Since I talked about Morning Pages yesterday, I thought I would mention Artist Dates today! For almost 4 years now, I've been writing a column about artist dates called “Art Dates with Marguerite.” Artist dates were also created by Julia Cameron, author of The Artist Way. The easiest way to define artist dates is: they are meant to be solo excursions that fill your creative reservoirs. Your creative reservoirs are where you draw you inspiration from. When your reservoirs are full, you create with effortless ease. When your reservoirs are low, however, creating is a struggle. It's like running out of gas in your car.
In other words: you won't get anywhere until you go somewhere! (on an artist date, that is!)
It's probably been a long time since you've done something like this...maybe even back when you were a kid or a teen. (Back when your time was still your own and you had few responsibilities, right?) Now it's time to reclaim your time, if only for a couple of hours! Surely the world can live without you for that long. ;) It may seem selfish or excessive, but just try it anyway. It will be our little secret. Julia Cameron suggests one artist date per week for maximum effectiveness, but even one per month will work wonders for your inspiration levels, I guarantee it!
A good way to begin is to start a list in your journal: “Places I Have Always Been Curious About.” Curiosity is a delicious feeling that always leads to magic when we allow ourselves to follow it. Now tune in to the child inside of you and ask what on your list would be most fun to try, and then do that! You might end up at the zoo, or a toy store, or a booth that sells funny hats. Just roll with it and have fun. Newness and fun will make your creativity blossom bountifully.
For extra joy, take photos, make notes in your journal, and even collect souvenirs on your artist date. These extra touches will help you remember how good it felt to go on your artist date, so you will make it a part of your new adventure-filled secret life! It takes courage and moxie to do this, so enjoy your super hero status and bask in the glow of your own inspiration.
Another way to enjoy an artist date while sharpening your “sixth sense” (intuition) is to just leave the house with no idea where to go and let your intuition guide you. Just wander around until you feel a twinge or a spark that says “Stop here and investigate for adventure.” Adventure doesn't have to be a completely thrilling experience. It's simply seeing or doing something new that makes us smile. I did this recently, and here's what I saw:
-Little kids laughing and rolling down a grassy hill
-An old hobo happily licking a vanilla soft-serve ice cream cone
-A cloud shaped like an elephant with wings
-Ladies meeting for tea in big floppy hats
-A gal with bright yellow parakeets on her shoulders
-A friendly lady from Germany in line behind me at the grocery store
-A surprise letter in my mailbox from the guy who found the message-in-a-bottle that I tossed into the ocean on my birthday!
-Shards of light shining through the redwoods like God
All of this amazing stuff happened within just a couple of hours of wandering and observing. We are all in such a rush, wonders often go unnoticed. These wonders are little gifts from God that make life more delightful. When you think about it, it's moments of wonder like these that we will remember at the end of our lives, not the routine days that were all the same because we did what we were “supposed to.” That's no way to live! Artist dates remind us that we can be responsible adults, but still have fun and enjoy our lives in the process. Also, an art date like this is completely free and can be done just about anywhere! It reminds us that there is beauty, magic and adventure all around us everyday if we just take the time to notice and appreciate.
Here's a list of some of the places I have visited on my art dates to get you started on your list:
- Vinyl record store
- Tiedye Shop
- Madaket bay cruise
- Walk in the forest
- Bigfoot Museum
- Wall murals in Eureka
- B’day Adventure and road-to-nowhere road trip
- At-home retreat
- Mad Hatter's tea house
- Pet Shop
- Garden Shop
- Chris Zydel Intuitive Painting Class
- Avenue Q play at the Eureka Theater
- Glass Beach, Fort Bragg, CA.
- Botanical Gardens
- Ferndale Cemetary
- The road to Petrolia, CA., and NW-most point in the USA
- White water rafting
- Craft store
- Walking after midnight/night photos
- Drawing things from nature
- The nature preserve
- Finnish hot tubs
- The movies/self date
- Whale watching
- French-style bakery with amazing pastries
- Highway one
- Ferndale, CA
- Trinidad, CA
- Sequoia Park Zoo
- Roadside attractions: Confusion Hill and Drive-through Tree
~ 11,360 words!