It’s amazing how the brain works. Last year, when I did The Artist’s Way, the hardest thing for me was the artist’s dates.
I kept hitting a wall because all the suggestions were not my idea of a good time and I am already alone so much. Having to be alone seemed pointless.
Due to some events before I left for Holland that were a little…unorthodox… (trust me, one other person and I find that pun hilarious. Ok, it’s probably just me.), dating has been on my mind the past few weeks. The romantic kind. The past few years the only time I’ve thought about dating was when I was feeling a little lonely, as humans are want to do, or the artist dates. Dating because you are lonely is not a good idea and I think that may have been part of the block for the artist dates. If you don’t want to date, you don’t want to date. Even if it is a super interesting artist you have literally everything in common with.
I had the opportunity to witness one or two seemingly, perfectly matched couples over the last month. It’s much easier to get excited about dating in general when you can witness good pairings in real life and be excited on their behalf. When I see two people who come together and form a powerhouse of combined passion and interests mixed with support, it’s like seeing the promised land. Possibly witnessing it twice in a month, got my attention. Oh yeah, dating can be super exciting if it’s the right person. How does this connect with The Artist’s Way?
I kept trying to date my inner artist like she was just some generic artist. Not like someone I would date date. Not like she’s the right person. The difference being, if I date date, I want to make it an experience they enjoy. I love romance. I hate generic romance. Sure, dinners and a walk are nice at the beginning when you don’t know the person, but after that, there needs to be some effort. You have to show the person you know them. You get them. Have you seen the Grey’s Anatomy McDreamy proposal scene?
Basically, I can’t date my artist by taking her to thrift stores when we both hate thrift stores. Sometimes I can date her by taking her to a museum and showing her lovely things, but that only gets me basic points. My artist deserves more than basic artist dates. My artist deserves to see proof of my full love and devotion.
This is where Holland and Paris come in. While I was in Holland, it was brought to my attention sketching gives me energy. Obviously, art does, but I never paid attention to how sketching, specifically, makes me feel. In Paris, on a particularly rough afternoon, I went to sketch. I tuned in to how I felt and I realized it truly centered me and allowed me to feel the joy of being in Paris after a bad morning.
I signed up for some sketch classes to give myself some direction and help get into a daily habit.
I still didn’t get the entire message the universe was trying to send. I kept having this nagging feeling once I left Paris that I needed to just travel and explore, even if it was just a day trip. I need to explore the world on my own terms. With a sketchbook. Not necessarily alone, but definitely not prioritizing someone else’s experience over my artist’s.
Then it hit me. That’s my artist. I need to date my artist and not an “artist.” My artist needs experimenting. She needs color theory. She needs exploring and adventure. She needs to see, process, and then express the world around her with line, values, color, and capture that memory through all her senses.
I know this, I just wasn’t putting in the effort to make the dates reflect this knowledge.
My ideas: Explore St. Louis neighborhoods and parks and quirky cafe’s/restaurants. Spend the day driving to a nature preserve in Illinois or Missouri or an interesting town. Study color theory. Customizing the sketch classes to fit the date requirements. Studying different palettes/tools/materials for urban sketching and experimenting. Make myself a new, date tool bag. Going to a place I’ve sketched before, but with different materials and sketching the same scene. Or even just a different time of day. Pick my drawing tools randomly or with dice or a number system to force play. Have someone give me a random suggestion. Use different line quality or no line at all. Go to a new art store and buy something I can’t buy from one around me, then use it right away. Like a the nerdy kid using all the new pens before the first day of school that I am. An exercise from one of my art books, but in a new location.
Obvious back ups would be an artist talk or a trip to a museum.
I can be slow to get the message sometimes, but I’d like to think it’s always worth the effort.
My artist is going to be so effing wooed. Like no artist has ever been wooed before.