Working in Series



Above, just a fraction of the series of works from the Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable, Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana, Venice, 9 April–3 December 2017, by Damien Hirst, curated by Elena Geuna.

I imagine this famous scene of the post-coital cigarette seen in so many movies: the couple of a one-night-stand against the bed headboard, under the sheets, in the dark, intertwined by the fumaroles of a cigarette. It’s over. They seem jaded. “Well, that’s it. Goodbye, I’ll call you. ” Nothing more. It was fast. He puts on his trousers and exits the room and so does the other person.

Here is another version of the same scene, but that exists between two lovers. But here, against the bed headboard, on top of the sheets interlaced; everything is slower, we discuss, we laugh, we talk about the construction of the last minute and also, the future. We think. It’s uplifting.

It’s the same for painting. Too many times, in my painting classes and painting workshops, I have met students and “artists” who after finishing a painting live a feeling of emptiness as if the painted subject only aroused a slight satisfaction, nothing more. However, just before doing the painting, these painters had said that it would be interesting to do this or that, “here is a challenge”. As soon as the work is completed, they say, “Well, what am I doing now? A moonlight? A door scratched by time? A pot of geranium on a windowsill? A chickadee? “Checked! Done! And now what? “. And comes the linearity of an enumeration of painted subjects. Oh! I saw so many artists who lived this “pictorial post-coitus” (PPC)!

Does this PPC void occur because the artists cannot identify emotionally with their own works. Perhaps because these works do not reflect the artists’ identity or what their vision of life is?

Fortunately, there is also another post-coital work. Once finished, the artists are satisfied to have pushed their work a step further, and yet we speak here about the same painting subject. After they finish, they are already thinking about their next painting, which will be inspired by the one recently completed. “Well, how can you push it even further, to make it stronger? “Henceforth the need to work in series, because it is only the series that allows this kind of reflection, hence the circularity, the holism of creation, a reflection of the universe. We welcome a reality that preceded us on which, now, we must work. This series of works of art on the same theme becomes in a way the partner of a long moment, even for life; I am thinking here of Murakami’s work with his memes, or of Ron Mueck dealing with human fragility or Banksy’s social comments. Doing a work of art is like making love. There is the passion of the moment, the abandonment of time, two beings becoming one flesh that expresses through harmony and circularity… and not linearity.

We agree that a completed work can bring a great sense of boredom, even disappointment, or a sense of euphoria that encourages pursuing a career as an artist. We have a choice; “Well done! What do I paint now as my next subject? Or “WOW! How can I push this canvas so it becomes better and more complex in the reflection of my time and my life?”


by | Sep 5, 2019 | General, Ideas


  1. Twylla Bird-Gayson

    I couldn’t agree with you more Yves. The acute doldrums and downer I experienced upon my return from Italy was devastating! How does one do a second act to Studio Italia and still be inspired? But, as every sojourner knows, if you don’t know where you want to go then begin where you are at! As in music I found it helpful to start with a simple study or etude that reflected my own emotional, technical and even physical locus. I just painted what I saw in front of my face in the moment in any way or with any cheap equipment that was accessible to me. No pressure. And then from the same point of view I did a second and then a third, fourth and fifth improvising on the techniques or experimentations I had tried in the previous study. Where I ended up had no similarity to where I started and I arrived at some other level of learning and creative space that I hadn’t quite realized before. I was jazzed up and enthused about where I now wanted to go. Musicians do this all the time. Its in the doing itself – the practices – that makes the performance a reality!
    And Yves, if you are looking for an exceptional piece of music to ponder all this among the fumaroles of your post coital cigarette, may I suggest k.d. lang’s thematic and serial album DRAG. “Remember darling, don’t smoke in bed!”
    In gratitude, love and friendship….
    A la prochaine,

    • Yves M. Larocque (Ph.D.) for Walk the Arts

      Thank you Twylla for enhancing my thought. Totally agree with what you have written; “if you don’t know where you want to go then begin where you are at”. Looking forward to seeing you again. We did have fun in Italia.

  2. Heather Wadrop

    Have just completed my first exhibition. I remember your words “series/focus” which, at the time, I struggled with until I searched my soul. Why was I painting? To fulfill a commitment to you, made years before, during a Tuscany workshop? What did I hope to achieve? Exhibition but of what? I looked again at my old work…was there a common theme?
    The colours of Australia where there in front of me; my attempts of bringing those colours to the canvas in different mediums with varied failure and success. Again the “why” was I painting remained. Colour had become my focus; I was indeed living with colour. My remission from lymphoma had continued, the months and even years increasing, yet every day still a clear reminder of my mortality; my painting provided the outlet I needed to express myself.
    Exhibition over, and yes, I did go through the “but what now”. I know that I can produce more of the same, but now, I am looking at how I can extend myself. How can I make that connection between my life and colour even stronger, more exciting, more demanding of attention, an awakening for others.
    So thank you for this post Yves…well timed.
    Heather Wadrop

    • Yves M. Larocque (Ph.D.) for Walk the Arts

      Why don’t you create three large paintings; 5 x 6 feet minimum. And stay on these paintings for a few months. Dwell, dwell, dwell! But not in the past. Your next paintbrush stroke refers to the very now and future. Looking forward to seeing these paintings.

      • Heather Wadrop

        Whilst I do not have the room/area to paint on really large canvas (currently) I do indeed value your comments and suggestions. I can feel my brain whirring off into the “how can I”?

  3. marc dubois

    For a different perspective….From my experience as a painter (“artist”?) I find that painting “in series” stiffles creativity. I believe that an artist, whatever type of artist, should “say/paint it once and say/paint it well”, or to the best of his her abilities and most of all with integrity. I find that painting in series, especially in regard to amateur artist but also in regard to too many professional artists, is a slippery or a direct slope to painting to please a market, and capitalizing and exploiting (in the pejorative sense) a theme, composition, colours etc because they are popular. Galleries promote this, they want their artists to have an identifiable look and feel which again, can stiffle real creativity, especially if the artist is vain. I admit that I have, in the pursuit of trying to “say something” gone from one painting to another, working on solutions both technical and creative,and that the viewer might look at these attempts as a series, but the goal it produce one definite work, and to me all the previous pieces are failures and not showable. That being said, if i were jackson pollock and somebody wanted to give me six figures for drips of paint on a canvas, i’m no fool, i’ll take it so that i have the means and liberty to paint and say what i really want to paint and say, regardless of what the market says. (and maybe that is what JP did) And if i were joe public with six figures to spend on a jackson pollock, the last thing i want to know is that the artist did the work because he was exploiting a market, i would much rather here that the six figure painting is all about the artist’s inner turmoils and pains etc.

    • Yves M. Larocque (Ph.D.) for Walk the Arts

      Thank you very much Mark for your comments which I read attentively. Your comment is threefold: 1) opinion 2) admission and 3) art and the market through Pollock. I will comment on the third part of your reply.

      When you work by series, you work on a particular theme and you need to develop a concept. This method helps to foster creativity (reflection) because the artist can focus on how to apply the concept in different ways to different paintings. So, all the works are different but linked by a theme and a concept.

      Before Jackson Pollock reach the “six figures”, he was at the three-figure prices — all annual selling catalogues report that. What contribute Pollock in being one of the most famed artists of the history of art is his astounding research in painting that we see from “Male and Female” to “Cathedral”. There are no “failures” between these two paintings. In just ten years, he changed the course of painting (done with easel painting, birth of the all-over, no more contact with the canvas, etc.) just like Apple changed the course of communication. The critic and art historian Clement Greenberg noticed all that and, of course, all the New York gallerists — the latter are looking for that when choosing an artist for their gallery. Was Pollock “vain”? Absolutely not, like 95% of the artists. He was so much in “turmoil and pain”, one of the reasons it led to alcoholism and to his death during a car accident.

      All artists work through series, even Odd Nerdrum making him one of the most valuable artists today — as you know. Last March in New York City, I went to see his works at Forum Gallery and his paintings were in the six figures.

      Thank you for reading my blog!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Who are we

We all make art! It is part of culture. It is deeply rooted in human nature as a way of communicating with others. We all need to tell our stories because it is stories that link us all. We are all one, one creative mind! Though, all unique and equipped with unique ways of expressing ourselves. We live in constant search of that unique liberating voice. At Walk the Arts we aim to facilitate our art makers to explore new territories. Our painting classes and art history trips on three continents are meant to be rounded art experiences among small groups of like-minded adults. We offer an environment that fosters creativity. As we always say, art as religion is just a matter of faith. This blog is about living fully the experience of art, about finding our single artistic path, about the joy of art-making. We believe that making art accessible to all will lead to a betterment of our society.


Contact Us! North America and Europe

Twitter Updates

My painting workshop in Tuscany


Already a month since my return from a fun-filled art-learning experience in Tuscany, Italy! The workshop went far beyond what I even imagined, or hoped it would be. The roughly eight hours per day for most days of art instruction gave me a new perspective on my art: where I was and where I wanted to be, the past and the future. But, together as a group, we were living in the present.

What is “metaphysics”?


Since the advent of History, there has always been metaphysics: the Greek, the medieval, the rational, the modern. Each of these metaphysics answers to the other. The metaphysics of Plotinus responds to that of the Stoics, as that of Spinoza responds to that of Descartes, etc. (p. 80). Metaphysics is a deep reflection on things.

I return to visual art, especially to the matter of the intelligible aspect of painting: doesn’t Monet’s thought meet that of Turner, Picasso’s to Cézanne? Doesn’t Monet’s thought respond to Turner’s, Picasso’s to Cézanne’s? Shouldn’t we feed our own work of art from a greater one, which has withstood the test of time? Would metaphysics be evolutive? Would my current work necessarily prevail over the one of yesteryear?

Are We Jugglers of Life?


I am currently in Colombia on a beach, far away from the crowds because of the pandemic. And every year that I am on that beach, Picasso’s painting Les pauvres au bord de la mer (title in French) comes to my mind. More than a century passed by, and we still witness the same inequities. I keep thinking about them, the reason I wrote, during the pandemic, a novella on our society today’s conditions of which I am sharing this dialogue.

“Perseverance” is the key to all successful artists


Perseverance is the key to all successful artists.

I always ask my painting students to memorize … “Until then, we will not rest or falter. Hand in hand with others thirsting for a better life, no matter how long it takes, regardless of support or persecution, we will joyfully respond to a savage need for liberation”.

Studio Italia, a painting vacation with…


If our art workshops focused mostly on painting techniques, then why traveling to Italy and spending money when you could stay at home and learn everything you need through the Internet for free?

We can’t wait to see you again!


Travelling to Italy to paint and eat! This is what we want! We are optimistic about our upcoming art workshop in Tuscany, Studio Italia 2021 (October 1–10).
In a nutshell; we cannot wait to meet everyone, to see you again, to have this morning coffee together in Tuscany, to do art as a group, in brief, to fully enjoy life all around a gourmet meal with excellent wines.

Art and Neurosciences


When a subject becomes familiar, the brain activity shuts down like when viewing a lovely chickadee painting…

Can we talk about the neuroscience of art? This is the question that French neurobiologist Jean-Pierre Changeux addresses in his beautiful book The Beauty in the Brain or La Beauté dans le Cerveau (Odile Jacob, 2016). Prof. Changeux describes how the human brain behaves when making or contemplating a work of art. To make a long story short, he argues that the neural bases of aesthetic pleasure are the product of the link between cognitive and emotional brain functions, in other words, the harmony between reason and emotion. Moreover, he gives some tips on how artists can maximize the impact of their works on their audience.

Evolving in art is just a matter of faith; only believe!


We refrain from teaching painting techniques easily found on the Net. We prefer taking the necessary time (36 hours) to fully involve the participant in reflecting on her or his art — including all levels, all media […]
Rest assured that having attended one of our online classes, you will be more confident in taming the landscape in your own way while on a plein-air painting workshop.

May I see the instructor’s works?


So why do we attend a painting workshop In Tuscany, Provence or South America? We attend a workshop to learn from each other, to share our passion, to live an art experience and to enjoy the power of knowledge through creation. This is what we offer at Walk the Arts.

Plein Air Painting = Trapping the Moment


Here’s a curious paradox: stopping time by painting quickly. Can one set a trap to catch the moment’s impression? Can the artist’s canvas trap the beauty and the wonder of observed events which melt all too quickly in the flow of time? Can time be halted? Yes, says Michael Findlay, obviously, this is what artists do…

Let Go! The Artist’s Way of Cooking

Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type bool in /home/walkth14/public_html/wp-content/plugins/rating-widget/rating-widget.php on line 4172

Ten years ago, here in Tuscany, we decided to write a recipe book but with so many good cookbooks in the market, we needed to propose a new idea. We had to find a modus operandi close to who we are and what we do as visual artists. The answer was in front of us and painting gave it to us: art and color!

Travelling with meaning : a painting workshop in Italy


More and more travellers from the developed world are looking for meaningful travels. We are aiming for journeys that allow us to learn something new, to deepen our culture, to enhance our lives. Purpose, inspiration and self-discovery are now vital elements in our traveling choices. Probably, this is why our quality painting workshops offered since 1997, have become more and more popular.

Privacy Policy