Today, we are talking about why you should date your inner artist. And this is a concept briefly spoken about in Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way. When you think about it, it really does make sense to look after that side of yourself, because if you don’t, your creative well is going to run dry pretty quickly and that can lead to a lack of inspiration and worse still, artists block, and that’s something you really don’t want.
Nurturing yourself as an artist
So, you need to think of your inner artists as a relationship you have, which needs to be nurtured. Think of it almost as your ‘other self.’ So we all know, you get out of a relationship only what you put into it. And if you neglect it, then it’s going to suffer.
A bit like a relationship you have with a spouse, you need to look after the physical side… let’s say that’s remembering to give your other half a cuddle and just making sure they feel loved. Metaphorically speaking, that would be the same as being in the act of creating, whether that’s painting, or writing or whatever it is you do. That’s the stuff we love doing the most. But it’s also teamwork, so there are things like washing your spouse’s pants, continuously putting the toilet seat down, that kind of thing. The things that are less pleasurable, but all part of being in a relationship. So let’s call that the marketing side of creativity. We don’t love it, but it has to be done.
But then there’s also the other side to look after. Any good relationship will involve going out on a date from time to time. Getting away from the mundane stuff and going out purely to enjoy each other’s company and be indifferent surroundings. That is a really important way of keeping a relationship fresh and fun and it shouldn’t be neglected, in fact, that should be of equal importance to everything else.
And the same goes for taking your inner artist on a date. It should be of equal importance to the time actually spent creating
In order to create something, we need to draw from our creative well. It’s important that you don’t allow it to become empty. One of the best ways to keep it topped up is to get out and experience other things.
Important parts of being an artist
It’s important to keep being inspired – that could be seeing other artists’ work or being inspired by something outside of art. Keep opening yourself up to new ideas which means being prepared to try new things.
You need to allow yourself the chance to get out of your own head. Sometimes we overthink everything instead of just going with the flow. If your art is going badly it’s a good way of taking a break while feeding your brain with new inspiration
Some Artist date ideas
Obviously Art Galleries are a great place to start. And it doesn’t have to be the big swanky ones or the famous city galleries… Actually I personally find local art galleries to be much more inspiring than the big ones, because they are often full of surprises and art that not so expected. You kind of know what your going to see on a city galley, but you never know what you’ll find in a local one along your own high street.
And the great thing about going to galleries, is that it also gives you the opportunity to see inside the minds of other creatives and how they work. If I’m ever feeling blocked, when I go to one of those small galleries, it almost always lights my creative spark again!
Sandra recently went to the Van Gogh Immersive experience in London, which wasn’t in a gallery, but in this kind of warehouse-type building. And that was really inspiring!
Visit an interesting shop
There are plenty of places to visit that cost only time. Even visiting a shop you have never been to before can stimulate new ways of thinking. Especially something like an antique shop
An art shop can also be a great source of inspiration. Especially if you go to the big ones with different arts and crafts sections. Are there new art materials that you have never tried? It could be as simple as trying some handmade papers, or combining materials that you hadn’t thought of before.
Crafts shows and antique fairs
Craft shows are also a place you can visit just for the atmosphere but also for inspiration.
Places relating to your subjects
Visit places relating to your subjects, for example if you’re into painting landscapes, then go and explore somewhere, go and walk somewhere you’ve never been.
Regardless of what your creative subject is, the great thing about walking is you might come across a local market along the way, or some unusual shops (my personal favourite), or street musicians… All of these things can help get your creative buzz going.
And remember to take some photos along the way, or sketch if the mood takes you. That’ll help notice things that might not otherwise. But don’t feel you should be sketching. This isn’t about being creative as much as getting out and about.
Coffee shop with no distractions
Try going to a coffee shop, with no distractions. Just people watching. Take notes of snippets of conversation. Watch how people interact. Imagine the stories behind these characters. Are there different ways you might want to draw them in the future? Perhaps as stylised stick figures, cartoons or by cutting up paper shapes. This is a way to unlock your imagination. You could even sketch or discreetly take some photos. If you can see out of a window, look at the buildings and the passers-by. It’s amazing how we can walk past the same place week after week and never really look at it.
Theatres can be really inspiring places. not just for a big show, but equally for a play at a local theatre. The sets in a theatre are also inspiring.
You don’t even have to go out, to be inspired
Sometimes just a break from your routine can be good.
Different Music, a Play or Audio Book
How about something really simple, like listening to music you haven’t heard before. It’s so easy to listen to the same old playlists and deny yourself an opportunity to discover new artists, or a new type of music. And if you can, just listen, don’t do anything else. And don’t skip forward. Try and focus on the full piece of music. Now that’s not easy to do in the world we live in today. Fast forward has allowed us to stop focussing and that’s something we need to try and change, I think.
You could also try listening to a play or a drama, or an audio book.
You could listen to a podcast, but it doesn’t have to be in your usual niche. Sandra enjoys podcasts about travel and science and Tara enjoys business podcasts.
Watch an inspirational video
It could be about art or something completely different – there are lots of great ones such as TED Talk, Google Talks and 99u.
Look at art in another genre
Movie and TV credits can be beautiful and great for inspiration.
Sit down with an art book you haven’t looked at for a while.
Binge watch your favourite art show
You could even just an afternoon binge-watching your favourite art show and don’t feel guilty about it! Try to think of it as an important part of being a creative, rather than just being lazy.
Take a bath
Another thing I really like to do sometimes is to take a really long bath – without any distractions. I get ideas when I’m having a long soak without any distractions. It allows ideas to bubble up in my head, which wouldn’t do if I was glued to a TV.
Another thing I find that really unlocks my creative side, is writing – And that could be anything from writing in a journal or writing a poem, or a short story. All of these things can help unlock your imagination.
A day out sketching
You could also take your inner artist on a sketching date! So, no pressure to produce a masterpiece, but just you, a pen and a sketchbook. Just have fun with it.
Tips for your artist’s date
Once a week is ideal just to top up that art inspiration. Even if that’s doing something simple. But if not then once a month.
Go on your date alone or with another artist. This way you won’t feel rushed or distracted. This is your time.
Embrace silence. Allow yourself time to think. Not everything has to be filled with background noise
Also, avoid reading or looking at your phone while in a waiting room or on public transport. Reading and scrolling through your phone, will stop you from absorbing and noticing your surroundings. Instead, carry a note book and take notes of the things you notice. So for example, if you are a writer, this is the perfect time to get ideas for your characters. You might see some people deep in conversation, or someone franticly running for a bus, or a coupe drinking coffee in a café window… Your imagination is capable of turning any of those scenarios into the beginning of a story, so use it. Take notice of what they are wearing, note down snippets of overhead conversations. That’s a lot more interesting than reading a book, which you can always do later.
Try not to let yourself fall into a rut and stick to the same routine. Boredom is one way to drain your well of all inspiration. Even if you walk a slightly different route to walk or somewhere you have to go you will be surprised by the new things you notice.
Life experiences are most important when it comes to being a true artist – both good and bad. Journals are good for this.
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This week’s creative question
What would be the ideal date for your inner artist?
The best answers will be read out on a future podcast.
You can Tweet us your answers @KickCreatives or let us know in the Facebook Group, which by the way if you haven’t already joined, I highly recommend that you do! We will put the question up there and also on the Facebook page… and of course, on our Instagram page @kickinthecreatives.
If you have any suggestions for the podcast or our challenges please feel free to get in touch.