I was asked to speak at an art reception last week. Expecting the host to say something like, could you say a few things about your work. Instead, I was delightfully engaged in a Q&A from someone who researched me, read my website and looked at all of my work. This was HEAVEN!
One of the questions raised was about titles. She noticed that I didn’t use the term “Untitled” or a numbering system.
So where do these names come from? How do I title my work?
Names are tricky. Names are important. My name is Francesca. Growing up, people would shorten my name and call me Fran, Franny or my father would even call me my sister’s name! Even at a young age this irritated me. No. I am Francesca. I’m identified. Unique. Not to be confused with.
And so it is with my paintings. They are unique and have an individual spirit that you will understand once you start living with them in your home. Some titles are in Portuguese and some are plays on jazz tunes.
My host asked me to explain the title of Beastie Blue. Well, Beastie Blue is a beast! It is as big as I am and I need to rent a U-Haul to move it around town. It is 4 feet by 5 feet. I’m 5 feet 4inches. This paintings could be my bed. It brought out the beast in me to create plus it is all blue.
The piece above is called Little Bird. Where’s the bird, right? This is a creation story.
Encaustic has a wonderful sweet smell when heated. It attracts bees and birds! On that hot day, the back door was open and the griddles were on melting pots of beeswax, damar resin and pigment. I began to hear a buzzing that was different and higher up in the studio. I looked up and there was a brilliant green, blue and orange tinged hummingbird darting about. Unfortunately my skylights created a false sky and this little one was bouncing against it, from one to another skylight.
I wished for it to find the door out.
I worked for a few more hours and I could hear that little bird searching the studio for an exit. I left the door open that evening hoping the darkness and cool night air would lead the hummingbird out of the studio.
I returned the next day and it was still flying around, slower and fatigued. And then, nothing. I didn’t see it go out the door nor hear a thud. Maybe it found safety tucked behind paintings in the loft. My hunch was it died. I have yet to go up into the loft to look for it.
Instead, this painting is an homage to that hummingbird. Free spirited. Glistening. Instinctual creature of joy. Little Bird.