Saturday, August 6, 2016

What is all the Fuss About "Painting in a Series?"

 Why Create a Series?

     As Artists, each of us is unique in our art and how we pursue and reveal our vision. I would not try to change you or anyone…, but offer only suggestions or ideas for you to consider and add to your repertoire – or discard. One thing that I have done throughout my art career is to create works in a series. Sometimes, I have several series in progress at the same time, overlapping, connecting…, but separate. I pursue different themes or threads of an idea. I believe this process has kept me intrigued and helped me evolve into a better artist over time.

     One of my series of watermedia on paper from about 2006 onward, called “New Directions,” grew out of my desire to explore a neutral palette and the blacks, browns, and greys that I had long ignored. In the end, I painted about 100 paintings that to this day, I consider “keepers.” Some paintings from that series follow:

Elaine Weiner-Reed (EWR) - "Smoke and Mirrors" - Watermedia (30 x 22 inches)

Elaine Weiner-Reed (EWR) - "Smoke and Mirrors" - Watermedia (22 x 30 inches)

Elaine Weiner-Reed (EWR) - "By Chance" - Watermedia (11 x 22 inches)

Elaine Weiner-Reed (EWR) - "Odyssey" - Watermedia (30 x 22 inches)

     Not everything I create falls into a series, and there are pieces that I refer to as “outliers.” They come to the surface when it is their time, and I welcome them. Overall, though, I tend to create works in a series because it keeps me focused, demanding more of me and pushing me in different ways with each piece. By working on a series, verses onesies and twosies, we can “go deep” as artists. Deep into a subject, idea, theme, or mood …or even deeper into a certain aspect of design. Do you want to concentrate on line or pattern in one series, atmosphere and tone in another, and lost and found edges in still another? Commit to it and proceed…

     At one point, just to be sure I could still paint landscapes—but this time using acrylics on canvas for the first time—I painted a mini-series “Songs of the Seasons.” One example follows:
Elaine Weiner-Reed (EWR) - "Rumba in the Rough" - Acrylic (12 x 9 inches)

     Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with painting a portrait today, a landscape yesterday, and a still life tomorrow. I am merely suggesting we consider “going deep” as a type of independent study program. Perhaps you might choose one special focus series a year, even as you continue to work on a myriad of diverse paintings, or commissions, or murals, etc.  
     By going deep into a series, however, as I have done with figures and my “Relationship” series over the last several years, Artists delve into technical challenges and artistic complexities, and we push past frustration and solve problems – thereby gaining experience that we otherwise might have missed. What is nice about working in series is that I still get to “do it all.” In one series, I focus on alienation and the solitary. I can do this with color or lost & found edges. In another series, I focus on exclusion or anger and betrayal, using line and calligraphy (words) to support my idea and vision. I do not want to be typecast as any one kind of painter, so I work on non-objective work even while focusing on a figurative series. I am never bored – because I have at least two different series developing at any one time. I don’t know if that means I have some attention problems, but I do crave some variety, so that is how I work. How do you like to work and how do you work best...?

     Artists that today we consider to be Masters worked in a series. Links to videos of work by three of my favorites follow:

Pablo Picasso

  1. Seven Women – Seven Works / PICASSO: 

  2. Pablo Picasso's Portraits of Women:

  3. Picasso's Women - Picasso et Les Femmes:

Wilhelm de Kooning

  1. Abstract Expressionism:

  2. Women Figures (Focus on Mouth):

Richard Diebenkorn

 1. Link to Diebenkorn's Figures:

 2. Diebenkorn - On approaching a blank canvas:

 3. Seated woman:

Consider this

      What pushes your emotions or what have you always wanted to paint…? Create this series just for you – especially if you fear that your family won’t like it or that it won’t “sell.” Avoid criticism (for now) and second-guessing, and simply don’t show the paintings to anyone. …Then, after you have painted about twenty or more, look them over and see what you think. Be proud of sticking with it and of how much you have pushed yourself and your art. Consider how much your skills have deepened. 

Elaine Weiner-Reed (EWR) - "Saturday Afternoon with Zelda" - Acrylic (25 x 30 inches)

   If you would like to see more, you can find paintings from a few of my series on my Website or click on the links, below:

      Try it... See where your own Muse takes you!  
I think you owe it to yourself as an artist to find out... don't you?  

     As you pursue your series, please feel free to drop me a line from time to time and let me know how your art exploration is going at:

Take your art to the next level and give painting in a series a try. 

Yours in Art,

 See you next time... Thanks for your time.

© 2016 - Elaine Weiner-Reed (EWR)
 All images and content remain the property of the Artist. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Elaine Weiner Reed (EWR) - Art: A Purposeful Journey & Being True To Your Own Voice

Art and searching for the Next Big Idea… 

Do not do it. 

Try to keep yourself from getting pulled into the trap 
of what I call 
“the next shiny thing.” 
Stay true to yourself and your vision.

     It is easy to be swayed and carried away by the latest art fads, materials, and headlines. Every art magazine contains stories of them in excruciating detail. You hear about artists who have made it rich with their art…and you devour their stories. You’re in a workshop and see someone trying something…and you find yourself mesmerized…and you just have to try it, buy the materials (i.e. a new technique, a new paper, new paints, …) etc. We are surrounded by outside temptations and what I call “the next shiny thing.”

Elaine Weiner-Reed (EWR) - "Dialogue with a Muse" (20" x 16")  
“A gift with strings attached, a double-edged sword is that whisper from the Muse. 
Once the gifts of inspiration and creativity are received, 
action is required. 
No excuses. No way out
…or the Muse dances on to the door of another.”


     Believe me, I love learning & exploration is good. Trying new things is good. But try your very best to distinguish between what is experimentation and what is really you. Try things and experiment to your heart’s content, but take care to not stray from your own unique path and vision. Stay connected to YOU. You can and should explore and question and see what art is going on outside of your own head and studio, BUT…

     Remember to stay true to yourself and your artistic vision. Following your muse and walking along your own personal Art journey is the way to be distinctive, to create something that did not previously exist. YOUR next BIG breakthrough results from all that you have done to date and all that you have thought and learned as you created your art (your way).

     Stay connected to and aware of your society and culture, but remain free of it when it comes to your vision and your own creative and expressive voice. You already are a reflection of that culture.

     Those Artists whom we admire and refer to as Masters today were following their own Muse in their own way and their own timeframe. Here are some short videos on two inspirational artists who followed their own muse:

Leonardo da Vinci

Vincent Van Gogh

     So, in today’s world of diminishing brick and mortar art galleries, in a world where there are very few Art patrons who sustain and support artists, and in a culture where we often see beginners splash paint and call it ART, take heart. Avoid the fads and frauds, and above and despite everything, BE YOURSELF. Paint what moves or intrigues you in your own style and voice and palette.

     It is only by following our own vision, muse, and path that we can distinguish ourselves and be the best Artist we can be. No one else can be me and no one else can be you. They simply do not have our history or personality or gifts or vision.

      I invite you to check out my art video "A Purposeful Journey." 
It is a slice of my art life and evolution: my journey and me being true to my own vision. 
Please share it with others and let me know how it inspires you!

In all things, I try to remain connected to me, and to learn from what I see and do. 

I internalize and contemplate…and care. 

In all things along my path, I want to do something, mean something, and make a positive difference in my world.

Let’s each be happy in our individual journey of discovery.

Create thoughtful art.

                                                      The next Renaissance is NOW.

In all things, be yourself. In that path lies distinction and achievement and Art.

Yours in Art,

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