Artist Dates is a concept from The Artists Way. In the book an artist’s date can be literally any activity that is life enhancing and not necessarily creative in a conventional sense. For me though, I wanted my Artist Dates to involve going out into the world to experience some creative input by looking at the work of other artists. My ideal Artist Dates would be attending exhibitions and visiting museums, ideally in combination with exploring a new place.
In The Artists Way the idea is to spend time alone so your artist date should be a solitary activity. I want to experiment with both states; Artist Dates alone, when I can take my time or just quickly pop in and out, and Artist Dates with a friend so that we can discuss and question and see things from another perspective. I am also curious which exhibitions I will make the effort to see alone and if I am brave enough to spend a day in a new place by myself.
I have Artist Dates ideas all over the place; in an email folder, in my phone, torn out pages in a binder and a written list in my bullet journal. I am not sure if this provides me with magnificent abundance and choice or is overwhelming chaos!
I use Artists Dates as a kind of creative bucket where I chuck in all the things I’d like to do that don’t fit anywhere else. I am not super-structured about it yet, let’s put it that way.
Artist Dates need a little planning; checking journey times, opening times, exhibition dates and then picking a suitable date and agreeing all of this with someone if I am going with a friend. Like all other dates the most important action is to actually set the date. Then it’s much more likely to happen.
Sustainable & Aspirational
Artists Dates can’t happen every week so once a month is a more achievable goal.
I also count things like treats and purchases as Artist Dates, things like ordering books or booking a massage. Artist Treats maybe?
I have books of morning pages which I like to re-read a few months later to see how I am doing and for gathering any reoccurring themes or ideas. This could be called Deep Reading.
Less lists and more action
If I hear about an exhibition I want to see it’s always better to book it straight away. The big ones do sell out, resulting in grumpiness. In the meantime, I’d like to be treating myself more. I don’t actually buy much stuff and I very rarely treat myself to something like a book or a pretty candle.
Stick to it
Artist Dates don’t sit well in my head because they are not on a fixed day or at a fixed time which makes it a challenge when it comes to decision making (one of my weaker points). I just have to keep practising until I get better at it. Counter to that, it’s rare that I don’t have any Artist Date planned in my agenda. It kind of goes by itself.
Let it go
Some Artist Dates will be a long journey for little reward (not all exhibitions are good!) so it’s best to treat the experience as a whole and take a good book in case I get stuck on a train. Sometimes the lunch might be the highlight of the day and that’s fine. It’s great to have a great lunch. The purpose is to get out there and fill my creative well.
From writing this post I have identified 3 kinds of Artist Dates. I did not realise that before. There are Artist Dates, Artist Treats and Deep Reading. Once a month for each? Sounds good. So let’s go!
What’s your idea of an Artist Date? Painting? Playing games? Making music? Baking? Planting and digging? Collaboration? Building a fort?
Would once a month be too little or too often for you?
How would you give your creative self a treat?
Tell me all.
Co-founder, The Clean Sheet