A few years ago, I realized I was in a huge slump, a creative black hole really. I had not been able to make personal work for years and I threw myself into my job. Which was creative- but was mostly dictated by client needs and designs by others. I loved my job and worked hard at making great images for everyone else-- but myself. Everything I tried to make on my own, for my own sake, was just downright horrid.
I turned to a book called The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. I worked my way through the ideas in the book and it took me a lot longer than 12 weeks to tackle all the work and concepts ( and that is a blog post for another day...) But one idea that struck me hard as a hammer to the forehead was something she called "An Art Date."
The Art Date took on many forms for me.
My very first one started by entering a local art store, CC Lowell in Worcester. I went inside and began to wander around. Just looking at the things on the shelves. I would occasionally reach out and caress a beautiful line up of colorful papers. Or pull the caps off silver markers just to see the glimmer inside. I touched clay, paint tubes, and a series of other art making tools.
I picked up watercolor papers and pens. I paid for them and got them home. Where I promptly stared at them. Wondering what the hell to do with them. I painted, drew, colored and generally made a big ass mess.
But it was my first art date, I didn't have to get it right the first time out. Other dates lead me to museums, parks with sculptures and sandy beaches where I would gawk at the waves for hours.
Ultimately, I realized these dates weren't working really well. I was still slumped. I could not go it alone. This realization meant someone had to go down these paths with me. So I decided I needed a partner in my creative crimes. I bit the bullet and reached out to fellow emerging artist and photography pal Sara Acton. She listened to my hurt ego, my bleeding artists soul, and watched the tears roll along my cheeks as I explained my ever increasing black hole of creative need. So after all that, when I asked her if she would go on some art dates with me, she ran away as fast as she could!
She embraced the idea as fully as it could have been and we began our journey. Now we have a once a month art date on the books at all times. We occasionally have emergency art dates that happen so last min, the texts fly at 10:30 at night and we are meeting at 8am the next morning in a coffee shop over tasty treats, notebooks and deep thoughts. These art dates have been going on for years now...
So off we went...We have traveled to museums together. I watched her create memory boxes and wind chimes from found bits and pieces at Knack (while I hacked out total crap at Knack, but I was out there, baby, trying, --- remember at that point I was in my black hole people, and she was not.)
That was the first step, surround yourself with others who are "doing it" and doing it well.
Enter Cindy, Cynthia Woehrle, artist, painter, curator, gallery worker, - out there doing it. But what the hell, maybe she'd like to join in the art dates with us. It'd be nice to have a talented creative painter who does ridiculous beautiful things with paint, on our art dates, sharing the goals.
On no, she said the word GOALS... yep stay tuned to hear about what we have done...