Going On An ‘Artist’s Date’

Bonnie's birthday bowl

Bonnie’s birthday bowl

Recently I went to Center Parcs and ‘made’ Bonnie this bowl for her second birthday. I know, unbelievable, isn’t it? (Not the bowl – the fact that my pupster is TWO!).

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.

Bonnie Bowl 2

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This entry was posted in Artist's Dates, Blogging, Bonnie, E publishing and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Going On An ‘Artist’s Date’

  1. juliathorley says:

    This is a brilliant idea. A few years ago, insted of making a New Year resolution, I challenged myself to something new every week. Some things were exciting (went caving), some not so exciting (went to a different dentist), but they all counted. In the end I tried 61 things I’d never done before.

  2. Tracy Fells says:

    I love this idea, Helen. Every week I go to a dance class (we learn a routine). I’m on my own but with 25 other women (we dance in lines) – does that count as an artist’s date do you think? It’s also great exercise & I read that learning something new each week helps keep the mind fit (fit for what I’m not sure …)

    • Tracy, that sounds like fun! I’m not an expert on ‘Artist’s Dates’ by any means but to answer your question, I think it’s supposed to be something different each week. So, the first time you went, that would definitely have counted but perhaps not after that. But who cares?! You are enjoying yourself and it certainly ticks the ‘getting out of the house’ box!

  3. traceyglasspool says:

    I like the sound of all of these Helen. I must admit I am partial to a bit of colouring-in – is that too embarrassing to admit at my age?

  4. rosgemmell says:

    I started following the Artist’s Way in January and did try to get on a few dates myself – even if just to the new large Paperchase in Glasgow. Have fallen away the last two weeks through being unwell but would like to get back to it again. The bowl looks great!

  5. Thanks, Rosemary. I am rather pleased with my bowl! They fire it in the kiln overnight and you pick it up the next day, by which time all the colours have come to life and all the pieces looked shiny and bright and fabulous! My friend’s teacup + teapot looked liked something from Emma Bridgewater – but then, she is very artistic, unlike me!

  6. Rena George says:

    The Artist’s Way sounds like a really great idea. Finding the time to do it is the problem. x

  7. lonestarsky says:

    I’ve always struggled with Artist’s Dates, although I’m devoted to Morning Pages. I really should make more of an effort – some great ideas there 🙂 x

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