the one who loves to bring a group painting together?
To synthesise it? To smooth the rough edges?
To make sure each person’s unique expression has a place, a space, yet contributes to a cohesive whole?
We hold a meeting of a sub branch of the Anti Polo Melted Chocolate Art Captain Society. (You can click this link if you want to know what on earth I’m talking about). In other words, niece Ruby says – let’s make art together.
We are three. Niece Ruby, sister Jen and me.
Ruby prompts. I groan. Does this surprise you? Art and Soul Sally? Groaning about an art-making opportunity with her favourite (only) niece and favourite (only) sister? Whaaa? Sally doesn’t feel like making art?
Truth be told, I often don’t feel like it. Specially at night. It’s a daylight activity for me. There. I’ve said it. Maybe this art-reluctance confession can bring something of value to YOU. Tell me if so.
I stop groaning. I say Yes. Let’s.
Ruby suggests doing those creatures – that same pass-it-on process we did before. Each person starts a head and shoulders, then folds over the paper so the next one can’t see it till the Big Reveal.
1. Head and neck 2. Torso 3. Legs and Feet
and…Ruby’ suggests a colour theme. OK. One creature is warm colours, one is cool colours and one RAINBOW. We begin.
Don’t you love how people come up with different ideas and approaches? Quirky ones? I never would have thought of a jacket made of flowers with eyes. I didn’t think of doing white galaxies on purple legs. Wow.
It’s rather rushed.
Everyone has a different painting pace.
How to express uniqueness of style within a collective format?
Not fun. Roadblocks.
Not every one of us is happy with our work.
Not every one of us is happy with how our work fits with the others’ work.
With permission, I attempt to rescue an area of unhappiness.
Ha. That’s life. That’s creativity.
But overall, it’s fabulous. There’s nothing at stake. We play. We connect. We experiment with the media.
Ruby adds some colour washes. It’s great to see her enjoyment of the Brilliants.
I ask permission to come back to each piece and ‘bring it together’. I like doing that, mostly. Synthesising the slightly mismatching, disparate pieces, soothing the awkwardness, unifying and harmonising. That’s a big part of my Leaf-by-Leaf collaborative artwork process, which I would love to share with you some time. It will need its own blog post.
Weeks later, in a seaside, light and airy place, I do that synthesising, gently nudging misalignment into alignment.
Is there a name for this role? I don’t know. Please make a suggestion.
The team seem happy with the outcome.
with love, art and soul