Art 1 – working in series – Due 3/31


1. Look at the evolution of Mondrian’s work and how he changes over a period of time.  What do you think was important to him as an artist?  Why didn’t he keep painting trees in the same way?

Look at BOTH of the links below, read both articles fully, and explain what a “series” is and discuss three points about the advantages and purpose of working in a series.

Advantages to working in a series

Jane Davies ideas about art series

For your hour sketchbook, do a drawing based on a previous drawing and make significant changes that reveal more of your personal interests as an artist.

Or, do 2 drawings that demonstrate an evolution of your artistic ideas (either in a major way, as in Mondrian’s work, or in a less drastic way, as in Jane Davies’  “Teeny Tiny Art” series.)


35 responses »

  1. I think abstract paintings, patterns, and emotions were important to Mondrian. He might have changed the way he painted trees because he got sad. it seems as though the tree earlier in the video was less depressing that the second one. The second one was dark and barren.

    A series is group of pieces based on a common element or group of elements. Working in a series allows the artist to see their developments over time which helps them understand how they have progressed and developed new skills through their life as an artist. Working in a series also eliminates the feeling that you can “ruin” a piece. It gives you the opportunity to work on it in several different ways. Lastly, it allows you to further your ideas on the subject and expand your opportunities on how to come up with solutions for a piece.

  2. I think that what seems to be important to his art is an increasing unique style. I think that the trees reflect this because they become more integrated with their background which also becomes more abstract and unique. A theme is two or more pieces of art that have the same concept or subject. one advantage to this is that it can force you to push through blocks to discover new techniques or themes because you need a new way to restate what you’ve already painted. Another is that working in a series can relieve the stress of messing up a painting, because you are doing multiple so there’s a much narrower range of what is wrong and if you do ruin one piece, it doesn’t matter as much. a third argument for working in series is that it allow you to really dig into the possibilities in your art and explore ideas that you might not have otherwise done for fear that it was too close to a past artwork.

  3. I think shape and similarity in form was important to him and he seemed to like to experiment with keeping the same basic arrangement of concentrated and spread out in his pieces while completely changing all the other aspects. His trees were interesting. At first I thought his second piece depicting trees was showing a city skyline but when it had zoomed all the way out it was obviously trees which can have been intentional. The first article emphasizes the importance of series for coherence and understanding to the audience. Also it discusses how series can be a gateway to further development and depth of a piece, a way to investigate further into the art. The second website said that through series you can experiment with many possibilities of how to solve “visual problems”. I think this is an interesting point, it reminds me of writing a short story multiple times and tweaking the circumstances or changing some other detail to just see how the story ends.

    • That’s an interesting comparison you made that the differences in paintings are like different endings to a short story. There is such a wonderful correlation in the arts. it could also be extended to music and dance…..the simlarities are enlightening!

  4. I think that the use of line, and simple shapes was important to Mondrian. He may have changed the way he painted trees due to a change in season, or an event or emotion that made him feel differently about his perspective on life.
    A series in this sense is multiple pieces of art work based off of a common element, or a group of common elements. One advantage to working in a series is that it allows the artist to refine and rediscover how they want their work to affect people. Series also allow the viewer to achieve a higher sense of understanding about the piece and the artist then if they saw a lot of very different types of art. A third advantage to working in a series is it allows the artist to not get hung up on ruining a piece.

  5. I think that a big thing in Mondrian’s artwork was simplicity, and being able to tell a story with as few lines and busyness as possible. I believe that his trees changed because there was something in his life that influenced his work. Or just that he wanted to find another way to paint a tree, but to keep it in his series.
    A series is a set of works that are unified, cohesive and coherent. If you work in a series, then you become an expert about what is “said” in the artwork. Another advantage is that the viewer understands what you are trying to convey and they have a story to follow as they look at your work.

  6. I think what stands out about his artwork was simplicity and conveying emotion through beautiful simplicity. Its like how some of the best guitar riffs are the simplest. I think patterns and recurring themes were also important to him. I also think that depending on how he felt while he was painting played a role in his art.
    I think a series is helpful or important because it extends the impact that a piece of art just (probably) cannot fully convey. It also allows for clarity and context. You can articulate more clearly what you intend to convey

  7. I think it was important for Mondrian to use lines to divide up his canvas into pieces of varying size in order to attract viewers to certain areas that would have color. Maybe he changed the way he painted trees because he was bored of painting the same thing over and over.
    A series is when an artist makes multiple pieces around the same idea or thought. A series can help viewers understand art because they only have to grasp one idea for many works, the artist can more easily control what the viewers think about, and the artist can show off their talent by making multiple pieces of the same genre that still spark interest and liveliness.

  8. I think simplicity seemed to be important to Mondrian, as he used black lines and primary colors, directly leading the viewer’s eyes and revealing the true simple foundation of things, rather than looking at the whole. A lot of art is really based on the three primary colors and lines, but Mondrian seems to exaggerate this.

    To make a series is to create multiple works of art that explore in depth a particular style, theme, philosophy, or topic, such that the artist allows more context and organization, as well as understanding of the artist’s art for viewers.

    Working in a series can help for viewers to understand what might have influenced the artist, what their philosophy on art is, and of what importance what the art itself means to the artist.

  9. I think abstract shapes were important to him. I think colors (specifically primary) were important to him. Also positive space was important. He focused on simple shapes that overlapped with each other, but he doesn’t focus on shading.

    A series is a group of art work with a common theme or motif. Like the blue dog paintings. A series let’s the viewer focus on something different than just the main object, and gives focus to other things in the painting, like the background, and other objects. It also creates a way for the artist to check how his/her style is changing. The paintings can also tell a story that all relates to each other.

  10. I think his use of lines was important to him and his stile, using them to direct where the viewer should look. His work was simple yet very powerful.
    A series is a group of works, ones that usually have one or more aspects in common. It allows for certain aspects to be explored more deeply, and lets the viewers understand each piece, and the series as a whole, better than and individual painting would.

  11. I think one of the great things about Mondrian’s work is that he is able to convey themes and emotions simply. One important aspects to working in a series is the ability to work on a single theme and watch it evolve over the course of the series. I think this is one of the greatest aspects to art because it makes it more organic. It becomes a life form you created and get to watch and influence as it develops. In some ways, you just have to get the idea going and then it will do the rest and you just have to keep up. The article also discussed the idea that, in a series, you could evolve to solve problems as your series progressed. The third point was that it helps the onlooker understand the themes you’re trying to convey. If they see a series, they can see the subtle or not-so-subtle changes that take place and that are integral in conveying meaning.

    • Your reference to art as “problem solving” is a reminder that art engages the mind as much as the emotions. And, as you point out how series helps the onlooker it reinforces the idea of art as communication from the artist to the viewer.

  12. Mondrian’s work transitioned from trees to tree-like designs. Then to designs that branched in a tree-like pattern, but were more square. Then from there, most of his work was non-objective square patterns. His style became much more simplistic over time.
    A series is a sequence of compositions that relate to one another. They can be similar in theme, subject matter, style, color scheme, etc. A series can also consist of re-makes of the same work. Series can unify the artist’s work for further interpretation and understanding. It can also be more visually appealing to see many of a similar style of work.

    • You, like many others, see the evolution of Mondrian’s work as a simplification. I like the idea of distillation because he is refining the elements to their essences: verticals, horizontals, and the primary colors. But for him, as the artist, it was a much more complicated process because he labored over fractions of an inch and the balance and placement of colors, much like the way poets can wrestle with the addition of a word or comma.

  13. Mondrian favored the lines and the color more than the subject. He stopped painting trees the way he did simply because he felt like it. Looking at the art, I make no connection with the artist at all. I simply can’t see what this artist was thinking. The first three, sure, I see a tree through his eyes. There is the connection. Then… It’s just lines and color. I just see paint, not the artist’s personality, no art, no meaning, nothing. So as far as I can tell, he just liked the way lines looked and concentrated on that rather than what he was painting.

    A series is a group of pieces all sharing a theme or technique. So far, I see no pros at all to using series. I think they’re stupid and gives me no feeling at all except confusion. But people who are into series think it gives you more room to explore ideas (whatever ideas those are supposed to be, because they aren’t conveyed in the art piece) and possibilities for solutions to visual problems (which will take forever and leave the piece a work in progress, because the entire thing is a visual problem), as well as removing importance of a single piece of the art (which doesn’t make sense, an art piece should make you think and be complex and give you some sort of feeling). The cons? Oh ho ho… Well, they leave observers confused, because there isn’t an art piece, just splatters of paint and a false identity of sophistication. The pieces of the art don’t have meaning, which means the full art piece has no meaning either. Gears in a clock are each incredibly important, and individual pieces in an art piece should be like those gears or else the piece simply doesn’t function as art. It’s boring and conveys no feeling or ideas at all.

  14. Mondrian was committed to an abstract artistic style. While some of his pieces include detailed elements such as trees, the majority of his work reflects a more simplistic vision: blocks of color, lines used to communicate his ideas. I think his more abstract work is more revolutionary–at least it was at the time–and more unique to him as individual (this is probably why his most famous work is Composition C [III]). I think the reason that he didn’t always paint trees in the same way was because he was trying to figure out exactly what his style was.
    A series is basically a selection of work from one artist that all revolves around a single idea or central theme. One advantage to working in series–or, at least one thing that the first article defines as an advantage–is that it is often easier for an artist to fully communicate the thesis or concept behind the work to a viewer if the concept is contained in multiple pieces. In addition to providing more work for a viewer to analyze, series are further beneficial to the artist him/herself because–while the artist may have already had a preliminary understanding of the theme– the process of creating a body of work can give him/her deeper insight into the concepts behind his/her creation. Finally, series underscore the importance of particular works in the context of a great body of work. For example, if an artist paints many miscellaneous nature scenes but does a focused series on oak trees, the fact that it is a series shows that the oak-tree subject merits particular scrutiny.

    • I like looking at all of Mondrian’s early work. In addition to his trees, the figure paintings and windmills also show a steady fascination with geometry, verticals, and horizontals. It makes sense that his work evolved to the purist, de Stijl, abstractions. Unfortunately, his hopes that he was creating a universal art did not come to fruition.

  15. One thing he keeps the same in all of his works is the use of dark lines. As an artist, perhaps changing his style and exploring new ones was important. He probably wanted to experiment and try new things and that’s why he changed the way he drew the trees. It got to the point where I couldn’t even tell they were trees.
    When you work in a series you can see how you changed both your style and technique. Keeping the main subject the same makes the art easier to compare. It also let’s you think outside of the box with some limitations, so you can explore as far as you can within a certain area.

  16. I thought the transition of his artwork was interesting. He went from very expressive and detailed trees to more nonobjective abstract pieces. It reflected a clear shift in his psyche and how he chose to express it artistically. Although I could just be reading too much into it and it’s his artistic choice to change his style. A series is a common theme or motif present in a series of pieces of art. They all go together. Sometimes in direct way like the blue dog which someone mentioned earlier or in a more subtle way where like a series of paintings where the common theme is “loss” and they are all different but have that underlying symbolism and emotion. Working in a series can help the artist clearly see their skills and progression as an artist (the article compared it to looking under a microscope which was interesting), relate works to create a bigger project beyond just one painting or drawing, and not be confined to just one basic idea but to take convey it in a series of different ways. For example, taking an idea like things catching on fire and painting the many different images that manifest in the artist’s mind rather than just selecting one.

  17. For Mondrian’s work, there is a lot of evolution behind it. It does change periodically but there is always something similar throughout the entire piece. I believe it is important to him to have a simple abstract concept become large and therefor more complex in itself. I think the reason he didn’t do his trees the same way was because he wanted to experiment and broaden his outlook on the “look” of tree/shapes.

    A “series”, according to Article 2, is “group of pieces based on a common element or group of elements.” Ideas that can be used for this are for example colors, technique, or a theme. It is also a way to give others a way to fully understand the art. It is not a single painting with one point but several to get a great feel of what the artists wanted to convey.

    Three points about the advantages and purpose of working in a series are 1. It gives artists a chance to fully explore and elaborate on what they are trying to express/demonstrate/show with their art, 2. allows for more focus and the practice of momentum, and 3. It is a good way to do several so you can go back to it in a different outlook and improve/change/alter your already fabulous artwork to further expand one’s ideas.

  18. 1.Over time, Mondrian’s work became much more abstract and black-and-white. His lines moved further apart. I think these changes reflect his growing interest in clarity and abstract expression.

    2. A series is a group of artistic pieces with a common thread (such as a constraint, theme, etc.).

    3. Three advantages of working in series:
    – you can try different ways of solving problems
    – it makes the intentions or thought processes of your work more clear to the view
    – you’re no longer afraid of “ruining” an individual piece because you know there are
    many more in your series. this way, you can try new things or take risks.

    • His later work used not just black and white but the primary colors. Using only these colors, verticals, and horizontals, he thought could express, universally, everything he wanted to convey in art.

  19. He started painting more realistic down to earth trees that quickly change to more abstract of surrealist renditions of tree scenes. It progresses into more geometric and rectangular work. This work lacks “detail” instead creating an abstracted picture of the whole tree as if seeing it out of focus. Then turns into geometric designs dominated by patches of color amid black and white that lead your eyes around with focus and lines. i feel like he stopped painting trees in the same way because I feel he started trying to depict his trees in the basic or fundamental way which is why he kept sacrificing detail for overall structure and design.

    A series allows a sense of unity within your work which allows your art to be more easily interpretted by viewers. continuing to work with one theme will also make an artist more knowledgeable about it and better able to convey their points about it to their viewers.

    sorry out of time

  20. Mondrian started with very loose, fuzzy work, depicting abstractions of trees and then shifted from loose and flowy, to hard, clean lines and I think that he really cared about not getting stuck on the same type of painting. Every few paintings he would evolve his work in some way and it wouldn’t necessarily improve but it became different, and variety is always nice. Honestly I think that he stopped painting trees the same way because painting a bunch of trees the same way would be incredibly boring, so he made it interesting with a more modern, clean style.
    A series is a group of paintings that share a core concept or element and it helps to convey what the artist intended more so than a group of disjointed works. They don’t have to be the same but they should all revolve around the same idea, and in doing many versions of an idea the artist will portray it in a more complete manner.
    1) It helps convey the idea of the pieces through many pieces to the view so they aren’t confused.
    2) It helps get through visual blocks since the artist has so many tries to get it just right.
    3) Doing several pieces around one idea gives a more in depth understanding of the idea to both the artist and the viewer.

  21. Painting in a series is just like it sounds — creating a series of paintings based on a common element or aspect of a painting. When it comes to mondrian’s work, I think it’s a refining of a common element in each painting, not exactly a simplification but a more refined way to paint. Painting in a series can:
    1. Show the ideas they want to show in more than one way or refine their ideas they want to convey
    2. Makes better paintings every time
    3. Expands the focus of what feeling or idea the artist wants to convey and creates a better understanding for both artist and viewer.

  22. Mondrian grew more abstract as he developed his depictions of trees. He started out with a more realistic view of the tree, them moved to almost cubist forms, and finally transitioned to blocks and lines. The colors began as simple greens and browns and moved to bright colors, black, and white.

    A series is a group of works that have a common theme. They can have similar colors, subject matters, or techniques. Some advantages of working in series include being able to emphasize different aspects of a different subject, improve upon previous ideas and works, and continue to develop ideas and techniques.

  23. His work first started as more “loose” or flowy, without as much definition in his lines. The trees changed along with his overall style, so they reflect his work as a whole. He also wanted to keep his work evolving, and not get stuck in the same style.

    A series is a group of paintings that all have a common theme or motive that gives the work unity. This doesn’t mean that they are necessarily super similar, but they are related in some way, shape or form.

    Advantages of working in a series:
    1. It gives one motive a lot more meaning, and give the artist a chance to develop a small idea into something much larger.
    2. It gives the viewer a much more complete experience, which could be a good thing for the artist.
    3. It allows for more focus and momentum/movement throughout the pieces.

  24. i think color and shapes were important to him as an artist. I think he didn’t paint tress the same way because he wanted to have a different perception of his paintings. A series is when you create unified, cohesive, coherent bodies of work. The pieces don’t have to be super similar but they are some sort of common theme with each other.
    1. It gives the artist a chance to make a painting similar to the original more developed and detailed
    2. It allows you to explore more similar ideas more detailed.
    3. It allows you to discover new solutions to problems that could have happened with your pervious pieces.

  25. .

    A series is a group of pieces it can be anything of any medium whether it be paintings, or book, or even movies a common theme ties a group of pieces together providing unity. Three advantages to making a series would be for one it helps the audience understand and comprehend an artists meaning through a series of work, and it can demonstrate motives easily. Another advantage of a series is to create unified cohesive coherent bodies of work. Another purpose for series is that it really causes the artist to examine what he or she wants to bring out or highlight as the theme or unifier in his or her series. Another advantage is that you get the opportunity to maybe reexamine a certain thing with a new perspective in a new light. Something in the first article that was really relatable is that she said when you work in a series it kind of takes the pressure off your one masterpiece to be perfect, and I think this can be very helpful because that pressure is not only very real but also in my experience can be very harmful.

  26. I think Mondrian was focusing on express his own style, which means the color, the patter and the emotion is important to him when he is drawing. A serie means a type or a style of drawing, which paintings have a comon theme, but they are not necessary to be similar.
    1. It can help you to devolop more understanding of a kind of painting.
    2. When you keep working on a serie, you may find out some new ideas.
    3. Only working on one serie will help artist to study focusing on one theme research.

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