Artist Reg Butler (1913 - 1981) once remarked: I work alone (I haven't found a way of working other than in considerable privacy), and I go to quite considerable lengths to insure that ... I don't find it possible to lose myself in the activity if there are other people around.
I have to admit that I work in the same manner. So many times, other artists have asked me to paint with them or to join a group of painters. I've tried, but the distractions keep me from thinking deeply about all the decisions I have to make as I paint, so I end up with wasted time and materials. Also, for some reason, group painters feel obligated to comment on each other's work as it progresses. This can be harmful because it may influence the artist as he/she is painting and remove any possibility for originality. So, I've been working in isolation for years now. On rare occasions I've enrolled in week-long painting workshops where I learned a few important things. However, it was always challenging to concentrate because of all the socializing. Don't get me wrong - I love being with people, but not while I'm working. Here are a few other artists that agree:
Leonardo Da Vinci: The painter or draftsman ought to be solitary, in order that the well-being of the body may not sap the vigor of the mind.
Edgar Degas: It seems to me that today, if the artist wishes to be serious - to cut out a little original niche for himself, or at least to preserve his own innocence of personality - he must once more sink himself in solitude.
Pierre Alechinsky: What interests me most about the act of painting is that it is a solitary act ... Of course, when one is faced with a canvas, one is no longer alone, and the sense of solitude diminishes. This can be an agreeable passage of time. In fact, solitude then becomes a kind of companion.