Friday, August 17, 2007

On the Nature and Advantage of an Artist working in a Series...

Paintings-a-day Midnight
Twilight Series No. 67 Twilight Series No. 68 Twilight Series No. 69
Acrylic on Masonite each 5x7" matted and framed
$150. 00 each or series of three for $300.00
WE artists are often a strange lot. We try so hard to be individual. To show off our uniqueness. to not be one of the pack. That often includes for young and emerging artists the need to constantly produce "One-of-a- kind works of art. That urge to never repeat ones-self is admirable, but I find that as I mature and had the need to create a larger and larger body of art because of the numerous shows I am doing that I grow exponentially when I work in a series of paintings on a single subject.
As primarily a landscape artist who specialises in my vision of the Virginia Landscape of my child hood - The Blue Ridge Mountains area of Virginia in the Shenandoah Valley - I never really grow tired of re exploring simple subject matter. A number of great artists and instructors have said that it matters very little WHAT you paint; that it is HOW you paint that matters. I can spend days in my studio working on a series of paintings such as these small jewels just simple exploring the way the moon is moving across the sky, the shifting clouds, the variety of shapes of trees in silhouette.
By its very nature, creating a series of paintings on the same subject allows us to focus in on it more intently. To examine every intimate detail of whatever it is we are painting. A series painted of a single blossoming tree as it develops, buds, in full blossom, seeds, and decays awakens us to nature again. Re-affirms the rightness of the cycle of life and death. But it also teaches me as an artist the myriad shades of green a single plant goes through in its brief life-span. By studying a single tree that exists in the same spot year round I learn ( and can share with others in images later) how the play of light and shadows changes from the time of day, the time of year. I see how the unseen wind or a plant reaching for nurture can bend and shape a tree or leave it gnarled and stunted. Painting the same scene in summer's heat and haze, then in the chill of autumn or the wetness of winter can point up the sharp contrast of color that atmosphere and complementary contrasts provide to our senses. Whenever I paint a series of paintings I find my technique grows, my understanding of both my skills, the mediums I am currently working in grows. I fall more in love with painting everyday.
Working on a series helps an artist to over come the dreaded "Painters Block" as well. If I am painting a series of for instance arched doorways, then if I feel stifled I go search out a new and different door I've not worked on and begin to study it and paint it.
Another advantage of painting in a series is that if a subject or your interpretation of it is popular and attracts the attention of collectors, there are several images for them to choose from. Many often purchase multiple paintings to own the complete series, or to add to a collection they have already begun.
Until next time
create beauty and fill the world with love!