Wednesday, June 22

Want a Challenge? Paint a "Series"


In a recent blog I mentioned I was going to do a series of paintings and that I was looking forward to it.  So I did it, and now want to blog about it and share some thoughts.

In my sophomoric optimism, I thought, Monet was famous for his many series: haystacks, cathedrals, water lilies—I should try that. I think every artist should paint a series at least once. Why? Oh, I don’t know—just to see if you can do it, for one, and also to say you did it. Not much in the way of a reward, I know, just the psychic kind.

Anyway, I had a reference photo of a stand of trees under cloud cover  taken out in the countryside on a  spring day. I liked the contrast in the motif and painted what I considered a rather nice acrylic on paper. An artist friend then suggested I do a series.  Hmmm, I thought, why not, I’ve never done that.

Well, I decided to paint this same motif with the same shot but in the other three seasons of the year. Not very original, but what can I say, that’s what I decided to do. Just so you know, these were all painted in acrylic on 1/2 sheet, 200 lb. watercolor paper.

To keep this brief, here are a few insights on the experience:

-I knew what my next three paintings were going to be and so, didn’t have to worry about what I would be working on for the next three weeks.
-I looked forward to the experience as a challenge.

-It's a learning experience.

-I can now say I have painted a “series.”

-I suppose if I really had done it right, I would have taken an actual reference photo at the same spot in each of the four seasons; that is, wait three months and take a summer photo, wait three months and take a fall, etc. But I didn’t, and so had to “make up” what the light and vegetation would look like in every season; that was not easy to do, for me anyway.
-By the third rendition (the fall motif) I was getting tired of this whole project, and winter was the most difficult motif for me to do without a reference photo.

-And so, the subsequent paintings did not turn out as well as the first painting (in my humble opinion).

Will I ever paint another series? Yes, definitely, but definitely not one having anything to do with the four seasons!

Happy Painting!

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