My community grounds me.
Fertile ground. Scared ground. This is what I remember from my time in art classes in college. Because we had these huge blocks of time to work in the studio, there was always this sense of push and pull with my classmates. This sense of movement and growth. We talked about what we were doing. We painted. We offered suggestions. We practiced our skills. We listened to loud weird music. We painted another few inches of canvas. We critiqued what we were doing. We painted over things and tried again.
I loved every minute of it. Even when I was crying because it was hard. I loved having people around me doing the same things and going through it beside me.
I missed it for years and because I missed it, I didn’t do any art for years. Until in 2013 when I decided to change that. I started the Make Something Every Day Project. I wanted to call myself an artist. I wanted to have work that I could point to. Work that I could show and maybe even sell. I hoped for community. But while I was hoping for community, I was committed to building the daily practice of making things.
I’ve just embarked on my fourth year of the Make Something Every Day Project. I was thinking about my goals the other day and it occurred to me that I finally have that community around me. That thing that was such a good part of my classes in college. These friends are scattered across the country but I can Facebook message the group and say, “Can I call this piece by this name? Is it too pretentious? Do you get it?” And I trust them to give me feedback in a way that is useful, kind, and only a tiny bit sarcastic. While some are artists that I offer the same feedback for, some are not. They are Misty-art appreciators who help me make better decisions about my art and keep me from taking myself too seriously.
So Renee, Hannah, Janelle, Kim, Sharyn, Starr, and Jeanetta, thanks. Thanks for becoming a piece of my creative life that is vital to how I work. Thanks for making me write two artists statements so I could get the snark out. Thanks for brightening my day by being some of my best cheerleaders when I am least excited about what I am doing. Together, you make me a better artist and a better human. You gals are the bestest.