Many people cringe at the thought of joining art groups. I don't know how many times I have heard fellow artists say that they are not into the whole group scene. But being in an art group has many good points!
At one time or another most of us have felt awkward about putting our art online or in the public eye for others to see. So for me, one of the biggest advantages to being in an art group is the support I receieve about my artwork. I can put it online and ask for advice on what I should do at different intervals of the creative process, or I can ask for a critique of my work to see what group members like about the piece or don't like. This helps me be a better artist and it also helps boost my confidence about putting my art online for others to see.
Another great aspect about belonging in a group is that other artists are there for support. We have all had our share of slow sales, of feeling overwhelmed with marketing, or feeling and general problems that non-artists really don't understand- like not being able to get the reflections in your water to be the way you want them to be. So being in the group setting definately gives you a support system. And as you become more familiar with your group members, it gives you someone to talk to when things just aren't going the greatest for us. Let's face it- we can never have too many friends. We all need people at some level in our lives. It may just be to joke around with or to talk about the most serious problems in our lives, but we all need people!
But being in a group can also help us to go outside of our comfort zones and try new things and explore new avenues with our art. The DAWGS have group challenges that give members a theme to create every few weeks, which are fun to take part in and see all of the different creativity our group members have.
There is also the social networking that a group does to promote the group entirely and each individual artist that can help you make sales or find new ways to promote your art. Many brainstorming ideas have bloomed behind the scenes in an online art forum where people can throw an idea out and others jump on the bandwagon to help develop it into a full- fledged idea.
But I guess one of the biggest advantages is the comradery. Of having that home away from home- either in an area or online- that we can go to be a part of something greater than ourselves. To enjoy one another's company, to laugh, joke, and visit. For the DAWGS, our love of art brought us all together and it is the friendships we find that keep us there.
So if you have been kicking around the idea of joining an art group- whichever one it may be- by all means- give it a try! You will be happy that you did!