I have recently been trying to get back in the swing of many things and getting serious about my art making is one of them. I tend to be a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants-create-whatever-happens-to-catch-my-fancy-at-any-given-moment kind of gal, disciplined working in not my forte and creating an artistic series requires just that. This willy-nilly way of working has worked for me in that it has allowed me to play with a variety mediums, techniques, styles, and genres finding what I like to work with, what I like to create, and what I don't. What has not worked for me is the inability to settle in and take myself or my art seriously. Thus came the question of if I could have the stick-to-it-tivity that pays off in the end.
Did you know that some, not all, but some publications will not accept art submissions unless you show them a series of 3 or more pieces? Series-ously! Did you also know that if perchance you were to have a gallery showing of your art that a gallery might require you to have anywhere from 15 to 20 pieces of work in a series? Series-ously! Did you know that most art competitions require a submission of a series? Series-ously! Did you also know that by working in a series with set guidelines and a fixed list of supplies it forces you to be more and more creative with each new piece you add as you reinterpret the design yet keep it cohesive so it is recognizable as part of a collection? Series-ously! It is also a great way to instill some discipline in your artistic pursuits. Series-ously!
Working in a series will help you to hone your skills, define your style, and demonstrate your abilities to potential publications, galleries, or buyers/collectors. This helps your work to be recognizable. This does not mean you have to forever work in that same style, using the same medium(s), or with the same theme or idea. A series is meant to be a complete body of work, once you have explored all avenues of that idea thoroughly then you can be free to move on to a different work.
So, what is a series? A series of art consists of several pieces created around a single theme or idea. This is not a piece of art that is duplicated over and over but a group of pieces that are connected, similar, or related through a common characteristic that pulls the body of work together even though they singly differ in some way. To create a series you need to pick a theme, subject, or idea, a genre, medium(s), and it is helpful, but not necessary, to have a color story or repetitive technique for the foundation pieces as you build your collection.
I decided to try and discipline myself to creating a small 3 piece series of mixed-media work (baby steps! you can't turn a grasshopper into an ant over night!). I revisited a partially complete piece that has been hanging around the studio for quite some time now thinking it was high time it be finished. I used it as my jumping off point to create a small collection of 16x20 canvas based pieces.
The theme or the subject is: birds, this was chosen for me since I was using a previous unfinished piece and that happened to be the subject matter. The genre here is a little hard to specifically define since it crosses more than one creative style so we will keep it simple and give it a broad label of: mixed-media. The meduim(s) I chose are: fabric, paint, stitch, stamp, stencil, and typography. My color story was inspired by colors that are particularly soothing to me: Wicker White, Wedgwood Green, Jamaican Sea, Drizzle Grey, Medium Grey, Old Parchment, and Coffee Bean. I also wanted a repetitive technique to further link the pieces into a series. In this case, I used weaving in one form or another to appear in each body of work.
For a grasshopper like me, this was a good discipline of learning that there is a time for work and a time for play. Both are necessary and needful in the art making process but there needs to be a healthy balance of the two. The playful side lets you experiment, discover, and explore. The work side propels you forward in your artistic goals. It is a series-ously hard lesson for me to learn. I find repetition in any form boring and tend to subscribe to the one-of-a-kind art making principle. But, if I want to series-ously take my artwork to a new level or playing field I have to put in the work, dedication, and discipline it requires to achieve that goal.
I will keep you posted on the progression of these pieces and my little experiment in discipline.