Julia Cameron’s, The Artist’s Way, is a book that I’ve held close to my heart for the past decade. This creative workbook inspires living an artist’s life and is full of great exercises to cultivate your inner artist. Of all the lessons, my favorite is the “Artist Date.” Cameron encourages her readers to spend time alone drawing inspiration from solitude and fun. You don’t need to be an artist, just someone willing to spend time following your curiosity.
On an artist date you might spend a morning, afternoon, evening, full day, or longer doing something with you as your only companion. It’s a time to explore museums, see movies, eat exotic foods or simply read on a comfy couch. Cameron recommends once per week, but my reality has been once a month or once a season.
“The Artist Date is a once-weekly, festive, solo expedition to explore something that interests you. The Artist Date need not be overtly “artistic” — think mischief more than mastery. Artist Dates fire up the imagination. They spark whimsy. They encourage play. Since art is about the play of ideas, they feed our creative work by replenishing our inner well of images and inspiration. When choosing an Artist Date, it is good to ask yourself, “what sounds fun?” — and then allow yourself to try it.” Julia Cameron
I started out with trips to the library, ice cream shops, parks and movie theatres. I enjoyed my alone time so much I started exploring neighboring cities and staying for the night by myself. At first it felt scary and guilt washed over me, but each time I returned to my life not only did I notice a difference in my attitude, but my energy level was off the charts. I began to see how taking time for myself enabled me to give more to the people and projects I’m involved in and passionate about.
My most recent artist date was last month. I was feeling irritable and overwhelmed during my every day, so I decided to take myself to Idaho Falls, ID for the night and do whatever came up. I tried new restaurants, saw art and went on long walks. Another one of my favorite artist date getaways is Bozeman, MT. When I can’t make it out of town my favorite local date is taking myself out for breakfast, visiting a bookstore and exploring consignment stores.
When I got back from my recent night away I immediately started creating a piece of art inspired by something I saw while out and about shopping. I haven’t created anything in a while, and was reminded of how much I need to get my hands dirty in arts and crafts supplies. Here’s a photo of my retreat inspired project.
What would YOU do if you had part of your day to do whatever you wanted? Where would you go if you had one night to spend exploring a nearby town? For ideas on how to spend your artist date check out Cameron’s 101 Artist Date Ideas blog here. Have fun! https://theartistswayblog.wordpress.com/2010/10/17/101-artists-date-ideas/
And if you are interested in doing Cameron’s Artist’s Way series, Spirit Books Gifts Life in Wilson is offering a guided group series beginning February 17. Click here for details http://www.spiritjh.com/event/the-artists-way/?instance_id=416 .