Category Archives: Mentors and Teachers

Working and Collaborating with Artists Across Oceans

I was taking a luxurious day off the other day, reading a great novel in the cool shade with my feet up, relaxing and letting the hours float softly by. I’d check my iphone for email out of mild curiosity from time to time, ignoring all of it, until a newsletter from Cynthia Morris popped up.

Cynthia’s great post, “Collaborating on a Novel Across An Ocean” grabbed and held my attention as I read. The ever widening possibility, open now to all of us, to work and collaborate with people across oceans is a theme I particularly love. It inspired me to want to share why I think this is an exceptionally exciting time for creatives.

There are so many free resources out there that allow us to communicate, collaborate and work together, way beyond our local communities. It’s fabulous, it’s HUGE. There’s skype with video on or off, and the possibility to record calls, file sharing, video uploading, be sure to read Cynthia’s article for more detail.

I’ve been working with my art mentor Marianne Mitchell via skype for 6 months now. I live in the South of France in Cassis, she lives in Philadelphia in the US and is a brilliant, well respected abstract artist. I first discovered Marianne through a blog post on art marketing expert Alyson Stanfield’s site. It was a random yet key discovery. One of the many miracles of our internet age, in my experience, are these random finds that quickly become significant connections.

Ocean House, copyright Marianne Mitchell

When I saw Marianne’s work, I loved it. I noticed she taught, and realized she was just the type of person who could help me make the artistic shift I was attempting on my own. Her courses took place in Philadelphia in the US, and, well, that was the end of it in my mind. I sent her an email saying I loved what she was doing, hoped to attend a course one day, and got a response that classes via skype were a possibility !

Art classes via skype ? I couldn’t imagine what it’d be like at first, but jumped in anyway. The first class completely convinced me .

We use skype with video on, sometimes Marianne does a demo, sometimes one of us will hold up work, the rest of the time we have profound vision shifting discussions, art critiques or send jpegs, and email comments on technique or artistic processes.

This was exactly what I’d been looking for for a long time. I got so much out of it, that I’m actually crossing the ocean for real next week to head to Maine for a retreat Marianne is holding on Monhegan Island. I can’t wait.

Of course there are wonderful people you can work with locally. I spent 7 years in a painting studio (Atelier Malutra) in Paris, and loved every moment of it. But when the time came to search out a new mentor, I looked for a long time, using my usual search route of connections and contact, some internet searches in France, but couldn’t find what I was looking for – because the perfect person for me at that moment, was across the ocean !

And now these kinds of connections are accessable, and the connection methods free !

This experience opened up my eyes to the many possibilities I have for my own coaching work with people. I started supporting artists with their public speaking via skype, with video uploads, comments and file sharing. Public Speaking across an ocean…I’m delighted to report that it works !

I’d really be interested to know if you’ve collaborated or worked at a distance with people and what free resources your use ?