthday retrospective at the National Library of Wales next year. Work in the studio is not about to let up. So please do keep dropping by to see how it all unfolds.


17 thoughts on “annunciation diary day fourteen: naming the painting

  1. Pingback: a gold ‘addy’ for the throne of psyche | Clive Hicks-Jenkins' Artlog:

  2. Pingback: Invitation

  3. the painting is so beautiful, clive, really amazing, and perfectly named. thank you for sharing so much with us here. i look forward to all that you are promising to offer from here forward! enjoy the opening of your show!

    • I’m glad you like the title Zoe. After all the thinking about it everyone had done, Peter’s suggestion suddenly seemed perfect. As though the painting had always been called that, but somewhere along the line we’d all forgotten about it!

  4. That’s a marvelous title for such a beautiful work, Clive, and as you point out it certainly plays into the overall title of the exhibition. (As one who has a hard enough time naming my own blog posts, my response to the original two options was “Hey, I like them both. But that’s not very helpful, is it?”)

    • I’m chuckling here because what you describe is exactly how things so often are. I have two or three titles and I wonder to myself ‘Why can’t you just choose any of them and let it go?’ But the fact is that titles are important… or they are to me anyway. I want that perfect association of words and image. I don’t necessarily mean harmonious in the musical sense, but more the idea that the words and image are from the same universe. What I don’t want is a title that sounds stuck on, like a pet with a too-clever-by-half name, or a child saddled with a name that will forever be an encumbrance. (I’m being whimsical here, but you get the idea.) I should explain that somewhere up in the Battery is a sheet of paper with all the titles that came to mind for all of the paintings as I worked on them, and for some there are at least six or seven variations on the theme. Flowering Nest (see HERE) might have been: Kevin and the Flowering Nest, Saint Kevin and the Flowering Nest, Nest, Cupped Nest and last but not least The Flowering. None of them remotely right, but that’s the process.

      • “The Flowering” was one of the ones that passed through my mind for this painting!

        I’m afraid that I am often disrespectful to my fiction and poetry and think up utterly silly titles along the way, though I usually get a title early on. Naming is fun: a primal act, the naming of things.

        • Come to think of it, you might have to do an Adamic naming-of-the-animals painting some day. Because you are very concerned with what Stevens called the finding of “rightnesses.”

    • Thank you Anne. You’ve watched very patiently. (I should explain that Anne is a friend who has made several visits to the studio to view the Annunciation as it’s been developing. Anne and her husband Basil, and Peter too, have been quite anxious at times, observing me working away at the rock-face as the deadline descended like an avalanche while I still held my ground, chip, chipping away as though I had all the time in the world. ‘What are you painting here…” Peter would demand, jabbing a finger at the empty foreground and looking at his watch while pretending not to! “Are you going to paint another flowery mead?” (Meaning “Are you going to paint one of those complicated gardens that’s going to take you another four days?” Comes the inevitable reply, “Don’t know. Let’s wait and see.”

      i apologise to all those who have watched and worried for me. But now Touched is done and ready for the framer next week. Ever onwards.

    • Oh yes. I never give up on a good title, and Overshadowed is a great one. Please tell Mike he’s provided the title for the next Annunciation I paint, and that I promise to credit him here on the Artlog.

  5. Fantastic painting! Fantastic title! “Touched” is truly right for this work.
    Congratulations on its completion.

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