With everyone home during the day, I find myself sharing spaces at home that used to just be mine—like my art desk.
Here are some ways we’re making this work.
① Communication: Share what is working for you and what isn’t. Decide on guidelines together for using the space. How to people schedule time? What can be left in the space? If something is left in the space, can other people use it?
② Patience: If something goes wrong, wait until everyone is calm to discuss it. If it is not your turn for the space, wait until it is. Ask, don’t accuse. Suggest, don’t order. Discuss, don’t dictate.
③ Sharing is Caring: Remember that it is the relationship with the people that you are sharing space with that matters. Compliment their work. Respect their efforts. Be understanding when things don’t go well.
If you are learning to share space right now, what is working well for you? What isn’t working?
While it’s important to make art that you are happy with, that doesn’t mean that a wider audience doesn’t exist. It’s up to the artist to determine how much that audience will see of their work. Some artists, like Emily Dickinson, are happy to keep most of their work to themselves. Others exhibit their work in shows and galleries.
I have heard that writers write best when they have a specific audience in mind. In some ways, this is true for art. When there is an audience in mind, it can help you make decisions as you work. How much the idea of the audience influences the work probably depends on a variety of factors.
For me, there is an audience in mind with each individual piece, often depending on my goals for that work. For example, doodling in my notebooks helps me sit still during meetings and is only meant seen if I tip the page to someone sitting next to me to let them in on a joke.
In high school, I had a pen pal from Australia, and we spent a lot of time decorating the margins of our letters for each other.
These are my notes from a recent Sunday at church. I love capturing my thoughts with pictures in the margins!
I put the Illustrations for my stories up on my blog for anyone to see.
Being an audience member can be educational. I took a watercolor class at the community college last year. It was fun to have everyone working on the same assignment and see how different the pieces were. It was informative in the way that art videos are, where you get a chance to see someone’s process and how they solve the problems on the page.
An audience is helpful to the artist as well. Knowing some one is watching is great for motivation. There is some pressure to do your best work.
If they are expecting you to show up, there is pressure to actually show up and do something. This might be a friend that you meet once a week to paint with, or a blog where you post a painting twice a week. Feeling accountable is great motivation.
While the best and most reliable feedback comes from a trusted mentor, an audience can also provide some feedback. They can give you comments or suggestions that you can decide to take or ignore. They can provide support and encouragement. Just knowing that someone out there cares enough to look at your work and tell you what they think without being asked is encouraging. (As long as they don’t hate your work. There is always that risk. Then you just have to do your best to recover and move on.)
As I said in the beginning, the wider audience does exist. None of us are truly alone. How much of our work we share is up to each artist and their goals. So is how much you keep the audience in mind as you work. There are choices, and it’s up to you to choose.
What are your thoughts about the audience to your artwork? Is it something that you keep in mind as you work? How do you share your work? Comment below!
Marianne looked at the thermometer and sighed. “Still feeling under the weather, I see. You’ll need to call in sick again.” Isaac frowned. “I feel fine.” “You don’t look fine,” Marianne said. “I can’t remember the last time you were sick. Take one more sick day. It’s what they’re