Working in Series

Step One : Painting in Series

One of the first breakthrough in my art came from working in Series. It stops you from becoming precious about a piece of artwork and allows you to take the risks necessary for your work to move forward.When I talk about working in Series, I don’t mean working on a piece until it is finished and then to moving on to the next. What I am talking about is a series of Starts

A START is like the first step in a new journey. It can take many forms. It can simply be an activation of the paper to get your ideas flowing with a black flowing mark, it can be establishing a shapes and forms, it can be limiting your colours to one, two or three only, it can be blocking shapes, it can be a series of textures, it can be washed or drips of colours, it can be different shapes of a chosen subject, it can be collaged colours of paper as a base, it can be extending a series of different marks over many sheets of paper…

The idea about STARTS is to make you abandon the preciousness of any one artwork. Painting is a journey into the unknown. When you begin you don’t know which of the many will be any good, so you become more willing to risk  and extend yourself. You experiment…Six is a minimum. You can work on 20 STARTS. Then once you begin you choose a second step to apply to all, and a third, and a fourth.

Use Collage to start the base of multiple Starts…

As Nancy Hillis says ‘More starts and fewer finishes…’

From multiple starts a final piece evolves with the richness of all these other explorations in its soul…

Exercise One:

Without much thought, list quickly TEN possible ideas you can develop into a series of work….

Exercise Two:

Choose ONE of these an create a CONSTRAINT. This is like a Riff on a well know piece of music. Limit your colours, select a single shape, decide on a point of view, use only of collage, ….

Limit yourself to a single element of the many you can use to paint this idea and discover how limiting gives you endless variety.

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