If you have ever visited a collective exhibition of paintings following no particular topic, you probably noticed how disparate artworks are. There are oil paintings as well as watercolor artworks, abstract and figurative, portraits and landscapes, large and small works. No consistency, no common thread, no clue to the artists’ process. Even if the artworks, taken individually, are beautiful, the whole is rather chaotic.

Painting in eries offer a whole different experience to visitors of an art exhibition as well for artists.

Côte brumeuse (Foggy Coast) Oil, cold wax and alkyd medium on paper. Size: 8x10 January 2018. © 2018, Louise Lamirande.

Côte brumeuse (Foggy Coast)
Oil, cold wax and alkyd medium on paper.
Size: 8×10
January 2018.
© 2018, Louise Lamirande.

Resistance to Series

I resisted for a long time to paint in series. I’m kind of bored quickly if I feel like doing again and again the same thing. In addition, I tended to paint according to the impulse of the moment without following a specific process except for the search for the pleasure to paint.

Things changed and I’m painting mostly in series now. A very short series of paintings allows me to measure my interest for an idea, a technique, a type of composition or a color scheme, whereas a larger series pushes me to go farther in my exploration and then I have a set of artworks that I may submit to an art gallery for a solo exhibition.

Afterward, I think it’s perfectly normal for the artist who begins to experiment in all directions. We develop skills, we learn all kinds of things and little by little we discover something that fascinates us and wish we want to explore more in depth. This is only then that we see the interest of painting in series, earlier we often see it as a constraint.

Close-up from the painting: Côte brumeuse (Foggy Coast) Oil, cold wax and alkyd medium on paper. January 2018. © 2018, Louise Lamirande.

Close-up from the painting: Côte brumeuse (Foggy Coast)
Oil, cold wax and alkyd medium on paper.
January 2018.
© 2018, Louise Lamirande.

Benefits and Challenges of the Series

It must be said that even if painting in a series allows:

  • to deepen a topic, whatever it is
  • to explore different possibilities around this topic
  • to learn from this thorough exploration
  • to find solutions to problems of composition or visual language
  • to have a set of works to exhibit in a art gallery,

They also represent challenges and need from the artist:

  • to cultivate the passion for the topic chosen for the series
  • consistency
  • perseverance
  • and a personal commitment during a short or longer time depending on the size of the series.
Close-up from the painting: Côte brumeuse (Foggy Coast) Oil, cold wax and alkyd medium on paper. January 2018. © 2018, Louise Lamirande.

Close-up from the painting: Côte brumeuse (Foggy Coast)
Oil, cold wax and alkyd medium on paper.
January 2018.
© 2018, Louise Lamirande.

Supervised Freedom

If you are afraid of losing your creative freedom or to get bored quickly by painting a series of artworks, try the tactics I used that can be summarized as: “Supervised freedom!”

It means to paint freely, but with certain limits. I know it sounds contradictory, but it’s a good way to build a series of paintings.

When I started to paint in series, the best way I found to have consistency between my artworks was to use the same size of painting, the same technique and similar effects. However, I kept full freedom in the choice of colors, topics and composition.

For another series, I chose to paint with different mediums and in various sizes, but that time, I had a common topic and a very limited color palette common to all paintings.

Close-up from the painting: Côte brumeuse (Foggy Coast) Oil, cold wax and alkyd medium on paper. January 2018. © 2018, Louise Lamirande.

Close-up from the painting: Côte brumeuse (Foggy Coast)
Oil, cold wax and alkyd medium on paper.
January 2018.
© 2018, Louise Lamirande.

The Series in Brief

Concretely, painting in series means to create several artworks around one or more common elements:

  • a message,
  • a topic,
  • an idea,
  • or a concept

that is important to you and that you want to explore, it can also be a formal research focused on:

  • the composition,
  • colors
  • values
  • a technique
  • a special combination of art supplies
  • visual elements
  • a style,
  • etc.

According to my observations, the more you have of common elements from one artwork to another, the more the series will be coherent. With time, painting in series becomes more and more natural and strangely a necessity.

The Out Series

When there are times when you want to ignore any constraints and explore all over the place, there is always the option of doing it in a sketchbook, your creative journal, to create out-series artworks, or to transform this time of research and exploration into …. a new series of experimental paintings!

Regarding the Painting

The painting illustrating this article is part of a landscape series currently under development that I intend to present at my next solo exhibition will take place in September 2018. I will tell you more about the event later this summer.

Thanks for your visit and see you soon,

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