“In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.”
They say that art is a solitary pursuit, and it’s true that we artists spend many hours alone in our studio quietly painting. However the more that I paint, the more I realise that there is a wonderful social side to art. It’s about connecting. We paint because we want to show the world what we see.
|Scarlet Tiger Moth by Claire Ward|
Sharing the results of our creative endeavours with others, makes art all the more pleasurable.
Just as a flower needs sunshine and water, we need a little bit of encouragement and friendship to grow.
|Eyed Hawkmoth (Smerinthus ocellatus) on vellum by Dianne Sutherland Ball|
Thankfully connecting with others is easier than ever. The internet has literally thrown open the doors of our studios, allowing us to engage with likeminded people on a daily basis. I am constantly amazed at how generous people can be with their time, thoughts and advice. Their enthusiasm for art and passion for nature is both inspiring and motivating. I am constantly learning from them and discovering new things.
|Thistle on vellum by Sharon Tingey|
Best of all, I have made some really fantastic friends through art. It brings me such joy to see their paintings and to hear about the projects that they are working on. When a friend achieves success, I share in their excitement. When I put up images of my work online, they in turn give me encouraging and often insightful feedback. Even when things aren't going to plan, there is always someone will always be ready to offer advice or suggest a solution.
|A wonderfully thoughtful parcel of gifts that arrived unexpectedly last week.|
Being part of a vibrant online art community is an incredibly rewarding experience. I'm delighted to say that it's not just online too. I have been getting all sorts of treats and surprises in the post- paints and brushes, natural treasures, papers, books and even some beautiful art. Art swaps are also a great way of making friends and sharing that creative spirit.
"It's a wonderful thing being able to paint together all the time and grow as artists together."
|Three sketchbooks from the Natural Sketchbook Exchange. One of the artists has made some beautiful covers for each book|
Art can also lead to some wonderful collaborations. I'm thrilled to be part of the Natural Sketchbook Exchange which a group of talented friends started a year ago. The concept is simple- we all started with a Stillman & Birn sketchbook, took our inspiration from Nature and then posted it on.
|Terri Dauncey's beautiful sketchbook and my page of feathers about to be stuck in!|
|Isn't this amazing? A beautiful page of flowers and a little landscape by Giovanni Cera in Terri's sketchbook|
|Beautiful birch trees by artist Lorraine Adams with my page of prickles|
|Debbie Crawford's lovely raspberry ripple peonies in Lorraine Adam's sketchbook|
|Inspiring work by Aislinn Adams in Dianne Sutherland Ball's sketchbook|
|My conkers about to go into Dianne Sutherland Ball's sketchbook|
Watching the sketchbooks slowly fill up with artwork has been such a thrill, each one is so unique and special. Recently we took a short break just to give ourselves a chance to catch up with our lives, and that's why I have ended up with three of gorgeous sketchbooks here in my home.
Oh, they are such a joy to look through! I’m reluctant to part with them, but have the excitement of getting the next one in the post very soon.
|A calendar and a card from Elizabeth H Tudor|
And even as I write this blogpost, I hear a knock at the door, and another parcel has just arrived! This time it is from Canada with a lovely calendar and a card. Thank you Liz! What a fantastic surprise!
Art is not just a solitary pursuit, it’s definitely a social one too. It has made me realise that I am truly blessed with my friends. To each and every one of you, thank you for the kind words, the encouragement, the advice, the good wishes, the art, the gifts and for the smile that you put onto my face each day.
"I cannot even imagine where I would be today were it not for that handful of friends who have given me a heart full of joy. Let's face it, friends make life a lot more fun."