Friday, January 16, 2015

Work in a Series

Since I'm posting the daily sketching challenge, I get asked, "What's with the series work? Why do you work on the same idea over and over? Why do artists do series work?"
Well, I'm sure there are as many answers as there are artists... The most basic answer is practice makes perfect, but there can also be more to it.
I started working in series by accident. I found myself drawn to a topic and just kept sketching it over and over again. Then I discovered that it's called "working in a series" and a legitimate art technique.
I've done series on the topics of: Lighthouse Series, Botanical Series, Bethlehem, 12 Doors of Christmas, Birds, and now Foxes. With each of these series I focused on a theme and had similar elements within each group. 

In the Lighthouse Series, each piece followed a theme (lighthouses), used a similar medium (colored pencils) and style (sketch). I used bright colors and textures on all prints and incorporated landscape into each drawing.

What is the difference between making a series and having a common theme in your artwork?
Well, sometimes there is no difference at all. In most cases the series is unified by other factors other than theme: medium, style, perspective, color, texture, size, proportion, concept, topic, philosophy, etc.
There are many advantages to creating cohesive works of art (known as a series. The artist can express themselves and what they see, instead of what exists. The artist can focus on parts of the theme they choose, can delve deeper into various aspects or show more or less detail, as they wish. This is how the artist creates their own unique style, just as they are figuring things out. In this way, the artist communicates their point to the viewer.

How does a series benefit the artist?
Through repetition, research, dedication, and practice, an artist creates a body of work. Each artist grows through the creation of their work and the things they learn from this process. While working on a series helps the artist to improve by practicing their technique, it also allows them to investigate, explore, respond emotionally, develop their own interpretation what they see and ultimately, what they create. This in turn helps the artist to show their style and almost gives the viewers an explanation of the artist's point of view. So, a series helps the artist communicate with others through their work. By showing a series of their work, the viewer can detect similarities, unique elements, and perspective that the artist exhibits. A series gives the artist a way to show their development, improvement, exploration, and/or growth. Viewers can then learn about the artist.

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