You should paint like Henry Ford made cars

From Picasso's Blue Period
The Old Guitarist
I work in series almost always. Why? Because I'm committed to making the best art I can. And the only way to do that, in my humble opinion, is to work in a series. Picasso did it, Pollack did it, Agnes Martin did it - and they all did it because it works. 

Think about this - you have a certain design motif that is a given in a particular series. You set up a framework or loose structure that the series must adhere to and you go to work.  You no longer have to think about a million variables.  You only use the elements that are necessary to the particular series you are working on. 

Tesia Blackburn Green Season I
Green Season I
Tesia Blackburn 
Green Season II
Tesia Blackburn

You could decide the series is about  the color blue and rectangles. The next time you paint you will not need to worry about red or circles.  You can concentrate on the elements that are pertinent to the series that you are working on, and only those elements.

Paint like you're on a production line for Henry Ford.  Ick, right? Production line? Am I crazy? Crazy like a fox! Henry Ford made the Model T Ford ubiquitous in America by producing it on an assembly line. He didn't make three red cars and then a black one and then a blue one.  He famously said, "Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black."  

Henry Ford didn't have to re-tool his production line every fifteen minutes because a car needed to be painted a different color.  So his cars were made faster and he made more money. (Let's not get into Ford's politics or personal life, that's another blog post).
1910 Model T Ford

So if you paint on the same size canvas and use the same color over fifty paintings, two things will happen: first, you'll save money by buying canvas and paint in bulk; secondly you will really understand composition, color and form on that particular sized canvas. 

No this will not inhibit creativity.  It actually makes you more creative. How? Because you will spend less time agonizing over what you are going to paint, what size, what color - and more time actually doing it. 

And I firmly believe that doing it, making art, generates creativity.  Action begets action. Creativity begets creativity. 

Now I'm going to get in my Ford and go get a latte! 



How I concure with the article of Tesia Blackburn.. when you are all over the place with ideas in ones creativity, it is best to think of a design/ motif or concept and do a series of say 50 works about this: 6 months ago I decided to have a go at Encaustic wax and resins. It was good to play and make with my own thoughts with new materials. Meanwhile I ordered two books from the USA ( I live in Australia) and they both took a month to arrive. So I continued with a theme for a forthcoming exhibition in June. I really did not know if my work was materially sound.. but play I did. Then the books arrived. Here was the real how to do.. I thought. After experimenting a bit more according to some methods I became very lost. So many directions to go. Just this week I thought actually I was doing ok on my own with my own thoughts prior to recieving the books.. and all the books did, were muck me up!! I lost my flow of thinking and originality of material application. So this week I have decided to forget the books.. get back to where I was before the reading and resume my thoughts. I am sure the material experiments will have ultimately helped - but ultimately it is my own voice I need in my art work. Tasia confirmed that to be so.

sheilawhittam said...

Having a bit of trouble with getting my own name on this site today for some reason it is pickking up my husband name. So Stanley comment is really Sheila Whittam

Tesia Blackburn said...

Thanks you Sheila, for your comment. I'm so glad you agree! Good luck with your endeavors. It sounds like you have the soul of an artist!

Tesia Blackburn said...

Sheila, I hope you will take a look at my book, too and perhaps order it. Check on the right hand side of my blog for a link.


Amantha Tsaros said...

You are absolutely correct! Just work work work, baby. Commit to ken thing and see how far you can take it. I'm inspired to get back in the studio.


Carol McIntyre said...

I love working in a series and often have a difficult time convincing artists that it is important. You explained it well.

Another observation I have made about work in a series, is that the artist projects commitment and viewers respond to that sense of commitment. It is more compelling.

Tesia Blackburn said...

Thank you Amantha for your comment. Yep, just do the work, baby! I'm glad you found the post inspirational!


Tesia Blackburn said...

Thanks Carol. That's a great observation about how working series projects commitment. Nicely put!


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