An artist generally works in solitude, whether in his studio or home workroom.
This is a tenable situation for most painters, who often relish solitude in their working environment.
However, there are times in which almost every artist would like the symbiotic relationship of working with a group.
An art student generally takes classes to learn the basics of painting, drawing and technique. When he reaches a certain level of skill and confidence, he often abandons group instruction in favor of independent study. The camaraderie of fellow students, the critique and comparison of individual work and discussion of technique and products are important, but often overlooked.
Get Involved With Your Local Artist Community
It isn’t necessary to be permanently enrolled in a class, nor does one have to make any long-term commitment. If there is a community arts association, check out what they have to offer. Local art organizations have a variety of activities. These could include short-term painting, drawing and craft classes, student and teacher exhibitions, open class exhibits and annual art and craft festivals.
These organizations are typically run by volunteers and have little funding. Volunteering to help with exhibition set-up, festival preparation and teardown, or aiding with office paperwork, building maintenance and docent activities is always appreciated. It keeps you in contact with other artistically minded individuals and helps you keep in touch with the art scene in your community.
This form of networking can be beneficial, not only for keeping in contact with other artists, but also for potential business contacts. There is always a market for local artists for commission work, commercial assignments and potential selling venues. Exposing yourself to a diverse group of local business and artistic people increase the chances for both commercial and fine art projects.
Continuing Education In Art
An artist is constantly growing. That is part of the fun of being an artist. There is always a technique to master, color to add to the palette, or an innovative tool or product that demands closer scrutiny.
A good way to keep the fun going is to take a class. The class doesn’t have to be long term, nor does it have to be particularly challenging. A local museum or gallery may sponsor a lecture series. A favorite artist may teach a class, or a group of artists may do a weekend workshop. Try a new technique, study a particular genre such as landscape, wild life or portraiture. Test your prowess with a completely different medium.
Breaking up your life’s routine with an artistic weekend get-away can refresh your spirit and enliven your painting. Painters eagerly look forward to artists’ retreats, which are very fulfilling events. Painting in a different location, with fresh surroundings and new people can be exhilarating.
If a weekend or weeklong retreat is not on the agenda, a local class is a good once-a-week break from the reality of the studio. A few hours spent in the company of other artists are enough to spark a little fire, and sometimes that’s all you need. A little glow will remain during the following days as you resume your solitary work; just enough to light your way as you refine the lesson learned or the technique demonstrated the prior week.
John Donne may have said that no man is an island, but sometimes when we spend too much time in the solitary confinement of our studio, we do begin to get a little sandy.
Putting yourself out into the greater community of both artists and business contacts can only add to your experience. Communing with kindred souls gives the impetus to achieve, and rubbing elbows with the business community and art patrons can only serve to put you in touch with potential customers.