Sunday, May 10, 2009

Big Reveal of 2nd Collab Project

I'm so thrilled to be able to post this beautiful art work. This is my second collaboration project of this type. My dear friend Heather Robinson and I teamed up to put our hearts and minds together to create this piece. One I am in love with, I don't mind saying, and I'm so excited and grateful that it's MINE ALL MINE!!! This arrived in the mail last week, and I've been admiring it ever since.

The first picture is of the background I made on this 8x10 inch piece, done on thick piece of chipboard. Then I mailed it to Heather for her to work her artistic magic on it. And so she did, and I'm in awe of what she turned this piece into.  The second picture is what it looks like now.  I totally LOVE what she did, and the result of our heartfelt collaboration. She made her background on stretched canvas, and sent it to me, and I did my part on that and sent it back to her. From what she told me, she loves her piece too. We chose to synchronize our blog posts of "The Big Reveal", so you can click on her name above to see her piece, and what I did on that.

I'm happy to post the before and after pictures here of my piece. Because it shows how Heather transformed my background into a totally different work of art, by using what I did as a jumping off point. One that never would've happened or been created if we hadn't done this together, as a collaboration. And I did the same with her background. I was oh so excited when this arrived in the mail, and I could finally see how she chose to complete this piece. I kept wondering and guessing in my mind, but had no clue what she was doing on it. Once I opened it, I was in heaven, and at peace. Because this was perfect, and meant to be, and far exceeded any expectations I had.

I realized that she finished this piece in a way I never would have, meaning it never would've occurred to me to do what she did, not in a million years. Because we are two different and individual artists. One interesting and even surprising thing about this collab effort is that although Heather and I have the greatest respect for each other's art, we both admit that our art and art styles are very different, indeed almost opposite. She uses a lot of vintage images and text in her art, whereas I rarely do. My art style is more raw and unexpected and unconventional, and hers is more refined and elegant and generally conveys a message. Initially, this was a bit of a concern to us, that our art styles are so very different.

In the beginning, I think both of us, secretly and privately, felt like we had to reach for the "middle ground", and try to make art more like the other person's style. But over time, in a number of wonderfully honest  and vulnerable emails, we expressed our thoughts and feelings about this, and realized the goal was not to meet in the middle, or compromise our own art styles, but to make our own art in our own styles, and be true to ourselves. Once we established that and agreed, we felt freedom and excitement and anticipation at what the other would do on our backgrounds. That made it so much more interesting and exciting, knowing that our art styles were so different, but that we could still be true to ourselves.

Heather and I were online acquaintances and friendly before we embarked on this collab effort. But in the process of doing this, we became true friends and got to know each other much better, in a much deeper way. Our friendship grew and blossomed, because we shared our true thoughts and feelings about our art and ourselves and this whole process and collab effort. Now we have a wonderful and special friendship that we intend to maintain, that we both appreciate so much. And I don't think that would've happened if we hadn't embarked on this venture and adventure, and both said an unqualified YES to it, even though we both had some underlying fears and concerns.  I am just so grateful that Heather and I agreed to do this project. Grateful for the awesome, beautiful art piece I ended up with....but even more grateful for the friendship and connection we developed, which to me is the real prize!!! Thank you so very much dear Heather, for this awesome art piece, and even more so for your friendship.

I have to shout out to the world -- MISSION ACCOMPLISHED -- beyond my hopes or expectations, regarding this collab effort. And I also have to say that the same thing happened in my first collab effort, with Mary Schweitzer. Click on her name to see my finished piece from her. Mary and I also became friends as a result of our collab effort. Gee, it's funny how that happens. No, not really. I think it's the extra bonus, the special gift, of doing this kind of cooperative venture and adventure with another artist.

So as you might expect or understand, I'm very big on doing the collab thing right now. It's rather a life changing experience, as a person and artist. At least it has been for me and for Heather, as she told me that. I see it as the next step of my art journey, and life journey. And it's not like I sat around and thought about it, about doing collab projects, before the idea came to me last summer. Because it just popped into my head, out of nowhere, totally unexpected. And I just went with it, and invited Mary and Heather to jump in and go with it too. I simply did it on impulse, and am so happy and grateful I did and they did. (Because sometimes when I do things on impulse, well the outcome isn't so great, LOL.)

For those of you artists out there reading this, I totally encourage you to jump in and do a similar collab effort, for the first time. At least try it once, but most likely if you do, you'll want to do more than one. (I've got two more going right now.) I am very fortunate to have a local art group here in Denver metro that meets once a month, and I totally love it. But many of you don't have that. And so I know, you make your art alone at home. Yes, you may belong to great yahoo groups and visit blogs, and know a lot of artists online as acquaintances, but when it comes to online art friendships, and really connecting with other artists, do you have that? Well if so, that's wonderful. If not, and you'd like to have that, then you might need to reach out and take the initiative, and propose a collab effort with another artist. The most likely by-product of that will be friendship and a beautiful piece of art.  And gee, if they should turn you down for whatever reason, that's okay.  Just know there are other artists out there who would love to do this and would say YES!

I don't know, maybe I'm trying to start a movement here. My muse hasn't confessed to me if that's what she's up to or not. I just know doing a collab effort is a very special thing, with so many positive benefits. It's a challenge, a growth experience, a cooperative experience -- that isn't available doing art alone. It's a totally different experience, and a positive step forward in my opinion, in the art journey. It requires trust, cooperation, communication, vulnerability....all things that build friendship.  All things that may not be easy, but the rewards make it totally worth it, in my opinion.

Well, I hope I didn't go on too long here, but this means a lot to me. Not only in my own collab efforts and experiences, but in my hope that YOU out there will try this also, and reap the wonderful rewards and benefits I have. So yes, I'm trying to start a Collab Movement here.   I'm wondering, what is the next step in this MOVEMENT?  Perhaps the sky is the limit.


Terry Davis said...

Val, you are so lucky and have said so much in this "piece" of your blog. I yearn for an art group to connect with, and after reading your story and drooling over your finished art, I know I just have to try a little harder to go beyond the yahoo group (I love them, don't get me wrong), and find some people who can challenge me. Robin has been the absolute best support to me, giving me a little nudge when I need it. And getting to see your art, albeit only in pics on a blog, well, it just wants me to stop holding myself back, stop making excuses and just do it! Thank you so much specifically for this lovely art you have shared and the very wonderful & wise words! You are one of my greatest inspirations!
Hugs, Terry

Laura Haviland said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Heather Robinson said...

Oh I so wanted to be the first to comment on your wonderfully written and heartfelt blog dialogue. I loved reading it and felt honoured that I had experienced the journey with you. To think that I've also gained a cherished friend is such a blessing. I will always cherish the wonderful piece that we created together and remember the experience that we shared. I have a feeling it is the first of many. Thank you for the pleasure of collaborating with you. Warm hugs....Heather

HeArt Collective said...

Congratulations, Val!

What a wonderful adventure you're taking us on...


Gail P said...

Mission Accomplished. Congrats to you both!!! Lovely pieces and marvelous blog entry! Being that we worked on a small collab, not as closely or intensely, I can honestly say that you might end up being the Queen Collabs!

Brenda said...

Fantastic. What an incredibly experience and journey that must have been for you both.

Linda East said...

Oh Wow Val...this turned out terrific
I am sure that you and Heather had a great time doing this are both so talented and this piece is the proof...congrats ladies...job well done.

peggy gatto said...

Love the idea, the art work and the worda you wrote here, very thoughtful.

Babytreese said...

Wow...this really is a beautiful thing! Not just the awesome piece you both created TOGETHER but the whole collab idea is just beautiful! I think this would be a fantastic project for two people to engage in...if anything it will make the friendship stronger which is always a good thing! Thanks so much for sharing this experience with us!

celita said...

Why, I just love this piece!!! it is bright, elegant, so full of stories, and creative beyond explanation. you are so brave... to hand over a piece of art you begin and put it in the hands of another. I know that would be challenging, in itself, to me. Your work is so full of fun, beauty, and imagination. I enjoyed stopping by today. Thank you for sharing...