Many artists from overseas have commented on the lack of this in Port Elizabeth. In fact I have heard of leading artists who had intended to settle here, and left for that very reason. Obviously there are small pockets of exceptions, but as a general rule we seem to be a pretty individualistic and self contained bunch!
In time to come, I hope to turn that around by providing the venue and opportunities at our local community gallery for artists to hang out, work, explore etc together. Obviously it is going to be up to the individual artists to decide whether they want to change their lone-ranger approaches and get into the habit of meeting and interacting in this way.
However, I saw just how well it works at first hand this week, when my friend Esme Goosen, an artist whose work I admire enormously, invited me to paint with her in her studio, as she saw I was struggling to make time with all my other commitments, endless phone calls etc. and was battling to get motivated to paint. (thanks Esme, I owe you one!!)
As you can see, the head and hands are WAY too big, but the picture is taking on a sort of moodiness that will later result in another piece in a series I am busy with called "pensive people." However, i was getting frustrated with this one, and eventually the paint gets to the point where further work will get muddier and muddier, so after another coffee break, I started on number two....
and Basil sat with the other one for a quick photo, so I could have a comparative reference to continue working on it at home.
By the end of the day, Esme was well on her way with a wonderful and sensitive profile view...
And I had made some progress on a head and shoulders.
(the one on the left was taken at the end of the day by Basil at Esme's studio, while I took the one on the right at home with different light, so they are not really as different as this... the truth is somewhere in the middle!)