We've all heard the clashing claims.
Side one says that ground-breaking artists work alone; that introverted personalities are generally more artistic; that talking about a goal before it is achieved greatly reduces the chances of it ever being accomplished.
Side two says that there is enormous value in working in groups; that there is an unmatched synergy in working together in artistic communities; that when you work with other artists you will be more creative, productive and will achieve more together than apart.
By nature, I'm a "side one" kind of person. An internal processor. When I'm by myself, I'm at my best-- learning, experimenting, noticing. Alone, I make up my mind and it takes a lot for anyone to talk me out of it.
People call this obstinacy.
Whatever. That's their opinion.
But a few years ago, I was invited to a weekly art studio. For the first year, I declined.
You have to understand, I hate working in groups. At summer camp, I could never finish my crafts because I wouldn't ask for a turn with the scissors.
But then I decided to give it a try, and for this stubborn, solitude-seeking artist, it has opened doors I never even knew existed!
* * *
"Did you see the sky last night!?" exclaims my sparkly art group host, "It was just gorgeous! I snapped a few pictures on my way home." She begins swirling the clouds onto a bathtub-sized canvas. "Ah. Here's my happy colour."
For me [I've been known to hold a picture in my mind for six months before putting it down on canvas] her flash plan / total commitment approach is like a trip to Mars. And the aliens are painting.
Like no quiet personal revelation could, her words catapult me into another world. A world of zero second-guessing, of creating on the fly.
She makes me hear the song again: trying without fear; appreciating this particular scene not because it's Best, but because it's Beautiful.