Updated: Jul 13, 2021
A week away had me thinking about community.
In the third week in May I travelled to The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center in Highlands, NC, to do some location scouting for the Visual Arts Week coming up August 19-25. I’m really looking forward to the plein-air painting and found-object sculpture workshops given by Melinda Borysevicz and Matt Toole. I reported back on likely painting spots and did some art material foraging in the woods so I could make a sample sculpture back home. The results are below.
But the thing on my mind as I got myself ‘away’ for those days was community. I’ve been mulling an essay about success in art-making that frames it as Craft, Content and Community. There’s a school of painting that structures the practice as the use of Drawing, Edges, Color and Value. Color and Value, since they work together so closely in the mixing of paint, are as complex as Community and as vital to a living painting.
The artist’s community is broad and includes peers, mentors, family and friends, models, clients, vendors, gallerists, curators and social media ‘followers’ - everyone, really. Getting the blend just right is about as simple as the basic rule of painting; put the right color/value in the right place. (not simple)
The thing that’s drawing me to the Visual Arts Retreat as much as the chance to improve my skills is the camaraderie and energy that’ll be sparked when twenty or so artists get together in the struggle to make beautiful things in a beautiful place ‘away’ from the distractions and anxieties of daily life. Like many, my regular practice is to be alone in my studio, but now and then even we hardcore introverts need the jolt that being in community with fellow creatives gives. Care to join me?