Going on a date with myself!
The notion of the artist date came to me from the book The Artist’s Way
a number of years ago. It involves going out by yourself to do something fun and creative to nurture your inner artist.
Last Saturday we went to explore the Portland Art Museum.
Since I have been painting more I realized that I haven’t really been looking at other people’s art, and can’t quite remember the names for the various art movements and styles. Time to get inspired!
First I went upstairs to the American traditional paintings. After about 20 minutes my mind was swimming. So many different styles of putting paint on paper!
They must have spent hundreds of hours making some of those. Such intricate details, fine brush strokes. Did they paint with a single bristle?
Who even has time for that these days? How might I integrate what I see into my own work? Needing to sit down and stare into space. Digest the thoughts and impressions.
To find that balance point between learning and seeing all that I can and honoring my capacity. For this the quiet of the museum is ideal.
The different voices inside me get much louder and clearer. One is discussing intelligently the different styles and techniques. Another is tuned in to the feeling of the art, the mood of the people depicted, maybe even the state of mind of the artist. A third is feeling my own body sensations: excitement, headache, tired feet, fullness from lunch. The longer I spend like this alone, the more of me comes online to inform my next choice.
When I get home to paint there will be more of me there. More examples and impressions. More inspiration for subject matter. More voices to analyze and make suggestions about my work. And more spacious peace to hold the whole process in.
One little tidbit I learned about myself: I seem to find the classical realistic paintings to be far more pleasant and soothing than more modern abstractions. Except maybe the very soothing modern abstractions. Interesting.
I invite you to take an artist date this week. Walk in the woods. Visit a favorite art or hobby store. See a movie. Go to the museum.
Something just for you and your inner artist to enjoy together.
Then tell me something you discovered about yourself.