Artists are passionate. I find myself yelling at the TV with hands clenched in fists whenever the judges on the show Landscape Artist of the Year choose anyone other than MY pick as the winner.
Sometimes they film the artists immediately after the 4 hour competition. They sit together in a semi circle and eat their lunch while the judges frown, studying their work to determine the winner. The artists chat, finally relaxing after such an intense time of painting. While winning is part of the equation, it's not at the top of the list, or doesn't seem to be. The artists have done their level best and now it's out of their hands. It's much the same with adjudications for gallery shows; there's no point in worrying, just hope for the best.
Artists cheer for each other, all the time. They are the most generous folks, especially with their knowledge, never greedily holding it back. They want everyone to succeed, because it's not a competition. It's LIFE. One day they will struggle and someone will help them. It's about giving a helping hand so the best work will be produced.
Some years ago, while painting with a group of Kindred Spirits in a rented space, I had been suffering (it FELT like it anyway!), in order to paint a gift for a dear friend. My dream was a twilight scene in the vast landscape of Lake Louise Alberta, with two skaters playing "pick up" hockey, which is informal. I wanted them to be slowly skating, just passing the puck back and forth while enjoying a conversation. One player had to wear blue for my friend's favourite team the Vancouver Canucks; the other had to wear red for my Montreal Canadiens. It was perfect in my mind, but I couldn't seem to get the players the right size, to make them believable.
Enter my dear artist friends. They stood behind me, making suggestions, sighing when I flubbed a figure, encouraged me to try again, over and over. I will always be grateful to Barry G. who grabbed a marker and he must have drawn 30 figures in various skating, hockey and even falling positions to help me decide how to proceed. These artists left their work, with paint drying on the palettes, to help me.
Here is the painting:
My friend loved it, especially the fact that the players were wearing "our" team's colours, so it honoured our friendship in a new way.
For me, that painting is proof that when something looks insurmountable, encouragement will give you that upper hand if you don't give up. There is always someone out there, on your side, cheering you on. You can accomplish whatever you want to.
Thank you for spending this time with me,