Working Alone | Breaking the Isolation that can Surround Artistry

In our recent State of The Art Survey, we learned that a good number of the artists participating reside in small communities – towns with a population under 10,000. This finding was reflected in a recent email conversation I had with an artist from Montana about overcoming the isolation that can come with working as an artist in a small community.

As we corresponded I realized that artists living in a small community don’t have a monopoly on isolation. Even artists living in the largest cities in the world can feel alone as they pursue their craft in the solitary confines of the studio.

As a gallery owner, I get to spend my days interacting with artists and collectors – it’s easy to forget that most art is created in solitude. Creating is so different from the pursuits of the rest of the world, that even among friends and family you can feel alone

I would like to share the email I received from Helen, in Montana describing the groups she belongs to that help her break the isoliation.

I too live in a small community (large by Montana standards, small for the rest of the U.S.), but there are a number of artists in this town and the surrounding area.   I’m benefitting greatly from two forums.   Note that I didn’t start either one; they were in existence and I was invited to join. But I could have been the initiator if the need were there and the idea occurred to me.

First, I’m a member of an artists’ group here in the community.  We have about 70 member artists from this part of the state; about 40 are relatively active.  This group has been up and running for about 30 years, and benefits from having an endowment from an estate bequest, the interest on which helps with expenses.   Members also pay an annual fee, which we keep low to encourage participation even from “starving artists.”   What do we do together?

  • We paint together every other Saturday.   To be honest, those of us who are advanced don’t get much serious painting done, but we can show our works in progress for comment.   And it’s a chance to help and encourage one another.   More experienced artists, for example, can give advice to newer artists and can collaborate with one another too.
  • We sponsor 2 – 4 workshops a year, bringing in regionally or even nationally known artists.   (There is an additional fee for these workshops).
  • We hang works together as a group at two good local venues, changing out our work on a regularly scheduled basis.
  • We hold an annual juried show in conjunction with an area art museum.  This experience also helps newer artists learn the process of entering juried competitions.
  • We have a web site, where members can show some of their works and link to their own web sites.
  • And we socialize together, with annual parties in the summer and at Christmas.

Second, I take part in monthly art critiques.   These take place on a Saturday night, after hours at a local gallery.   About 25 artists take part, with perhaps 10 – 15 showing up for any monthly session.  Everyone brings a snack to share, or a bottle of wine.  We socialize for a while, then sit down in a classroom format.  Taking turns, we go to the front and present a work in progress — usually one near completion on which we have some questions or believe we’re struggling a bit.   Everyone is free to offer their thoughts and suggestions.   The key for this critique group, I believe, is having the right culture — constructive but positive.   It’s not just a chorus of “gosh, that’s wonderful” — critical comments are made, but in a helpful way.

There are some really good artists in this group. It would be interesting to know if other artists have found yet additional ways to create a community that can be there for them when needed.

Helen R.

What Have you Done to Get Connected?

Have you experienced isolation? What have you done to become a part of the art community? How important is it for you to connect? What do you like and dislike about the solitude that comes with being an artist? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

About the Author: Jason Horejs

Jason Horejs is the Owner of Xanadu Gallery, author of best selling books "Starving" to Successful & How to Sell Art , publisher of reddotblog.com, and founder of the Art Business Academy. Jason has helped thousands of artists prepare themselves to more effectively market their work, build relationships with galleries and collectors, and turn their artistic passion into a viable business.

49 Comments

  1. I live in a moderate sized community and am fortunate to teach private classes and also at the local art center. I always tell my students that they are welcome to email or call me to set up a time to visit. Sometimes I need the solitude of painting alone in my studio. Other times I invite one of my students to come paint with me when I don’t want to be alone. I like the one on one mentoring during these sessions. I remind myself of techniques and ideas while talking with my students. They enjoy painting in a studio instead of at home in the kitchen or basement. I also at times invite my mentors to come and critique my current work when I am stuck. I also connect with other working artists at exhibition openings and invite them to come to my studio. I also invite gallery owners I meet to come visit. It’s amazing how many come to see my current work. I work to be connected with the art community in my area.

  2. Yes isolation seems to come with the territory of living the life of an artist. Recently, I helped to form a small group of 5 artists who get together monthly alternating at each other’s homes. So far we’ve done small projects and presented them at each meeting as an exercise to get out of our normal medium. We’ve also gone out to events together (Laurie Anderson movie at a local Museum) and gone for coffee after to talk about it. Next I think I’d like to get a call out for an “artists trading card” group where we all get together to network and trade our “one of a kind” cards. Helen is on the right track. I think we as artists have to initiate these kinds of gatherings in order to create our own “sub community” for support, connection and creative growth.

  3. Jason, thanks for posting this. Just last week I was looking to find some ways to get out a bit more. I, like the woman who wrote here, live in a village of under 10,000. There is a larger city not far from here, where most of the “action” is; and San Diego is about 45 miles down the road. My searches were, sadly, thwarted by income limitations. I’m currently living on a small disability stipend, which leaves no room for “frivolities”. So, for now, I am still looking for options. But hearing about these groups does give me a spark to, perhaps, create some new options for people who don’t have the means to pay the fees to “belong” to the artists’ groups already up and running. So, thanks again. Good stuff all!

  4. I live in a community that has hundreds of artists. I participate in a large plein air painting group called the Light Chasers. We have a weekly painting session at varying locations, and an annual paintout and art show. The Light Chasers also promotes workshops in our area by nationally known painters. There are several nonprofit art centers which have juried shows, classes, and social activities. I enjoy participating in some of those shows and attending the receptions. Although I usually prefer to paint alone, networking with other artists is inspiring and a good way to share information.

  5. I live in a rural area between two very small villages. It’s a summer resort area so many people leave for the winter. There are a few artists around, but not that many. Some years ago a group of them set up an arts council, but it only lasted a short time and never did fulfill what I was looking for in an artists’ group: a support group, workshops and exhibit opportunities. As sometimes happens, the group became insulated to a few close friends, and little effort was made to welcome and accommodate “outsiders”. It folded after only a few years.

    Meanwhile, a Canadian acquaintance began an online group for equine artists. It grew quickly to a wonderfully supportive membership of artists at all levels. We had a forum where we all connected. The more advanced artists helped out the beginners, and we all shared information on all sorts of art subjects from materials to marketing to the everyday problems of being an artist and a family member. We all learned from one another and most of us advanced in our careers and skills largely due to the group. We also had a few gallery shows and later online shows on the group website.

    It was a fabulous experience which I found quite fulfilling. Unfortunately, a point came where we longtime members had shared all we had to share, Facebook came along and many members joined the Facebook parade, and the art group forum went silent. It wasn’t long before the group was disbanded.

    I miss it to this day largely due to the ease of connecting with other artists, the forum where it was easy to look up information and the very special members we had. Any group is only as good as its members, and this was a very special one. Some of us stay in touch online, and I know they all feel the same as I.

    What have I found to replace it? So far nothing. I belong to a few local arts councils, but traveling long distances to meetings and get togethers has proven a barrier to networking with the other members.

    I’m still looking.

  6. Everyone in my household is an artist, woodworker or luthier. Like many businesses, we take a break in the middle of the work day and go out to lunch together several times a week. On the weekends I have a standing dinner date with my artist friends. Usually there are half a dozen, it varies from week to week. We hang out for several hours, talk about our work week, upcoming shows and discuss business in general. It is fun, casual without the commitment of an organized group, scheduled events can sometimes interfere with my work schedule.

  7. Good Topic!

    I will write a blog post about this topic down the road. Not the same title, but around the same issues. Most of the time I am banned from online forums and blog sites. I tried to join a local ‘Shutterbug’ group in my little home town of 28,000. I attended one meeting and left after a half an hour. They didn’t seem to have any interest in me being a member or showing my work. They were all landscape type of photogs – my work was the ugly social doc type of pix, they wanted pretty pix. No big deal. I’ve worked alone all my life, I can continue to do so.

    Never give up! Don’t listen to the haters. Don’t try to be an artist unless you can work and live in isolation, without any thanks….bleak, but needed until you get to the much lauded place.” ~ Scape Martinez

  8. I’ve had my studio in my home in the past and couldn’t handle the isolation. The only way I’ve kept my sanity is by having a studio that is around other artists and people. We can drop in on each other to chat as well as ask for opinions on work in progress. Plus we’re in a residential area so neighbors come around and check on us as well. It’s been the happiest and most productive 8 years of my art career to date.

    1. Carrie,

      I have in the past painted from my home. I belong to a local art group; however, I don’t enjoy painting at the facility as there is constant talking and the group is expected to bring something for the dinner that follows. I like your idea of having a studio around other artists that also have their own studios. I do believe there are a few places not too far away in Sacramento. Having just semi-retired from a full time job, I don’t enjoy being stuck in my home all day. I must look into it. Thank you!

    2. Over the last 3 years I’ve made my studio in a building that has 30 other artists’ studios. We leave each other alone most of the time, but are friendly and supportive with each other. It’s easy to work long hours in the studio if I can say hi and chat when it’s time to take a break.

  9. The solitary life is perfect for me, since I’m an introvert. I had worked in a retail environment for about ten years, so I was around people all day, every day, and it completely exhausted me. When I became a full time artist, I loved the freedom of schedule and absence of interruptions. I did realize, however, that if I spent all of my time alone, there was a great chance that I could turn into a weird, reclusive cat lady, so I made the decision to go to the gym every day, sometimes twice a day, as well as church once a week, so that I’m regularly around other humans. My mother is also an artist, so she is my outlet if I need to talk about art. For information, ideas and inspiration, I can find what I want online, often through blogs such as this one.

    Though we live in a small town, we do have a large number of artists here, partly because it is a college town. I really don’t reach out much simply because my art keeps me busy, but I know I could if I wanted to. In addition to living vicariously through my husband’s work stories, that is enough interaction for me! It is probably weird, and maybe it will change someday, but so far I love it!

    1. You sound so much like me Jonelle. I too am happy with my own company and find painting keeps me content with my life. My only art outlet is painting with a plein air group once a week. This group runs a show every long weekend in March which, due to good (donated) advertising, has been hugely successful as far as sales go. But I realise the need for me – an introvert – to get out there and socialise and so do make an effort occasionally.

  10. This is a difficult subject. I live in a rural area near a large artist community. But my current style of painting doesn’t fit into the primary type of art here.

    At one time there were a few of us that were going to start a breakfast round robin. just to show photos and chat about what we were working on. It never came to pass.

    It is difficult. I have two studios on my property. one in my home, one in another building. It is wonderful from a freedom to work point of view, I have all the space I want. But other than the friday walks or shows, the only community I have is on line. not to devalue that, but there is something about being able to sit and chat with others about your passion.

  11. I have joined a few art groups… and am a board member for one of them… That has been instrumental in helping me stay focused and connected with the art community. I have a part time job, teach art classes and am pulled several different directions for kid activities so when I get to my studio or even my outdoor studio (as I am a Plein Air Painter) I have grown to really love the isolation. When it’s time to sell, I look for opportunities to be in front of people.. and when it’s time to create I look forward to “studio” time…

    1. Balance is always or should be part of an art life. One can design a way to be social and away to be alone. Freedom as an artist allows us to do what we want to time wise.

  12. I live in a small community as well. With no galleries or other options for outreach, I have focused mostly on my Facebook page to get some publicity. I have had a few commissions from it, but not as many as I would like.

  13. I’ve always been somewhat of a loner. Maybe even a bit agoraphobic since I get very panicky in crowds. I grew up miles from my nearest neighbors. Went to a school with 9 grades in one room. So being alone most of the time doesn’t bother me. And since my husband was a very gregarious person it helped me get out of my shell. But since he passed away last month I would be truly alone if not for the many friends I’ve made through my religious activity.
    And now that I am not a full-time caregiver I’ve made myself start teaching small classes in my home. It keeps me busy doing what I enjoy doing and keeps me from isolating myself, which I’d have a tendency to do.

  14. Hi! I had just stepped away from my easel and was thinking its been almost two weeks that I have talked to anyone in person, when I got this mail. So, yes, its tough at times. Yet, the isolation is needed for continuous productive work and can be self-imposed. I am, however, one of those artists who grow better and faster with interaction.
    When I started painting, the city where I lived in then, in north Africa, had many artists of repute, running their atelier. I tried to fit in but the art being made was only abstract and while I loved abstract work I wasn’t doing abstracts. Got tired of being strange for my ‘drawing’ skills and started my own group. Here was the challenge. The people who turned up to paint with me liked realist paintings but some had never painted before. It became a study group and we did master copies together, did block studies, daily paintings and at the end of the year we sold paintings at a bazaar to raise funds for charity. Few of these artists are now pursuing formal studies in fine art and some have taken up comissioned work doing portraits. Others have continued painting. I moved to west Africa but the Group is alive on facebook.
    In my new home country, once again I face isolation so once a week I teach children between the age group of 6-8 years (no classes this month as I have deadline to meet with a local gallery — self-imposed isolation!) Believe it or not I learn a lot from the children’s unique power of observation. Yesterday, I got a go ahead from InterNations for being a Consul for Art and Culture, so now I am looking forward to planned and regular meetings to explore art, learn from strengths of others and move as a group (security being an issue) to do plein air painting, or figure painting, and meeting local artists and artisans. I am happy to have taken the initiative to be with other artists as each time the result has been rewarding. To me its like finding my own tribe.
    Thanks for this discussion, its heartening to know other artists have also felt the need for interaction with peers and taken steps to fulfil that need.

  15. When I first signed on to your articles which thankfully arrive in my inbox, I was anxious to learn the nuts and bolts of marketing. Having no formal art education, I have been truly lost, understanding what to do next. Of course I understand now that THERE IS NO FORMULA. No magic bullet. No template.
    The article on galleries was really GOOD information to know. I sent a note asking WHAT OF THE INDIVIDUAL THAT DOES NOT HAVE THE DISPOSITION TO MARKET. To a great extent this article somewhat answers my question.
    The article and respondents let me know, we are not alone. I live in a rural area (100 miles to buy groceries) and I don’t make the effort to socialize. This isolation does make it difficult, because I’ve discovered that marketing also requires socialization.
    I can’t afford to buy your books, but I AM SO THANKFUL YOU WRITE AND SHARE THE BENEFIT OF YOUR EXPERIENCES. THANK YOU.

  16. I live in a very small village on top of a mountain, I have been here for 10 yrs. and in those years I tried several times to get a group together. One group did get started but like the other women said they only come here in the summer and the group did not last.
    We did have an art counsel but that also went by the wayside. I was asked if I wanted to take over but in the two years it was open they had 9 different Directors (most not painters) and it was a mess when I looked over the paperwork it was way to much for me, so I did not take the job. Besides I paint everyday and I really do not want to take away from my time in my studio. At present I am not selling because of the time involved. I have sold in the passed and did a lot of commissions and I also did Murals and belonged to a few Galleries, when I lived in Cal I was an art instructor in one of the high schools, but right now I call myself a Selfish Artist I paint what I want and when with no dead lines to meet. I do not mind the solitude. Last year I had a few people ask me to paint there dogs which I did but again I do not want to pursue that right now. In the future I might get back into teaching but only in my studio.

  17. More than 20 years ago I became involved in the Oklahoma Sculpture Society as a fledgling sculptor. The group has monthly meetings and over the years has hosted numerous workshops and juried shows. It was through this group I found a mentor and friend that I owe much to. We occasionally get together on a Saturday for the day to share a model and each others company. Years later, I sculpt every moment I get while working at a full-time job with a 75 mile commute. My spare time is precious but I feel the need to give back to this organization and for all I’ve received.

    About 5 years ago I became a member of WAOW which is also a great organization and the benefit I have received from being a part of a professional organization of women artist’s is immeasurable.

    By the way, my newest community of artists is through the Art Business Academy, another Xanadu Gallery outreach to artists. We are learning a tremendous amount together and though I haven’t met my classmates except through the on-line sessions and google community, it’s been fun to get to know them and their learning experiences are a help to me.

  18. Pretty much what others have said. Small community, fairly large arts council here and in several surrounding towns, and my studio is in my home. I was full-time caregiver for my wife, who passed a few years ago. We do have some venues for displaying art, mostly only for a limited time and only one or two usually at a time. So, yes, I am a bit too alone; and that works well for painting without interruption, but I don’t have the means to produce many pieces, so I take my time with each one. Next month at the meeting, I will have a few minutes to talk about my art and to show some few pieces. I feel accepted by members in general, and a couple in particular; but opportunities for working together must be going on privately. Having seen this article, I will approach the subject hoping for some input from the group. Thanks to all who are part of this audience and to you, Jason for this forum.

  19. I live 35 miles from any art activity. Right now I’m teaching there and it’s been a lot of fun. People are learning a lot and really enjoying it. I’ve offered to have students come up to visit my studio and then we go across the street to a barbecue restaurant. They were pretty excited about that. I think because it’s so hard for me to concentrate from interruptions at home, I cherish my time alone in my a few blocks from home. I also sense that this is a time for me to hunker down and really concentrate on developing my work so I don’t feel real isolated. But it is nice to have art buddies. I do tend to keep a distance from artists who visualize artists as starving etc. It’s a negative viewpoint, one that I’ve worked hard to dispel and leave behind.

  20. I’m not far from Scottsdale, but I prefer to work alone. I am a very social person, but when it comes to art I prefer to work in isolation. No distractions! I’m in a different zone when I start painting and don’t want anything to disrupt that. I have tried to join clubs and such but here in AZ it seemed to be retiree’s or elderly. They also mostly worked in a western style and so we just didn’t have the same focus.

  21. Jason as always you have found an aspect of painting that touches all of us. I find teaching oil painting as a wonderful way to be connected with people who have the same passion as myself. I sometimes take my own work to classes for criticism. My students say they can’t criticise me, but I say “if I have taught you well you can”. I always find their comments helpful.
    Having exhibitions together, one starting at the end of Feb under the name Heritage Art Group, gives us a wonderful goal and incentive to work harder. This together with me belonging to Miniature Societies in USA, UK and locally in Tasmania dispels any feeling of isolation.
    Feeling lonely can sap energy, create uncertainty and slow up the production of good paintings. Thank you for this forum which helps us to keep in touch with the international community of artists speaking the same artists language.

  22. Jason, I appreciate this – and all articles. I live in a good sized art community- one you know well- Scottsdale. I teach locally and paint alone and in a weekly group, but other than that, it’s nada. I don’t really find the main local group that I know a few people belong to to be anything I feel would help or advance me at all. I do think if I didn’t teach twice a week in a community (Scottsdale) venue and to my private student, I would feel quite isolated, even lonely at times. Trying to get “out there” artistically is my biggest challenge. So many artists, so hard to be seen. I feel often like “what’s the point?” but then painting is oxygen to me. If I didn’t do it, I would feel slowly suffocated. I agree with Brian about groups here in the area, and also about preferring to paint alone. I wish that there were a serious venue here in Scottsdale for serious painters to go once a week or twice a month to paint, critique, etc much like Helen in Montana, whose mail you shared. I have a home studio but not enough room to host such a thing. Anyone in the area interested, feel free to contact me. In the meantime, Jason, you have no idea how valuable your blogs are to me, nor how very much appreciated the great time and effort you put into them is! Thank you.

  23. When I am in my stained glass studio I work 3 hour shifts at a time, then ride my bike up the street to a coffee shop where I get business stuff done on my laptop, chat with baristas I know that work there, play with people’s dogs. I also take evening aerial classes.

    Back in my old life in Vermont where I was not close to everything I put my name in at Bennington College for Field Work Term students and I’d get one or two every January. They’d spend 6 weeks being my assistants and get credit for their majors.

    If I am out plein-aire painting I do almost the same thing and talk to locals and old timers, unless I’m in a gorge doing a waterfall. Then I really am isolated and deal with it.

  24. Where I use to live for the past 40 something years was so small that selling, showing, even networking with other artists was difficult. So what did I do about it? I moved. In fact I changed states entirely. I’ve joined an art society and an art league all within 20 minues of my new condo. There’s even more art groups than the present two I have joined. There are more artists, galleries and buyers in this area than anywhere I have lived previously. I am very happy with the change and opportunitys.

  25. I live in the middle of nowhere. No galleries. No real art groups. We used to have an art group but it fell apart because of a nasty woman who caused trouble. All most of the people wanted was someone to teach them another hobby for free – not what I was looking for. Most of the local artists are painters, although there is one stained glass artist, one potter, and me, the jeweler. We have a small group of artists that try to have one or two shows a year at the local home owner’s association. pretty much all of my social life and support is online – newsletters and Facebook. Generally I enjoy the solitude, partially because in between I sell my work at shows. By the time a show (which can last from 3 days to two weeks) is over I am ready for some solitude.

  26. I found a local artist’s group via LinkedIn. It’s very casual, meeting for coffee and art-chat on the first Friday of each month at a local coffee shop. We talk about local opportunities, marketing ideas, share resources and experiences (pro & con) with local art organizations and shows. We are a generous bunch whose agenda is simply to share knowledge and experiences. There is no art-making when we meet, as we each work in our own space at our own pace. We do have a Facebook page to post info between meetings, etc. It’s a simple way to connect and share ideas.

  27. I have just moved from an art collective to a room of my own above a book shop. I love connecting with other artists but have a growing need to paint alone. The year I spent in the collective feels like an apprenticeship and it was difficult to leave the safety of the group but more and more my art requires me to focus and I also need to work on more than one painting at a time and stop when I feel the need.
    There is a buzzer in the book shop to my room and other artists and clients are already finding me there. It is a brave move for me but one that feels right. I will still keep my connections with other artists but not for painting.

  28. Making art has to be a lone endeavor. I find it necessary to remove myself from all distraction to concentrate and lose myself in the process. Not even music. Hubby knows to leave me in peace. After I’ve painted for hours with a few breaks, I walk away from the studio to enter the “real world” again. Meshing work and social interaction is impossible. Even in a public job who stands around at coworkers’ cubicles talking endlessly or crashes an associate’s office? No meaningful work will be accomplished.
    I live in a rural community and the nearest art presence is thirty minutes to an hour away in several different directions; but they are definitely there. You don’t have to live next door to a major metropolitan museum to drink in art. I make them a travel destination.
    There are art guilds if one feels the need. I don’t. I found myself contributing until it drained me of the necessary energy to create. I have formed friendships with a handful of local artists that are really satisfying. We go to museums, galleries, visit studios together, or sometimes it is just lunch and conversation. The activity is social rather than “working together.”
    Art doesn’t have to be your only social outlet … we all have pursuits we enjoy beyond art. It’s healthy.
    I also have a couple online buddies I’ve met through art forums. We’ve never met but we have stimulating “conversations,” compare notes, offer suggestions, and get feedback from each other about our work.
    Solitude is not a problem … it is a balm to me.

  29. I live in a town of 720 people on the northern Oregon coast. While there are a few professional artists, plenty of creative people and the community is wonderful, I have not found any local plein air painters to meet up with.
    I have plenty of art friends on social media who live in more populated areas. I have been a bit envious of their weekly paint outs with several artists. I enjoy solitude for the most part but do miss the learning and growth that can happen through painting outside with other artists.
    This year I have decided to find some painting buddies. I joined a state wide plein air group, based in Bend, OR which is about a 6 hour, one-way drive over a couple of mountain ranges. I also joined a group in Washington State. I have already committed to meeting and joining them for a couple of wilderness paint outs. I am looking forward to meeting new people and painting in a group. I am hoping I can entice a few out my way to paint on the Oregon coast as well!
    My solution to small town and geographical isolation has been to reach out and travel. I am looking forward to a productive and fun year!

  30. I don’t remember ever feeling isolated maybe because I’ve taken so many classes over the years, taught classes and joined many art groups. So, even though I don’t see other artists very often other than at shows or openings a few times a year (because I live farther away now), I feel they are just a phone call away.
    Where I do get my social contact and what I really enjoy doing each morning at 8am is exercising. I am lucky to be able to choose to walk with a group or go to a swim areobics class with another group or to a yoga class 6 days a week. So I am busy 6 morning a week with different groups of friends. By 10 am I am showered and ready to work the rest of the day.

  31. Cindy, I like your idea of exercising each day as a social outlet. I have been relying on lunch with a girlfriend each week or two. Or time with my grandchildren. Both of these require specific requests to set up, however. The exercising would be more routine.

  32. I recently left a very small group which was started by myself and 4 other people in our outlying suburban area. One attendee had been an art teacher; another had fit years been producing and selling with at a single, prestigious show in OR. I found after each meeting I went home feeling depressed and embarrassed about my work. I’d have a hard time getting going again, lost all confidence, and was ready to stop making art altogether. I finally stopped attending and returned to another, larger group, further away but more supportive. I’m productive again, and less stressed. Not every group is the right fit.

  33. Good topic indeed! I live in a remote village 60-70 kilometres from two small towns. I tried to form art groups in the form of a co- op several times but there just wasn’t any interest. I do sell on line and am doing quite well at it but do miss the social aspect of working with other artists.

  34. Interesting comments. I find that I need to work alone in my Studio, much more productive that way. My interaction with other Artists is mostly during First Friday activities and the planning of events for a Gallery that I am part of and participating in shows. Sometimes I feel that I should be more involved with my Artist community but I am very busy creating. It works for me, I have made connections and can always reach out to someone when I want to “talk shop” with other Artists

  35. I actually live in a big city, and yet I am very isolated; or at least feel isolated. No matter where I go I feel alone. Art is something that is with me and shared to some extent with others, via publicly or through social media and web sites. Yet as an artist, I feel alone and isolated. I’m not connected to other artists and when I try to connect with other artists, the connection falls quickly and without any reasons. It just falls. I have always gotten along better with musicians, which music is a big part of me too, only it’s been a long long time since I’ve really been able to engage in music. Being an artist for me has always been a painful lonely path. Yet I create and paint because I have to. It seems to be the only place I live.

  36. The artists in our area tried for years to get a “miles of art” going, and four years ago they finally managed to get a two-day “see the artists in their studio” event going. The first year was pretty good, the second, okay. Then they lost the state grant and decided to go from free (“host” studios provide snacks and set-ups for smaller artists, who have to arrange space directly with the host studios) to $100 per artist, then they added a 10%-of-gross advertising fee on top of that. I looked into it after the first year, but was told I had to be “invited” (no mention of how one got an invitation, so apparently it was established artists only). A friend of mine (functional potter) who was with it from the beginning dropped out, partially because of time commitments, and partially because he’d never grossed better than $70 in sales.

  37. the word “isolation” caught my attention, this is the first time I’ve read your articles. I related so most of the writers in some way… after my husband died I moved far away to a small mountain town to live out my final and best stage of life. One thing on my bucket list is to finally have my own art studio. It’s just being finished and I will be able to start painting again. I never thought about the isolation. Since I don’t know anyone here I know I have to start networking. I’ve been asking around and there are artists who live in this beautiful part of Oregon. Nothing organized right now. There have been attempts to organize art shows etc. but after a few years they failed. I would like to organize the artists in this communities for all the reasons you guys have said but I don’t know how….I will work on it thanks to all of your letters.

  38. Over the last 20+ years I have gone from an extreme introvert to being a flexible introvert. From one who could barely carry on a conversation to one person, I now teach pastel painting classes, give private lessons, give demonstrations to art groups, attend art receptions, have solo exhibits, and work with commission clients! I love talking about that which I love …. Fine Art and Portraiture! I love the solitude of my studio, yet I know I must force myself into the world around me in order for people to know I exist and to be active in the community. Have I arrived to the level of full satisfaction? No. I joined the Chamber of Commerce with the intention of giving to the community and networking. A perfect opportunity as they have fabulous Mixers, but I am so uncomfortable in the midst of so many professional business people! But I still pay the member dues and that option is still open. My advice is to join art groups, associations, clubs. Get into a few galleries, blog, set up a business Facebook page, create a website for yourself, do whatever you can to get your person and your name into your community. Stretch yourself! Step out of your comfort zone! You will make a difference, even in your own quiet way! And those hours of solitude in the studio will bring you many rewards!

  39. My UK home studio (aka garage) is not ideal and I miss the interaction with other artists. Eventually, I joined an Adult Education class with a good tutor. This gives me four hours of painting each week in the company of like-minded people and, while it is expensive, is still cheaper than renting a studio space. Being a regular class also means that there is a commitment to attend.

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