I think a lot of artists will agree that the creative process is not always a social event.I can attest to the difference between being in a studio classroom space with twenty other souls engaged in all sorts of creative mischief and working in quiet isolation with serious intent. A lot of artists and writers work in isolation, not necessarily by choice, but by the nature of the work they do.
As much as I enjoy teaching, my classroom experiences are more about facilitating creativity, not making my own art. The larger the group and level of action the more distracted I can be. I won’t even think of sitting in on a digital imaging course with other students. You lost me at hello. Oddly enough, my students (at least the 7:30 am class) are so focused, it can be scary quiet. I do better in my own space, with my own stuff and without interruption for a few hours, then I get antsy for feedback and conversation. Yes,I get lonely.
It really is important to develop a creative community, not only for making art, but also for sharing creative conversations. I meet monthly with a small group of creatives. We all have things to share that support and celebrate our accomplishments. We as individuals evolve with the group as our goals change. For several years now, I can count on my peers to teach me, to respond to my work constructively and to challenge my thoughts about so many things. I always walk out of a meeting feeling lighter and inspired.
To do list: Invite a small group of creative minds to meet for the simple purpose of sharing a creative experience. Whether it’s to make art or discuss it. Be willing to facilitate the meeting and set a format to help keep the group on track and give everyone time to participate. If it’s making art, choose a common focus for individual interpretation. (My painting above is the result of a painting day with my friend Roxanne at her studio.) Our group is more often a discussion group. We try to start with an update of events, open calls for artist, general news related to our purpose. Then we allot so much time for each participant to share the status of their creative, technical, or business goals, to ask for feedback on a particular project, or ask for help with resources and so on. You can find your people in all sorts of places. I found mine at a workshop that I attended. When the course ended, I asked strangers if anyone wanted to continue meeting for the purposes stated above. Six of us have grown through our creative challenges into great friends. I am a happier and better artist as a result of it. You will be too.
I dedicate this post to my creative tribe- Roxanne, Janet, Merrilyn, Doreen and Angie.