First and foremost, let’s clarify what a series is when it comes to art. A painting series can be many things, but the paintings in the series all need to have a common thread that connects them. Connections can be made by using a common technique, color palette or the same subject or elements done in different mediums or different ways.
A series is essentially a collection of paintings that when viewed leaves no doubt the same artist created them all. The theme running through the work is stated and restated in different yet interconnected ways, and the viewer can look at the collection and understand more easily what the artist is trying to convey. In this post, I’ll share a couple of the series that have emerged in my work and how they came about.
WHY A SERIES?
A series done well speaks to the breadth and scope of an artist’s creative abilities and to the depth with which they can expound on a particular subject, concept or idea. After the commitment to begin a series is made, it begins to take on a life of its own. With each additional painting in a series, the original thought grows into something more refined and bigger than a singular painting could ever be. Every addition allows the artist’s voice to get louder and clearer demonstrating that they are on a path, know what they’re doing, where they’re going, and what they have to do to get there.
A lone isolated work of art, I’ll call it a “one-off” is many times an artist’s exploration on the path to a theme, direction and in the end…a series. Some artists excuse themselves from painting in series for fear they will get repetitive, bored or pigeonholed into a particular style or color palette. I find that having a developed creative direction in a series freeing. A blank canvas is no longer scary because I have already figured out the issues with the subject and I’m free to play with everything else. I know where to start and enjoy the process of letting a new painting emerge using strong threads of other paintings to tie my work together.
HOW A SERIES BEGINS
In my studio, I am constantly playing with elements, ideas, and color. When I hit upon something that really works for me, compels positive feedback, and most importantly was fun to do; it’s time to take notice. I consider how I might do this “one-off” again, but with an evolved twist. It’s like looking at something under a microscope. The closer you look, the more you see, and the more you see, the more fascinating the explorations have the potential to be. Most experienced artists will tell you; the deeper they go, the more involved and committed they become to a series.
CHROMA TRAIL SERIES
My Chroma Trail Series has gone through a natural phase of development and is still evolving and elevating to another level. It began as an offshoot of my series called Gridwerx where I incorporate perspective type lines and grids that evoke an architectural feel. I wanted to get less “boxy” with these new Chroma Trails playing with lines rather than blocks. My first look at this was painting titled, “Many Ways To Get There” with the small red trail that flowed in and out of the other elements running left to right across the canvas. Next, I wanted to give my “trails” more presence so in my painting titled, “Chasing The Dream,” I enlarged the lines and increased the meandering feel of the trail.
After painting several pieces with the trails flowing in different directions on the canvas I had the urge to tweak my trails again. I began to let them be less confined and linear by allowing them to modulate and explode off the ends. The painting titled, “Wild At Heart” which is currently available at Hilliard Gallery, is a great example of this current series. I’ll play with this until the next evolution hits me.
A new series I have just begun is titled Fretwork Series. With this painting collection, I plan to create a more rounded, woven and softer feel. Believe it or not, this art series also has elements taken from my original Gridwerx series. It takes some of the solid linear block elements and has the shapes appearing as curved, connected and modular rather than boxes and windows. A subtle nod to the Chroma Trail series can be seen in the movement and flow that is reflected in the continuous lines that build the boundaries for the colored shapes. Many of the same brush stroke and painting techniques are applied in all my series paintings even though the content feels different. Take a look at my portfolio to follow this series as it develops and expands to see how it evolves.
Do you think consistency from an artist is important? Does a series help you understand what you might expect from an artist even though your favorite piece might not be from a series or collection? Share your thoughts below!