Collaborative Painting in the Muse Group

a collaborative pair, “hard at play” in the Sunday Muse Group

“The reward of a successful collaboration is a thing that cannot be produced by either of the parties working alone.  It is akin to the benefits of sex with a partner, as opposed to masturbation.  The latter is fun, but you show me anyone who has gotten a baby from playing with him or herself, and I’ll show you an ugly baby, with just a whole bunch of knuckles.”  -Harlan Ellison

What?!! you say.  Just making the point that there is something to be said for sharing the joy of painting with a partner, which is what we did in Muse Group last weekend.  I’ve been wanting to share with students the fun I had doing the Four Hands Painting collaborative series with Suzanne Edminster earlier this year.

So first we divided up into pairs, sitting next to the partner.  (I had hoped for an odd number of students so I could join in, but I was left to paint on my own lonely while they had the fun!)  Each pair decided on a color scheme and basic composition style.  Some pairs even shared materials.  Both started out on separate paintings and then, when both were ready, switched paintings to continue to develop them, a total of three switches.  And we had time for two different partners, yeilding fascinating results. Everyone went home with two finished collaborative paintings which broke open the boundaries of what they could have done on their own.

With the ego of “my painting” out of the way, and the surrender to the team’s decision making, came a new freedom to paint fearlessly.  When I get a chance I’ll share the finished pieces in a slide show.

On another note. . .those of you who are local to Sebastopol may be interested in the used book sale this week at the Sebastopol branch library- a great place for inexpensive collage finds and more. Open Thursday through Saturday.  I’ll be there Friday morning for the 1/2 price sale!



  1. Fantastic idea! You could also do this as a whole group, with everyone moving to the next seat until each person was back in their own place, painting and embellishing the pages as they go =D


    1. Yes, that’s another idea. I’ve also done traveling muse journals that rotate around the group, going home with a new member each session and “landing” in the home of the person who started them.


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