Remember Julia Cameron and her book, The Artist's Way? It came out in 1992, when the current flood of books on creativity was just a trickle, and it made a big impact on me at the time. At Cameron's suggestion, I started journaling in the mornings, and it's a habit I still maintain.
Cameron also writes about what she calls "artist dates": weekly, playful, solo excursions that serve to refill one's creative well. In her words:
Art is an image-using system. In order to create, we draw from our inner well. This inner well, an artistic reservoir, is ideally like a well-stocked trout pond. We’ve got big fish, little fish, fat fish, skinny fish– an abundance of artistic fish to fry. As artists, we must realize that we have to maintain this artistic ecosystem.
If we don’t give some attention to upkeep, our well is apt to become depleted, stagnant, or blocked. Any extended period or piece of work draws heavily on our artistic well.
As artists we must learn to be self-nourishing. We must become alert enough to consciously replenish our creative resources as we draw on them– to restock the trout pond, so to speak. I call this process filling the well.
For me, travel is a huge part of refilling my creative well. I live where it's flat and 99% of the buildings are brown. It's a pretty deadening environment, visually speaking. So I love getting into other landscapes. I live in a small city that feels very suburban (my husband and I call it a suburb without an urb), so big cities are always a wonderful jolt to my senses. And since I love the sea and live in the middle of the continent, I make a concerted effort to get to an ocean as often as I possibly can.
Last month Mr. Sheepspot and I spent two weeks in the US visiting family and friends. We spent three fabulous days in Manhattan, then drove to Rhode Island for some beach time, and then spent time with friends in Vermont and western Massachusetts (hills!). It was a perfect, well-filling trip.
Then I did something I never do: I went to a concert. I went to see Counting Crows, whom I've loved for years. By myself. I sang along loudly and badly and loved every minute of it.
I returned refreshed and energized and resolved to make my artist dates more frequent occurrences, so I've been collecting ideas. Here are some of the things I'm going to try.
- hearing more live music
- more walks in nature
- spending more in-person time with other fiberistas
- taking classes, like this Photography for Makers class that I'm taking next month
- giving myself permission to make things that don't involve yarn, like quilts and embroidery projects
- going somewhere new in town
- swimming in Lake Huron a few last times this season
What do you do to refill your creative well?
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