An unplanned artist date

Do you know the concept of artist dates?

It's simple:

An Artist Date is a once-weekly, festive, solo expedition to explore something that interests you. The Artist Date need not be overtly "artistic"-- think mischief more than mastery. (via The Artists Way)

I first learned about artists dates and morning pages when I devoured a copy of Julia Cameron's The Artists Way, almost 10 years ago. It came to me like so many things have come to me in my life: at the time, when I needed it the most.

I diligently followed the exercizes and even stuck with the ritual of daily morning pages - all in an attempt to find clarity and my creativity.

I was mostly transformed by the concept of the artist date because it gave a name to something that I craved, but rarely did. I need solitude, a lot of it. And I need quiet and I need time for reflection. And I need opportunities to watch and observe and be inspired. And I need beautiful things. Or at least time to look at beautiful things.

It was easy to incorporate artist dates into my single life in San Francisco. I only needed to walk down Valencia Street between 16th and 17th Streets, for example. As a wife, it became harder for me to take this time, though as I realized how truly essential it is to my state of being, I found it easier to take the time I needed. Now as a mom, well, do I really have to say it?

It's impossible. Ok, it's impossible for me. 

It's impossible for me because it means asking for a babysitter for something that is not "practical".

It's impossible for me because it means asking for something for me, just me and nobody else.

It's impossible for me because it means asking for time by myself that does not include physical exercise, showering, sleeping, grocery shopping, meditation, tax paying, bill paying or a social get together with the lovely women in my life. I have internally put a value judgement on my need for artist dates, have assumed others do the same and as you can see, they get valued less than paying bills. How twisted and not funny is that?

But there is something brewing in the air - a re-aligning with what makes me me. A learning process that involves me asking for what I need. I am not sure what path it is going to take, but it feels good.

So on Monday, when I happened to have 20 unexpected, child and husband free minutes in San Francisco, instead of sitting in the car and checking emails or heading home and stopping at Whole Foods, I parked, fed the meter and without a care wandered into Past Perfect, a consignment furniture store in the Marina.

And here is what caught my fancy...

I am dreaming of a work space of my own. Digging this chair. I am envisioning it painted white with a new pillow, in orange wool pillow or something like that.

Old lobster cage - add a piece of glass and you have one cool coffee table. I sort of like the ceramic ram piece too - don't ask me what I would do with it.

Just really like this yellow cabinet - not really sure what I would use it for.

It's hard not to have toys on the brain, or at least toy storage. Thought these old metal baskets would look really great in the living room.

And old school desk - a perfect craft table for a toddler! Or 2 vintage toddler chairs could do the trick too.

Now, 2 days later, I am still thinking of the wicker chair. I was "good" and brought no new project home with me because I have plenty of half-started creative endeavors waiting for my attention. So, I will lock it away in my memory bank. More importantly though, 2 days later, I am feeling the affect of choosing to do something impractical and not feel guilty about it at all. I might have to do it again, sometime soon.


jen said...

good for you, alex...here's to spontaneous 'artist dates' ...it's important to (re)visit what makes us alive.

thanks for the reminder/inspiration.


Shadi said...

I read this post last night and just wanted to let you know it inspired me. Today, while the boys took an early nap, I did some gardening. Even though I was exhausted, had a ton of laundry and dishes to do. Instead, I did something frivolous for me, in the beautiful sun :-) Thanks Alex.