Artist’s Date #1 – ‘Smelling The Roses’

rosesRight. As I’m writing an article about ‘Artists’ Dates’ I thought I’d better start going on some.

So, today I went all on my tod to Todenham to the Alain Rouveure Galleries. It’s about 5 miles down the road from me. Or 8 if you go down all the country lanes and get lost. Thank you, Janice. (Janice is my trusty SAT-NAV).

I’ve written about Julia Cameron’s ‘Artist’s Dates’ here so I won’t repeat myself. Instead, I will tell you how it felt to be on an artist’s date.

Firstly, it felt odd to be going somewhere on my own (or, at least, with just my ‘creative self’ for company!). I don’t often – if ever – go on a ‘solo expedition’ or ‘adventure’ which is what an artist’s date is and, once I got over my resistance (‘I don’t have time!’ ‘This is frivolous!’) it was quite exciting! No one else to accommodate, or please, or talk to – it was liberating and relaxing.

And because there was no-one to talk to, I really noticed things. Not just the artefacts in the Nepalese exhibition, or the paintings, or the lovely jewellery, rugs and scarves for sale but, as I sat in the Himalayan Coffee House, (well, a girl needs refreshments!) facing the view of rolling hills, I really listened to the music that was playing, I really tasted the Nepalese coffee and I absolutely resisted the urge to check my mobile or even write anything. I just sat and took it all in. (And breathe…).

Then I wandered through the beautiful gardens and .. cliché alert, but this is true..I stopped and smelled the roses!

Everywhere I went, by the way, there was this little black and ginger cat. Ah, sweet, I thought, it’s following me. I asked the girl behind the counter in the cafe, what the cat was called. “That one’s Myrtle,” she said. “There are ten.”

Ah, so it wasn’t following me. It was just a different cat in each room!

Soo, that’s the artist’s date done and it did feel good. Time seemed to slow down though, so I did find it quite difficult to make myself stay there for the full hour (which is the guideline. Any less and you won’t really take things in). I’m sure, with a bit of practice, it will get easier. And I should have taken my camera – I will on the next artist’s date.

Did I ‘top up my well of creativity’? I think I probably did. Whether or not I’ll ever write about Nepal, or Shamans or a place that has ten cats, I don’t know but I certainly came back from my artist’s date feeling that I’d experienced something new and that’s got to be good!

And on a different note, the Della Galton Book Giveaway. The winner is Tracey Booklover. Well done, Tracey, your book will be with you in the next few days.

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8 Responses to Artist’s Date #1 – ‘Smelling The Roses’

  1. juliathorley says:

    I can think of many reasons not to take myself on an artist’s date, but it sounds like a fabulous idea. I shall begin this week!

  2. Well done, Julia. Let me know how you get on!

  3. Wendy Clarke says:

    I love the idea of going somewhere alone – such as a National Trust property and gardens… So why do I never do it? I’m sure that you’d take much more in, spend longer looking at things that interested you and feel able to pass by the things that didn’t. It almost happened to me the day I was meant to be meeting my mum at such a place and her satnav took her somewhere else!

  4. rosgemmell says:

    I love the whole idea of these artist’s dates but have to make myself go alone, yet I always enjoy it more without company. I’d started following Julia’s book at the beginning of the year but got sidetracked. Will start again in the autumn. Your day out sounds perfect.

  5. Ah, thank you Rosemary. It was lovely.. in fact, I keep thinking about it… so it must have done something to me! (I mean, of course, in a good way!).

  6. I’ve just enjoyed a lovely wander around the Alain Rouveure Galleries website – thanks for the link. It looks a fascinating place that I’d love to visit next time I’m in that part of the world. Do virtual visits count as Artists’ Dates? I’m guessing not!
    I love the idea of Artists’ Dates, but as I already spend so much time on my own – writing – I’m more likely to find new inspiration at social occassions where I get the chance to talk to people other than myself!

    • Linda – I can understand that (about Artist’s Dates) that you might not want to be ‘solo’ on them – but you could do something where there are other people when you get there! (eg: a workshop or a guided tour at a stately home). I think the idea is not necessarily that you have to be alone the whole time, but that you mustn’t take anyone else with you, or you’ll just talk to them and not look around (or talk to anyone new!). Good luck if you do give it a whirl! (love your pictures of hares on your site by the way!)

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