Before you start imagining that Demi Moore/Patrick Swayze potter’s wheel scene from Ghost, I must admit I didn’t actually ‘make’ the bowl but I ..ahem.. ‘designed’ it (it looks better in real life – the white paint is all sparkly! Honest!) and I painted it in the Center Parcs ‘Pottery Painting’ studio.
It was sooo relaxing and so much fun, that although we were allocated a 1.5 hour slot to create our masterpieces, my friend and I ended up staying in there for THREE hours and I found myself thinking, this would make a perfect Artist’s Date.
What is an ‘Artist’s Date’?
This is another of writer-and-teacher Julia Cameron’s ideas. She reckons that if you do Morning Pages every day (I do, I do! I’ve written about it here) and undertake an ‘Artist’s Date’ once a week, you’ll see a ‘sea-change’ in your creativity.
Julia talks about Artist’s Dates here.
An Artist’s Date is, in a nutshell, ‘a festive, solo, weekly expedition’. The only rules are, that it has to be your idea of FUN, has to push your comfort level a little and you have to do it on your own (so my pottery painting didn’t count because I was there with a friend).
What you are trying to do is ‘enchant yourself’, to woo your subconscious and to help feed your creativity. If you keep drawing on your creativity but never top it up, it’ll run dry.
Cameron describes this date as a way to spend quality time with your inner creative self or child. As with any parent/child relationship, she insists that quality time together is important, ‘Your inner artist needs to be taken out, pampered, and listened to.’
Resistance To ‘Artist’s Dates’
Julia Cameron says that most people are highly resistant to the idea of making – and keeping – a date with themselves (and I must admit, it’s something I’ve been meaning to do for ages and keep putting off!).
She says often we’re happy to ‘work’ at our creativity but we don’t want to ‘play’.
The usual excuses – for me and probably for everyone else who doesn’t manage it – are:
1. I don’t have time!
2. What would I do?
3. It all sounds a bit self-indulgent and frivolous
4. On my own? Bor-ing!
5. People will think I’m weird!
What Constitutes An ‘Artist’s Date’?
I’ve seen someone, on another blog, refer to an ‘Artist’s Date’, as ‘getting out of the house’! But I think it’s a little more than that (and actually you don’t have to get out of the house. You could light scented candles, play some Mozart and wallow in a bubble bath for an hour and I’m sure that would count!)
It doesn’t have to be ‘arty’ or ‘high art’ – or expensive, for that matter. (But I don’t think clothes shopping counts as one. Or drinking a bottle of wine, in front of Eastenders – sorry). But you could go to a museum or art gallery, if you think that will be fun and if that idea excites you.
Here are some other suggestions:
• Visit a garden centre or a park (maybe take your camera?)
• Try out a new restaurant
• Take a bus or train to a new town for the day
• Wander through a flea market – or any kind of market
• Go for a bike ride
• Buy yourself a colouring pad and crayons – and crayon for an hour
• Take yourself on a picnic
• Browse the fabrics in a department store
• Visit a National Trust or English Heritage property
• Go to a pound shop and give yourself an allowance of £5 to buy stationery
• Go for a walk near water – on a beach, along a river, around a reservoir (don’t fall in! Remember, you are on your own!)
• Go to a play, to see a film, to a concert
• Visit the children’s section of a book shop and see what books attract you
Are you getting the idea? What do you think? Could you do it? Do you want to do it? I think, if it’s going to work, then you need to put that Artist’s Date in your diary each week – and stick to it.
Let me know if you try it – or if you already go on Artist’s Dates. I’m still intending to try this out so I will report back when I do!
PS: On a completely different note, I have a ‘guest post‘ on Della Galton’s blog today! If you were still thinking about buying my new short story collection (and, er.. by my latest calculation, that’s 97% of you, dear readers.. then that might be all the encouragement you need!). I’ll shut up now. Promise.