Collaborative acrylic painting


This piece was a collaborative effort between myself and another local artist, Linda Sandow. There is an art show coming up at our local art center for February called “Duets” and the idea is for artists to work together on a single piece. 

On the Saturday after Christmas, Linda brought a 12×24″ canvas over to my studio downtown (still there for a few weeks, yet) and, listening to instrumental music and chatting (with masks on), we went to work with acrylic paint, brushes and a palette knife.

It took about two hours from start to finish. Here’s the photo reference we used:

Here’s the photo reference we used:

photo reference for the collaborative painting
Photo of an alley in downtown Ludington, taken in January 2020.

We chose this photo because Linda wanted to do some moodier versions of downtown and liked the idea of using pictures of alleys and backs of buildings–places that are off the beaten path. 

For the painting we used mirror images of the same photo, one on each side of the canvas. Linda had a palette knife and I dug out a couple of brushes and after dividing the canvas right down the middle, we jumped in.

Here’s the time-lapse:

When I saw the time-lapse, I was struck by how differently we approached the work. I painted from the outside in and Linda painted from the inside out. I loved watching her lay on color like icing on a cake, working from light to dark. Such a great contrast to how I worked, sketching in all the shapes first and then going from darkest dark to lightest light, matching values and hues. 

She started giggling toward the end and I asked her what was so funny and she said, “I’m done!” What a great way to signal the end of a painting!

I’m so grateful that Linda agreed to work with me on this. I admire her fearlessness and playfulness and her exuberance! Painting with her was just the pick me up I needed after this year. 

Even though the subject is an alley at night, a typically dreary location, in this piece it is lit up like a Christmas tree and beauty is reflected on every surface. I love how it came together and I really enjoyed sharing this with Linda. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner.

It’s made me feel more inspired to paint subjects that are hidden and overlooked in the new year and see how I might transform them into something beautiful. And then to see how they transform me.


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