We all know how busy we are; responsible for work, home, family – busy with friends, hobbies, interests. It can sometimes get overwhelming. It’s so important that we remember to, and commit to, making time to engage our inner artists. I don’t care if you identify yourself as an artist, or a creative, or whatever it is that you call yourself, if you’re creating anything – You are an artist. And as such, it’s your responsibility to nurture that. Sometimes the world can get in the way and it seems we have so many other, “more important” things to take care of, but the truth is that if you don’t engage your artist, every part of your life will suffer. Just as it’s important to take care of your health, before problems start, it’s important to take care of your creativity so that it continues to flow freely.
So how do you engage your inner artist?
As a long time advocate of Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” – I’m a huge fan of the “Artist’s Date”. Basically, it’s a date with your artist (hint: You!) – just a commitment that you make to take yourself on a date – by yourself, to do something that will fill your well. Sometimes it can be a little hard to figure out what to do on these dates, so I thought I’d make a list for reference points. For you to get the most out of this practice, you’re going to need to be a little selfish (gasp! I know!), but don’t let errands, busy work, or even other people get in the way of this. It needs to be about you and your creativity! I’ll from some obvious ideas to more obscure or unusual ones. Take at least 60 minutes a week and do one of the suggestions below, or add your own suggestions in the comments.
- Hit the local museum – Obvious, but when was the last time you went? Really look at the pieces, spend time with them. Notice the way the artist used color to express the sunlight coming through the trees, the shape of sculpture, the texture of the materials used. Bring a sketch pad – even if you don’t draw and just take some time to express yourself on the page – either with words or images. Watch the people reacting to the different pieces of art. Before you leave, take yourself over to the gift shop and buy a card, or a refrigerator magnet, an umbrella, something small and beautiful to remind you of your date.
- Book store, or the library – What’s your interest right now? Photography? Drumming? Belly Dancing? Indonesian Cuisine? Go through the section that is full of what you’re interested in right now. Take a ton of books to a table and slowly savor them. If you’re in a book store, grab an iced coffee, or chai tea and really spread out at a table. Look through the gorgeous pictures, inhale the aroma of the books. Maybe check a few of the books out, or buy one. Be aware of the establishments policy about you putting the books back. B&N doesn’t enforce it, but they really appreciate when you put the books back where you got them. Libraries, usually discourage people from putting them back.
- Art supply or craft store – Look through papers, fabrics, craft ideas, pens, crayons, inks, stamps, feather boas, glitter. There is so much imagery in a craft store, you could get lost!
- Metaphysical store – I love to play with the rocks. I usually can not deny myself a crystal or two while I’m there. Bonus: Get their calendar, there are always wonderful things going on at our local shop
- If it’s a blooming season, go to a botanical garden. The variety of colors and shapes is quite remarkable when everything’s in bloom!
- The beach – One of my absolute favorite artists date. Sit in the surf. Watch the beautiful waves, roll in – pick up seashells, play with the birds. (Don’t forget the sunscreen!)
- Go to a train or bus station and people watch. Make up stories about the people… where they’re going, where they’re coming from, their triumphs, love stories, tragedies. Bring a notebook!
- These are getting harder to find, but really nice stationary stores. I love beautiful papers, inks and fonts, and I can get great design ideas from the combinations and the graphics.
- A cathedral – no matter your religion or lack thereof, cathedrals, stained glass, gleaming wood, the quiet reverence, I love them and they totally inspire me.
- Take your camera and go on a walk. Notice interesting shapes, textures, materials. Photograph them. Maybe start a photo library of just interesting shots.
- Go to a local music, art, theater performance – support other local artists. Be open to meeting new people
- Open mic – you don’t have to get up and perform, but you could think about it.
- Go see a movie that no one you know wants to see – something dark, with subtitles, or the latest animated feature. Splurge on popcorn with extra butter.
- Pop some tags! Local thrift shops are full of weird and sometimes wonderful things.
- Draw and color a mandala – It’s not hard – here’s a great tutorial!
- Create a board on Pinterest for things that inspire you to create
- Create a lookbook on Houzz
- Go to the hardware store, buy metal washers, using a hammer, (careful!) bang them up a bit, use them as keyring fobs or string them on a chain and wear it around your neck.
- Get sidewalk chalk and use it – draw huge flowers in your driveway along with peace signs, hearts, and stars.
- Take the whole day, get in your car and drive someplace that you’ve never been before. Have lunch there, and come back home.
Did I miss anything? What are some of your favorites?
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