Every venture in life needs a purpose. A defined goal or endgame, if you like. It is no different with art groups. An art group without a purpose can be likened to being like my Greyhound, Charlie, when he chases his tail. He’s all eager, full of energy, running in relentless circles but ending up nowhere. The same is true for an aimless art group. It's all terribly enthusiastic but ultimately underwhelming, without a clear aim to chase after.
That being said, what kind of purpose are you looking for in an art group? Taking after my kids, Harrison and Cecilia, I learned that it's necessary to understand their interests first before engaging them - whether it's drawing superheroes for Harrison while Cecilia prefers painting landscapes. Now, would you want an art group that guides you towards perfecting your craft? Or perhaps one that focuses on the commercial aspects of art, providing ways to get your artworks sold? Maybe your interest lies in an art group that promotes networking among artists for personal growth and collaboration. Your choices are as many and as varied as the feathers on my cockatiel, Sprout.
Cliched as it may sound; no man is an island. I believe that phrases become clichés for good reason - they are statements of truth that withstand the test of time. Like waves gently moulding a sea rock, every interaction we have shapes us, and we, in turn, shape the world around us. This truth shines particularly bright in art groups. Regardless of whether you're an experienced artist or a beginner just brushing up on the basics, every member brings something unique and valuable to the table. It’s a delicious buffet of knowledge and skills waiting to be tasted.
Often, I find myself teaching my kids how to sketch, and every so often, they'd come up with ideas and techniques that leave me flabbergasted - be it a unique shade they picked or a stroke they've mastered. This reminded me that even the most veteran artists can have something to learn from a novice. Art groups can foster a community of perpetual students bound together by a thirst for growth and a love of vulnerability as they learn from each other.
We humans are social creatures by nature. Even the most introverted among us crave some level of social interaction. There's a peculiar magic that occurs when ideas from multiple minds intermingle and create something astounding. That's what an art group can offer - a space for mutual engagement, where minds meld and ideas blossom like a rare, exotic flower that Sprout, my cockatiel, would no doubt have an amusing crack at.
The art world, like any other, has its share of networking. You may meet someone who knows someone leading to opportunities you wouldn't have had if you were working solo. It's like when Charlie, my greyhound, met a neighborhood dog who soon introduced him to an entire gang of friendly tails. And there can be no doubt; those new friendships have positively impacted my good boy's overall happiness and quality of life.
Art is a grand mirror reflecting who we are. It exposes our inner beings, like a graphic novel laying bare our souls and ideas. An art group should align with your personal identity in much the same way. This doesn't mean everyone has to be replicas of each other. My children, Harrison and Cecilia, have their unique personalities, yet they complement one another and coexist harmoniously.
In essence, seek out an art group that resonates with your soul. It could be a group that shares your passion for a particular art form or one that embodies ideals you hold dear. Remember that a group doesn't define you but rather, enhances and bolsters the 'You-ness' of You.
Art is deeply personal and often an outlet for raw emotions. Sharing your art with others can feel like baring your soul, and negative critique can sting like salt on a fresh wound. However, constructive criticism is an invaluable component of artistic growth. An art group should encourage members to give and receive criticism with respect and kindness. But, a sprinkle of praise to sweeten the palate never goes astray.
Consider this scenario. Cecilia presented to me a spirited landscape painting of a tree, each leaf delicately detailed. I was in awe, told her as much, but also gently pointed out an aspect of her style she could improve upon: the tree trunk was disproportionate to its crown, upon which she made the necessary adjustment. Constructive feedback is like that - pointing out the good, alongside areas for improvement. And remind you, even seasoned artists need a little ego-boost and validation now and then.
The age-old question in any creative endeavour remains whether to follow one's passion or seek commercial success. This crossroads can often leave one feeling torn, confused, or at worst, unfulfilled. It's a bit like when Charlie has to choose between chasing his tail or fetching his favourite ball - a daunting task, indeed.
But good news, my friends, there's a balance to be found. An art group that encourages members to pursue their passion, while also helping them understand the commercial aspect of the art world, offers a healthy, balanced approach. Remember, making a living should never extinguish the flame of your passion. But if the art group can help you become financially successful from doing what you love, why not both? Remember: Balance, like my Sprout maintaining his perch with a nibbled biscuit in his beak, is key.