thoughts on collaborative paintings

Feb 24, 2009 | Entrepreneurship, Life in Progress

(18×36, canvas. a collaborative painting by me and mati)

during mati’s visit, i was telling her how i wanted to paint a large canvas to go on the wall over our bed – not a figurative painting, but rather something a bit more abstract that had the word ‘love’ incorporated in it (it would be for our bedroom, afterall). truly, deeply, i’ve been inspired by this for a long time and have been wanting to put my spin on it. so when mati suggested we get busy painting a large piece together for the wall, part of me jumped for joy, and another part of me resisted and hesitated: you mean you want to do it now? today? but it’s been so long since i’ve painted and i’ve never even painted this large of a canvas before (although it’s been a dream of mine to paint big for some time). the gremlins were big, insisting my creative flow was rusty and cracked.

but mati gently pushed me and we went for it, making large giant messes on the studio floor and creating this beautiful, beautiful canvas together in about one hour flat. i noticed that as soon as we started getting our hands messy with paint, my mood lifted. i was excited, whistling to the music, and generally being a dork. we joked about our dynamic together – how we may as well been playing barbies. it was that seamless. that fun. that silly. what i learned in those moments was that sometimes we need a friend to pull us out of our creative silence. to hold the space and to hold our hands as we jump back in. i really needed it (thank you, mati).
after we finished the first piece, we were on fire to do more. and this is what came next:

(12×36, canvas. a collaborative painting by me and mati)
totally loving the anthropologie inspired feel of this one. very, very messy. lots of drippy paints and ink. drawings by mati. vintage wall paper. vintage stamps. handwriting. i can see a bit of sabrina inspiration in this one, too. and lots of mati, too. this was likely the biggest departure for me, style wise. and i loved it! i was reminded that it’s important to try new things, to get messy in new ways, to dream outside the creative box we are accustomed to being in.
this one came next:
(18×25, canvas. a collaborative painting by me and mati)
another anthro inspired feel. again, really simple. but very cool and fun and easy. just fingers in paint and in glue and then on the canvas. we practiced restraint both in this one and the one above and i think it worked. they look really great next to one another 🙂
and last but not least, this was our final collaboration together:
(15×20, canvas. a collaborative painting by me and mati)
this was the hardest to complete. we were a little tired (4 paintings in less than 4 hours) and we had to push ourselves to finish, but it was well worth it. it’s so funny to see one of my faces topped off with a mati hair-do, but i really love it. it’s another love inspired piece, hence more love writing. and isn’t mati’s birdie adorable? i especially love the vibrancy of the background in this one. we also thought it was interesting how our styles merged in this particular piece seemed to birth an anahata feel (which i love).
so there you have it. collaborative paintings. i say give it a try. you will be surprised at how groundbreaking it is for your creative soul. seriously, i mean it.
ps –  i wanted to mention that we used claudine hellmuth’s line of acrylic paints for every single one of these paintings. and oh my, i LOVED these paints. loved them. the colors are awesome and i can’t wait to get more.
mati + me + orange crush = fun
(we interrupt this blog post because the orange crush wanted to say hello)
pps – also, i so wish i could have figured out how to upload the time-lapsed video of the first painting in progress, but i’m having major tech difficulties over here (i’ll have it up eventually).
ppps – heading to artnest! i’ll be back early next week with stories and photos!

Sending much love,

Show/Hide Comments (65 comments)
  1. Anonymous

    Who knows where to download XRumer 5.0 Palladium?
    Help, please. All recommend this program to effectively advertise on the Internet, this is the best program!

  2. 2ifbysea

    Wow! These creations are amazing! I’ve been wanting to return painting/collage and I think this collaboration of yours has been the inspiration that I’ve been looking for. Thank you for sharing!

  3. julie haymaker Thompson

    Hi Kelly, that photo of you and Mati is so perfect. It fits you both so well and your sweet home fits you so well too. I love the divider idea. I need ideas for that type of thing since Cal and I will be moving into our tiny 650 sq. foot quest house this spring. We call it the “honey moon cottage” .Boy I am missing my nesters. It was so wondeful!. And after two wonderful days of painting with you and Mati and yestersday to “rest” I am ready to realy start painitng big time!!! . Hugs Julie

  4. amy

    I love the collaboration and the work you produced! So inspiring to find someone to work with directly on something. I am thinking I should do something with my 4 year old daughter but haven’t figured out how exactly yet. She tends to monopolize her work. 🙂

  5. jenifer74

    you gals are cute! (& even cuter in the orange crush!!) so fun 🙂 xxx.

  6. Trisha

    The paintings are wonderful and sounds like you had such fun doing them. Thank you for the comment about Claudine Hellmuth’s paints. I saw an advertisement for them and were curious about them. I can’t wait to try them out for myself.

  7. meandering pearl

    Hello! i am addicted to your work! its like serenity with wings. every piece is like a poetic voyage of the hearts keenest inspiration… you are an illumination of courage! how wonderfully grateful i am for your blog! kindest & most magnificent wishes,

  8. Alberta and Ava

    I’ve jus finished reading your book this last week, and I was amazed to see that you had written about collaborative painting in your latest post. My sister and I have begun sharing studio space and painting together and this week have been discussig collaborating on a painting. May I ask how you started? Where did the original idea or concept originate? Did you work simultaneously or take turns? I am really looking forward to the video. Any advice or suggestions you could give us would be greatly appreciated. I love all four of the paintings, but I think the one for over your bed is my favorite.


  9. Megan Warre

    Great painting! You have inspired me – I dug out a canvas that I wanted to use for our bedroom and I’ve made a start. Thanks for the inspiration!

  10. Lisa

    I love these. I was so touched by the reference to playing barbies! What a perfect way to describe that energy. Now I’m inspired to do some big canvases again! One of my favorite pieces is on a huge piece of chipboard that a neighbor was throwing out (honestly, I don’t know why they don’t just go ahead and put their trash in my yard) but it’s so big and heavy that I haven’t figured out how to hang it so it’s floor art. 🙂

  11. Bijous Whimsy's Blog

    I have never collaborated on a painting like this before and seeing what you two have created is so inspiring, espeacially the first and very last pieces…just beautiful. It is also a great solution to filling a wall get a friend to help than the piece means that much more indeed…but than who gets to keep the pieces, ha ha…Lovely work as always and I am drooling over your orange crush, it’s so ‘cool’:D Be Well, Mandy Saile of Bijou’s Whimsy.

  12. Alex.

    4 paintings in under 4 hours? Craziness! But it looks like you had loads of fun and that’s what’s most important.

    One of my very good friends wants to do a collab with me when he’s back from travelling. His work is AMAZING. I could stare at it for hours. And I feel like he’s the one who gave me the confidence to give art “a go” and now he wants to do a collab WITH ME?? Eeek!

    Scared/excited at the same time!!


    This is Dusty,one of Mama’s daughters.She has had a really bad night with the pain,If any of her friends here would like to see a donation in a small creation of art , cards or money it would be greatly appreciated. Her hospital bills and meds are running high.Thank you for any thoughts.
    It can be sent to
    Jessie LaVon 854
    Demopolia ,Alabama 36732

  14. Brianna Soloski

    I love them all, but the first is my favorite.

  15. Hayley Egan

    I love them all, especially the first. I want to know HOW you did this. I mean, did you sit down and plan them beforehand? Were your brushes clasing against each others? How does one even go about doing this?? SO inspired and curious. It must have been such a great feeling to finish these. Beautiful.


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I’m Kelly Rae Roberts

Before I picked up my first paintbrush at the age of 30, I was a medical social worker. I followed my creative whispers, and today I’m an artist & Possibilitarian. I’m passionate about creating meaningful art and experiences that awaken and inspire our spirits.

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