Imagine what you might experience by creating in a group, how can it benefit you. Potential for new ventures, gaining knowledge, collaborating, making new friends. 

I sat down recently with my friend, visual artist Kerstin Peters, to talk about this topic and have recorded her perspectives below. Kerstin has been part of creative groups for many years, travelling to several destinations in Canada to capture the beauty of the landscape. She is a firm believer that everyone can express themselves through art, and offers painting parties and “Creativity and Me” workshops. She has recorded my thoughts on groups in her blog, and I invite you to visit hers to see my answers at http://kerstinpeterspaintingblog.blogspot.com/ or through www.KerstinPeters.ca.

Links are included below for more information on our video conversation.

1) Kerstin, why do you create art with a group? What do you get out of creating with others?

I belong to a couple of groups, the biggest of which is the Plein Air Ensemble, we paint in various places around the region. We used to paint at farther locations in Ontario and Quebec. We have more than 50 members and our trips are usually 4 nights away with 14-20 people. We don't all paint together, but in small groups during the day, then get together for our evening meal and to compare notes, recommend a painting spot. Sometimes we don't see some of our artist friends for months so it's great to catch up. At the end of every trip, we have a show and tell. We use different mediums, we have oil, acrylic and watercolour artists, and some pastel artists. It's fantastic to see how everyone sees nature with different eyes. Even if it's freezing cold, to be in nature and immersed in the sounds and the smells is just fantastic.

I have another small group of friends I create with in the area. It's sometimes easier with a small group and we can get together more often.

Link to video on different painting groups: 

Another group I'm part of, which is completely different from what I usually do, is the Ottawa Urban Sketchers, it's part of a larger group from around the world, who set up outings and anyone can come and sketch. Usually they are free events, and you just come and sketch in pencil, coloured pencil, watercolours. The artists are at all levels, beginners to very experienced. And we get help from others, especially if you're a beginner. Everyone is very positive and we get inspiration.

Link to video clip: 

2) Do you think being part of group is helping with your success as an artist?

It makes me go out and paint, as life is busy, and sometimes other things going on, so if you are part of a group and have a place to meet, then you go out and create. You get inspired and are reminded of the fresh breeze of energy and you share the experience.

If you work in a studio you are by yourself, and sometimes you need to be, but I love when I'm with my artist friends and am getting their energy and being outside. It's such an inspiration, nature is an inspiration.

Link to video: 

3) Where do you meet - are there any challenges with finding locations?

Locations are a challenge because there is beauty everywhere. Sometimes the beauty is so big it doesn't fit into a painting, but you think about finding a solution on canvas, but it may not look good. I take pictures that help. And you have to set up somewhere that is safe. Some locations are just fantastic but are not safe when you are setting up an easel or to set up a camera, or you have to walk far and your equipment is too heavy. And we have to consider weather.

Cost for space - and indoor space - can be an issue. You want to go to places that are mostly free and not overly crowded. If you paint at the tulip festival, you won't have much fun as constantly people will be in front of you and your camera.

Link to video: 

The second part of my blog on this subject will be posted on Sunday, July 15, by 7 pm, in which Kerstin will talk about the challenges and collaborations of a group, and we include a list of 14 questions to ask when looking to join - or create - a group. 

Part 2 of Kerstin's blog will be published the evening of Friday, July 13 - again, I invite you to visit her blog to see my answers: http://kerstinpeterspaintingblog.blogspot.com/ or through www.KerstinPeters.ca.

Art hives, hubs, maker groups, creative circles, playdates, whatever you call them, it’s about a community of artists creating together, sharing, collaborating, supporting, socializing, forming friendships. Groups may be public, private, in stores or a place of business, through arts groups, friendships or common interests. And Ottawa has no shortage of creative groups for painting, sketching, fibre art, knitting, stitching, writing, music, woodworking and more. 

And I'm thrilled to announce another artist friend has just started up the Ottawa Plein Air Adventurers, with locations planned for sketching and painting the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of the month around Ottawa for the summer of 2018. Lissa has provided her email at the link - contact her if you're interested in joining the group. 


  1. What a wonderful post, Anne!! I really enjoyed reading both your and Kerstin's answers to the questions and especially loved how you incorporated the videos. And thanks so much for sharing the information for the Ottawa Plein Air Adventurers!



I have returned home inspired from a week in the wilderness with a group of like-minded, nature loving artists. Waterfalls, lichens, mushroo...