By Mark Hennen, Paper Studio Supervisor
The paper studio hadn’t gotten a painting project rolling in a while. Summer was clearly waning and we all know that time waits for no one. The studio had twelve 11” x 14” wooden panels on hand that were going to be used for an early summer series but for whatever reasons that project never got off the ground. So what better time than the present? That was the thinking in the paper studio in early September.
But what’s the working theme going to be? Fortuitously Elizabeth Marshall Thomas provides inspiration in her Tamed/Untamed column in The Boston Globe. “Once, we better understood our fellow creatures” she writes. Yawning is contagious across interspecies lines. Let’s reacquaint ourselves with our fellow creatures. That’s a theme we can run with. Let’s do it.
Now is the time to fire up the search engine with the aim of going for the not so obvious. Not the first search, or the second, maybe the third. The question is a simple image or complex one? The answer is each according to their need. Over time a facilitator gets a feel for what a given artist will respond favorably to. Regardless choices and discussion are always forthcoming. Let’s start drawing. Don’t forget your eraser. The image goes into the artist’s eye and comes out her hand. That’s how it happens.
Now it’s time for the hard part. Nobody ever said painting is easy. Barbara Brown of course is the first to start. Then Nick launches his canoe. Carmen and Kristina Barney work together as an encouraging tandem. Now Deb B. wants in. The project is starting to percolate.
Gateway is a busy hubbub of a place.There is a lot going on. Multiple distractions for both an artist and a facilitator are low lying fruit and easy for the picking. The paper studio has to keep the ball rolling. The artist and the facilitator both have to focus in on the work at hand and move the paintings forward incrementally. Slow but steady. Watching paint dry is often the wisest course of action.
At this point all twelve panels are in the mix. Newcomer Juvenia and old hand Donna E. have signed up for the duration. Brenda and David and Michael Oliviera are all earnestly engaged. Last but certainly not least Janet Inman and Betty Antoine find themselves bringing up the rear on this march.
A deadline is the artist’s best friend. But this project has no deadline. What to do? Make one up. Friday September 25th it is. Predictably Barbara is the first to cross the finish line. She is followed closely by Nick. But at this point everyone is looking to get the job done. In some cases the participating artists and their facilitators graciously agree to put work in other studios temporarily aside in order to focus on finishing the paintings in the paper studio. Is it possible that there will be a straggler or two? Of course but at this point too much effort has been invested and no one will be left behind. Stir the pot one more time and then turn off the heat. The soup is done.