The word ‘series’ really isn’t an art term, it’s borrowed from mathematics and can show how we experience or perceive time as a series of events in sequence. (Think flip-book) Monet is probably one of the masters of this. His ‘Haystacks’ are a series of 25 canvases of haystacks painted from the same location and perspective, but at different times of day and year showing them in different lights, seasons, weather... it even goes a little deeper thinking about how each painting is a moment frozen in ‘time’ and how the series begins to tell a story.
Why I like to work in a series:
1- Once I have an idea or theme, then it’s easy to start working on it. For me the hardest part is trying to figure out where to start, what to work on. I’m always hoping that I’ll come up with ‘the one.’ Which would be great, but in the meantime... it seems that I’m more likely to get someplace if I just start working on something, anything. Even if it’s drawing the same exact picture over and over. Even if it doesn’t feel like it, it is taking you somewhere and you may not know where you’ll end up until you get there.
2 - It helps to create a unified body of work, which may not be clear to you until you have 10 or 20 or 100...
3- It gives me the opportunity to experiment... how would this look in green? What if it were longer? What if there were 2 of the same image? The series allows me to try all of the options, not have to just decide on one.
4 - It becomes a narrative and tells a story - for me it is therapy.