We imagine visual artists as creating alone in their solitary studio. Most often, so it is. But visual artists sometimes collaborate and the results, with the right synergy, can be extraordinary. The work of Christo and Jeanne-Claude, married to each other and true collaborators in their environmental works, immediately comes to mind.
"There is a willow grows aslant a brook,
That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream;
There with fantastic garlands did she come,
Of crow-flowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples
That liberal shepherds give a grosser name.
But our cold maids do dead men's fingers call them:
There, on the pendent bows her coronet weeds
Clambering to hang, an envious sliver broke;
When down her weedy trophies and herself
Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide;
And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up:
Which time she chanted snatches of old tunes;
As one incapable of her own distress,
Or like a creature native and indued
Unto that element: but long it could not be
Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
Pull'd the poor wretch from her melodious lay
To muddy death."
The British Pre-Raphaelite painter, John Everett Millias, painted his version of this scene between 1851 and 1852. I vividly remember seeing a reproduction of it many years ago in a 12th grade textbook. This is a tip of the hat to Millais: inspired by his piece, but in no means an attempt to reproduce it. After all, Millais spent untold hours on his painting, intending it as a highly finished work. Mongo spent a bit over 4 hours on the original piece, and I put in another 2 hours and 20 minutes. Mine is no attempt at a highly finished work. No, it is a humble sketch, and present it as such.