West Yorkshire-based artists Christine Relton and Tom Marine have been painting collaboratively for 12 years. They work together on the same canvas. The paintings can be described as representational in that they start with an idea of a real place or event, usually based on somewhere they’ve been or something that happened - travel features a lot as the colours and images are stronger and more memorable.
“We’ll decide what we want to paint in terms of where and what and discuss rough ideas and colours. Under painting has become more and more important to give depth and texture and this is primarily Tom’s job. He stretches and primes all our canvases and spends hours getting the surface and colours looking good. Christine has no patience with this but is more interested in the overall composition. She works very fast and Tom’s other job is to tell her when to leave the painting alone and give it room to breathe. As a result, we don’t often paint at the same time but will get together to decide how to finish the painting and discuss what’s working and what isn’t and make changes. At this stage it’s not unusual to change the composition and repaint whole areas again.
“This amount of over painting and adjustment is the good thing about working together as it stops you from getting too stale or too precious about the work. We always use acrylic paint for the same reason - it dries fast and allows a lot of manipulation and re-painting. The most successful pieces end up as more an amalgamation of imagery rather than one image of a specific place.
“We consider it finished when the balance and composition feel right, the colour works and the result is fresh and full of energy. The idea is to leave the viewer to interpret to a certain degree what they are looking at and leave space for their ideas to give meaning to the painting.”