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Jane Ellis (left) and I
Harbour House Gallery 2019
In 2017 Contemporary Mark Makers, a peer group of artists in south Devon, of which I am a member, held an exhibition " Contemporary Collaborations" at Birdwood House in Totnes. Carol Burns, Arts Editor of Devon Life Magazine, wrote about the exhibition and asked the question " Collaboration is a dirty word to the individualistic artist - so what happens when they decide to work together? Devon Life Magazine, October 2017. The article continues...
Artists are often seen as working individually to produce a singular approach to the subject matter in both use of
materials and approach to the chosen subject. These two elements are the signature of the artist and by which
we recognise some of our most famous artists. So working collaboratively doesn't come easily to an artist no matter
how many artistic groups they join. " It's about loosening some of the controls we have gained in honing our skills
over many years of art making practise" Josie says. But what does this mean to the viewer? Done well it will create
a unified style of work that incorporates the strengths of each artist - in other words really good art...
Jane Ellis and I collaborated during that time and created an exciting and lively collection of paintings mostly painting en plain air on Dartmoor and the river Dart and sometimes in the studio. We worked in a variety of ways, sometimes working on a painting each and switching them every 10 -15 minutes, sometimes both painting at the same time on one work, moving around it as we went. We work best when there are no rules or fixed processes and we can encourage each other to be free and expressive in the way we work.
Following the very successful exhibition in 2017 Jane and I again collaborated to exhibit together at Harbour House Gallery, Kingsbridge in June 2019.
For the last year we have been experiencing Dartmoor in all seasons, painting collaboratively and independently
mostly en plein air but also in the studio. We love it. The colours, sounds, constant changes of light and discovery
of new places contribute to evoking all the senses and create a vitality not found in the studio! It has been a
rollercoaster experience of collaborative painting, learning so much more than sharing a piece of paper. The
temptation to simply reproduce what we see is so hard to resist.
Diving deeper than the surface response both Jane and Josie use a holistic approach. This intuitive, responsive,
playful, experimental practise stretches our boundaries and stimulates new thinking. We continue to develop our
work together to see how our collaboration can enrich us and move us both forward.
With their collaborative mixed media paintings Jane and Josie were finalists in Devon Life’s ‘Landscape Artist of the Year’ 2018.
“ Art typically comes through individual inspiration. The future of humanity lies in people learning to work together.
If two artists are able to produce excellent/inspiring paintings collaboratively that is really something to celebrate”.
Tobias Kaye., Musician
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