“In true community we will not choose our companions, for our choices are so often limited by self-serving motives. Instead, our companions will be given to us by grace.”

                                                                                                                                       Parker J. Palmer


I have just returned from a week long water media workshop. It is something that I have participated in annually since 2011. We only see each other once a year and even then I may not see everyone, depending on their ability to participate from year to year.

It is in a neighboring state and over the past seven years I have enjoyed reconnecting with this group of artists. There is nothing more satisfying as working through all sorts of creative dilemmas and problem solving in community.

I always look forward to these gatherings and have often thought about what makes this group so special? We are a very diverse group of people in age, experiences and backgrounds but yet we enjoy each other’s company.  Together we struggle with painting, drawing, and the question, “What is art?”

So why do I enjoy this group? What makes our group “click?” I started to create this list.

  1. The group members all take risks, and find excitement in that risk.
  2.  No one in the group is afraid to make mistakes, and share them with anyone who will listen.
  3. No one in the group is afraid of what others think. Everyone craves feedback no matter if it is negative or positive.
  4. Everyone is motivated and keeps pushing forward.
  5. The group members are ambitious. Ambition is not self-rooted. Instead it is about the art. Ambition is cultivate from a love of the creative process-not from self-promotion.
  6. They are observant not only as they paint but how they perceive other people, relationships, and other aspects of life.
  7. They are original and innovative!


I think of this art community as creating “campfire moments” where we can come together to share an experience. This isn’t a meeting, there isn’t an agenda, there isn’t a to-do list. Often art is just a call to come together and be with fellow human beings, which is at the root of the individual transformation.

What do you think? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Thanks for Reading!