BODY OF WORK - PART IIPreviously, in Part Iwe wrote about having a body of work to show art galleries, art reps, art collectors and to any other interested parties of your art. In that article, we also discussed the overall importance of having a body of work and how to develop a body of work.

We asked the professional artist/blogger, Lori McNee to discuss this subject and to provide her tips on to how to develop a body of work. Below are her thoughts on how an artist should approach this very important exercise.

Tips to Developing a Body of Artwork, By Lori McNee

Any successful artist will tell you that developing a body of artwork is one of the main factors that separate the professional artist from the amateur.  Things that Successful Artists do Differently

It is important to create a cohesive, consistent body of work in order to be taken seriously by reputable art galleries, art collectors, or art representatives. These people expect to see a high level of consistent work that they can promote and support.

But, creating a body of work is mystifying to many fledgling artists. Below are a few suggestions that will help:

1. Style

The first step to developing a successful body of work is defining your artistic style. Whether you are a painter, photographer, ceramicist or sculptor, style is your own distinctive manner in which you apply the paint, color, texture, and shapes, mold the clay or manipulate the photographic image.

2. Consistency

Once you have a distinctive, recognizable ‘style’ of art it is imperative to be consistent. Do not promote or solicit your body of work until can consistently produce high-quality art. 10 Steps to Develop a Series of Exhibition Paintings

3. Theme

Now that you have you are comfortable with your consistent, recognizable ‘style’ of art, you are ready to create a theme for your body or artwork.

This might be a regional location, or a season, a color scheme, or paint quality. Try to think of Monet’s "Haystacks" painting or Picasso’s "Blue Period"

4. Format

Next, the artist must decide upon the format of the exhibition. Whether a two or three-dimensional artist, you must decide upon a pleasing arrangement of shapes and sizes. Keep in mind there is an emotional connotation attached to different formats.

Horizontal = peaceful

Vertical = majestic, active

Square = risky, contemporary

Standard = traditional

5. Message

Ask yourself: What is the message you are trying to convey to the viewer? What is your focal point?

6. Number

When I am asked to create a body of work for a gallery exhibition, I am generally expected to paint 12 -15 paintings. So, I suggest developing about a dozen beautiful, professional works of art for your body of work.

7. Presentation

Remember, the frame is a continuation of the painting or photograph and the message. Whether it is a sculpture or a painting, it is important to complement and showcase the artwork without distracting from it.

8. Evaluate

The last step to creating a successful body of artwork is to evaluate the group as a whole. Set up the art and look at it with a discerning eye. Are you happy with the group? Does one stand out, or clash with the rest? Must you delete something from the group for the betterment of the whole?

Once you have asked these tough questions and are comfortable with the grouping, congratulations! You have developed a body of work that is ready to be viewed!  Body of Work Part I Here

Lori McNee is a professional artist/blogger at who specializes in still life, and landscape oil paintings She is an exhibiting member of Oil Painters of America, Plein Air Painters of Idaho, serves on the Plein Air Mag Board of Advisors, and is an Ambassador Artist to Royal Talens. lori@lorimcneeartist.  Her art website is


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