Friday, 13 July 2018

Creating Art with a Group - Part 2

Blog 28

A couple of weeks ago, I had an interesting talk with my artist friend Anne Warburton, a versatile fibre artist from Navan, about “Creating Art with a Group”. In this second part, we talk about finding locations, the challenges of creating in a group, and about collaborating on a joint piece of art.

Question 4) Where do you meet - are there any challenges with finding locations?

In the summer, weather is a factor because we don’t want to be out in the rain or out during a thunderstorm. If you need an indoor space, cost is often an issue. We are lucky in one of the smaller groups, as we go to each other’s homes, and have enough space in a couple of basements or sometimes we use a carport. Many indoor places do not want to rent space to painters, because they are afraid that the floors will be stained. And the price can sometimes be prohibitive too.
Some groups, like the Ottawa Urban Sketchers, seek out locations to go to, with permission of course, or get invited to events. For example, we were at Lansdowne Park for the curling trials a couple of years back, and more recently, we attended a dress rehearsal with the the Ottawa Pops Orchestra at Centrepointe Theatre. Ottawa does have some beautiful outdoor spaces and parks that are perfect for sketching and painting. This coloured pencil image was sketched at the Rockcliffe Park Pavillion.

A great source to find places to rent is SpaceFinder SpaceFinder is a free matchmaking tool for people renting out their space to artists and artists looking for a creative space.

Question 5) What are some disadvantages of creating with a group? Are you afraid to lose your own creativity when you participate in group activities too often?

It is easy to mimic someone else’s style when learning a new technique or working with new materials. That is a risk at first during the learning curve, but we do fall back to our own style, and adapting to incorporate the new technique.

Group dynamics are very important. We tend to take on roles such as organizer, doer, planner etc. We need to be open to what others want to accomplish in each group so that everyone feels their own needs are being met, and also ensure that our own goals align with that of the group.

Question 6) Have you collaborated with other artists to jointly create a piece of art?

Yes, we’re just finishing up a piece for a show next year. This was the first time I have been involved in a joint creation, and I’m pleased with how it went. It’s very important that everyone agree in advance on all the parameters, yet be flexible enough to make changes during the creative process. There were four of us and we have created together in the past as a group, so each of us was able to fall into the roles that we usually play in planning and organizing our creative get-togethers. For anyone who does want to create a piece jointly with others it’s important that all the tasks be identified and assigned, so that one person doesn’t feel burdened with more, another doesn’t feel listened to, etc.

Both Anne and I answered the same questions. To read my answers to the same questions please go to Anne’s blog at or you can access her blog through her website  If you missed the first part of our discussion, please scroll back to last week’s post.

Anne and I were both very excited about working together and had a lovely chat. However, it was quite out of our comfort zone to record the session. It was even harder to watch and edit the video afterwards. It is not perfect, but it shows us in an authentic way. I am sure we will get better with time. You will be able to see the clip "Challenges with Finding Locations" at

What about you? Have you ever created art with a group? We would love to hear about your experiences.

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