Robert Genn replied to a question from a woman who felt that it was time for her to leave the group she painted with and move out on her own. Genn talked about the difficulty of doing this, suggested ways on how to do it, and concluded with this paragraph:
Ideally, you ought to have an audacious understanding of your own direction. Successful loners are folks who are able to find out what turns them on and how to become their own best critics. The private studio becomes the school, the clubhouse
and the laboratory. Setbacks can be expected, but graduation ceremonies will take place every day. Self-anointed diplomas
will be issued frequently."
When we moved to South Carolina I was forced to shake off the comfort of the group, that group being the Chattahoochee Handweavers Guild in Atlanta. It is a wonderful group and I grew, as a weaver, by leaps and bounds during my five or so years there.
When we moved to South Carolina, I looked for a similar group close by but found none. I did find a small group in Charleston, The Palmetto Fiber Arts Guild. Charleston, however, iis over two hours away. I really wanted to help them grow, but the distance just made it impossible.
After a time I began to realize that as a weaver I had been changing and growing in my solitude, and that what was happening was good, and I was happy with what was happening. I realized that moving had forced me to do what I would never have had the courage to do on my own. The separation from the group had, in essence, forced me to develop that necessary "audacious understanding of [my] own direction."
To read Genn's entire piece, called "Voluntary Graduation," go here.Related Post: Evaluating Art