The Power of Association

A few bad boys
Nicholas Simmons, Ted Nuttal and myself

A few days ago I had a meeting with a young man trying to make his way in business. He has a head start because he knows the power of associating with those who are where he wants to be.

That is, he understands that we don't go through this world alone. There is great power in associating with others who are doing what one wants to do. In some circumstances, that power can be very negative, obviously, but if directed in positive directions it can also have extraordinarily positive results.

As you know, dear readers, I work quite hard at learning my craft . . .painting. Early on, I made it my intent to get to know other painters in order to learn from them. And there is much we can learn about anything from our acquaintances and friends. Often, it is nothing more than manners or how to behave in some situations. Other times, there might be technical information shared. And in still other circumstances one might get a glimpse of flashes of genius. Those flashes might appear in the form of an attitude or how one copes with the frustrations of their craft and their place in life. One might assimilate knowledge that they are not alone with their inner feelings of inadequacy and that all who are around them endure the very same challenges. Knowledge such as this can strengthen one's resolve to succeed and open the gateway to others' experience in unknown territory. In other words, road maps to get to new levels appear.

Yes, this is a philosophical musing. But an important one. If you are a painter and visiting here, there is much to be learned from all the links. But there is one more thing: you might make distant friendships with someone who might, at some place in the future, mentor you in some way. That is why I blog. It has been a form of association that has paid enormous dividends. It is also why I share the information I have learned about painting; to pass the baton . . .to give for the sheer pleasure of watching others make more of what is given them.

Last week, partly because of my attitudes about association and freely passing along a little wisdom here and there, I was an instructor at Kanuga Watercolor Workshops in Hendersonville, North Carolina. I must say I felt as though I was in the midst of a love fest! 250 people of like mind and heart all gathering in a retreat location for two reasons only: to learn about painting and to associate with painters from around the country. In short, a paradise for those who understand the power of association with other artists.

One would wonder 'why would four days at "painting camp" be so important?' One only needs to experience this once to fully understand the underlying importance of being there. Last week, painters such as Mary Alice Braukman, Nicholas Simmons, Gerry Brommer, James Toogood and the infamous Ted Nuttal gathered to spread the good news to their students and associates alike. Joan Fullerton from Taos, New Mexico, Don Getz from Ohio, Linda Baker and others who hail from the heights of AWS and other art organizations were also there. And they didn't come to hang out just with each other. It was all about sharing and giving. (If only the whole world was like this, eh?) We all had great fun together and we enjoyed associating with the participants who came to learn. But most of all, we learned from them.

Check these people out. They all have much to give . . .and they do so. Personally, I grew from the experience with each of them. Moreover, if you can arrange it for next year, set aside the time and the money to attend Kanuga Watercolor Workshops, you won't regret it!

I returned home exhausted from spending so much energy, but completely elated from the associations and friendships established. In short, it was a WOW experience!