What flows from outreach / by Jeannine Cook

I have been occupied in the other facet of being an artist - reaching out to my collectors by doing my annual art newsletter. It has been an interesting and - in many ways rewarding - exercise as I decided that sending the newsletter by e-mail was far more practical and less costly. The most time-consuming part has been getting all the up-to-date e-mail addresses, an amazingly complicated process in this country. I found that overseas e-mail addresses were far easier to find on the Web.

The rewarding part of this job has been picking up the telephone to many people who own my art, and talking to them. The reactions have been heartwarming and positive, with many mentions of how people like living with my art. When an artist is told such things, it is a wonderful affirmation. Suddenly, the self-doubts that every artist has on occasions are (temporarily, at least!) swept away and the knowledge that somehow, what one has created is enhancing someone else's life – that is pretty wonderful.

The week of work in this change-over for my newsletter confirms again that interaction with one's collectors is so important for an artist. I have more friends whom I met though art that I can count, and many purchased my art before I knew them at all. An enrichment beyond price in life. It is a gift too, in that the give and take between someone who is interested in your art and you, the artist, allows for dimensions and insights that perhaps otherwise would not come about. Usually those moment happen completely unexpectedly. It puts me in mind of a statement I read recently by Pico Iyer in his New York Times blog on "The Joys of Less", a propos of a slightly different context. He wrote that "happiness, like peace or passion, comes most freely when it isn't pursued". It is the same in art. Even when I am busy collecting e-mail addresses, I am given happiness that was unexpected, and thus all the more appreciated.