For creativity and expansion of ideas it is often recommended to explore ideas in a series. A series is where the artist creates several different but related works regarding a particular theme or concept. The greatest value for artists is discovered in their effort to continue despite the eventual monotony. By exploring further than they want to, they often make breakthroughs or uncover alternate ways of dealing with problems.
A series can also be used to work on a particular problem. I put in a semester studying and developing background ideas. This focus helped me relate my subject to the background and develop strong skills in connecting shapes. Design your series to fit your needs. Once I did a series of tree paintings as I found that I was destroying my paintings every time I put a tree in them.
Creating a series is an excellent way to focus on a concept for your work. The connected images of a series can create a strong and fascinating exhibit. From a marketing standpoint, a series will brand you in the public eye. It is important to consider whether exhibiting your series is beneficial or necessary. An exhibition will usually give you valuable feedback. Realistically, a series will likely affect your sales. I discovered this with my “tree series” – not everyone was looking for a green tree painting. Should you choose to exhibit, varying your series in color, size, and shape may open it up to additional sales without compromising your goal. You’re always in the driver’s seat…you decide what you want to expose about your work.
To deal with the positive “creative” aspects along with the negative “financial” nature of working in a series, I have chosen to create several ongoing series. Too much of the same thing is simply too much at once. An artist I know was creating purple cow paintings. They truly were fun and beautiful, and each piece sold almost as soon as she put one up. Tuning in on this, she painted four more similar pieces and created a sign with a quaint phrase about the purple cows. Her sales dropped. With an ongoing series you can pick up and come back to where you left off when you journal what you are learning. One of the glorious aspects about being an artist is you don’t have to show everything you create. In fact, you can burn pieces you never want to be seen. Choose carefully the work you want to present.
This is an excerpt from my book “Progressive Painting – Your Creative Journey” by Ellen Jean Diederich