Art Words for Wonderers: What is an Art Collection?

Book collection
Sea creature collection
Waste Collection

New Blog Series: Art Words for Wonderers

What is an art collection? The art world is full of jargon! This series of blog posts will define some of that jargon for you. Just like most industries, artists need expressive, accurate words to convey meaning. And yet, those who appreciate art are not always familiar with the terms. Let’s satisfy our curiosity concerning the word “Collection” as it relates to art.

What is an art collection?

There are so many ways to use the word collection, but you probably can get the general gist. Just look at the images above: there’s a book collection, a collection of seaside items, and waste collection. Obviously a collection is “an accumulation of objects gathered for study, comparison, or exhibition or as a hobby “.

An art collection is a group of art pieces that have something in common. Generally the artist presents them together because the works are similar in message, subject, color palette or medium, or style. (Ah, you noticed some more of that jargon. Good catch. Please comment which one most puzzles you and I will put it on the list for a blog post!)

Similar Message

The message is what the artist is trying to say through their art. It may be something complex like

“the mechanical mark-making of the Egyptian motifs endangers the devious simplicity of the exploration of montage elements.”

pixmaven instant art critique phrase generator

…or it could be something simple like “I went to the beach this summer and had a good time so I painted some of my memories which I think will also bring you good memories.” (psst. If you want some fun, click that link in the quote and waste some time putting in numbers to get ridiculous art jargon phrases.)

Similar Subject

Artists tend to create work centered on subjects that interest them. For instance, you will find lots of flowers, animals, and landscapes in my work, but so far not too many cityscapes, portraits, or figure work.

The subject is just what you see in the work. People, ,flowers, buildings, landscapes. Even abstract work can have a subject–perhaps the color combinations, the value contrasts, or a particular emotion. (There are some more terms. Be sure to comment one you’d like to understand better.)

Similar Color Palette or Medium

An artist who works with color may choose a certain group of colors and create a series of works limited to those colors. No matter what the subject of each work is, the color palette will be similar.

Medium just refers to what the work is created from. Metal? Paint? Clay? Recycled materials? Pastel?

Similar Style

Every artist has their own style. It can’t be avoided…We are unique humans and therefore each person’s art will be unique. But artists can focus on a certain process or style and create a series of works within that which is cohesive. Just like using a group of colors, of tools, a certain process will all result in pieces that have something in common.

Using the word “Collection”

As a teacher and former home school mom, I will now present some examples of the use of the word “collection” in proper context for art.

For example, I have created three specific collections so far. They are of varying sizes, some have more pieces, some have less.

Here they are in chronological order:

My first official series collection doesn’t have a name. It was created out of my experience in Old Town Albuquerque and the result was somewhat of a surprise.

Hindi Dancer

The “To Human is to Dance” collection was inspired by a subject–dance. I hope to eventually add to it, but it currently only contains four paintings. You can see three of them here.

“Dulcet Bling Dreams” is a collection of smaller pieces and greeting cards in a completely different medium for me. I usually work in pastels, but was inspired by an exercise in a course I was taking to try something different: watercolor, ink, and glitter! Read the story and click through to shop.

Soon I will be releasing my most recent collection (as of August 2020), titled Beaches and Creatures. I’ll bet you can guess the subject.

What Happens When a Collection is Released?

Every artist and gallery has their own way of presenting and exhibiting a collection. Each collection is so individual that the presentation can be uniquely tailored.

I have only recently begun to actually release my pieces in collections. So far I’m enjoying the ability to just lose myself in painting for awhile before I take some time to release it and share it with all of you. I’m also enjoying the direction and motivation provided by finding and working on a series of paintings that have something in common. I never run out of things I want to paint, but sometimes there are too many options to choose from!

My next release will be on Saturday August 15, 2020. My process for a release so far is this:

Several weeks before the release: I begin working on the next collection. Inspiration comes easily, I generally have an idea for what it will be. I’m able to spend time just sketching and then painting. You will notice posts appearing on Instagram, Facebook and in my Facebook group Merry.Matters (you should join…it’s been pretty quiet in there lately, and you will get a behind the scenes look at my life and process, with opportunities to help me title collections and paintings, see my paintings in progress, and talk about life, the universe and everything.)

Once I decide on a collection title, I’ll create a hashtag for it so that viewers can search all the different posts about it. Try searching this hashtag on instagram or in your browser to see how it works: #dulcetblingdreams .

48 hours before the release: All images are uploaded to my website, a special page is created which explains the story of the collection and links to a gallery of clickable links to each piece. The public is notified of the time and date of the release one last time. Guests (newsletter subscribers and a few other special people) are notified privately of the early release date and time and sent the link to the live chat Open Studio Release.

24 hours before the release: The Open Studio Release goes LIVE to guests in a private exhibition on YouTube. Guests access this through the link they received at the time stated in the email; and y’all, so far each of these has been SO. MUCH. FUN! I am live, right there on your screen where you can type comments and feedback and ask questions, as they say, “from the comfort of your own home”…or wherever you are. By the way For this release I’m adding the ability to purchase during the live.

The Official Release: After members (are you a Wonder Quester yet? Sign up here) have had 24 hours to shop, the release goes live to the public but members can also still shop, of course.

It’s a fun and exciting couple of days for all of us.

I’m releasing Beaches and Creatures is scheduled for August 14, 2020, 7 pm Central. Watch this space for announcements, or better yet, get on the guest list by signing up below and I’ll see you for the exclusive release on YouTube August 13, 2020, 7pm Central.

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