Over the years I've noticed an incredible amount of unhealthy rivalry between visual artists. (I can hear "like duh" reverberate across the universe). Much of it is understandable because it is a profession that's hard to make sense of. Earning a buck or getting a wee bit of recognition is a continuous challenge. However in the scheme of things, I am convinced that unabashed competition is damaging and counterproductive for artists. Like in most occupations, working for the benefit of the collective helps us all.

I could create a list of groups I've joined in the past that didn't work out. The key is to keep trying.  Eventually one meets trustworthy individuals with similar mindsets. 

Some groups are structured, others resemble loose affiliations. I love the latter. About a year and a half ago, three of us attended the wake of an artist who died unexpectedly. We were in shock that such a young, vibrant soul should suddenly vanish from our artistic community but we also felt connected by her death and decided to meet on a regular basis in order to get to know each other better. 

That was her final gift to us.  

We began with an experiment. Each of us invited another artist that the others didn't know. We had lunch in a local eatery, felt suitably awkward, but nonetheless decided to meet again at a later date. Like all groups, we had growing pains but it soon became apparent that we were compatible. Our aim was, first and foremost, to have a good time.
Us askew

Fun quickly infiltrates the psyche. After a year and a half of bi-monthly lunch meetings, a cauldron of ideas simmers on the back burner. We recognize each other's talents; one is a marketing and networking whiz, another is a force of nature when it comes to motivating the rest of us. We possess the wisdom of age, a passion for mythology and stories, and boundless enthusiasm. We are young and not so young, an alliance of knowledge and experience. 

Given that life happens, my aim of late is to enjoy the present as much as possible. These amazing women will help keep me on course. More to come!