Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Thoughts on Writers Groups and the Creative Process

When I moved to the Seattle burbs this May, I brought with me hopes of meeting a few working writers and illustrators who I could share my latest work with.  I met some hard working and talented folks at the SCBWI conference in L.A., and that kick started me to join a local critique group.  The following paintings were created for my Children's Illustration portfolio that I exhibited at the conference.  

  "Grandma's Kitchen"
watercolor on paper, 13" x 10"

Shortly after joining the SCBWI children's writers group, I received an open call for participants for a fiction group meeting in downtown Seattle.  I jumped in head first in to both groups and am now writing two new stories.  We gather once every couple of weeks to review each other's writings allowing honest feedback to flow freely.  It is tremendously helpful in creating momentum for projects, old or new.

Writing and illustrating are similar disciplines, and I feel a similar reach towards what is important.  I have to make decisions about what to keep and what to discard.  Some things look better in my head than they do on paper, but the thing that matters the most is getting the work out so that I can move on to the next...

"Owl Flight"
watercolor on paper, 14"x13"
original painting SOLD

"Yellow Cat Club"
watercolor on paper, 11" x 10 1/2" 

There may be times that other people feel I am hiding away, and I have to be careful to not get too lost in my own world.  The discipline of painting and writing requires as much personal space to breathe as possible.  The more time I spend alone, the more I find authenticity in my work.  It is the feeling of creating "new ideas" that is exhilarating and extremely rewarding.  Spending time with people can be very inspiring and is most necessary for a healthy sense of humor.

Singing in the Rain
watercolor on paper, 7" x 8" 


The Naturalist
7" x 8"

I find that the main reason why I create art is to try and better understand myself and all that surrounds me in the world.  Joining groups of other creatives teaches me new things and helps me to carefully consider what is important for my vision.  It was daunting to begin the process but its was worth it.  I'm getting constructive criticism that is hopefully steering me into becoming the best writer that I can be.




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