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.

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