Friday, June 20, 2014

Art In A Vacuum or Creative Community?

To feel like you're not creating art in a vacuum, it's important to connect to a creative community. Besides the connecting we do online through social media activity, where many of the people we meet are in far-flung places, I find it's gratifying to build local relationships with other artists, cultural support groups, universities, schools, museums and art supply stores.

Utrecht/Blick in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, has been my local art supply store since they opened. I spend many hours in the store perusing on an almost weekly basis and have gotten to know well the store manager, Serafima, and her staff. Before Serafima became manager, I became friends with the previous store manager, Corinna, who is now in the Miami store. I have offered my time to both of them and done many art demonstrations over the years in their stores.

A few days ago I found myself heading to Miami to drop my daughter off for the day. Rather than take the long drive back home and have to return round-trip again later, I decided to stay in Miami and brought some art supplies along in the car to be sure my time waiting would be productive. I am always mesmerized by "public" painters, so thought a plein air painting session would be fun.

That afternoon I had the option to go to the beautiful Fairchild Gardens to paint, or, I thought, what about seeing if Corinna at the Miami Utrecht/Blick would allow me to set up a table inside the store to paint in the comfort of air-conditioning and share my painting passion with her customers? She and her staff graciously invited me in, so I spent a delightful afternoon with them sketching in Pastels, playing with Oils, and sharing my knowledge and techniques with their curious customers.

 Painting in Blick Miami store with dry pastels.

Dry pastel sketch on mixed media paper.

Abstraction of above photo with dry pastel on mixed media paper.

Starting another dry pastel painting on ArtSpectrum colourfix pastel paper.

I highly recommend if you haven't already taken the opportunity to make art in public places that you give it a try. Take a look in your community for potential art-friendly locations - restaurants, hotels, a local art guild, art supply stores, area art-walks or any place that would like to bring interest to their customers. Get creative and think outside the box! 

Then, simply ask. Don't take a "no" as a personal rejection, just keep trying. In the mean time, practice painting or drawing in front of people by setting up outside in a park or on a bench along a public road with lots of foot traffic. In no time, you'll become great at painting and talking about it at the same time in front of strangers... and may even find some fans! Be brave, put yourself out there, build relationships and experience how enriching your creative community can be.

HAPPY ARTING!  Tristina  :D

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