Monday, February 18, 2013

Meeting Other Artists

Eclectus Parrot Portrait
For artists who are self taught, like me, connecting in real life with other artists can be a challenge.

If you went to art school, especially locally, you have a group you can rely on, socialize with and invite to your openings!

But not us who are largely self-taught.  And our work is pretty solitary, not many of us collaborate.  So that was one of the things I wanted to change for this year.  I want to meet other local artists.

So when I spotted a Meet Up here in the Philadelphia suburbs that was a few miles away from me, I jumped at the chance.  What a great bunch!  The studio it was held in is in the back of a garage, an interesting space, cozy but large enough.  The other artists all had formal art educations except one.  Which was pretty intimidating to me, but the warmth and support of art at any level really put me at ease.  We had to bring a piece for critique, and that was interesting.  As someone whose main focus in art is to recreate and improve on a photo of a beloved pet, painting with other intentions is interesting.

For instance, one artist brought a lovely pastel landscape and someone asked her what story she intended to tell with it before critiquing it. 

Another had a portrait of a chair, and 20 minutes of discussion of the meaning of the chair along with discussions of color, texture, etc. introduced a component to me that I never think about with my own work.

But bottom line, it was really fun to get together with other artists and talk art.  I am stretching my wings so maybe someday I'll graduate to having a story to tell, but in the meantime, I'm enjoying my commissions to make a pet like the eclectus parrot look like THAT pet whose portrait I did in colored pencil a while back.

We're doing a just for fun group project of painting Elvis on black velvet, talking about art field trips and invitations to openings.  One of the participants also leads an en Plein Aire landscape painting meet up that I would like to try.  I haven't ever painted a landscape that didn't have a pet in front of it, but I'd love to give it a try!

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