Planning my art in series
“While creating art,
I am capturing moments in time in my life
that I want to preserve and share.”
Learning from others
Who am I to give advise about planning art in series? My name is Jan and I make textile art. I have sold my textile art at art fairs for the past 3 years. Last year I sold 45 of my original thread paintings. Not much you say? As a beginning, I am satisfied. I am still learning which people buy my art and what connection they feel towards it.
Focusing more on a series right at the beginning has helped me be more productive. I feel a sense of really getting to know my topic and enjoy engaging patrons about what I know about the landscape and birds I have focused on.
I love what I do and believe there is so much I need to learn. As I learn I am pleased to pass it along to you, if you are also wanting to make your way alongside me as I plan my art series and my life.
How I begin a series
I feel it’s not so much a matter of skill, but more a matter of planning and organization of a theme I am passionate about. I pick it apart into segments and visual elements and look at each element. How can it be expanded to an art piece all its own? For example, a mountain trail can be the inspiration for a landscape painting. I look closely at my photography, focusing on the bark in the trees, rock outcroppings, wildflowers and birds along the trail. I was there: what do I remember? What was my color sense of the area: warm, cool? Was there wind? Can I image climbing up rocks and looking at the scene differently?
Developing a series
My reference materials are usually travel materials. I gather all photos taken and research on birds and wildflowers in the area. I can’t have seen them all, so I depend on researching the internet and books. Actually, my best references have been old printed books.
You should have, or start to, create folders of topics that interest you. Keep every scrap of information you get. Organize photos and online information into folders in your computer.
How many in a series?
There are many ways to look at anything. Keep in mind you need to create at least 10 works from an idea. I like to create a series of 15-20 thread paintings with 2 to 3 larger works, 4 to 6 medium works and 8 to 12 small works. This has worked so far for my textile art and was my experience in sales at each price level last year.
As I plan an art series there is a profound effect on commitment and how I live my life. Previously, I too often concentrated on one-offs — the big project of ONE. If you are like that, consider the benefit of expanding your vision to see what you can include beyond your current focus.