Monday, December 7, 2009

Collaboration with Adele Castillo

This morning my friend Adele Castillo came over to the studio to play/paint together.  She arrived carrying enough art supplies to keep us working for about 3 weeks!  In addition, she had an eggplant, a squash, many green and red tomatoes, a cantaloupe, etc.!  I had bowls, cloth, glasses, a tall wine bottle and some fruit and veggies of my own.  We spent about an hour trying to set up a still life that we both liked - and that would stay put!  We kept trying to put round bottoms on rounded tops - not very stable, but we liked how it looked!

 Can you tell from looking at these pictures that we both love color?  The still life was way too massive to attempt in one sitting, but it definitely gave us a lot to think about and choose from.

What we did was I began drawing my choice in pastel and Adele began painting hers in acrylic.  After a few minutes, Adele told me to quite what I was doing and start another one - I'd gotten too far in it compared to where she was.  After she'd worked on hers for 1/2 hour or so, we switched pieces and places.  We gave each other permission to do whatever we wanted to with the piece, as if it were our own.  It's a great exercise in letting go!  I find when I work on a piece, I often begin to get attached to it.  From that point on, I'm loathe to do anything that might "mess it up."  That can be the kiss of death because sometimes the coolest stuff happens from "mess ups."  I think that's then the Universe if giving me a shove in another direction I wouldn't have thought of on my own.

When Adele and I work together (this is our second time), we are each other's pushes in other directions.  Here's the first piece I started on, then she worked on:   (I don't have a picture of it when only I had worked on it).

And here's the second piece we did together.  Again, I started this one, then she worked on it, but this time I went back into it again.  The first picture is after she worked on it. The second is after I'd gone back into it.  I love the color Adele put in the piece, especially the pomegranate.  She did the bowl masterfully, capturing the reflections really well! When I went back into it, I tried to turn the yellow in the background into the strainer it was.  I also added the cantaloupe behind the grapefruit.  I also added an orange.  I got rid of the strainer because it looked awful, and we both agreed the yellow was too strong a color for the background.  I turned it blue at Adele's suggestion, but I didn't like that, so I made it red.  I like that better.  Other than that, I refined the shapes and got rid of the orange and stuff like that.  Fun piece!

Here's the picture Adele started, then I worked on, then she went back into.  She applied lots of great colors and got the drawing accurate then I went in and refined the shapes and developed some shadows.  In the second picture, Adele changed the background a lot - we both decided the red wasn't working as it was.  Then she enlarged the cantaloupe so it wasn't quite as completely in the middle of the canvas.  She also moved the green tomato so the composition was different.  I haven't worked in acrylics very much so it was interesting to see how they work.  It seemed easy to go over something and cover it completely.  She had a product called Open Acrylics which have a longer drying time so they weren't typical acrylics like she was used to working with.

It's very fun working with someone else and seeing how they paint and playing off their beginnings.  It keeps me out of a rut.  I don't know if it transfers to the paintings I'm doing, but I'm guessing it does.  Play is always good and creativity-inducing!

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