The life of an artist can be a fairly solitary one, often by choice as well as necessity. Many hours are spent alone in the studio in the pursuit of knowledge, challenge and the hard work of painting.
However, artists tend to be very good at networking. As a result of my website, blogs, and newsletter, I've come to know and share with artists from many parts of the world. The contact is more often than not a single email with an enquiring artist; but sometimes it's a timely note of support.
Messages can be brief...welcome words of encouragement or notes sharing methods and ideas about the business side of this life. It's all good, in the spirit of friendship, and it makes life as an artist fun, fulfilling and much less isolated.
But it hasn't always been this way.Recently, I reflected on the incredible resources available to today's artist and I realized how decidedly different and complex my life as a working artist has become over the years.
It's barely conceiveable that just a dozen years ago, I couldn't turn on a computer myself, much less operate one, unless one of my children was at home. Today, I have a lovely website and several blogs, all of which I have learned to navigate myself. How did I ever manage all those years ago without these tools?
Looking back to those early years of my two decade plus career, my life as an artist was very simple. It was a world without internet, so unlike this instant world which now lies at our fingertips. But artists have always been networking naturals. It's part of our enquiring, resourceful pyche to seek out like-minded artists, to compare notes on methods and techniques; to search out the workshop of our dreams or the gallery which will become a home to our life's work; to savour words written on a favourite artist's blog or newsletter; to explore what other artists are creating, and more importantly, how they're doing it. The world has very definitely become our oyster.
And so today, while my studio days are still solitary, it is never with feelings of isolation that I view my world. As I prepare my canvases by hand and joyfully put pieces of paint on these surfaces, I remember the artists who have so generously passed along their hard-won knowledge over these wonderful years.
Friendship is merely an email away; companionship an inbox waiting to be opened. Sometimes it's even a surprise in my 'real' mailbox...a Christmas package, filled with incredibly delicious home-made Italian cookies from my Italian artist friend in Omaha.