Breaking up is hard to do

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Dear Artist,

Not wanting all her friends to know her concerns, an anonymous woman wrote yesterday: “What do you do when your art group falls apart? I belong to a group of women who met through an art course three years ago. After the course was finished we continued with our instructor, taking lessons in her studio. We have a show opening soon. One member has notified us by email that she is withdrawing. Another is just ‘going traveling.’ The three of us who are left are shocked, but we are proceeding with the show. I suppose art groups fall apart all the time, but ours seemed a special one. As you are the guru we all subscribe to, please tell us what we can do.”

Thanks, Anonymous. This sort of thing is indeed happening all the time — it’s part of a natural dialectic called “The Uneven Progress of Creative People.” In our game some feel the need and are able to move on before others — while others never want to move on at all. Clubs are always gaining and losing members to these cycles. A small group such as yours feels losses particularly badly.

The main reasons artists congregate into groups are friendship, education and opportunity. Groups ebb and flow with the increase or diminishment of any of these. I’ve noticed that many artists actually bloom when they abandon clubs. Similar things happen when people leave certain religious organizations — they can actually become more spiritual and happier than when they were in the comfort and security of the group.

There are four ploys you might consider: (1) Found the “Group of Three” and make people sit up and take notice. (2) Look around and invite replacement members. (3) Merge with another group — perhaps one that offers even more instructors, friendships and opportunities. (4) Dissolve your group and go your separate ways.

The last one may not be the most unthinkable. Art is really a job for rugged individualists. Artists thrive when they learn to stand on their own two feet. They often find it easier to access their own inner creativity, build a unique style, and activate the latent ego-force that’s necessary for growth. This doesn’t prevent people from taking workshops, participating in group shows, or having a regular coffee (or something else) with creative friends.

Best regards,

Robert

PS: “Don’t join an easy crowd. You won’t grow. Go where the expectations and the demands to perform are high.” (Jim Rohn) “The things we fear most in organizations — fluctuations, disturbances, imbalances — are the primary sources of creativity.” (Margaret J. Wheatley)

Esoterica: Some people are joiners and others are not. Further, our extro- and introversion fluctuates daily and throughout our lives. It’s important to understand ourselves and our creative needs. Something else is to know and try to fill the needs of others. But that’s another kettle of fish. The condition may bring on the well known “Guru Syndrome” that some of us find irresistible.

 

Basic guides


Painting what you see
Charles Reid

Excellent for oil and watercolour, particularly figurative.


Alla Prima—Everything I Know About Painting
Richard Schmid

Beautiful book, expensive, worth every penny.


Carlson’s Guide to Landscape Painting
John F. Carlson

Unpretentious, timeless wealth of advice and experience.


Composition of Outdoor Painting
Edgar Payne

Somewhat difficult to read, idealistic, useful classic.


Classical Painting Atelier
Juliette Aristides

Valuable apprenticeship to some of the better historical artists.


Design and Composition Secrets of Professional Artists
International Artist

Range of approaches by 16 painters, including me.

 

No support from other artists
by John Ferrie, Vancouver, BC, Canada

 

Forward 1 acrylic painting by John Ferrie

“Forward 1”
acrylic by John Ferrie

Like many single women who feel like they have been dating since they were 15 and exhausted from it, I feel the same way working and trying to have relationships with other artists. I lived for a decade in a building with 75 other artists. I work very hard, I am prolific and produce two exhibitions each year. I have photographers coming and going as well as graphic designers, website builders, framers and clients. You would think there is creative support and understanding. All I ever got was resentment from the others. If you find a little painting clutch, enjoy the ride as it simply won’t last. Some can’t keep up, others want to travel, some find a lover and that pretty much seals it. A very wise mentor told me once that life is one letting go after another. The most important thing for an artist to do is let their own voice come out in their work. A gallery will never respond to a group of artists. But when one is chosen from a group, look out. It is like the sister who came between me and my man!



There is 1 comment for No support from other artists by John Ferrie

From: Sarah Atkins — Oct 06, 2008

 

Moving forward to greater horizons
by Claudio Ghirardo, Mississauga, ON, Canada

 

Blues acrylic and oil pastel 30 x 24 inches by Claudio Ghirardo

“Blues”
acrylic and oil pastel
30 x 24 inches
by Claudio Ghirardo

I know how this woman feels because I went through this twice. I was part of two groups that had gotten together for the purposes of doing shows, sharing costs, and getting out there so we could get noticed. As time went on, both groups dissolved. Being part of a group was bittersweet for me: while I enjoyed having other artists to hang out with, trying to organize shows as a group proved very difficult and tensions between artists started. I found that when I went out on my own, my art improved and I grew as an artist. I recently got together with some other artists and we have been doing some collaborative work that is helping me push the boundaries of my imagination and loving it. What I would say I have learned is that there are times when being part of a group is helpful, but there comes a time to move on despite the emotional difficulties. But if you are willing to move forward and grow, you will meet others you can connect with. That is one of the great things about art, the highs and lows will always make you move forward to greater horizons.

 

Plein Air Florida going like gangbusters
by Linda Blondheim, Gainesville, FL, USA

 

Dune palms oil painting 8 x 10 inches by Linda Blondheim

“Dune palms”
oil painting 8 x 10 inches
by Linda Blondheim

It’s been my experience that the most successful groups are those who make few demands on participants. My friend David Johnson and I created Plein Air Florida some years ago. We started with a dream for two, which extended to 24 painters and then mushroomed into what we have today, a statewide, regional, and International group of painters who love to paint in Florida. Our format is simple. We do not interfere in each PAF group’s business. We do not have a committee, we do not have a board of directors. We do not have meetings. David runs the web site, I run the blog, and we support other painters with information. The two of us are benevolent dictators in that we decide on the basic structure of the group and what we will sponsor. We have been going strong now for a long time, with few problems and have about 600 members.

 

Who needs a group?
by Diane Rabideau-Wise, Jacksonville, FL, USA

 

Emma's my friend collage by Diane Rabideau-Wise

“Emma’s my friend”
collage by Diane Rabideau-Wise

Just like my not studying with someone else when in nursing school, I don’t paint with anyone. It takes time to set up painting events and discuss the work, etc: My philosophy is – just do it, alone, enter it, the “proof of the pudding” so to speak is in how you feel about the work, being juried in, and/or winning an honor and/or selling the work. Who needs a group? If it happens and is comfortable fine, don’t make a job of it. We are not in Arty Paris at the outdoor cafes, smoking, drinking, and discussing. Life is different now.

 

 

 

Toastmasters training for groups
by Bill McCaffrey, FL, USA

 

House on a Hill original painting by Bill McCaffrey

“House on a Hill”
original painting by Bill McCaffrey

Toastmasters is an organization for people who want to become comfortable with speaking in front of groups. The way it keeps going is simple. As a group each member is always trying/encouraging others to join. If the group grows to over 50 it splits into 2 groups. If it shrinks to small, it merges with another group. It’s a great group from which to learn how to organize a group. They have manuals, meeting formulas, and lots of printed material explaining and teaching how to run such a group. It is well organized and provides great training.

 

Members getting sick and tired
by Jean Belluz, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

 

Our “Group of Twelve” has been active for some thirty five years and now some of us are getting sick and tired and not feeling too much like painting. Some members attend meetings regularly while others just show up with paintings for the ‘hanging.’ It takes all kinds and, while it is frustrating at times, the artistic merit of the few hangers-on is still needed for a good show.



There is 1 comment for Members getting sick and tired by Jean Belluz

From: Edna Waller — Oct 05, 2008

Jean, if your group has existed for thirty-five years, you must have something good going on. Have you considered recruiting some new, younger artists to that your group will live on?

 

Sorry to leave
by Linda La Rue

 

I belong to a large group of painters, and have seen that ebb and flow. I wondered why some left a supportive group of pals and moved on solo, and now that is happening to me. It’s not that they matter less, it’s just differently… a time to concentrate, and yes to develop my own style. But yes, it is important to find a challenging group… one of the ways to try out new styles and such. I am sorry to leave, but know it’s time.

 

Broader definition of ‘group’
by Paul Kane, Bloomington, IN, USA

 

There are two sides to this. Artists are and must be individualists, but art history demonstrates that the support and ferment of a group is also crucial for artistic development. Part of what makes this dynamic work, when it works, is that groups can take different forms. An intense rivalry is a group, even though there may never be meetings or encouraging words. One of my favorite examples is the Beatles — does anyone really think the Beatles ever really broke up? Does anyone really think John and Paul ever stopped writing together? Or to choose the most famous example from Art History, where would Michelangelo and Leonardo have been without each other? Yet, so far as I know, they never spoke more than five sentences to each other.

 

Put out the word and carry on
by Joan Polishook, New York City, New York

 

The art group that I founded eleven years ago is stronger than ever. When I first had the idea of asking a few artist friends to join me en plein air, I could never have imagined or predicted the interest that would be generated, mostly by word of mouth. Where it is true that people do come and go for various reasons, by keeping in touch and doing a little advertising through local art organizations and community events calendars, the idea of painting in the outdoors sparks the attention of artists. They literally come from far and wide bringing with them a broad range of talent and expertise which is usually generously shared. My program is non-instructional, but so much is gleaned from others’ experiences. So, if the group described in this week’s article is down to three and wants to continue, all that has to be done is to put out the word and carry on… make the program interesting by providing a time, like a lunch break for getting to know one another, gently critiquing each other’s art, asking questions and having friendly discussions. Wait till you see how rewarding this kind of activity can be.

 

Leavers are ‘growers,’ not ‘traitors’
by Carole Ann Borges, Knoxville, TN, USA

 

While groups can be constructive and inspiring, they can also be more limiting than we realize. Living in our comfort zone isn’t always the best thing for an artist, so being left out in the cold and alone from time to time definitely has the possibility of helping us grow. After a few experiences with groups, I have come to realize that counting on them to stay together for any length of time is usually counter-productive. The person who is first to set forth on a new and singular path should not be considered a traitor and every effort should be made by the other group members to remember they are quite capable of proceeding alone. I see the “break-up” of a group now as a sign of growth. It might not be my own awareness of this that brings it about, but looking back over time I can honestly say a period of growth followed the ending of any group I belonged to.

 

In a funk
by Sonia Gadra, Frederick, MD, USA

 

Hydrangea original painting by Sonia Gadra

“Hydrangea”
original painting
by Sonia Gadra

What do you do when you’re in a funk? Can’t seem to find anything interesting to paint, can’t go out to paint landscapes because of the day job, and haven’t sold a single painting all year. Perhaps it’s lack of interesting works or the economy. I’ve always been eager to get home to my easel to create something interesting. Opportunities for exhibitions or competitions generally excite and motivate me but lately the enthusiasm seems gone, not interested. Looking around for necessary household chores is an excuse not to get back to that easel. I take instruction from a wonderful teacher and have a great group of artist friends who are inspirational and supportive but being in a funk makes you feel like everyone is getting ahead and leaving you behind. Perhaps this is why wonderful creative groups break up. One person drops out and it seems to be catchy, like the flu. Any suggestion on how to cure this ailment?

(RG note) Thanks, Sonia. It’s been my observation that the solitary ego can generally self-motivate and become inspired. On the other hand, some groups can become downright toxic. You bet it’s contagious. Quarantine yourself.



There are 2 comments for In a funk by Sonia Gadra

From: Terry — Oct 09, 2008

Sonia, I got out of my 20+year funk by making a copy of a master painting. An exercise like this might help you also. Once you’ve finished the painting, you have a feeling of accomplishment, you have something nice to hang on the wall, and you will find you have some renewed engergy to create something new and exciting of your own… possibly incorporating something you learned while copying the old master’s work. See you in class!

From: Terry — Oct 09, 2008

Sonia, Your still life is beautiful….apparently this was painted when you were not in a funk!

 

Art group of supportive mothers
by Karen McLaughlin, Philadelphia, PA, USA

 

I found the benefits of “grouphood” outweigh the negatives. There have been some small issues to work through, but I have learned to put them into perspective in light of what I’m gaining. Few curators will give you the nod if you have little on your resume to back up your talent. My 20-member art group offers the chance to exhibit, as well as practice in dealing with the egos and brilliance of other artists and curators. Besides the enjoyment and camaraderie of like artists, I have also learned so much about the business of art. Ours is not a “create together” art group, yet critique and encouragement abound. We are a group whose common thread is motherhood. As mothers, getting together to create mostly doesn’t work into our schedules.

 

Flight from group lacking creativity
by Lyn Lynch, Phoenix, AZ, USA

 

I’ve just let go of a group that hasn’t worked for me in a very long time. It was a group that I have outgrown, not in terms of paint application or product knowledge but in terms of creativity. I’m just not stirred by seeing and hearing gushing commentary on endless works looking like the photograph from which they were copied. But why did I insist on hanging in there, even kicking and screaming, when it so obviously didn’t work for me?

 

Teacher’s students moving on
by Mario Kujawski

 

My group of watercolor artists is falling apart. I am the teacher. At first it was hard to take but I slowly accepted it as “there is a time for everything.” The time was for us to part. I am grateful that my students are now friends. It has been a subtle change. I now teach several new individuals on a one-on-one art class. Change is inevitable and a growth opportunity. I need to celebrate it.

 

 

World of Art Featured artist Luis Jose Estremadoyro, Peru  

'The Nightly Unfolding of Mme. de Loynes by Luis Jose Estremadoyro, Peru

The Nightly Unfolding of Mme. de Loynes

original painting by
Luis Jose Estremadoyro, Peru

 
You may be interested to know that artists from every state in the USA, every province in Canada, and at least 115 countries worldwide have visited these pages since January 1, 2013.

That includes Carole Munshi who wrote, “I thought it might be good to join an art group so went to an art club meeting yesterday… arrived late due to not re-checking the time. This made a very bad impression certainly… so back to my cave. I am happier as a clam.”

And also Katherine Harris of Bracciano, Italy who wrote, “We have to be autonomous now and then. Creativity requires solitude and silence, after the impact of activity.”

And also Amy Markham of Hilo, HI, USA who wrote, “If people decide to move on, then fine, so long as you can keep creating. Maybe others will show up, who knows. Just keep working.”

And also Beth Mahy of Dallas, TX, USA who wrote, “There comes a time to leave “school” too. I was always hanging around class and sometimes being made miserable. I finally got into counseling about it, left and got picked up by a gallery. I have never been happier in art.”

And also Joe Rosenblatt who wrote, “To Anonymous I say tough it out, become self-reliant. In the larger scheme of things, I, too, am anonymous. I am not a joiner myself–but I believe artists should help each other out. This can be in the way of intelligence work: what galleries to approach and what galleries to stay away from.”

GURU original painting by Mario Kujawski

“GURU”
original painting
by Mario Kujawski

And also Maxx Maxted of Nimbin, Australia

 

 

 

 

 

 

Archived Comments

Enjoy the past comments below for Breaking up is hard to do

 

 

From: Faith — Sep 30, 2008

Last week was the final session of a workshop series at an artist’s studio in the next big city to where I live. This was not only the last of the present series, but marked the end of 10 years of painting classes by that painter at that location. I’d only done a few sessions there and this time I attended the last 6 classes after a break of over 3 years because my motivation to paint was at rock-bottom! The “treatment” worked. I think I’m back on track – well, at least I’m painting every day.

What interested me was the reactions of the other participants, most of whom had been attending these classes for 10 long years. Most of them had only painted for those 3 hours per week (often spending months on a painting) and now they were going to be deprived of their mentor AND their painting location. They were deeply saddened by this situation, but none of them seemed to want or have the initiative to find an alternative, also the social element of the group was very important to them (celebrating birthdays etc.). They all left separately and will probably never see each other again.

This is roughly the picture we have in Germany. You go to classes, but normally you have a tutor and he/she is your only focus, tells you what to do and how to do it, and that’s all. People tend not to be able to do things on their own, or maybe they just don’t want to. Of course, I’m talking about amateurs, but there’s no rule that says amateurs must herd together and follow a guru.

So, as a “rugged individualist” I, for once, have the edge on them.

I often wish there were such a thing as an art group here, but there isn’t. Further educational institutions offer courses – at a price – but apart from that, it’s barren land.

Surprised? Individualism isn’t one of the most prevalent Germanic characteristics. There is a tendency to pivot towards the lowest – or easiest common denominator. If someone told you as a child that you can’t sing, paint, jump, or whatever, you are stuck with that judgment all your life and the normal person will not try to prove the judgment wrong.

This is, of course, only a personal impression, but based on 43 years living and working here.

I think the advice given in this letter is absolutely spot on and I hope the anonymous reader will take it.

From: Stephanie Quinn — Sep 30, 2008

Your comment about “breaking up is hard to do” hits home. Our art club had a difficult split about a year and half ago. There was wailing and nashing of teeth over budgets and money, so people left and some stayed. I find it interesting that you connected the artist community to the church. I think in some churches (where this is strict religiousity and rules) people can not grow or question authority so therefore the group will not grow. It can be that way in some art groups, you can have an egotistical teacher who does not like to be questioned or his/her authority pushed. Which is a shame, but I have seen it happen, it does not allow for others to grow and expand unless people leave and seek out new teachers. When in fact we all as artists should. I as an artist view my art and spirituality together and question everything in art and my faith and thank God I have found a church that I can question anything and feel comfortable doing it. People who can’t question in church should also run. Some where along the lines some people have lost will to question everything, or felt it was wrong to do so.

From: Barbara Noonan — Sep 30, 2008

I too experienced the loss of fellow painters in my immediate circle once I moved away. Don’t think it’s any easier on the person that leaves.

After a period of time I found my new niche here and have flourished. But will I ever have the same laughs with artists that know my growth, my talent, my faux pas? And our teacher… oh how I miss him so!!!

Something that works for us is an annual trip that we schedule for Plein Aire painting. Warmth and sun is always desirable but more than anything we want rich subject matter, long shadows and time to share coffee or a meal together when we aren’t shivering in the field. (Mind you we are outside painting from dawn to dusk which in winter comes a little earlier and yet may mean scraping ice off the windshield). During breaks we meet with our notes from workshops we’ve attended separately and compare stories and suggestions. We offer critiques and suggestions and just enjoy the fellowship of the event.

May your group of three thrive – and may you have the joy and opportunity to have a group show in the future with the others.

Cheers!

From: Lyn Cherry — Sep 30, 2008

Dear Anonymous,

People change.

From: Lyn Cherry — Sep 30, 2008

Dear Anonymous,

People grow.

From: Susan — Sep 30, 2008

Couldn’t disagree more.

From: Jocelyn — Sep 30, 2008

I think one thing to keep in perspective is this is Not isolated to art groups or artists. Life always has change and jobs, friends, groups, members, teams, co-workers, even families, Change over time. Things and relationships, friends and groups of people rarely last forever. Most of us are afraid of change and become very neurotic even, in the face of it; but some bravely embrace it, adapt and even flourish with change.

I have found that I prefer to go back to not having a ton of friends and aquaintances that are art related, but only a very select few whose company I really really enjoy and find very positive, regardless of their level or success. I enjoy my friends to be of a contrasting nature, non artists as I feel that myself and them compliment each other well.

Sometimes, I find that artists tend to see things as only effecting Artists or Creative types. I have opened my eyes to see that artists are really into that different than others and never take for granted that you won’t find some similar traits, habits, personalities, ways of thinking, even ways of seeing, in absolutely Non creating people :-) I think sometimes it’s good to get down off that “we are special” platform.

From: P Procter — Sep 30, 2008

It’s more than friendship that you get in an art group. For me it’s been a tremendous opportunity to meet women. As you have noted in other letters, there are far more women involved with painting and the arts in general than men, so this is a perfect situation for guys like me. My other interest is ballroom and other types of dancing, so it is a natural to ask the nicer ones to participate and dance with me. Also, creative women tend to be more fun and interesting than the ordinary ones, so we always have a good time together as I try to give them a good time.

From: Frank Hills — Sep 30, 2008

Our local group suffers from ” False Leaders”.. Those who pretend to be in charge and set the rules for others. It is just a matter of time that the members get tired of this and leave..Our little group is on its third startup in as many years.

From: tatjana m-p — Sep 30, 2008

In times when I lacked confidence, I enjoyed social groups and used to be sad at their breakings. As I gained confidence and determination, I noticed a shift towards enjoying lonely times of creation. Lately I am noticing a feeling of claustrophobia (probably not the right word), in social groups – the need for flight, even when I enjoy the situation and people around me. This leads me to associate the need for direction with the need for social situations. However different people have different motivations, so another person may have an entirely different association.

From: Gavin Calf — Sep 30, 2008

Everything Robert says about groups is true. I simply had to divorce my art group I “grew up” in because the teacher ‘Guru’ had a powerful influence on me. Although the years learning from him were invaluable I had begun to be his ‘clone’ in style and colour.

I miss the banter at drinks time afterwards which was often about Walter Sickert etc. But there is always the Robert Genn letter.

I visit this same group now and then to catch up.

From: anna — Sep 30, 2008

FYI: I have done a lot of work with groups. Groups form and go through phases: forming, norming, storming, and performing (some never get to the last stage!)

From: Jean McLaren — Oct 03, 2008

I live on one of the beautiful Gulf Islalnds on the BC Coast. We have an art group that has been going for about 20 years. We have at least 3 shows a year and also show our paintings in the Seniors Centre where we paint although we are not all seniors. Our Thanksgiving Tour of the island (Gabriola) is coming up and 10 of us are participating. Our summer show almost everyone shows some paintings. We have over 30 members and they do come and go but our group is supportive and although some are secretly and not so secretly critical of my strange paintings they still like me as a person and that is ok with me. We bring in teachers to keep us growing and all of us keep trying to improve and grow. I love this group.

From: Linda Harbison — Oct 03, 2008

I belong to an art club in Kentucky that will be fifty years old next year. While our set up is very formal-Roberts Rules of Order and all that, no one artist dominates the group or tries to have undue influence over the work of others. We organize three art shows each year, and while the work can be tedious, I often come away from these shows feeling like we have accomplished something worthwhile. This is a mostly rural area, and for many years art show organized by clubs like ours were the only opportunities local artists had for showing their work.

I studied art in college, but I can honestly say I have learned much more from the others in this club than I ever learned from any college art professor.

From: Suzette Fram — Oct 03, 2008

There is so much to be enjoyed by being part of a group. I cannot express what it has meant to me over the last several years in terms of friendships, growth, opportunities to show my work, contacts made, and experience gained in organizing events.

And yet, I agree that there is a time for everything and we must learn to stand alone. If we are dependent on the group in any way, then we will find it difficult to leave or to have the group end. And there lies the problem; we must enjoy all that we can from the group without becoming dependent on it. We must be able to stand alone, be our own motivator and critic. And when the time comes to leave the nest, so must we, bravely, knowing that we are capable of going it alone, and that there will be other groups throughout life’s journey.

From: cm cernetisch — Oct 04, 2008

I too have been in groups and left, or the group just died for various reasons. (usually lack of interest!) At first it was a huge push that I needed, but now my galleries and clients (and checkbook) are the ones ‘pushing’ me, but none push me harder than myself!

More often now, I see I do better on my own. I did love some of the group things–dinners, parties, small shows, etc., but after a while, it looses its pull on me. I guess I’m not all that social, but sometimes it can be a real picker-upper.

I relate to the poster who comments on how they wondered why ppl left a group, to only later be that leaver themselves!

Sometimes its simply a matter of not liking the leadership, personal conflicts, not wanting to spend the time doing the ‘extras’ some groups demand, some ppl ‘outgrow’ a group, or just wanting to go another direction. One group I left was happy to be the ‘wannabee’ group…forever! never changing, because the original leader (who’d passed away years before) had done it ‘that way’. Like anything else, its grow or die, they chose death.

Currently I do ‘belong’ to a group of plein air painters similar to yet another poster–they do not ask for dues, time, officials, just come paint! A couple kind souls have taken the duty of emailing info to the rest, and that’s it–come and have fun. This is the group I’ve liked the most. Lots of sharing ideas, etc., but none of the headaches. count me in!!

From: Jan (jAlida) W — Oct 04, 2008

I painted on my own for a number of years. I have attended art classes (for a fee) from time-to-time, also took art in school growing up. But, until I joined the local artist society, my paintings were seen only by family and friends. I didn’t know what else to do with them. I also floundered not knowing how to get to where I knew I wanted to go artistically. Now I get input from more experienced and skilled artists, plus I get exposure with the several shows we have in our town. My art is beginning to sell. I have started to stretch and grow with the encouragement I receive.

If the group were suddently not there, I would most likely be a lonely painter of “going nowhere” pictures, much like I used to have been. I thank God for having found this group, and for the opportunities it has given me to grow and produce well!

Group painting sessions are offered on a regular basis, but mostly, about 50 of us meet once each month to listen to a skilled artist discuss his or her area of expertise, and to organize public displays in conjunction with area happenings. We also give back to the community by offering art work pro bono, as is needed. We refurbish and paint cast-off furniture for an annual auction to provide college scholarships to displaced women. Lately we also provided decorative murals to brighten an area homeless shelter. Creativity is contageous, and it also thrives in generous hearts! I wish everyone had access to such a supportive and active group.

From: Girish Kumar — Oct 04, 2008

It is true.. A group without an inner song will destroy the individual.

From: Carol Hama — Oct 04, 2008
From: Edna V. Hildebrandt — Oct 04, 2008

You might say I am a sporadic painter. I work better on my own. I’ve taken lessons here in there in the community colleges and in the community schools over a period of time between long periods of time during my professional life as a registered nurse and a nursing educator. My productivity was also far between juggling my time as a nurse, mother and wife. I retired as a nurse in 2004 after a stroke that left me with a right sided weakness which hinders my productivity as I am righthanded. I just joined a group The Etobicoke Arts Group two years ago and I started going to their open studio once a week at Neilson Park Creative Center. There are seven members that go regularly to this sessions mostly seniors like myself and only two who are younger than us.We work on our own interest with a little bit of exchanges. I find that going and working with the group I discover some techniques that I have not even imagine of applying before and and they sometimes give some perspective own my work. So I enjoy going there own these occasions. It gives me an opportunity to pursue this interest of mine tuning out my other roles.I think that being in a group makes one more interested in their work.

From: Brad Greek — Oct 04, 2008

It is very interesting to hear you say that an artist will bloom when they pull back from a group. I personally have went the other way, so far. I’ve spent years alone and on my own and have found little growth in my work. After joining groups and participating more in group activities has giving me new life. I guess I’m one that needs the feeling of being a part of something greater than myself. Even though, I must admit, I often wonder what I could do if I didn’t have a lot of my time devoted to group activities.

Let’s face it, even by coming here, we are a group as well. I think we get different things from different groups. As long as it helps growth, it’s good.

From: Val Norberry — Oct 04, 2008

My customers tend to be my educators. Last HP (house portrait) customer was a librarian and sent me home with a list of things to change with each stage of the commission (I do 3 stages, pencil, pen and ink, and lastly color, with approval being necessary to go forward from each point). Well my OCD Librarian lady was THRILLED with her house portrait. She said “I marvel, you took my plain little house and made it special”. Well I was thrilled that she was thrilled. She was not an easy customer and I had to re-do the pen and ink stage.

Art groups? I work in Med Records and we are necessarily very nit-picky type of perfectionist people. I show my work around the dept and there are certain people who really appreciate what I do.

Sure, If I had another life I’d get in with a group. I got in with a guild for calligraphy and really got shot down and told I needed lessons from the head honcho starter of the group and that I was “self-taught” because other than lessons in college, I had not taken any seminars and had taken my calligraphy forward.

Since then I think the guild has somewhat met me in the middle with small seminars costing 30.00 each and even allowed me to participate in a fair doing names raising money (Celtic hand which I learned on the spot, Unical), and they were happy to let me help them.

From: Jack Scott — Oct 04, 2008

The four ploys sounds great options, hope one will work for the group.

From: Joyce Goden — Oct 06, 2008
From: Divya Jain — Oct 07, 2008

Very good website. I liked it very much. Comments from http://www.valentineday.in

From: Jack Waters — Nov 03, 2008

My wife is in a group of ten to twelve that gather once a week, and they have the opposite problem that you describe in the “Breaking up” article. I’ll describe the group as “mature”, and a very young interloper has attached herself by badgering certain members to find out the venue for the week. This person has much to learn, and some members find this person’s presence distracting to the point of not wanting them around. I have watched you work with many distractions, but not all have your ability or patience. Broad hints have not penetrated, and short of telling them they are not wanted, do you have any suggestions?

 

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