Artists Need People: Even the Quiet Ones

I work in isolation. My studio is a quiet place for me, I love a day with no planned interruptions. When I’m by myself working, I can hear the ideas evolving. It’s like having a conversation with the artwork. But there needs to be a balance. It was Walter Goggins who said that “Art is not created in a vacuum”. We need people and experiences to feed and balance our life.

Real people.

Step away from the screen

The internet isn’t a person – no matter how effective messaging apps are.
Social media isn’t the truth – no matter how inspiring others’ truths appear.
You-tube is no replacement for a teacher checking you’re doing it right.
Or a friend checking you’re ok.
Or fellow artists cheering you on.

Step instead, into the world

For all the time I spend in my studio: I spend as much time again away from it.

I attend classes.
My own and others. I learn how other people create art from their ideas. I see other processes. It reminds me that the real world is not just what’s inside my head.

Photo looking down on a crowd at an art show with CP looking up, straight into the camera
Photo by Jenny Dowell, used with permission.

I attend art events.
My own and others. I see how other people present their ideas. I see different results. I connect with artists and people from my field who remind me that the art world has variety beyond what’s inside my studio.

I attend to my friends
A few of us meet regularly to picnic and do a bit of painting. A thermos, some cake, a sketchbook. It reminds me that although my practice needs to be an art-business, those personal, shared art times layer something special in my life.

photo of a hand holding a sketchbook showing drawing of the river bank and the go slow sign near the boatramp
“The boat ramp at the lake” pen and watercolour in sketchbook. 26×8 cm

Can you see a way to share your art world – even if you think you’re not really an artist? This last year of isolation means that we need to make a conscious effort, now, to start a conversation with others.
In the real world.
It will balance the conversations we’ve been having with ourselves, and with our artwork. Especially if like me, you’re one of the quiet ones.
It’s well worth the effort.


  • Chalk art on a shared footpath.
  • A community mural
  • A combined quilt for a wedding or major present.
  • A pinata for a birthday party
  • A sand mandala
  • A mosaic for a community garden bed


photo of a brown dog amongst a few artists in the field
  • Go on painting/picnic trips
  • Spend time on other people’s verandahs, sketching.
  • Set a little challenge project for 28 days. Or less. Encourage each other.


  • Art, craft, furniture making, writing, hair braiding, anything that catches your imagination. Anything that’s getting out and making things, learning things, sharing art with others.
  • Or teach a class. You might be surprised at what you can offer.
  • Enjoy

First Published

page of a magazine with this article. It also includes artists photo, photo of the brown dog, and painting of a lighthouse.
St Carthages Home Care quarterly publication: "Life!" p18
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