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The Creative Marriage (part 1)

I'll start by saying that I am in no way an expert on marriage. I have only been married for 2 years, but in these two years I feel like I have already learned a lifetime's worth. My wife and I talk about our marriage ALOT! Our beliefs, our fears, our future, etc. We even discuss other marriages both successful and unsuccessful. Still, this in no way makes either one of us experts.

What I am attempting to share in these "The Creative Marriage" blogs is simply ideas and thoughts on marriage, give whomever insight behind my own and give thought behind how our creativity fuels our marriage.

To give you a quick overview before talking about collaboration, my wife and I are both artists. We both are experienced in and experiment with many different media but we are primarily photographers and painters. Our styles are very different but our ideas are one in the same. Is it a coincidence that the ideas behind art are the same? Our ideologies, both for art and life, are deeply rooted in the Christian faith which is first and foremost the foundation of our marriage (I'll be writing another blog to explain why it is so important for my wife to love God more than she loves me). After our faith, I believe that collaboration is the second most important part of our marriage. It was the beginning and has become a part of the foundation and fabric of our marriage.

When Charith and I first met it was at an art workshop. At the time she was a well adept photographer but hadn't deeply perused any art form outside of that. At that time I had pretty much given up photography and was doing more mixed media, figurative work consisting of detailed figure drawings mixed with abstract painting and other media. I was also living alone and working alone for almost 5 years. This was my norm. So, it was to my surprise when we were dating, she excitedly offered the idea, "let's collaborate on a painting!" I'm pretty sure I cocked an eye and said under my breath, "heck no!" See, at the time I thought that every work of art I created was supposed to be a masterpiece and she was not experienced enough to accomplish this, not to mention, I had my own ideas and my own vision; I alone was the only one who could visualize and accomplish this. I hope you can begin to see where this is going.

Being the beautiful and irresistible woman that she is, "no" was not an option. I, like and angry child who didn't want to share his toys, dragged out my paints, brushes and canvas, plopped down on the floor with my arms crossed and head down waiting for her to begin....okay that was major exaggeration, but it was a very real feeling mostly based in fear that this would be a huge failure.

But it wasn't a failure....

I began to let loose, no agenda, no real vision. I simply started off by painting geometric circles and waves. After the canvas dried I passed it to Charith who began to paint petals off of those circles, adding color to my monochromatic forms. She passed the canvas back to me and I began to add details with thick and think black lines, cleaning up any bleeding edges. I passed the canvas back to Charith. She fills in her petals with intricate lines and details. I finished off the piece with shadowing to make it come alive.

And this is our first collaboration....

Charith & Michael, first collaboration 2013

I know this will sound weird, but collaboration in art can be a very intimate experience, especially for two people who are already in that stage of attraction, dating, marriage, etc. This piece is like our "first time." We, I especially, let our guards down, released control to one other and just let the piece be what it became. During the process of creating this piece we talked, we learned about each other, and we just watched each other create. The most amazing part of this collaboration? How seamless the work became. Our styles are very different, our experience is very different, but we produced a work that is unified and cohesive. What a perfect example of marriage! Two people who lay down their agenda, their control and just let their marriage be the work of art that God intended it to be. There is so much to be said about collaboration. This goes well into the rest of our lives, but I just wanted to give you the beginning.

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