I spent New Year's Eve in the company of creative people with very creative minds. And it made me realize how very special the salons and academies of France must have been to the Impressionists like Monet, Manet, Van Gogh, Cezanne, and Matisse. The synergy and movement that was created by sharing a meal, an idea, a goal, a technique.
Oh, I am sure it was not always wine and roses. Perhaps often entirely too much wine. And the lead used in paints at the time may well have been a contributor to Van Gogh's madness. But would they all be so outstanding had they painted in isolation scattered across Europe? Do we know them all because they belonged to a school of art? The same salon in Paris?
Katherine McDermott, painter and owner of Artspace Gallery and Jessica Duke, jeweler, and myself were there with "support staff" and emerging artisans in their own right. It was not the wild and crazy party we were more familiar with in our youth. It was more like Monet's Luncheon on the Grass and less like Manet's Luncheon on the Grass. We spent time talking about the sixth anniversary of Artspace Gallery just celebrated and the original ten artists that were first exhibited there. The five which have gone the distance thus far and the changes (progress) we have all made in our own personal creative journey.
It all began with trying to form a guild of artists to work toward having a coop gallery or venue to display our work. That group, Northern New Mexico Artists' Guild, ultimately failed. We got bogged down with personalities and the business side of trying to put together a non-profit organization that could apply for grants. But friendships were formed and ideas hatched which have lasted. Recently, one of the original people in that group, suggested that perhaps our mistake was trying to be too organized and what we needed, and should look at getting started, was just an informal group that met once or twice a month for Luncheon on the Grass or in our studios and seek only creative conversation.
I would say it sounds like a plan but artists don't do well with plans per se but we love the spark of a good idea nurtured over a table of good food.