|'Magic in Late Afternoon' 11x14 pastel ©Karen Margulis|
A collective groan came from my students when I told them we would be painting from the same reference photo for the next four weeks. "We will be working on a series" I told them. "It will be fun and exciting and you will learn a lot! "
I do understand the groans though. Some artists don't like to work from the same reference or even subject. Once it has been painted it has been done. It is a valuable exercise and well worth the time and effort.
A painting series can be many things but the paintings in the series all need to have some common thread among them. It can be a common technique or color palette or maybe the same subject done on different mediums.
So what are the benefits of doing a series? I will share three reasons below. I'd love for you to comment and add to the discussion!
|The underpainting is an alcohol wash which was covered with clear gesso for texture|
1. Painting a series helps you understand your subject. When you work with the same subject over and over you become intimate or friends with it. By studying your subject and painting it more than once you are better able to interpret it on a higher level. You move beyond copying what you see as you become more familiar with the subject.
2. Painting a series pushes you out of your comfort zone without it being scary! When you paint a subject many times you have to work hard at making each new painting unique yet still retain the connection to the series. You have to try new ideas, techniques, colors, etc. It isn't as intimidating though because you are so comfortable with the subject. You have already figured out the issues with the subject now you are free to play!
3. Painting a series makes you a more confident artist. This is because you are painting more. You are painting more because you have a direction. You have a goal. You don't have to fear the blank paper because you already know how to paint your subject. You've done it already! The more you paint the more confident you will feel. It is a wonderful feeling!
|click for close up of detail|