Belonging

Artists may have invented the work from home concept.

 Cave drawings are a great example.

Art created in these home studios were more than decorative, representing language, history, culture. Accuracy was critical. Confusion over a buffalo or tiger sketch could result instead of finding dinner, you become dinner. 

Those with skill were highly revered. I can just imagine demand of their work, traveling with their charcoal to document friends genealogy, map rivers, or do a little freelancing.

In medieval times ..” the working classes often set up craft and trade-focused shops in their homes. They offered goods and services to support their families in living spaces that were architecturally designed to accommodate working from home. As time went on, merchants and craftspeople before the Industrial Revolution created what might be described as the first home offices. These hybrid work-homes had street-facing shops or workshops, and private areas set aside for day-to-day living.” Flexjobs.com

These days, with the growth and accessibility of technology, all kinds of diverse professionals are working from home. They are designing websites, prosthetics, and performance gear. They’re reviewing water samples, essays and archeological discoveries. Editing books, grant submissions and portfolios. Working remotely is no longer an anomaly. 

“There has been a cultural paradigm shift in what society deems to be an appropriate workplace – and remote work has capitalized off of that newfound freedom.Remote Year.

Thou some are thrilled eliminating commuter traffic and set up shop in the outback, jungle, or converted attic above the garage, not everyone copes well with solitary environment. 

Some miss social interaction, interpersonal feedback and workplace camaraderie, the feeling of belonging. Change in our culture and social dynamic may cause a longing for the ( non- virtual)  ’tribe’. 

“Sad solitary feelings ( loneliness) experts believe the reduction of life span due to loneliness is similar to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.” Jessie R. Shafer RD.

Feelings of isolation affect all kinds of lone wolves. Whether working alone in your new start-up, perhaps recently retired, or a year sabbatical to finally write that novel, or just finished college to jet solo around the world designing software, maybe running a home based business from your kitchen table.

Self employed artists can relate, and surprisingly, help. After all, we have been doing this for a really long time. Ever since Cavegirl Jane carved out a wee spot in the dwelling to work on her wildlife drawings.

Help is the reason a client reached out, when the downsizing of her Toronto corporate office required her to work from home. 

After discussing her major concerns, I offered strategies to counteract her challenges. ‘Connect’  15 min daily for a virtual chat with colleagues, I suggested. Talk shop, not shopping. Organize a weekly luncheon with work friends. (desire more tips I shared? email me, perhaps a future post topic)

Being a lone wolf these days doesn’t necessarily mean lonely. There are ways to maintain a sense of real connection, and be engaged. It doesn’t take a huge effort to find ways to connect and bring a sense of belonging back to your life.

I run most mornings to engage with nature, the occasional puppy & neighbours. A quick wave, hello, a smile or a furry pat is enough to fuel my sense of community. Even brief interactions can be restorative.

Many artists have unique ways to venture from the cave and find familial connections. Some join fitness classes, yoga, meditation. Others attend music events, dinner parties or occasionally workshops. Artists will pop to join a plein air session, or travel to museums with art groups.

Babysit, dog sit or volunteer. It doesn’t have to be directly work related. I often prefer it not be. How refreshing to join a songwriter, potter, business mogul or yoga teacher for lunch. See what the local nature club is up to. Gym mate camaraderie high-fiving during a cross-fit workout is a great boost.

If schedule allows, I meet a weekly cycling group. This fit bunch of fella’s spark a wide range of stimulating conversations. I always learn something during our county rides. Its a wonderful combination of stimulating my body, mind and enjoying their companionship.

Creatives don’t even have to venture from the studio to feel the strength & love of artistic community. Robert (& now Sara) Genn’s twice weekly letter arrives in my inbox, bringing wonderment of discovery.

‘Dear Dawn,’ it begins, as does my education. The free newsletter may include painting tips, art history, or industry insight. It may have a hint of the philosophical, threaded with humour, be profound, lighthearted or practical.

Always engaging, never disappointing, always inclusive. When he realized so many artists were on their own all over the world, he hoped to both inform and bring a sense of brotherhood & sisterhood to combat loneliness we all sometimes face. ~ Painters Keys link below, and my tribute to dear friend Bob.

If you are solitary in your pursuits, there are wonderful creative ways to find your sense of community. You aren’t alone, we understand the dedication required to be self motivated and the challenges of flying solo. There is a diverse global community here rooting for you. High-Five Sister/ Brother, peace & love. 

Art is a form of love. Art is the ultimate gift. Art heals life.” Robert Genn 

Someday we’ll find it, that rainbow connection, the lovers the dreamers and me.” Kermit the Frog

NEW WORK!

Sunset on the Lake” 11×14 oil $700.oo (Thanks to Lynda C. for photo credit)

“Sunrise Graze” 14×18 oil $910.oo ( in progress, nearly complete). photo credit to Kathy Rissi ~ Ride the Wind Ranch

Photos above: me in studio and with recent painting SKY 4×3 ft $4,335.oo

a few of the fella’s, and peace logo.