collaborative painting

Four Hands Painting: The Golden Thread

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Next Thursday is the opening for my collaborative project’s show with Suzanne Edminster, my dear friend and painting buddy.  This is actually the second show of paintings we have created together in a process where we not only paint on the same paintings, but collaborate every step of the way.

People always ask how.  Short version is we both paint simultaneously on different canvases and then switch, giving full permission for the other person to proceed as she sees fit.  Along the way we talk about our intentions and try to solve design issues together.  We keep switching until we both think we’re done.  What about the artist-ego thing?  Well it’s so much fun and such a relief to share the burden of creation that we’re able to just let it go and enjoy.  And I think you’ll enjoy the outcome – abstract acrylic paintings to take you on a colorful mythological journey!

We hope you’ll come to the show to see how a golden thread has woven a third artist out of our two styles.  You will also see whimsical mixed media portraits we painted of each other along with a new video of us painting together on the same painting.  Opening Reception next Thursday 6-8pm at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts.

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!