Monthly Archives: March 2009

Setting Guidelines for a Painting Series


As I’ve noted in earlier posts, a  series contains a certain number of pieces that are united in theme, subject, materials or medium. A theme reflects an artist’s interest – for example Monet’s series of Haystack paintings, where the subject of haystacks was simply a jumping off place to paint his real passion, which was light. John Singer Sargent’s society portraits are an example of a series united in subject. Georgia O’Keefe combined both theme and subject in here series of large, close-up flowers. About this series, she said, “I realized that were I to paint flowers small, no one would look at them because I was unknown. So I thought I’ll make them big, like the huge buildings going up. People will be startled; they’ll have to look at them – and they did.” Matisse’s Jazz series, a series of paper cut-outs, is an example of a series united in materials.

Another theme idea could be style – for example, you could choose to explore an Impressionist or Cubist style in a new series of paintings. Or perhaps your goal is to find your own personal style by workin in a series.

And yet another theme idea could be the desire to master a chosen art element. For example, Josef Albers painted a large series of square format painting where he explored the effects of color. Wolf  Kahn’s paintings are united in both subject – the landscape – and his passion for discovering glorious color relationships. One could argue I suppose that Andrew Wyeth’s whole body of work is united in its “colorless” value approach.

The painting I’ve posted today is from my City Series, and it’s titled Canal Street.

At the heart of a series lies the intention of creating a number of pieces of art that form a recognizable entity when viewed together.

I hope I’ve given you some ideas for starting a series of your own.

Happy Painting!