Almost a year ago I had the great opportunity to be a part of something, that I had no idea would have such an impact on my life. I feel some serendipitous energies were working behind the scenes to make it all happen, because it was just meant to be! I became friends with artist Carrie Waller on line a couple of years ago. I love her work and followed her blog where she had posted about a situation entering a show and not getting in because the juror or selection committee had rejected her painting. They thought she had infringed on the Ball trademark in one of her Ball jar paintings. Based on my experience with these issues in art licensing, I wrote to her and told her that wasn’t the case at all and after a bit of correspondence, she asked if I would write a couple of articles on her blog about trademarks and copyrights. That led to me doing one of her Friday Features and an awesome on line friendship.
Carrie has been a guest host on the wonderful Blog Talk Radio Show and Podcast, Artists Helping Artists, hosted by Leslie Saeta. In May of 2013 Leslie did a show on starting an artists mentoring group. She suggested that through collaboration and friendships with other artists, we could help support and advise each other on advancing our art careers. It really struck a chord with a lot of listeners who started pursuing forming groups to support each other. One of those Artists, Debra Kierce, who heard that show reached out to others to join a group. Helen also contacted Carrie to do the same and Carrie reached out to Maria because of their military connection. They hosted an art show of military spouses work together, and then Carrie reached out to me. That is how WAM, Women Artists Mentors was born. Our current members are:
Helen K. Beacham, watercolor artist of Charleston, South Carolina
Maria Bennett Hock, oil portrait & figurative artist of Cary, North Carolina
Debra Keirce, oil and acrylic painter of Ashburn, Virginia
Kim Minichiello, watercolor and oil painter of Windermere, FL
Carrie Waller, watercolor artist of Tokyo, Japan
Through a somewhat serendipitous journey we came together and although we weren't all the original members, I'm the newbie of the group, we have gelled into the membership we are now. We all bring different things to the table with our varied backgrounds and experiences. We all live in different parts of the world which hasn't stopped us from meeting once a month through Google Hang Outs. We have set goals and guidelines on how our group will work and we are all equals, no one person holds a leadership position. We agree on a topic to discuss and get together once a month on a video chat, to talk to and support each other. Ironically Debra and I have a connection in that we both have lived and worked in Indianapolis at a pharmaceutical company, she as a Chemical Engineer, and me as a Corporate Space Planner. It would have been crazier if we had been there at the same time, but we just missed each other!
Some of the things we have discussed are future WAM goals retreats and workshops, pursuing group shows in gallery and museum venues, what is and isn't working for us on social media marketing, and anything one of our current members might need help with at the time.
The extra bonus of it all is, we have all developed such a close bond and amazing friendship that I know will last a lifetime. I'm honored to be a part of this group and cherish all these ladies and am so happy they are part of my life! Today we had the amazing opportunity to talk about our group on the Artists Helping Artists Radio show, hosted by Leslie Saeta. Here is the link to the show, "How to Be Part of a Successful Artists Mentoring Group." Like Debra mentioned in the show it gives us goosebumps to think that we may be helping other artists to create something like we have. For us it has been somewhat of an extension of the AHA show but on a deeper personal level since we see and talk to each other in cyberspace all the time.
As we mentioned in the show we are beyond excited to finally all meet at the same place and in person in Venice, Italy this spring! Helen will be teaching a workshop there as she has been doing for years, and we are piggybacking on at the end to stay in the apartment that she rents.
This is a priceless journey we are all on together! I cherish the friendship and support from these artists and know that I can seek guidance from them at any time!
Please Visit and "Like" our Facebook page at Facebook.com/WAMArtists to follow our adventures. Debra will be hosting some amazing workshops with well known artists at her home studio you kind find more information about that here. She also did a blog post about our WAM group. Maria has been painting at the National Gallery as part of their copyist program, as well as working on a series of military inspired figurative and portrait pieces. She also graciously will do for free a portrait of a fallen loved one in the line of duty for their families. You can contact her here. Helen is an amazing teacher and watercolor artists and conducts workshops to European locations every year. She also just finished a series of very large, for watercolor, commissions for a couple in her area of Charleston, South Carolina. You can find out more about Helen and her workshops here. Carrie, has had some amazing success recently with her acceptance into the Shenzhen Small Works Exchange with the National Watercolor Society. She currently has a painting at that show in China, and recently received an Honorable Mention Award in the Southwest Art Magazine, Artistic Excellence Competition. You can find out more about Carrie here.
We are all personally on all the social media sites, just give us a search and like or follow us! A few of us have blogs, you can check those out too via our web sites. You can also leave a message on our WAM Facebook page if you have any questions about forming your own artist mentor group beyond what we discussed in the AHA show. If you are thinking about it we highly encourage you to just do it! You will have the opportunity to make friends for life and go on wonderful journeys together!
And last but not least, thank you to Leslie Saeta for giving us the opportunity to share about our WAM group on the Artists Helping Artist Show, we hope we have inspired you to form your own group as she has inspired us to create ours!