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Creating in Community

You can create in a vacuum. You can make things by yourself, without input from others; you CAN. But should you have to?

There's something about being able to create while surrounded by other creators, something at the same time refreshing and a little intimidating if you're new to it; there's a sharing of ideas, experiences, and thought processes that those who don't dabble in art might not understand.

shape still life in charcoal

I've been able to be a part of two very different types of art communities recently; one is a free drawing meet-up that meets monthly at a local gallery, the other is a bible study for creatives that my husband and I have been leading every Saturday for the past 9 weeks.

The drawing meet-up is a very relaxed, informal time to get to know other artists from the area, practice some of the basics of drawing, and get feedback and perhaps a push to try new things (like a solo show, perhaps?).

The bible study is attended mainly by those who don't claim to be artists, which has been REALLY interesting and stretching! We've been studying the basics of God's Story from the Bible; the Creation, the Fall, the Rescue, and the Restoration. After each lesson, we have an opportunity to illustrate that lesson through our medium - and there is a wide variety of mediums present in the class, from flower arranging to wood carving to song writing!

But what I'm learning through these experiences is the joy of sharing my creativity with others, whether they're exactly on the same page or not. I've spent years creating things by myself and only receiving feedback from random online viewers once in a while.

I think an artist needs both. We need times of quiet, of introspection, times where the noise of others' opinions can die away and we can simply enjoy our work. But we also need fellowship, the joy of sharing and encouraging each other with what we're learning, the push to grow together!

So find your solitude . . . but also search out your artistic community. If you just can't find one, maybe consider starting one yourself? It can be as simple as some tables, some pencils and paper, and your table centerpiece. What are your favorite artistic communities - whether in your town or online?

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