I have always thought that making art is a solitary activity. The very act requires one to withdraw inside oneself, to focus inwardly while creating something outwardly. I can go hours without speaking to anyone, and I seem to be able to tune out most of the world while I’m engaged in my art. Best of all, I love going to that solitary place where meditation and prayer meet. That alone-ness is what I used to be most afraid of—not afraid of being in that state, but afraid of what it might do to my relationships with others. That fear/frustration still exists for me, and I have to segment my life deliberately to find that time alone, but that—alas—is not the topic of this missive.
It is a new experience for me to be collaborating with others on art now. My two gallery-mates each have their own specialties—Tracie is both a fiber artist and a serious painter, and fearless Fawn has a background in every kind of craft art ever invented—and so we are beginning to work together on some new projects. Friday is the village holiday parade, and we decided that the Stone Mountain Village Artists should be represented. I was less than enthusiastic about the entire activity, while everyone else plowed ahead haphazardly. I slipped back into project management mode, forcing the other artists to think in terms of a timeline with task list, responsibilities, list of materials, and dependencies. The others were not dissuaded at all by my lack of excitement. The male artists in our group cut a sheet of plywood in half, primed it, put a frame around it, and built a stand for our two-sided 4’ by 4’ “canvas” to fit into the bed of a pickup truck. We ladies were left in charge of painting something on this blank canvas. Somehow they all had a vision that I didn’t share.
Fawn directed us to bring in old latex house paint, whatever colors we had. I brought in chair brown, office yellow, and bathroom green, and brought forth samples I had of orange and purple. Fawn brought in rusted old gallon cans of primary blue, red, green, and hot pink. We put the board on a drop cloth on the floor, and I stood back and watched these two grown women gleefully drip, drizzle, flick, and squirt paint on this rough canvas.
Negative thoughts were flying around in my brain. “What are we doing? This is going to look like something children did, not professional artists.” I wanted to be anywhere but there. Suddenly, though, in spite of myself, I saw it. “What if we now drizzle the outline of the mountain in the foreground, and create a sun shining down on the mountain?”
The ladies graciously agreed and left me alone to it. Here’s what we ended up with:
Tomorrow, after two days of paint drying, we will flip over the board and create another scene. I can do this. (Sigh!)