Yep, I love multiples. It could be the pack rat in me, but I love the idea of a collection of beautiful things. A multiple is defined by the Tate gallery as "a series of identical artworks usually a signed limited edition".
But alas, perhaps I shouldn't say that out loud. The idea of a multiple or copy is actually taboo in many fine art circles and can make a collector recoil in horror. This is because we often think of the topic in light of design. With design, things can be mass produced at a frenzied pace, with little variations, and at times, with questionable quality. In fine art, the pervading concept is that that quality comes from a piece being one of a kind.
Now, don't get me wrong! I would never make an exact copy of a painting that I've done. For one, I can't, because my painting process is largely intuitive. Also, I love the idea of giving a client a special piece that he/ she can't find anywhere else.
In my practice, though, I've come to value the idea of multiples. It first started when I did printmaking. We were taught how to make limited editions. I fell in love with that idea because I felt that I could broaden my approach on one specific project, exploring ideas by varying colour, texture and mood.
For example, with this painting project I wanted to use the same face, but make completely different, original paintings. It's a limited edition of 4. I used similar colours, but varied their intensity and placement. I used a mixture of tints and hues (I don't habitually use shades).
As with all my personal projects, I went all out with texture. I see paintings not as identical renditions of a person, but as opportunities to explore movement, mixture, colour complement and mood. It's a marriage between figurative and abstract art. Each piece evokes a different feeling, ranging from light and hopeful to brooding and mysterious. One common element, though, is the vulnerability you get when you look her in the eyes.
If you're starting out as an illustrator and painter, I definitely recommend exploring multiples to learn how to harness colour and have more fun with your practice.