Nov 3, 2016

Do you Know Your Subject? Part 4 - Painting and Drawing Tips


"Getting to know your subject, so you know its variances, so everything doesn't look the same." Robert McMurray.

Working in a series or a theme has been my focus for my last three posts and I must admit it started as a one-off post but grew and grew.  Kind of took off as a series of its own.  (You can read about the earlier posts starting here.). 

As I continued my research I talked to artists and read about some of the different types of series that  have been tried. I got some of their thoughts on this approach to their work.

New Adventures - 5 x 7 - My inspiration for my Constructive Organics Series
Robert McMurray, started painting in 1972, and like many of us was working his 'other job' for many years and painting on the side.  He successfully made the transition from one career to professional artist.  He talked about his 'trip' series.  He and a select group of artists would head out to location and paint for days.

One such trip was in 2000 when they chartered a boat and traveled around Haida Gwiaii.  He took hundreds of reference pictures from the trip and great memories.  When the group returned from the trip they did a series of shows in Alberta and British Columbia featuring their art from the trip.  He remembers setting up a display in a mall in Calgary.  As soon as they opened the show people ran up to the paintings and grabbed them.  It was an amazing thing to see.  ( I am sure we would all love to have that experience with selling our work.). He attributes their success to the high interest at that time in the west coast of British Columbia and the Haida Gwiaii.  And of course the quality of their work!

Bob says that he never feels trapped with a series as he finds as one series starts to fizzle out another one starts up.  His present series is painting the islets and islands of the West Coast.  See more of his work at

Bob is not the only one that has travelled the coast.  Stewart Marshall, who worked in watercolour, travelled for 4 or 5 months along the coast in his kayak.  Painting all the time and returning in the fall to launch a show of his work.  He even produced a video that showed how he lived and painted from his kayak as he travelled along the coast.  It has been over 30 years since he launched a show but I am sure anyone who has seen his work will remember it.  See a few of his pictures with the book Painter, Paddler: The Art and Adventures of Stewart Marshall. 

Jane Appleby, interviewed in the last post about her project, concluded with this comment,  "All in all working at a series of paintings, over a period of time especially on social media, makes you somewhat accountable for finishing it and the feedback is always helpful and encouraging. Painting doesn’t have to be a lonely act."

In my research I found an artist that 'painted the sky every day for a year'.  Another artist friend of mine did a series of night painting which he compiled into a book.  One of my favourite pen and ink artists, Gary Simmons, did 24 versions of the same Monk image which he included in his book.  It is a valuable resource for anyone that works in pen and ink.  I found so many different types of series it was truly amazing to see what interests artists and the many different directions that they want to go.  

Creating a body of work around a theme or series, does not mean that is all you paint. It also does not happen over night.  Most artists have more than one project on the go. It takes time to gather material to create that body of work so there is always opportunity to do other things. You may also find that your series or themes overlap.  As a wildlife artist, I find my birds and animals showing up in a variety of ways in my work.  For example, some of my chickadees, from my Chickadees in the Garden series flew over to my Constructive Organic work and ended up on a mechanical branch with plastic berries.  They do like to investigate shiny, bright things!

The most important thing about working in a series is you decide on the theme.  It is about what you are interested in.  It is your passion that is the driving force, you set the goal.  Look at your work now, you may already be on your road to a series.  It just needs to be refined and focused.

What series have you tried?  Where did it take you? 

To read my first post on working with a series see:  Do You Know your Subject- Part 1, Oct 13.   

Special Note:   My Series Constructive Organics  Premiering at The ACT Art Gallery- 11944 Haney Place, Maple Ridge  Sat. Nov 5 - Wed. Dec 21 - Reception:bSat. Nov. 5 2-4pm.  7 of my pieces will be featured.  

Time to gear up for Christmas.  Two things coming up that may help your shopping list:

1.  All day Marketing Workshop - Let's Get Your Art Out There - Sunday, Feb 26 or March 5, 2017.
This is an opportunity to work with a small group focusing on ways that work for you, to market your art.  Whether you are looking at full time or part Art Sales, there are effective, proven strategies that will get your work out the door. $70 Limited to 8 per session.  Art by Wendy Studio/Gallery, N. Surrey, BC.  REGISTER NOW  with Wendy 

Great gift for yourself or an artist you know.  Gift Certificates are available.   
2.  Paints n'Bloom Fall Show & Sale -  Friday, Nov. 25 to Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016, 10-4pm.
Gardenworks at Mandeville, 4746 Marine Dr., Burnaby.  Featuring Award Winning Artists Audrey Bakewell and myself, Wendy Mould, AFCA.  Proud supporter of Alzheimer Society of BC

Awesome opportunity to pick up special works of arts and art gift-ware for those special people on your list.

Special Show Features: Start your Christmas Fun early with a:
a.   Beginner Watercolour Class - Wednesday, Nov. 23 3:30-5:30pm
b.  Christmas Card Making Class - Thursday, Nov. 24, 2-4pm.
No Experienced requried,  All suppllies included $35 each.
REGISTER NOW with Wendy.   Space is limited.

 Be sure to like and share my posts. You won't miss a single one if you follow by email or Like my Facebook Page. Keep up with all the art events by joining my email list (see sidebar)
Have a great artful day, Wendy

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