The Artist’s Way has two major “tools” as part of its course: the morning pages, which are to be done daily, and the Artist’s Date, which is to be done once a week. To quote from The Artist’s Way Website,” the Artist Date is a one to two-hour block of time set aside weekly for an excursion on your own that celebrates and nurtures your creative self. These excursions or playdates should be festive.” The book adds, “Think delight, magic, fun. Not duty. Do what intrigues you, explore what interests you. Follow your sense of the mysterious not your sense of what you should know more about.”
Twelve years ago, I bombed out on the Artist Dates for the most part. They seemed silly. How would I ever find the time? I spent a lot of my time alone anyway, what’s the good of taking the time and effort to go somewhere. So I didn’t do them.
Today I went on my second Artist Date since starting this course. I left at 9am and went to a nearby McDonald’s to redeem the rest of a gift card I’d been given for mother’s day – got a small mocha frappe and took it across the street to Reid Park with my sketchbook and camera. I went alone, which is one of the requirements — as in, Quigley stayed home. I sat on a bench near one of the lakes and sketched — the ducks and geese, the trees, the lake. First time in maybe ten years that I’ve done that. (Yes the sketch is lame, but I am very much out of practice. And part of all this is about getting comfortable with making not-so-great-art and just having fun.
It was SOOOO cool! I LOVED it. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed doing that. It was such a blessing I could hardly believe it. A beautiful day, not many people, just enough, really. And the trees. I love the trees, and the variety… God’s details. Nothing in nature is linear and straight and simplistically ordered. Even though there is order behind all of it.
There were two loose dogs, but since I didn’t have Quigley, I didn’t care!
After I filled a sketchbook page, I packed up and pulled out the camera, then went around taking pictures of whatever caught my fancy — overriding any protests that my choices might be silly. After all, what difference did it make? It’s a digital camera. It’s not like I’m wasting film.
… I photographed the geese, the ducks, the lake, the man with the two short-legged dogs…
….. the trees, a night heron, the waterfall all sparkly with morning light, the sunny hillside with the grass such a bright yellow-green.
I love that color. Photographs can’t capture it.
I was so jazzed by it all when I left at ten. It was amazing. I couldn’t believe I’d actually done it. And while there I was even consciously and literally taking notes on the people and what I was hearing and smelling… thinking there could be a place like this in Sky. I can’t even describe the sense of lightness and joy I had coming home. Who woulda thought? I’ve been going to that park forever. But today it was all brand new.
Then when I got home, as I came back inside from hanging out the laundry I found a mushroom in the grass. Last night there was nothing, this morning, a fully formed mushroom. Thinking it was probably poisonous, I picked it up to throw it away, but it was so cool, so perfect I decided to draw it.
Then I threw it away. Good thing, too, since I just identified it: Green Gilled Parasol or Chlorophyllum molybdites . And it IS poisonous.
What an awesome time! And oh yeah, I also got in three more pages on Sky. To go with the three I did yesterday. Which means I’ve reached page 15. In addition to taking my mother for her PET scan. So, silly and goofy or not, this Artist’s Way course seems to be making good on its promise of breaking through creative blocks!