Learn from Michelle

Rufus Objects to Series

Why is it that the things that are best for our artistic development are constantly under attack by Rufus? The concept of painting a series is no stranger to him. The second you decide to really give it your all, the whispers come…
“If you paint this series, you’re going to get pigeonholed into this style forever.”
Sticking with a single style for a while is actually a good thing. It gives clients confidence that when they hire you for a commissioned work, they have a reasonable expectation of the final painting. When your style, colors, and brushwork are consistent, this builds the trust factor — especially when it’s a client that doesn’t know you personally.
“If you don’t change what you’re doing, people will think your artwork is boring and repetitive.”
As I’ve already stated, consistency creates confidence… but there is an inkling of truth to this little dig from Rufus. However, not in the way you might think. While consistency of style is a good thing, getting stuck in a style forever is actually a bad thing. You should always be evolving and refining your technique. An artist that isn’t striving for the next big thing is dead, creatively speaking. Let’s not get lax and find ourselves stuck in a creative rut of meaningless work.
“If you spend too much time on this subject, you won’t make any money.”
That’s the one Rufus knows will work on me (kids to feed and bills to pay, you know?). I’ll be the first to admit I’ve lost money on commissioned work because I spent too much time working to perfect a single subject. However, those pieces ended up being some of my very best work. Those pieces where I took the time to fully explore the subject and create something blow-your-hair-back amazing ended up being the ones that brought me even more work. Despite there being some truth to needing to be an efficient painter to be profitable, sometimes you’ve got to tell Rufus to hush and listen to the paint!
Despite the objections Rufus will throw at you, I suspect you’ll find creating a series freeing. A blank canvas is no longer scary because you’ll have already figured out any issues with the subject. This leaves you free to enjoy the process of letting a new painting emerge using the strong threads of previous paintings to spur you forward.
Rufus, it’s time for you to sit down and hush!
Friends, let the series flow!
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