For over 15 years I have been told that it is very important that artists paint in a "series". The series should have a goal. The paintings within a series should be related to each other and visually connected. When an artist has exhausted all possibilities within the series, then they move on to a new series, never to return. Although I've been pressed many times to declare that I work in a series, and I have even given names to various chronological periods of work ("Journey" and presently "Contemplation") I really don't see much division between the two.
What I do see when I review my work is growth over time and a whole bunch of "mini-series". For instance, right now I'm in the middle of about 8 paintings where the subject is a begonia plant in bloom. I've approached the concept using watercolor, gouache, acrylic inks and most recently poured watercolors. I might do a collage. Does this mean I'm in a "begonia" series? I don't think so.
In fact I don't think my brain or my artistic expression works that way. I'm wondering if declaring a series and a goal confines me as an artist. It's sort of a declaration that an artist will "stay in this box until I give up, run out of ideas or die..." Some people are comfortable with the concept, indeed several of my very good artist friends are painting in a series. And several other wonderful artist friends are not painting in a series.
My most recent declared goal is to simplify my shapes and move away from rigid compositional forms, use shape and color with line and pattern more freely. I think I'm accomplishing that. And I think I will end the idea of declaring my work fits into a "series". If I want to paint something that fits into Journey, I will. If I want to paint something that fits into Contemplation, I will. And if I want to paint something that doesn't fit anywhere, I will.