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Artist's Date

If you read my last post, I have un update. Kind of a disappointing one. I learned that one of the paintings I had grown up with, that I thought my mom had painted, was actually not painted by her. It was the one that hung over our living room couch much of the time that I was growing up. It's a strange feeling to realize a story you thought to be true is not correct at all. When I learned the truth about the painting after I wrote last week's post I felt like I'd lost something, and that I needed to give myself the space to grieve. It was an odd sensation and I felt out of sorts for a couple days. What to do with those emotions?

But, fortunately, I had the answer to that, I turned to my art. I had already started an altered book project several weeks ago that had been neglected due to, well, the busy-ness of life I suppose. I dove back in and finished it by the weekend. I have to constantly remind myself that working on an altered book or mixed media assembled art piece makes me so incredibly happy. It's the one time I truly get lost in the creative process and feel no pressure to please anyone but myself. The muse rises loud and strong and the inner critics take themselves off to other amusements.

I also took myself on an "artist's date" over the weekend, which definitely improved my mood. The term and concept were made popular in a book by Julia Cameron called The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, originally published back in 1992. The idea is that as a creative being you can't keep making more and more art without taking a break, that you need to "fill your well" of creativity by enjoying a "once weekly, festive, solo expedition to explore something that interests you.” It can be anything that lights you up, brings wonder to your life, feels adventurous or brings out your inner playful child.

Heading out solo to find something new to see or places to wander has been one of my favorite things to do ever since I first got my driver's license. And I'm realizing that I have a lot more free time on my hands these days. My son is older and has his own interests, so I'm free to rediscover my explorer side even more now. Granted, I never let that part of me go totally silent, heck no, I've had some fabulous adventures over the years both in my mom role and on my own or with friends. But lately I've felt it even more, that I can reclaim that part of myself more often and more consistently. It feels like that part of me is making a come back. I've missed her.

So for my artist's date I found a weekend barn sale, an annual event happening along Highway 49 (known as the Golden Chain Highway as it passes through many of the historic mining towns of the California gold rush ~ where I live. The sale featured antiques, artisanal products, and other rustic type things at a half a dozen locations up and down the highway. My friend also happened to be participating and I was excited to check out her and her husbands work for the first time.

Another one of the locations was an artist's studio, several miles off of the main highway down a dirt road. It felt like it was in the middle of nowhere, but once you arrived? The views of the Mokelumne River canyon were amazing! The artist had turned her barn into her studio and I was swooning with envy to have such a large space to both create art in and to express my creativity in!

It was a really fun day, to let go of all my responsibilities, even if for just a while, to lift my mood, and to lean into my wanderlust right in my own backyard. I got inspired by everything I saw, and am now dreaming of a larger studio space where I can really spread out! There will be another barn sale in September, if you're in the area. You can find out more about it here or here.

If you're a creative person, I highly recommend taking yourself on an artist date every now and then. In her book, Julia suggests one a week!


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