Collab: 2/3 phase done! by Amarett Jans

This art collab project has the feeling of a relay race. There is an exciting pressure and the hand off of trust to your relay partner.  I handed the piece off to April the other week. Seeing her additions were thrilling and below she writes about her process.

April writes:

The Gauntlet

After Amarett dropped the art off, I freed the 30x30" canvas from its brown paper wrapping. I immediately realized how much more difficult this collaboration was going to be than our last go round for the ODYSY party in 2013.

The previous project came with specific inspirational elements from Amarett, but they were pretty abstract, and so was the art. Capturing the symbolism of three charities—Helping Hands, Save Tilly Jane, and River Keepers—is a tough ask, but the biggest challenges is: How do you make three artistic styles work together with a more literal interpretation?

Pick It Up 
I decided to work mostly black and white, with a collection of printed images layered on the canvas with clear gesso. Amarett's "walls" made a great backdrop for my mountain scene. I wanted to bring a strong diagonal to the top right part of the art. I kept envisioning Christine's charity, River Keepers, and thinking how water flows downhill, and so it made sense to save the bottom 1/3 of the canvas.

Historic imagery of people summiting Mt Hood and an illustrated map from the 1920s captures the spirit that Tilly Jane represents a legacy greater than us. I made up my process as I went, peeling away the layers to reveal my built-up board, all the way down to Amarett's painted background.

To create continuity from Amarett's piece to mine and to Christine's future layers, I did a few things. First, the climbers at the top of Hood are offering a "helping hand". Second, I added torn paper layers to parts of Amarett's elements, and to the foreground where Christine will play. I tried to capture movement and to create depth.

Fearlessness into the unknown

I thought of Amarett and Christine through my whole process. I didn't want to cover Amarett's work, and also wanted to reserve one third of the blank canvas for Christine. It really is hard to think down the line and envision the piece all pulled together. Will the composition flow? Will the colors play well together? Will there be enough contrast? Will the concepts shine through to the viewer? Will someone want to hang this on their wall? More questions than answers, but that is exciting. Plus, fearlessness into the unknown is one of our specialties.