Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Series as Process

What is a series?

Simply put, it is a group of pieces based on a common element or group of elements:  subject matter, technique, a particular set of materials, a group of visual elements, or a compositional format.  A series can be created in an afternoon – as in a group of quick collage studies – or last a lifetime.  Many artists keep several series going throughout their careers.
  • Working in series allows you to explore ideas more thoroughly, give them some breathing room, and try out different solutions to visual "problems".
  • Working in series gives your art practice focus and momentum.  Rather than face the blank canvas with too many possibilities to choose from, the parameters of your series create clarity of intention.
  • By considering the series the basic unit of art making, you lose the preciousness of the individual piece, the fear of “ruining” it, which can keep you stuck.  Get un-stuck by working in multiples.
Some people find the prospect of Creating A Series somewhat daunting, though.  When I talk about working in series I mean to focus on the process: working in multiples as a practice, not as a goal.  When you begin just one piece, you have some investment in its Coming Out Right.  If you begin ten pieces in a similar way, you can try all kinds of ways to continue, and maybe resolve, the "proposition" put forth in the beginning.

I made this piece in my Layering with Transparencies workshop at Art and Soul in Portland:


This combination of elements seemed to merit a little more exploration, so I began a series using similar elements.  I haven't yet put the transparent collage pieces on, or developed them further (that is Part 2), but simply made some beginnings.  Here is a little video of the process:  
And here are five of the pieces of this series at their beginning stage: 






My workshop theme for 2014 is "Series as Process", so any of the longer workshops you take will incorporate working in series.  The longer workshops (2 - 5 days) that are not yet full include:
I am also teaching a one-day workshop specifically on Working In Series at Art and Soul in April.

Meanwhile, give it a try if you haven't already.  Stay tuned for Part 2, where I create some transparent collage materials and develop these pieces a bit more.

10 comments:

  1. I understand that the Utah Surface Design Group is working on having you come to Utah within the next couple of years! I'm looking forward to meeting you and getting to learn from you too!

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    1. Oh great! I haven't heard from them in a while, and wasn't sure if they were still interested. I'd love to teach in Utah.

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  2. Jane, I really enjoy your videos. I have learned so much from you over the last year. I watch all of your videos and have taken a couple of your courses and feel that you have helped me grow so much as an artist. thanks

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    1. Aw, shucks. Thanks. This is very gratifying to hear. Glad you are enjoying my stuff.

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  3. Your videos are inspiring. Hope you do an online workshop about series.

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  4. Very inspiring work - love the textures and intrigue of the layers!! Love the vibrancy of the colour mixes as well!! I can see Jo reveling in this - cheers to all!!

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  5. thanks again for sharing your techniques & artwork. I miss you coming to Ink in Mass.
    A question: when you use printed word pages in your work, and you sell the piece, are you concerned about copyright issues? I am not sure what is permissible.

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    1. Nice to hear from you, Pat!

      You can always call Inky's and ASK them to invite me to teach there. I haven't pursued it because my teaching schedule is pretty full, but if they asked, I probably wouldn't say no. I have to go visit my parents soon, and could combine that with a trip to Inky's.

      Do not worry one tiny bit about copyright when you are using text like this. It is used for pattern, not for legibility, and it is taken totally out of context.

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  6. Love this series Jane, next August will never come soon enough. xox

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  7. Jane...I take most of my workshops either here in Florida in the winter (at Leesburg Art Association workshops OR at Dillman's resort in Lac du Flambeau, WI in the summer. I have given your name to both these organizations and am hoping they contact you about 2015. I am just in LOVE with your ideas, techniques, and DVDs and online videos, etc. I hope you might consider these two locations in 2015.

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