Batching Your Art.
What it is and Why it works to your advantage.
Recently I had my first opening at the gallery in the studio. I had several pieces to display but not much for the walls. I had a lot of my mini masterpieces and a few others for the wall. But I really wanted to display a cohesive look and collection for the wall on opening night. I had already been impressed to do more of my poppies but was immediately inspired by my surroundings at the Mill to incorporate those elements into my poppies.
So I began with an idea and inspiration then turned it into a collection. They weren’t all the same in look but they were the same in nature and idea, incorporating similar colors, textures, and message.
I was batching my art. What is batching your art?
Batching means to produce or arrange things in sets or groups.
This is a great way to find your cohesive style and artistic voice. You create several pieces of art at one time causing you to explore what is inspiring you but express them in different fashions. For instance I took the inspiration of the Mill and the elements surrounding it. The Mill is historic, a time from the past, and it has unique colors and textures. I started with decoupage backgrounds of vintage sheet music or scripted tissue paper. Like the piece I was creating had a story to tell from the past. Then I mixed molding paste with the paint color of my choice and applied it over the decoupage collage with my pallet knife, but not covering up the music or script entirely. This gave it a rough texture representing the peeled windows or chipped paint on the doors or stair rails.
Then I began to define and color in the rest of the piece giving it “life”. I added more details depicting the age and beauty from my inspiration. I love using Golden’s fluid acrylics to cause a staining or a dripping effect. My favorite is their Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold. A warm rustic brown with Antique effects. I use it in a lot of my paintings. It is great to tint a clear gel medium as well.
I would prep all the backgrounds at the same time and let them dry. As one dried I would proceed with the pallet knife texture process, trying to do them all in an orderly fashion. But what is interesting about this process is that they never turn out looking the same. I am simply creating in small batches giving my artistic voice to several different pieces but they take on their own identity. Yet still having a similar technique, style and message.
This allowed me to have a collection for the gallery and honor the Mill and days gone by but with my own unique voice.
Batching helps creativity flow and it can help sharpen your technique skills. I always have to have several pieces in process at once. Sometimes we need to retreat to that other piece that is waiting in the shadows. It doesn’t mean our creativity is divided or distracted. I actually think that it means that my creativity is quite rounded and complex. It doesn’t matter how much space you have as an artist, you will always end up filling it with works in progress.. hahaha. At least I find this to be true.
I will say that you should not stay in the mindset of always batching art. I just think it is a great way to practice your skills and find a cohesive style. Kind of like exploring your creative bents. What you don’t want to do is always work in a batch or small bulk form because you could lose your vision and voice and it becomes about just producing. This is not fulfilling to the core of you as an artist. I do love how this collection turned out and it just confirmed some of my artistic techniques that I love to use. I am hearing great feedback from others about it as well.
If you haven’t tried “batching” with your art then give it a go. It can be refreshing and inspiring. I truly believe it is a great way to find your creative voice. Plus people love “collections” of art styles. So go for it. Create and multiply.
Written by Dionne White