My nephew recently started painting, and he was like, “hey, how about we paint the same canvas?” and I was like, “hey, how about we paint separate canvases and then switch them?” Sounds like a plan! What could go wrong?

We chose a 12×12 canvas so that we were working with the same reasonable surface area and began pouring over our individual color themes, pulling from our own inspirations. I turned to his wife—let’s point out my husband encouraged me to stop referring to her as my niece because people don’t understand what I mean when I refer to my nephew and my niece who are married. (he has a point)—and was like, “who does this?” This was her introduction to painting.

First pass was applying backgrounds to our respective canvases. Oh yeah. Smooth sailing. Supplies included acrylics, palette knives, and brushes. No water. Yes paper towels. Yes drop cloths. Foam plates serving as our palettes. And three easels lined across two card tables.

Second pass was where my nephew and I switched paintings. I was thinking we would switch the actual paintings. Before I knew it he had stolen my seat and was digging right in. There goes my painting. It was probably best not to watch what was happening. This was an unexpected feeling. In real life, I’m adaptable. In this setting, apparently not. After what seemed like hours but was in reality minutes, I yelled my question of how we would know it was time to switch back. Now? Sure. Meanwhile my nephew’s wife (so much easier if I could just say niece) was letting her inner artist out with dramatic statements. Pretty fantastic. No one was messing with her work.

The final application was completing our pieces. It’s really interesting to pick up where you didn’t leave off. Quite the creative exercise and that portion of this experiment I thoroughly enjoyed. It was a fun challenge to take what I’d been handed back and make it my own.

To stand back and see where all of our pieces had landed brought on all levels of recounting and explaining. And how about my niece-in-law not even once removed (can we please have some efficiency with the family tree naming?) who successfully completed a wonderful piece despite the musical chairs happening around her.

But wait there’s more. That painting party was so not over. We broke out another round of canvases this time following a more traditional route. (The kind where you paint your own canvas, start to finish). All that to say, I’m sure there will be additional painting parties. As far as great ideas to try, I might need to pace.