On artist dates and daily habits

Behind the Scenes, creativity, Out & About

I was introduced to the idea of an artist date from Julia Cameron, who wrote The Artist’s Way.  Spending a day on my own has always been something I’ve enjoyed, but it was nice to have a name for it, and to feel like there was more of a purpose than escapism.

From Julia Cameron’s website:

“The 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. Artist Dates fire up the imagination. They spark whimsy. They encourage play. Since art is about the play of ideas, they feed our creative work by replenishing our inner well of images and inspiration. When choosing an Artist Date, it is good to ask yourself, “what sounds fun?” — and then allow yourself to try it.”

Often, I’ll go for a tramp*. I’ll pack a lunch, make a flask of tea, and make a day of it. I might stop and do a short meditation part-way through. Nature is incredibly inspiring for me, so I usually get back home physically tired, but mentally rejuvenated and emotionally  clear.

My weekly schedule is a bunch of part-time jobs: part artist & writer, part tutor, part student (and sometimes part bookshop assistant). What works for me is dedicating a day to a certain role. So, Mon-Thurs is tutoring in the afternoons, and the mornings are spent on my work in progress, accounting, exercise, housework, and networking – whatever needs to be done, really. Saturday is for my artist/writer role, and Sunday is for study. Friday is my ‘day off’.

So last Friday I caught a bus to Parnell and took myself out for brunch and a delicious tea (Nepal Masala by Tea Total). I spent the morning wandering around the museum, especially the natural history section. I realised I’d missed something from Ramble On – flightless birds! So even for that it was worth the visit. I then took a hot chocolate and sat outside, reading a book on crowdfunding (which I’m considering for Ramble On).

After that, I walked down to the Wintergardens and did some sketching. I’ve been commissioned to do some colouring art for a project by The Happiness Idea and Wellington Botanic Gardens so this was my research time. I found myself most fascinated by leaves, of all things! There were so many different shades of green, variations in shape and size, and intricate patterns. It was truly fascinating. I sat and sketched for about an hour, and then took a walk through the domain to town.

My two big aims at the moment are to rebuild my writing habit, and to exercise daily (especially for my half-marathon training, but also for my mental health). I bought two packs of stickers, so that every day I write 500 words, and every day I go for a walk or run, I get a sticker to celebrate each achievement.

I had a thoroughly good day, which felt like a bit of an adventure, so I’ll be aiming to take on the advice of Julia Cameron and make this a weekly endeavour. May the fun continue!




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