Each and every Wednesday night, I have the pleasure of joining a group of painters at the Pat Rini Rohrer Gallery in Canandaigua for an evening of painting. Come hell or high water (or snowstorm or stomach bug), I get myself there.
Not just because it’s an evening of doing what I love, or because I know the best way to refine my craft is by doing it more often. I make it a priority because despite loving the quiet that painting solo can bring, I know that there are certain parts of creative work that only other creatives can understand -- and surrounding myself with those creatives is crucial to my own success.
The group that I paint with on Wednesdays has become my painting family. These are people who understand the personal side to painting. They understand the “rejection” -- both the obvious external rejection all artists deal with as well as the internal rejection that keeps us stuck. They understand the incredible passion that goes into creative work, as well as the indelible hurt that can accompany it.
They struggle with the same internal monsters attempting to slay our spirit. They witness the subjectivity with which our work is often judged. They have such a deep understanding of the heart and soul that goes into painting that their empathy is unlike anyone else’s.
A creative’s work is a paradox in and of itself. While painting lifts my soul up, it also has the ability to stamp on it. The highest highs and lowest lows can be brought on in one single session. And sometimes, you just need someone who understands; someone who won’t pretend to have all the answers, but can see where you’re at and can assure you that you’re not alone. And sometimes, you need to be that person for others.
I am incredibly grateful to have found my people. Fellow artists: I encourage you to find yours. Surround yourself with people who understand. People who can lend a hand, a shoulder, or a word of advice. People who will ultimately help you deepen your creative soul and be better, all over.