Creating collaborative artwork has become a strong passion for us both, whether it’s a seascape, local scene or quirky take on British wildlife, we love the joint experience of crafting a new piece of original artwork for our North Devon gallery.
We are often asked about the collaboration process, regularly probed with questions of how it works, whether we enjoy it, how difficult it is and how long it takes. Well, pop the kettle on and get comfy, we’re ready to divulge all the delicious details and secrets for how we get the job done – let’s dive in.
Trawl every inch of the internet for the finest photograph
Being nestled in beautiful North Devon, near some of the top beauty spots and exquisite countryside scenes, means we’re not short of excellent local photographers who specialise in coastal, countryside and wildlife photography. We are lucky to be able to use this to our advantage, thumbing through their portfolios and scrolling through social media platforms, such as Instagram, to sniff out their most detailed and exceptional works and ask for the rights to the photograph. Once we’ve found a stellar pic it’s time to whack out the easel, magazine stacks and oil paints.
Once we’ve found a strong photograph and picked a canvas the next step is to create an outline. Corinne does this with pencil, not worrying too much about how loose and rough it is, before sounding out the piece with oil paint (which has been watered down to a thin and fluid consistency). Corinne starts to block in the image, getting a better idea of colour and form, and what works well tonally as she goes. Once that is complete, the whole canvas is covered in paint.
Add some texture
With the outline finished, the piece is now ready for Sarah. As a collage artist, Sarah is an expert in layering magazine cuttings to create great movement and detail, kicking her turn off by placing a first layer of big and bold paper clippings onto the canvas – knowing that Corinne will soon splash over some of this with oil paint. This is when the piece really starts to form a shape and stronger tones.
Plaster on the paint
Corinne takes her second turn at the piece and is able to truly get stuck in, now it has taken a stronger shape. If the piece were a landscape, this is when Corinne would paint in the sky, sea and sand (this is because you wouldn’t want these layers thick as the foreground is more suited to Sarah’s collaged 3D effect – the perspective needs to be right for the viewer).
On average we usually do two rounds each, from experience we have found that we are treading a fine line to not make it overworked. We might leave some areas for each other if we think it is better suited to collage or oil paint. When Corinne feels it’s in the right place she’ll pass it on, occasionally we’ll send each other progress photographs, explaining why we have taken certain actions and what has worked and what hasn’t.
Sarah will be the one to complete the piece. She adds in her finishing flourishes, with these last finer clippings becoming more defining and each addition helping to bring the whole collaboration to life. If something isn’t working this could go back to Corinne for a third time although this is rare, we have found if we’re passing it to and fro too often something isn’t working, and we might need to scrap the piece.
We’ll both have some space away from the artwork for a day or two so we can come back to it with a fresh mind to give further perspective on the piece.
Overall, that’s usually the process done! If you’d like to take a look at our collaborative pieces now you know the behind-the-scenes secrets click here.
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