What I'm Learning from Painting in a Series

Painting in a series offers artists many growth opportunities and creates a common thread around a theme, subject, colour palette, technique, size, or scale. At the same time, a series builds a cohesive body of work that allows viewers to recognize an artist's style and develop an understanding of the message being conveyed.

With everything going on in 2020, my Zoom-based art group needed a new challenge. Since we couldn't get together in person to do our usual technique-based workshops, we agreed that it was time for each of us to create a series. Some of us do this naturally as part of our studio practices and some of us paint this way only as  a special goal. 

At first I thought that I would put my creative energies into tackling the subject of tulips not only because of their incredible beauty through all their stages, but because they come up so early in Spring and symbolize hope after the cold Winter. But soon I realized that the scope of my series was too narrowly defined for who I am. I realized that I preferred to paint abstract flowers loosely based on those I see around me. This shift to a more suitable painting subject seemed to allow me a wider range of expressions of freedom and playfulness, reflecting my personality. Through experimentation with using a limited palette and using a common mini substrate,  I worked expressively and soon found that my style began to loosen up; I was having more fun! This transferred directly into my larger artworks. I also found that the subject matter lent itself to my reflections about hope and resiliency in a time of hardship.

Here's what the rest of the group is up to:

  • One artist chose to create works that explore the colour blue. She is using a variety of mixed media techniques that further her knowledge of how to use blue as the dominant colour in her paintings and what accent colours work best with each hue.
  • Another artist is developing a series based on photos from a boating trip. In particular, she has a fascination with rocks and trees and water. What a Canadian subject to paint!
  • Another artist is painting a series of mushrooms inspired by her foraging adventures in early Fall. Most of these are quite humorous and quirky.
  • Another artist is exploring scale, shapes, linework, and colour through her expressive non-objectives. How joyful!
  • Another artist, who is also a musician, is creating a series of collage and mixed media pieces based on folk songs. Each piece is a wonderful depiction of story-telling from a familiar era.
  • Another artist is working solely in a complex medium that lets her focus on creating paintings that feature a large single blossom in beautiful and joyful hues with joy spread everywhere!

Who knows what we'll do in 2021? But, we are hoping to have an exhibition somewhere local when the dust settles. More about this sometime in mid-2021!

This group has kept me focused and moving forward with my art. Working in a series has helped me hone my message of hope and resiliency!

Thanks again for all your Facebook/Instagram likes and shares! I appreciate your feedback. This is definitely a journey that is best shared with friends!! Michelle

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