" We're fed a great deal of romance surrounding the lonely lot of the artist. Over a recent weekend, teaching in San Francisco, I asked for a show of hands from all the people who believed an artist's life would be lonely. In a room filled with two hundred people, nearly two hundred hands went up. Believing this, we can try to live it out- a prospect that makes for a great deal of pain. The truth is that creativity occurs in clusters. Consider Paris in the twenties and the cluster that built up around Gertrude Stein's hospitality. Consider the Bloomsbury Group convening for cocktails and inadvertently launching a movement. It can be argued that successful art is built on successful friendships. It can certainly be said that friends are what enable an artist to go the distance. "
I am the master of resistance when it comes to actually sitting down, by myself and making art. Every possible chore, phone call, even cleaning clamors for my attention first. Much has been written about art and resistance so I take heart in knowing I am not alone. Yet, I am alone, in my house, feeling tormented by resistance.
Julia Cameron cracks resistance open in her writing. " The Artist Way" is a brilliant book that many artists and writers are familiar with but few have ever finished. ( including myself ) The reason most folks can't get past chapter one and the morning pages is simple; it is too much work. Making a commitment to oneself and ones creative spirit is hard on so many levels and there are so many voices trying to talk us out of it.
I have thought fleetingly about a studio but it seems extravagant and unrealistic given my transient life. The solution came when a printmaking friend suggested forming an art group with likeminded artists. Initially four of us started meeting at "The Algiers ", a funky middle eastern coffee house that has been in Harvard Square since I can remember. Over cappuccinos and falafels we got to know each other. We talked about books, kids, health, our art and resistance. " The Artist Way " was the book we all agreed to read. A schedule of every other Friday was established as well as what we wanted to do together. The first week was gelatin printing. After that it's cut paper and stencils. I love the idea of community, be it a writing group or an art group.