Art Series Define

Series In Art-Defined

Inspiration comes in many ways. Once inspired an artist may want to create a series of paintings following a certain style of theme. 

An art series is a unified, cohesive body of work that employs the same technique, subject, or palette throughout multiple works.  Unified through a distinct color palette or style. 

Creating  multiple artworks on the same theme is a delicate balancing act. A good series allows  each artwork to stand on its own, whilst simultaneously relating to the body of work as a whole. 

A series is essentially a collection of paintings on the same theme can be a series of skys, water or landscape themes painted in a similar style such as color field or abstract expressionist that when viewed leaves no doubt the same artist created them all. The theme running through the work is stated and restated in different yet interconnected ways, enabling the viewer to look at the collection and understand more easily what the artist is trying to convey.

“A polyptych (/ˈpɒlɪptɪk/ POL-ip-tik; Greek: poly- "many" and ptychē "fold") is a painting (usually panel painting) which is divided into sections, or panels. Specifically, a "diptych" is a two-part work of art; a "triptych" is a three-part work; a tetraptych or quadriptych has four parts, and so on.

Historically, polyptychs typically displayed one "central" or "main" panel that was usually the largest of the attachments; the other panels are called "side" panels, or "wings". Sometimes, as evident in the Ghent and Isenheim works (see below), the hinged panels can be varied in arrangement to show different "views" or "openings" in the piece. The upper panels often depict static scenes, while the lower register, the predella, often depict small narrative scenes.

Polyptychs were most commonly created by early Renaissance painters, the majority of whom designed their works to be altarpieces in churches and cathedrals. The polyptych form of art was also quite popular among ukiyo-e printmakers of Edo period Japan.

Some medieval manuscripts are polyptychs, particularly Carolingian works, in which the columns on the page are framed with borders that resemble polyptych paintings.” 



Art is a diverse range of human activity, and resulting product, that involves creative or imaginative talent expressive of technical proficiency, beauty, emotional power, or conceptualideas

There is no generally agreed definition of what constitutes art, and its interpretation has varied greatly throughout history and across cultures. The three classical branches of visual art are painting, sculpture, and architecture.

Just as each person is unique, what we create individually is unique. Also what we create as a collaborative effort of two or more individuals working or painting together will also result in a style that is unique and clearly individual and cohesive. We all can draw a forest or a tree and each may be different.

Secret Forest by Cheryl Johnson

A representation of the concept of a tree. The images of trees can be roughly quantified into an overall generalization of the idea of a tree by different artists.

Often when you look at an artists body or work you will clearly recognize a style that is uniquely that artists work. When making the leap from novice to professional artist an artist may work at developing a professional series of artwork. When an artist desires to create a body of work that is recognizable as there's that artist will work to develop a recognizable, signature style, especially when starting out. This way, collectors can recognize their work.  It’s fine to branch out once as upi create other bodies of work as you continue to develop your skill as an artist. 

Look at Gerhard Richter 

Gerhard Richter’s work spans realism and portrait style to abstract squeege work that are clearly his technique or style. You will find many series in his work.

Gerhard Richter

Creating a Series 


The first step is normally to decide upon a theme. For example: A still life artist might choose to paint trees as in my case I painted a series of secret forests as I loved the forest and landscapes.  Or a series may be a series of faces as in Jim’s series of faces he loves drawing beautiful women. 

All of these works are inspired themes that result in a series of paintings. 

Artists also my be inspired by a place. A landscape painter’s theme could be inspired by a location, or a season. As artists we may choose to focus on abstraction, or realism or impressionism. Often a theme developes simply by the application of paint or even color as a theme. The possibilities are endless.


Next, an artist will chose the format or type of substrate i.e., canvas, linen, wood panel etc. Themes can be based on supports, in other words, the shape and sizes of our paintings. There is actually a sub-conscience connotation related to the different formats or shapes and how they influence a viewer. As an artist understanding this can help you initially create an emotional response within the viewer of your art just by the size and shape of your painting.

• Horizontal = peaceful

• Vertical = majestic, active

• Square = risky, contemporary

• Standard = traditional

Subject Matter

For artists, subject matter will dictate what shape or format the you select for your painting. For example creating a landscape is usually horizontal and allows the artist to create broad landscape images. The theme of your show will also help you decide upon the subject for each individual piece of artwork.

A series of work can range from subjects such as oceans, skys, water,  rivers, birds or flowers painted individually or in vases. For example Van Gogh loved painting flowers, specifically the sunflower. 

Whatever you choose, it’s best to have continuity so the subjects within your series relate to each other.


See the end from the beginning. Have the end in mind before you begin. Generally speaking, a concept is the visual representation of your idea. A concept art is a form of visual art used to convey an idea.  It’s like a roadmap that helps guide you. 

Of course, artists allow for experimentation and spontaneity, but sticking  to the concept pulls the body of work together in the end.

A concept can begin by taking photos or going outside and creating a plein air sketch. Many artists work from sketchbook drawings, photographs.

Whatever inspires you as an artist or is a buyer is what you should paint or collect. When choosing subject matter from images, paintings or photographs, be sure they ‘speak’ to you.


The next step is to take the initial inspiration, idea and create a concept and refine it into a composition. Often artists will select a specific palette of colors as in our Earth Series we chose to create works based on earth tones. We chose to  simplify the composition into 4-5 values, paying special attention to patterns and spatial relationships.

Think about how an art collector or viewer looks at a painting. What message are you trying to convey to the viewer? What is important to you the artist? What is your focal point? Remember, all other elements will be subordinate to this focal point.


Artists often decide up front what types of colors they will use.  When the palette of colors is chosen, the next step is to decide upon how express the values or the darks and lights.  Will the painting be a high-key painting that is primarily lighter values, or mid range, or low-key with darker values? 


Once each painting is completed in the series let it rest. Then come back for reevaluation. Add any final tweaks and then let it dry. If in oil it may take months. 


Framing is also very important. The frame, in fact,  is a continuation of the painting. It’s important to compliment the painting without distracting from it. 

The whole series of paintings often are framed in the same or similar styles of frames. 


The last step to creating a successful body of artwork is to evaluate the group as a whole. 

A series is a unified, cohesive, coherent, related bodies of work.

Cheryl Johnson Secret Forests

Jim Wildman Faces