Imagining Spring: Collaboration with Three Teens
by Sushmita Mazumdar, mixed media on canvas. 2018
Today, I posted this on the Studio’s social media, @studiopause on Instagram and on Facebook as studiopausebysush: And another print of my painting Imagining Spring is sold! And some thoughts:
• Why did I get 3 prints when I ordered 2?
• It’s my only painting using pinks. Is that what people are liking?
#somuchmorethanart #artstoriescommunity #painting #artists
Then I decided to write a blog post about it. Its been ages since I last wrote one but the time is good. So here it is:
One winter in the small Studio I got a text from a mom. Her daughter was bored during winter break and missed her friends. “Can they come over to the Studio and paint?”
I had a huge canvas and I set it out for the teens. The friends sat around painting this from all sides simultaneously. They each squeezed out acrylic colors onto their palette papers and tried their favorite techniques and explored some others I showed them. They looked up flowers on their phones, chatted, texted, played their favorite music.
They worked on it over several days but when they left each day, I did the clean up — as is my practice at the Studio. I noticed one teen put out very little paint and took more as needed. Another teen squeezed out lots of paint of each color and left a lot of it unused. I think the third teen’s palette must have been “just right.” Not a waster at all and always curious I pulled out a painting my neighbor gave me when she moved—cherry blossoms on a grey background—one she had started and given up on. She also gave me all the paints and brushes she had bought to do it. The pink paints were hers.
I put the teens palette papers onto this canvas and ran a brayer over it. The paints transferred on in various ways. The randomness fascinated me! I did this after each session the teens came in for, my painting forming as theirs did.
Then one day my family went to see the last Hobbit movie, The Desolation of Smaug. I was so upset that the whole movie was in greys and dark tones. Of course, it worked with the story, but I sat imagining Laketown in the spring and how wonderful it would be. But I never saw it on screen.
Then I saw a tree appear in my painting. And boats on water. This is Laketown and I’m imagining spring, I thought.
People who visit the studio cannot believe I made this painting. Pink? You never use pink, they say. But I did! It was their colors. And then I added my favorite song lyrics to it and it became all mine.
And that’s the story of this collaboration.
Happy Winter Solstice everyone!