I don’t know what to call you; or I do know, but won’t tell you!
Painting of the Day: I don’t know what to call you III
I don’t know what to call you III, oil on canvas, 30x23cm (12x9inches), 2020
Today’s Painting of the Day post is about a painting that I created in 2020. It’s titled I don’t know what to call you III, and it is one of six paintings in the series. You can find this painting in my gallery with other available artworks.
What was the process of creating this portrait painting?
When I started this series of portraits, I was not sure in which direction it would go. The process of creating the I don’t know what to call you III paintings was complicated. I tend to finish a 12×9 inch canvas in one or two sessions, but not this time. I began this series at the beginning of 2020 when the Covid 19 pandemic began to unleash its fury.
First, I painted a black background in oil that I let dry. After about two weeks, I applied marks of white paint using a cloth. It was a fun and straightforward method of painting that resulted in abstract paintings that I quite liked. Then I left them in this stage for about six months, intending to come to them again and paint the actual portraits in a green color scheme.
All six paintings resulted in one body of work presenting faces that I struggled to title.
What was the inspiration for the portrait ‘I don’t know what to call you III’?
This portrait painting of a woman was inspired by photographs of a Black American female model. When you paste the picture of the painting into Google, you should be able to get results featuring the pictures of the female in this portrait.
How did I come up with the ‘I don’t know what to call you’ title?
Deciding upon the title for this series of portraits was not easy, and that was for a few reasons. I was unsure of how I should title the paintings in this series because many things were going on in my head, such as the Black Lives Matter movement, the women’s rights protests in Poland, and the pandemic itself, each of which ended up turning my life upside down.
I decided to leave the paintings alone for about a month before coming back to do the final touches and decide on a title. Naming my work is essential to me as it helps me decide the meaning and concept behind the artwork. But still, nothing was certain to me about the title for these pieces.
I didn’t know which direction I wanted to go. I had the events in 2020 that occurred across the United States and the world in mind, but I wanted to distance myself from them.
So, I decided to title these paintings (and the series) “I don’t know what to call you.”
Now, let me explain what I mean when I say that I don’t know what to call something.
What is the meaning behind the title?
There is a general opinion that states everything we put faith into or believe that we can prove is highly feasible. Numerous people, cultures, and situations we are involved in ourselves consider that not having reason for something is an irrational belief.
Nearly all our shared beliefs are either assumed or fit from understanding other ideas, religions, and thoughts – each of which we may observe as being the reason for something.
As a practice, judgment has been overlooked or has never been consciously present in our thoughts or creativity.
Very few of us ever ask, for instance, what reason there is to suppose the oil paint we are about to use on a canvas will not turn out to be expired or poisonous.
Yet, we feel that a perfect reason could be found when we are questioned, even if we are not ready to accept it as the truth. And in this dogma, we are usually justified.
When I don’t know my reasoning or reason, that doesn’t mean that I am not enlightened enough to understand what I see or experience. It is almost as if I don’t seem to accept the belief of what it is I claim not to know or understand.
Saying that I don’t know what to call this painting means that I do know precisely what I feel about the piece and where this emotion is coming from. What I don’t know is if my beliefs and thoughts will be met with knowledge, approval, or complete distrust.
In the case of the painting title, not knowing means acknowledging that the entire message is hidden in the portrait itself, which in turn presents its reasons.
What would Socrates say about the ‘I don’t know what to call you’ painting?
Socrates always demanded a reason for the reason. I imagine that he would insist on explaining the painting and the title to the point where we cannot find any further reason and where it becomes relatively clear that no additional logic is even theoretically discoverable.
With most problems in everyday life, such as whether our oil paint is likely to be good or poisonous, it all starts with a general acceptance of the daily routine.
We tend to come to some general law, or some situation of a widespread belief, which seems obvious and cannot be assumed from anything more evident.
There is a reason and meaning in the title, but the question is if the intention to share it with the viewer is there. As for this painting, and perhaps this series – there’s no intention for explanation.
As of today, this painting is available for purchase in my gallery. You can check it out yourself.
If you have missed any previous Painting of the Day posts, they all can be found here.
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