Monday, August 22, 2016

Making a series

One of the most satisfying ways to work is to develop a series. Working in a series is about enlightenment. If you are struggling with how to go deeper in your work try a series. If you want to push yourself to a new understanding of your intention try a series.

A series can begin without planning. Sometimes it's an infatuation with a place or a study of light.That is exactly what has happened to me. For about 7 years I painted the river. Everyday, no matter what the weather, I did a "vitamin" of the river. Still I love the river, but for the past 5 years my infatuation has been the vibration of the colors in the grasses of an untended field.  I simply can't stop myself when I see one!

When you engage in a series you open up.  Like a brand new relationship, you want to be there all of the time. Seeing your new love in different lights thrills you. Soon after completing many paintings you start to look at your new love a little differently. You get more comfortable and begin to change small things. You start manipulating the colors, size of format and point of view. You try a diptych or an elongated vertical.

I know I have mentioned before but my series that changed my life was when I was in graduate school. I painted a pot of yellow mums for two years!
Staying with a series (or a relationship for that matter) teaches you about painting, and yourself.

Below and above see a sampling of paintings from my years on Whidbey Island.

If you want great ideas about the making of a series do look at Richard McKinley's book Pastel Pointers.  It doesn't matter if you paint in pastel or oil, Richard's book will help you get to a new level.
In brief Richard recommends 6 ways for discovering a series.
1.Try a new surface size.
2. Alter the value or key of your painting
3.Explore different dominance and harmony.
4.Paint in a different format.
5. Change you angle of vision and relationship to the subject.

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