On my last post, we talked about the importance of working in a series, and how this “exercise” can help you develop as an artist. Today, we continue the series by expanding on each of the points discussed last week.
Choosing a theme
Choosing a theme or subject is an important aspect of creating a series of works, not just in textile art, but in painting, photography, or writing. When you are thinking about creating a series of pieces that will work cohesively, consider the following when choosing your theme:
It’s important to choose a theme or subject that you are personally interested in and passionate about. This will help you stay motivated and engaged throughout the creation process and will ultimately lead to better quality work.
When you choose a theme or subject that you are passionate about, your enthusiasm will come through in your work. This will help to make your series more engaging and interesting and your passion and energy will be felt in your work.
Finally, choosing a theme or subject that you are personally interested in can also help you to develop your skills and knowledge in that area. If you are passionate about a particular subject, you are more likely to do research, read up on the topic, and seek out inspiration, which can ultimately help you to create more informed and well-rounded works.
A series should have a consistent theme or subject throughout all of the pieces. This doesn’t mean that each piece has to be identical, but there should be a unifying thread that ties them all together. It could be once again, keeping the colours constant or similar, or a shape that repeats throughout.
For example, you might choose to use a consistent colour palette, style of work, and composition across all of the pieces. This helps to create a visual connection between the pieces, making them feel like they belong together as part of a larger series.
Consistency is also important thematically. When creating a series, you should choose a theme or subject that allows for exploration and variation, but that still has a clear and consistent message or narrative that runs throughout all of the pieces.
Maintaining consistency throughout a series helps to create a strong and impactful body of work that tells a coherent and meaningful story. It also helps to establish your own artistic identity and style, making it easier for audiences to recognize and connect with your work.
However, it’s important to note that consistency doesn’t mean that all of the pieces in your series have to be identical or monotonous. Instead, you should aim for consistency within a certain framework or structure, while still allowing for variation and experimentation within that framework.
While consistency is important, it’s also important to allow yourself some flexibility within the theme or subject. This will give you room to experiment and explore different ideas within the series. Think about trying different techniques to render your subject.
For example, if you are creating a series of paintings on the theme of “nature”, you might choose to explore different aspects of nature in each piece, such as landscapes, animals, and plants. By allowing yourself this flexibility, you can create a series that is cohesive and consistent, but that also has variety and interest.
Flexibility also allows you to adapt to changes and challenges that might arise during the creation process. For example, you might discover new techniques or materials that you want to incorporate into your series, or you might encounter unexpected obstacles that require you to adjust your approach. By being flexible, you can adapt to these changes and continue to create high-quality work.
Choose a theme or subject that is relevant to you and to the world around you. This will help give your series a sense of purpose and meaning.
Relevance can be personal – for example, you might choose a theme or subject that is relevant to your own experiences or interests. By doing so, you can create a series that is authentic and honest, and that reflects your own unique perspective.
You could also choose a theme or subject to raise awareness and spark discussion around important issues, which can ultimately help to make your series more impactful and meaningful.
Choose a theme or subject that allows you to explore and learn something new. This will help keep the creative process fresh and exciting.
Once you choose a theme, you might choose to explore different styles and techniques. By experimenting with different approaches and styles, you can create a series that is dynamic and varied, and that keeps your audience engaged and interested.
Exploration can also be a way to challenge yourself and step outside of your comfort zone. By choosing a theme or subject that is new or unfamiliar to you, you can push yourself to try new things and take risks, which can ultimately lead to growth and development as an artist.
Consider whether the theme or subject has enough depth and complexity to sustain a series over time. It’s important to choose a theme or subject that you won’t tire of quickly and that has enough potential to keep your interest for a longer period of time.
By choosing a theme or subject that has a broad and diverse range of potential subjects, you can keep the creative process fresh and exciting, and avoid burnout or loss of interest.
Longevity is also important in terms of the marketability of your series. By choosing a theme or subject that has longevity, you can create work that is timeless and enduring, and that will continue to appeal to audiences over time.
While it’s important to create art that speaks to you, it’s also important to consider your intended audience. Choose a theme or subject that has the potential to resonate with a larger audience and that people will find interesting – especially if you are creating work to sell.
By choosing subjects that are familiar and recognizable to a wide audience, you can create work that is accessible and appealing, and that has the potential to reach a larger audience. However, it’s also important to balance audience appeal with your own artistic vision and integrity. While creating work that is popular and commercially successful is important, it’s also important to stay true to your own creative vision and to create work that is authentic and meaningful to you.
Choosing a subject for your series starts first and foremost with what interests you and what you want to focus on for an extended period of time. That does not mean that you have to work constantly on your series; it’s a good idea to mix and match and keep your series fresh.
Keep a sketchbook and notepad and pencil close-by so you can jot ideas as they come to mind. I find that sometimes I’m watching TV or doing something totally unrelated and all of a sudden an idea will come to mind – usually in the middle of the night. If I don’t write it down … it’s gone!
Join me next week when I talk about developing your ideas. Until then, keep creating,
PS: if you are looking for a way to learn, be inspired and create, check out my program Create2Flourish. Registration will open in early April.