I mentioned a couple days ago that one of my words for 2013 was EASE. Since I can never seem to settle on just one “word of the year,” I thought I would share my other word with you today…
Why collaboration? Well, ya see, I’m kinda tired of doing things alone. Painting alone. Teaching alone. Working alone. Basically, I’m a little bit bored with the way I do things. That’s not to say I don’t believe in the way I do things, because I definitely do, but there is a staleness that arises after doing something—anything—in the same way, over and over again for many years. It’s like, “Yep. I know how to do that. In fact, I know how to do that so much that I’m not particularly challenged or interested in it anymore. So…what’s next? How can I change it up so that my actions in the world continue to be authentically interesting and new…to me?” This is the conversation I have with myself and this is where collaboration comes in. Adding another person’s perspective, talents and methods simply changes everything. It forces you to let go, accept, work together, give and take, communicate and adapt.
Sign me up.
I was asked to do a live painting this year on the main stage of a pretty amazing New Year’s Eve party held at the Portland Art Museum. The name of a party was, Inspire Truth —how awesome is that? Needless to say, I was completely honored by this invitation, but my immediate response was, “Can I do it with my friend?” Honestly, the idea of painting live on a big fancy stage in front of thousands of people was super intimidating for me (have I mentioned that I’m super shy?), but the idea of creating a painting collaboratively with my friend, Lynx, sounded, well, a lot more like…a PARTY. We only practiced on one canvas in my studio before we took to the stage, so there was a lot of trust involved in this brave experiment. Our intention:
Channel the magic of the night….you know, no pressure.
With big ol’ lights beaming down, matching outfits in place and a beautiful crowd of party-goers looking on, we collaboratively painted our way right through the end of 2012 and into 2013. We had NO plan before we started (just like we like it). The music was so loud we could hardly hear each other talk, so all night long, we communicated through color, dance and knowing glances. We tuned into each other effortlessly (enter word #1: EASE) as we intuitively traded places on the canvas, turned the canvas upside down, added images, selected colors and covered over areas. From the feedback we received, people were pretty mesmerized by the organic, fluid and collaborative nature of how we were creating together and the visual representation of mutual respect, trust, letting go and allowing that we were demonstrating…LIVE.
I can honestly say this was one of the best nights of my life. To be able to do what I love with a dear friend and inspire hundreds of people along the way is my idea of a good time and a blessed life. Here is our interpretation of the magic of that night…
I’m so inspired by this idea of collaborative art making that my next few workshops will be focused quite a bit on this concept. Can you imagine how freeing it would be to paint collaboratively with fifteen other painters—not even knowing what paintings will be yours in the end? Exactly.
Here’s to collaboration and welcoming in the magic. Happy Sunday everybody and thanks for being here on this journey.
ps. More photos from our NYE extravaganza right here.