• Shawn Dell Joyce artist

Getting by with a little help from friends...


My friend Janet Campbell, watercolorist, me, and my friend Terry Durning ceramic sculptor. I wouldn't be where I am today without my friends.

We artists need each other because we need inspiration, and feedback. We need someone to understand where we are coming from and be a "believing mirror" according to Julia Cameron in her book "The Artist's Way" written with her friend Mark Bryan.

Artist friends will help us through rejections, through seeing our nemesis splashed across the pages of our fave art magazine, and even through solo shows with no sales and events that tank. Artist friends will pick you up, dust you off, and help you get back on the same horse that just threw you!

Artists friends are also the ones who work behind the scenes for your success. They help you cater your reception, talk up your work to gallery patrons, and repost your latest paintings to help you get the word out. And you would do the same for your artist friends too, wouldn't you?

One thing I love about doing plein air events around the country is you often see artists that you have run into before on the circuit. These friends have good sportsmanship, and will be the first to help you with your gear or directions and compete with friendliness and the idea that people are more important than winning Best of Show.

You will find this same camaraderie in art festivals where neighbors pitch in to help you set up your tent, or cover while you go take a break. Artists also help each other in workshops and classes, and there is no better place to meet your new best friend than in an art class.

Even artists you may not personally like, or find yourself in direct competition with. My competitors have honed my skills better than a thousand workshops ever could.

I would never begrudge another's success, and always wish my competitors the same (or more) success as I covet for myself. Mainly because, their success is my success. They show me that it can be done, and that there is hope for me.

They also put a fire under my ass because they succeeded.

Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. Both are crucial to healthy growth. If you don't have any artist friends, join me for Plein Air Adventure class every Wednesday morning from 9am-12 at a different location throughout Pinellas County and make a bunch a new friends.


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