I have just joined a newly formed 'closed' group for artists on a social network. It is like pigging out at a buffet after dieting for years! There are many different groups and I am a member of a couple. They all have their own flavour and I appreciate the friendships I have made and the inspiration and motivation I have received from other members, mostly artists too. It is an interesting time in history to be an artist well, just to be alive but in terms of art making, which is often a solitary pursuit in a studio environment by oneself (at least for me) I have found this medium of social networking an amazing boon to my self discovery and confidence. The groups I belong to are not just about posting your work hoping to get likes, in fact one of the groups doesn't allow posting except on a given day and only one share each, they are about opening up and sharing of oneself to get to know yourself better and to share with others on other levels. These groups enable us to share things we have learnt that may be helpful to others, whether it be practical advice on technique or marketing or how to build your website to better suit your needs, even just to share a block in creativity in search of a way out of it. The best thing is the groups are focussed on positivity. Helping one another become bigger and better at what we do. Helping us to find our authentic voice. It takes time and like everything, has to be weighed up in terms of how much one allocates to it. I am still painting despite having discovered 300+ new 'friends' in one week that I wish to get to know better. I haven't vacuumed my house or mopped my floor but I have still fed my family. So it is about prioritization. Sometimes the world does have to stop for a moment. We do need to jump in the deep end and immerse ourselves in the experience at hand. Learning when you are hungry to learn works up an insatiable appetite. Sharing with other people who are passionate and likeminded is such good soul food it is worth having a dirty floor! So, to all those who may be afraid to join a network of new people I am here to say 'don't be', take a risk, give it a go. You might find in sharing yourself, you find a little bit of you that you hadn't really noticed before. It may be you as a reflection from someone else or it may be in the way you find you interact with another or answer the questions they ask. What's the worst case scenario, you join , don't like the experience and leave the group? The best scenario is that you learn and grow and share. I have some wonderful friends I am truly grateful for and one day I hope to meet in person.
Meanwhile, I have a few paintings on the go in the studio. They are not yet complete but here is a studio shot of what is in the midst of creation.