Working Alone | Breaking the Isolation that can Surround The Pursuit of Art

Recently I had a conversation 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.

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40 Comments

  1. I work at the Smithsonian one day a week teaching art. I not only get inspiration from the art around me, but I interact with hundreds of people. My creative well is full by the end of the day!

  2. So Apropo for today. I am dealing with this right now. I was just discharged from the hospital after 7 days of fighting a flu like symptom that’ caused bronchitis and an asthma adcerbstion.

    The staff was distressed I had no one to visit me. To be fair I had two different exhibition openings that Friday night. But they were right. This is a lonely life , even in an artsy town

    I have been mulling over this the past week. I have numerous on line art groups. I do teach workshops. I belong to a group of artists that meet twice a month to share,learn, and just talk art. But most of my days are in the studio and by evening I am exhausted by health issues.

    When I walk into the studio each morning my face brightens. Not from seeing humans, but the women and creatures in my paintings. They have become my friends. Their joy, their special moments, their gentleness. It is their presence that keeps me going. Bringing me a delight that tells me this is my purpose.

    Yet how do I overcome this alone as? Where does an artist find friends willing to don isolation garb to visit you at the hospital? Who does one even ask to do that? I appreciate this is an extreme, but it just happened and it is my life.

    I chose this life. I LOVE this life. But there are days it is overwhelming in its loneliness.

    1. Cyd,

      Thanks for sharing your emotions and the challenges of your isolation. I hope that sharing your experience and seeing that there are many others who feel the same sense of loneliness at times helps in some small way. You are exactly right that it’s often the case that social contact and relationship building can suffer or be sacrificed by artists whose work is done mostly alone. When those feelings of isolation become too great, I would encourage you not to be afraid to reach out.

    2. Hello, Cyd! My name isJulie and I live in the Panhandle of Florida and am also an artist (oil portraits by Mini). So sorry to hear about your recent illness. Hopefully, this note will find you feeling much better and being a social butterfly at the art gatherings in your town! If you lived in my neck of the woods I would be happy to have given you a visit at the hospital! Every day I understand how it feels to have lingering/chronic illness. In my case, Fibromyalgia and a host of other most un-delightful ailments. For the last four years I have been enduring this and have become an isolated, uninspired recluse – for the most part. There are several art groups in my small town both of which I have attempted to include myself, however my illness always gets in the way. It gets in the way of most everything. My point is that I connected with your health situation and your feeling of isolation. A very nice conclusion would be that we live close enough to give each other breaks from our isolations and inspire each other to do our art and feel comforted to have a friend indeed! Have a lovely day, Mini

      1. Hi there.
        I am a Las Vegas person. I am in my isolation period also. I also have Fibro, but am in the 23 year stage. Hopefully, you will hit the time soon that it kind of backs off and you get some relief.
        Personally, I am not a loner and I’m a teacher so I am pushed to go out even if I’m not in the mood. I share and collect info, ideas and friendships to keep my ideas and creativity fresh. These are my community folk and my social life.
        Just to let you know, I have to take dynamite pills to get me out of the house even to something I really want to attend. I say to Self;” This too shall pass maybe, I hope.”
        I am grateful for the drive to move. I poop out at night too.
        Hang in there. Enjoy the good days and create all the time, even if it’s in your mind. You may use that information tomorrow.
        I’m still hoping to get online sooner rather than later..
        Jan Schaeffer

    3. hello I am from Cleveland I am in fairly a large big city and I share the same feeling of
      being a lone but I think most of this come from being tie to the paint brush and the other the canvas I spend a lot of my time painting so it don’t leave me much time to chi chat I don’t know if it this is true with other artist it seems like the only time I meet other artist is at a art store and a art relationship never developer from them I am a photographer /artist and maybe I developer the habit of being a long because I was spent hours making photographs I am not trying to fine a art community in Cleveland when I was in photograph I have other photographer fiiends but as a artist I don’t any so I this is strange but now that I spent more time painting and shoot photo to paint from I don’t have any friends, I have bee in photography for well over seventy years I have always wanted to paint and drawbut it was only when I move to Cleveland and about ten years ago I start painting and drawing I now have a exhibition of forty painting and drawing at the main library in downtown Cleveland
      I suppose to be on there webb site but nothing have takining place yet but if you on face book or know some one book put in :Lawson art and production press the pink box with the L in it and press the video,this will show you some of my painting I am plaining on do some work for carl storke medical center I am a veteran and I am doing large painting the 18 sailor one large 30bx40 a d four 16×20 on canvas using acrylic althro I am not having with pastel but I feel like I am cheating . because they are so easy to work with oil paints or nice but you really have to know how to draw detail watercolor I find is unforgiving,but sometime I use it for my base for my pastel
      but I undersand how you feel lonely but part of this go with you being an artist and from what you wrote I know you spent a lot of time with your love of art I don’t; have anything to tell you about getting over lonely but from I pick up from your text you are around other people but you don’t have any one to share your passion for your art but if you get sick again I would like to email you a get well card and I hoping for you feel better, and watch your health we artists bright light and joy to the world robert; t. Lawson sr

    4. Great article and comments, thank you. I am a people person so I have to get out of the isolation of the studio, find places to sketch and mull over compositional ideas then return to the studio for refinement. I find that by doing a synergistic routine of in studio, out studio, back in, etc., I am keeping my mind open to options and possibilities. At times, I will grab a cup of coffee from a vendor, set up a small plein air watercolor gig and paint away. Or sketch out scene ideas after reading a magazine article. Or just sit and meditate on a wonderful sunny day with trees dancing in the breeze. Then go back to the studio, play some Mozart, and I don’t feel so alone. Then the next day I will do something creatively different. This keeps me out of a boring rut. I have an artist friend whom I call and put on speaker while painting. I can yak at him and he can’t see the mess I’m making.

    5. Cyd, it is by reaching out to others that we will not be alone. Even if one is an introvert and is recharged from within, this could be a wonderful opportunity to explore the extrovert dimension that all of us have to some degree. Pick up the phone and invite a few people over for macaroni and cheese with salad supper. They will come. And in addition, sometimes we just have to ask people for their help. When I had a low period in my health life, I let others know and asked for their positive thoughts and visits. Simply by asking, it was received. But if no one knows we are in need, how can they help? Again, reach out.

      Wishing you the best,

      Verna

  3. I actually look forward to the opportunity of being alone to meditate and pursue my painting. As a child, I was often sick and got used to looking inward for my strengths. I enjoy socializing with other artists and belong to 2 different art organizations, but I find the seclusion with my art feels like the place I need to be, where time and problems no longer exist.

  4. I belong to an artists collective that runs a gallery of our work. Once a year we have a silent auction of 8″x8″ work to raise funds for a high school student to go on for post secondary art training. There is another group in town who paint together once a week, but I don’t belong to that group. Once a year, our town holds a multi arts weekend called Creative Jam. People learn new skills and then show off what they learned at the end. Great fun!

  5. Great post. A sense of creative community can make a huge difference in motivation and output. Using the French “cafe culture” of the late 19th century as a model, a group of Whidbey Island (WA) creatives recently initiated a not-for-profit group called Island Bohemians http://www.islandartscouncil.org/island-bohemians.html/. Our group is designed to offer social, inspirational and collaborative opportunities to creative professionals residing on Whidbey Island and currently active in the fields of visual arts, music, literature/poetry, theater/film, dance and culinary arts. Our mission is to foster an island-wide culture that encourages creative thought, human connection and artistic output of our through convivial intellectual exchange among peers. So far, we have begun to achieve these goals by hosting the following types of events:
    • Artist Café Nights – fun gatherings for social and intellectual interaction, will include a structured program component and an unstructured social hour and will provide an environment to create spin-off groups based on particular interests
    • Open Studio Visits – by and for creative professionals
    • Other Activities – solstice dances, potlucks and bonfires.
    We have a web page, a FB group and a monthly email newsletter. Membership and most events are free. Many members volunteer to organize events and/or manage the group. As the organization becomes stronger, I imagine that creative collaborations between members will become common. And so far, this group has been a wonderful way to mitigate the solo artist blues!

  6. I have had the experience of real solitude for most of my life. I now live in a very rural (geographic as well as mind), with a couple of larger cities nearby (also not especially cosmopolitan).
    We have a fairly large artist community apparently, but that has never really been available to me. I have one artist and we get together on a phone call but face time for us is very difficult to schedule. (We both have family obligations).
    LinkedIn has been a kind of critique group but not a physical one. (I can’t just pack up and go to Amsterdam or Paris for the weekend with art work in tow). I am fortunate to have art history as a foundation. That’s been fairly good self-critique but it’s not enough.
    There is nothing better than to have another set of eyes AND your work in the same room.
    If I were to start a group (for critique and idea exchange), I’d probably be the moderator which leaves me in the same spot.
    Interaction with others is an integral part of being a healthy human being and we are healthiest in a place where there is difference in thought, process, and just about everything else.

  7. I have appeared in the local press a lot. I take my press articles around with me & show people. This not only engages people but also works as a great marketing strategy that helps me make sales! I certainly breaks the lonely isolation periods!

  8. I am a painter working alone in my studio, but I am also a printmaker and work at Center for Contemporary Printmaking in Norwalk, CT. It is here that I am able to collaborate with other professionals. There are opportunities for exhibits, workshops and independent study. Without the center I would feel extremely isolated.
    What I learn from printmaking (an ongoing process!) spills over into my oil painting.
    It is just right for me!

  9. There is nothing I enjoy more than the solitude of the studio (20 years worth so far). Almost any kind of social group or interaction, especially one centered on art, depletes the energy I have for painting. When I need to get out and about, the best remedy is the off-leash dog park where conversation is light and fun and no one cares what role you play in the wider world. I also have my favorite gas station attendant and grocery store check-out clerk, both of them bright and cheerful and fun to interact with. Occasionally I play music with a local string group. I have a great life together with a partner who doesn’t care a fig about art. Email is my favorite way of being in touch, and that’s where I have deeper conversations with my artist friends, none of whom live close by. I’m an Introvert’s Introvert – sociable but not social. It works beautifully for me.

  10. What a great post! Even for someone like me who welcomes and loves solitude, it’s good to be social once in a while, too. Like Helen, I too belong to a painting group. We meet once a week to paint together and have a gentle critique afterward. It’s good fun, and a great way to see others’ works and ways of working, as well as to hear diverse comments regarding our paintings.
    Thanks, Helen, for sharing your experiences. Your letter gives me some great ideas to share with my artist friends.
    Thanks, Jason, for your thoughtful and timely posts. I look forward to them.

  11. See, being isolated for too long and poor health can increase my sensitive feelings of the situation . Jumping the gun is never a good option! Please delete my last note and this once you see this is my apology for showing how low I’ve been. Thank you for posting my original post to Cyd! You just made my day with its posting! Sincerely, Mini

  12. I am fortunate that so many of my students have come together to form a group called The Art Chix and the Dudes. We’ve spent some weekends painting together on the Texas Gulf Coast. We’re hanging our first group show in a town nearby, and nine of us are planning a trip to Oregon next fall to paint together. I have to budget my time in order to have that quiet time to do my own studio work. I like the balance of together time and “me” time.

  13. This blog came at the perfect time . I am currently in escrow for a home purchase in Tucson Arizona. I am newly divorced and my kids are grown so I am venturing out on my own , moving from California. I started to think about being alone in this house and trying to produce work. I love the idea of having community relationships with other artists in different forums. One of my plans for this house because it is quite large is to run an Airbnb . It’s literally like a blank canvas and I can create and decorate how I want to and make it a fun artistic experience for those visit. I was even thinking of getting to know local artists in the southern Arizona area, and hanging different art works in my home, for visitors to enjoy as well as purchase. Kind of like a bed and breakfast/art gallery.
    Thank you Jason for posting Helen’s letter. Very helpful!

  14. Very much enjoy working alone.
    I never really considered the act of doing Art a lonely venture. The only isolation I feel is from the Art world. Quite frankly I am confused by it, and not really sure were I will fit into it. There is a local Art Guild that I recently hooked up with, but it is made up of retired people that are in a different reality and experience with Art. I do my best to keep an open mind and Heart.
    Of course association with Artists and Collectors/Buyers are too different things. I LOVE talking to people about my work.. especially those who don’t ask me..”So… where is your focal point?”…..Lol

  15. I mostly connect online. I live in a village where there are about 300 people total, spread over a large area. The few artists that do exist don’t seem to want a community so there isn’t one. There are communities in the cities about 70 km away but I rarely get to go to anything that far away because other demands on my time mean I couldn’t stay more than an hour or two. I have talked to a lot of wonderful people via the Internet though, so I don’t feel alone.

  16. I live in an isolated area of Northern Canada. I love my quiet time in the forest where I commune with Nature and wildlife. Although there are times of loneliness I have learned to enjoy my own company and feed my own soul . There is such a thing as being alone without loneliness. I have the internet and a town close by if I ever want the human interaction. I do travel to connect with my art peers and family. It is a pretty good life living off the grid.

  17. I am one of those who enjoys the solitude of my studio. I belong to the ceramics guild but rarely attend meetings, and I prefer to work alone rather than in the creative social soup at the local community college.
    I attempt to keep my inner crazy old loner self at bay by having lunch with a friend every few weeks. I also enjoy supportive email relationships with a couple of artist friends. These, and the occasional workshop are just about all the artistic social interaction I can manage.
    Takes all kinds…

  18. I am a watercolor a- joinrtist. Studio time is critical and needed; but the absolute cure is Plein Air. I am just returning from P.A.C.E 2018 that was in Santa Fe. There were 1100 artists there! A whole tribe of artists – people with the same struggles. The marketing was excellent, the demos were excellent and the Trade Show was you guessed it – excellent! I am a member of the New Mexico Watercolor Society and the Plein Air Painters of NM. Find a local one near you – join your local tribe. Break the solitude and get some vitamin D.

  19. This conversation gives me a chance to comment on my years of group and solitary work in art. My first commercial art job (at 18) afforded me the chance to work under a wonderful, very helpful art director. The next several years my career expanded from Ohio to California always working with other commercial artists. I learned so much in the group environment. It was not until I started my own design company and began free lancing in 1972 that I realized how much I missed my co-artists and the discipline of going to work each day in a creative studio environment. I was 81 when I started a painting class with a world class teacher and remember how enjoyable the experience and camaraderie was. Now I am 83 and this conversation is inspiring me to support and connect with other artists in my small Kentucky community. I can see some of us could benefit from the experience.

  20. I have found that joining a good guild that is established and where artists share the load of guild work has been a way for me to meet other artists and collectors. We recently moved to an area of the country where we didn’t know anyone and with a little digging I have found groups that are open and very helpful. The big plus is that I am making friends that give me strength and companionship.

  21. We should acknowledge art is a solitary enterprise to begin with, unless one teaches or is a curator at a public institution. Your art can open opportunities to develop friendships; it may be a springboard for continued relationships, but maybe not.
    For those of us blessed with close and extended family I seek solitude. We have an understanding; if I don’t email or answer my cell I’m in the midst of a project and I’ll get back with them.
    I don’t confine my “circle of influence” (for lack of a better term) strictly to my art. If you’re seeking to develop friendships I might caution artists not to be so art-centric other avenues are ignored. You can volunteer at numerous non-profits … what about that secondary passion that has taken a back seat? Foodies? Literature and book clubs? Common ancestry? Gardening? Resurrect those … you will be a more well rounded individual and may uncover a whole new market for your work.
    I have Internet art buddies through art forums I normally wouldn’t have. (thank you, Jason, for Red Dot blog). The Internet is a great tool to expand those relationships … this TX artist is meeting a CA one for dinner and a studio tour this summer.
    And last, Cyd, I also deal with health issues. Never assume anyone knows about your health problems and they’ve elected not to get involved. Call or email them. “Hey, just wanted to let you know I’m in the hospital with ___. I sure could use some cheering up from my art friends.” Anything wrong with that? You may be surprised at the positive response you get. They simply didn’t know ….

  22. So interesting to read how many artists don’t feel the loneliness unless there is a need of some kind—-often unrelated to their artwork. We are truly resourceful in this solitary venture in keeping our spirits up for the challenge. I feel fortunate to be able to do that, have been thinking of this very subject recently, and it’s refreshing and reassuring to know that there are many artists capable of finding joy in work enough to tamp down loneliness, even to the point of looking forward to solitary times. I think we’re a rare breed in that regard! A wonderful aspect of creativity. Thank you for bringing it to light, Jason!

  23. I feel fortunate to have joined a painting group that meets weekly and continues to encourage those that come to express themselves. For a couple of years I was the only abstract painter among the realistic painters. I have felt comfortable to continue my work with this group. They are a blessing in my artistic pursuits.

  24. I love having time alone to paint in my studio . I also really enjoy working with and learning from other artists in various workshops and in classes at The Art League of Houston. I exhibit at a coastal city art center and in juried shows through the non profit Visual Arts Alliance of Houston. Several years ago I was part of forming a visual arts group at our church and still participate in the exhibitions there. One of my workshop instructors has become a good friend. She is a wonderful mentor, very talented and experienced . We meet at her studio in Spring, TX to paint together and share lunch on a Saturday about every other month. Painting alone is fufulling and at times necessary but seeing all the great work artists in different communities are producing, and getting their feedback on my work keeps me inspired and encouraged!

  25. I am both an artist and a writer. Being part of a writers’s group for five years was the best. However, most writing groups deteriorate over time. Ours became a wine group. That part was fun. Sharing writing prompts was fun. Sharing new writing was fun until the group became critical and turned into an angry poet society and the rest of us quietly disengaged. Raising a daughter kept me engaged in the community, but she is now grown. My spouse is fabulous company. But moving to a non-art town (for our daughter’s needs) totally isolated us. I joined every art group and even started three, but artists here are more set in their more small town and hobby-artist ways, which works and is good for them but not so inspirational. Far away galleries are hard to interact with socially. We are actively hoping to move to an active gallery town and nature town again (like ones we used to live in) where we had more friends, more are opportunities, places to go out dancing, nature (and not just suburbia) to smooth our souls, and more sales. Art in another kind of town can be very isolating and lonely. And writing a novel can be years alone. Artists need to feel alive in their worlds too.

  26. I live in a very rural part of Idaho. I am a member of 4 art guilds but the traveling distance for any of the 4 can be a challenge. One is over a 100 miles away. Two of the others are also a distance that become a challenge because it also covers a 50 mile radius and it depends upon where the president is from, where the meetings are held. The other guild is close for part of the year but otherwise a 60 mile drive. I do the promotion and web work for the guild and it’s fortunate that this can be done by computer. Art is lonely work and many of us have other jobs that we are responsible for too. Sometimes online communities make up the bulk of my art contacts but that is a very superficial form of support. There is nothing like human interaction in person. The art guilds provide opportunities for shows and workshops. Actual sales is tough but I’m hoping the online contacts will someday make that all a lot easier. We ranch also so I’m used to working alone but there is something different about art work. It’s fortunate that I have close friends who are also artists. Distance is still an issue but there is at least a phone and we are making plans to get together to paint this summer.

  27. I have mixed feelings about being in art groups, mostly because a lot of my art group time was spent with volunteer work and I am a person who has problems saying no. I also tended to get side tracked and chat too much. I find that to focus, that I need more alone time to paint and I need to isolate myself for the discipline to keep working. Now when I get lonely and start to feel like a art hermit, I drop by a local art gallery complex that houses several of my friends galleries and a major art group in the area. I enjoy the visit, get inspired and get to chat with fellow artists. Then I come home to the privacy of my studio and say thank goodness I do not have to share my creative space.

  28. I’m new to all of this. I’ve been a basketmaker for more than 25 years and it’s been just about a year where I’ve shown my art craft work (and only four times at juried shows at our statewide non-profit craft organization and two nationally-known outdoor art festivals as an Emerging Artist).
    I make contemporary art baskets, have two distinct styles (one of repurposed business rack cards and event invitations, the other of dyed cane, waxed linen and beads for a refined look). I’ve been a member of our local and active basketmaker guild which meets once a month for almost 20 years, meet weekly for a potluck-salad lunch with about 6-12 weavers at someone’s house where we talk about lifeand perhaps work on projects, either kits from the guild or work of our own.

    I weave my art baskets at home and only will bring them if I want an opinion on what I’m doing. However, I find great inspiration from talking and meeting with people (basket lovers or not), have joined a weavers group to specifically learn spinning and recently began meeting with gallery owners and others who collect craft as part of a 9-week entrepreneurial art business class, free via scholarship. This has taken me into other directions besides just creating baskets/sculptures into collaborating with another fiber artist for a fundraising event with multiple components. So I work alone but the ideas for work and new work come sparked by interaction with other creatives. I will say, however, that none of what has happened to me in the last 1 1/2 years happened in a vacuum.

  29. After reading a few of these replies I am very surprised that nobody touched the issue of survival. I have been very fortunate to survive for the last 15 years only from the sale of art, but if you don’t belong to the small elite that gets to sell their work at hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars, it seems to be an almost impossible task, specially if you can’t afford assistants of any kind. It is like navigating in the middle of a never ending storm. You need to be in many galleries (I now a few that show their work in 20 or 40 galleries) and work without stop. You never know when the next check is going to come or how you are going to pay for your enormous expenses. In the last few years not only the rich got richer and the poor poorer; the rich artists became richer and the poor artists became poorer. That is to me the most important issue. The isolation is a consequence of how your career is going. I never heard a “celebrity artist” complaining about being isolated.

  30. I’m coming at this from a different point of view. I love my quiet alone time to paint. I could easily become a hermit. So when a friend or neighbor invites me out for lunch or a fun activity I go so as not to forget how to be social. There are a handful of good friends that I keep close. A couple are artists that I can talk shop with, but the non-artists keep me grounded in other areas. Joining art groups has to be done cautiously. In the past, they have pulled me away from what I really want to do….. paint. It took me a long time to learn to say ‘no’. All my life I had to squeeze my art in among all the other life responsibilities and now it finally has priority.

  31. DOOD. It’s great how my reclusive nature and artistic habits reinforce each other. I’m lucky that I still have people who will talk to me even though they don’t understand why I won’t show up for any of their gatherings. Bonding with other artists has always been a challenge for me, too – I just don’t want to, like commiseration will be creepy or something – but I am working on getting over myself in that regard. That’s why I’m here at this blog, and I appreciate all your stories. I especially get what Theresa said about learning to say ‘no’ – I did it so well I alienated a fair number of people. Anyway, hi there!

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