When a person decides that he or she has a desire to “become an artist” this can take many directions from the weekend painter to the serious artist to the professional. As a beginning student, the artist wants to paint everything in sight – a still life, a tree in the yard, the little girl in the cute tutu, the dog. Once students have progressed to a more sophisticated level, they begin to realize that better artists seem to work in a series, but often they don’t understand why.
Here are some reasons why artists work in series:
· Understanding the subject you are painting
· Stretching outside your comfort level
· Getting beyond the ordinary “it’s been done before” zone
· Gaining confidence in your ability
· Exploring the subject in progressively deeper more meaningful ways
· Clearly defining the limitations in which you work
If you’ve never tried working in a series, here are some suggestions of how to get started. Remember, the subject can be as simple as a piece of fruit or one object that has great meaning to you.
· Pick your subject or theme
· Do some research about your subject/theme (how many different colors of pears are there)
· Assemble reference materials (photos from all angles and several different ranges, value sketches, compositional sketches)
· Narrow down your best reference images
· Set your parameters (emphasizing a particular element of art, using a particular palette, painting on a particular size format, etc.)
· Commit a certain amount of time to the series daily
· Paint on several of the paintings each session, bringing up the series at the same speed