Okay, so this is me writing about something I ought to be doing right about now (indeed, something I should’ve been doing late last year)—and God willing, I will be. But having done this more than a dozen times before, hopefully gives me enough to share on the subject of how to go about planning a set or a series of works, or for a show.
Again, I can really only speak from my own experience because I’m well aware that what works for one artist may not necessarily work for another. There’s no single, correct way when it comes to creation, I think (although red + yellow will never be green, I think, no matter how much of either you mix in).
Some people are averse to planning, and would much rather just ‘let it flow’. Me being the control freak I am, I tend to plan, not just because I’m a control freak but also because I have limited resources—time and energy being the most limited of all. So, I just like to try and make the most of them.
I do like to ‘figure things out when I get there’ while I’m working (because that’s… the fun part) and there are some things, I think, you really can’t pre-figure out, otherwise. But for me I do that sort of ‘on the fly’ stuff within a prepared structure. (Control freak, remember?) And also, there are other things you can’t plan, because, well, life happens.
That said, here are five things to consider when planning for an exhibit or creating a series of works—at least, the things I’ve had to consider, in general.
One of the gazillion nice things about art (or about people, if you like) is how no two artists (or people) think alike. It always used to amaze me back at art school how a bunch of people could be sitting in front of the same flowers or fruit or model and still come up with different things. Nobody ever painted or drew the subject in exactly the same way.
The thought process behind the production of art is different for everybody. There’s no, single, ‘correct’ way, if you will, to think of what to paint. In taking off from my previous entry on how reflecting on why you’re painting can help you come up with something to paint, this entry zeroes in on the actual how to think of something.
Like I said, even if you’re twins or very much in love, no two people are ever going to think exactly alike or conceptualise exactly the same painting. (Okay I take back the latter, as there may be grandfathered exceptions I am unaware of.)
So all I can offer here is how I go about it, in the hopes that it might give you some idea of how you could go about it, too. Especially if (continuing again from where my previous post left off), you’re doing No.13: You’re painting because you have a show.
Art is a mind game—so much of what happens when people make things takes place in their heads, even before any paint touches the paper or canvas. And like most things people can’t see, it’s much easier to look past them and to get caught up in the tangible.
A lot of people I’ve talked to over the years have said that they have trouble even just thinking of what to paint. And I’ve often replied that yes, thinking of what to paint is actually the hardest thing about the whole, thing—once you’ve gotten all that pesky ‘conceptualisation’ and planning out of the way, the rest is ‘just mechanics’.
(I mean of course it ISN’T, as ‘the mechanics’ are a whole different ballgame, but, you knew what I meant, I hope.)
In any case, I’ve given the matter a fair amount of thought and I think it all boils down to answering one simple question.