I hope you all will forgive me for thinking aloud here today. I have a decision to make and it helps to make a pro and con list which I'll do in just a bit. If anyone has any input afterward, don't hesitate to speak up!
Ok, here's the thing. Yesterday I attended a meeting of our local Pastel Society and am trying to decide whether or not to join.
I'm such a hick and really am not a joiner by nature. I'm also a real homebody and, if given a choice, I would rarely go anywhere. So, given my natural bent, I'll start with the pros of joining.
1. Opportunities for learning more about pastels. If you all have known me for very long, you'll know that I'm pretty new to pastel and wasn't all that crazy about the medium when I tried it. However, it's grown to be one of my favorite mediums and it would certainly be beneficial to know more about it.
2. Opportunity to expand into more varied subject matter. Painting animals, especially pets, is my focus right now and is something I love to do. However, pet portraiture is pretty limiting in that clients usually want a photographic likeness of their pet. Joining the Pastel Society would give me the opportunity to explore other subjects in that there could be an outlet for paintings if I were juried into the various shows they promote.
3. Opportunity to interact and exchange ideas with other artists. Any interaction with other artists for me at this time is through the internet. The internet is wonderful and I value the wonderful people I've met online. But, it would be great to have real time interaction and, most of all, getting to see other artist's work in person would be such a kick!
Those are the major pros for right now. There are others but I'm trying to keep this brief and not bore you to tears!
Now for the cons.
1. Any meetings, shows or social events would involve driving quite a distance from me. As I said, I'm a country hick and not at all used to driving in city traffic. It's stressful when I have to do it. This isn't an insurmountable objection but is a factor in my decision. The group is having to find a new meeting place and it may end up being even further from me than it is now.
2. Group politics & inflated egos. Any group will have political undercurrents and little cliques but I really find myself disgusted with it and that's probably my #1 reason for not joining any art group. Unfortunately, there were some definite undercurrents of that sort of thing at the meeting yesterday. I'm not a competitive person, or at least not with other people; I am competitive with myself. Anyway, it's difficult for me to deal with half-hidden strife and I'm not sure I need to be in a group where it's evident from the start.
3. Pastel is only one of the mediums I enjoy. I like a variety of different art media and I'm not sure I want to focus on pastel to the extent that joining a pastel group would demand. I'm a slow painter for one thing and for another, I'm not even sure I could produce acceptable work in pastel in subjects other than animal art. I seem to freeze when pressure is put on me to produce and the whole point of joining the Society for me would be to expand my horizons. Of course, that's a crisis of confidence and you only get confident by facing your crisis! lol
Again, there are some other cons & even some that are important to me but personal so aren't listed here. I'm still see-sawing back and forth about joining even after making this list.
On the one hand, I feel that I should push myself to get out there & use every avenue to both hone my craft and to market my art. But on the other hand, I feel I would be absolutely miserable doing it!