One of my oldest friends came to town for Thanksgiving and dropped off some collages I had in a group art show in Savannah several years ago (yes, it’s been years since we’ve seen each other and that’s a real shame). He asked what I’d been making lately and there was disappointment in his voice after I said I’d made almost nothing. A similar scenario played out a few days earlier with another friend/artist in town. They both implied I should be doing more, that it was worth it. I don’t want to require praise to stay motivated, but it helps to feel connected to other artists, part of a community that supports and encourages its members. Being appreciated by the community at large is wonderful, but the respect of other artists, knowing people you admire enjoy your work and want you to succeed, that’s truly special. Their affirmation was uplifting–a push towards growth. It’s hard to naturally push myself in that direction because I struggle to see myself as an artist, whatever that means. Confidence isn’t something others can give me, but when I hear people say such nice things about what I do I wonder why I don’t have more of it.