Understanding the ‘Artist Date’

What is an artist date exactly? It’s the idea of making time for yourself, once a week, on your own, to do something ‘enchanting’. Julia Cameron, author of the Artist’s Way, coined the term and describes it like this:

Some students ask, “What exactly is an Artist Date?” I tell them it is a weekly expedition to explore something that enchants or interests them. It may be a trip to a bird store, to a children’s bookstore, to a flower shop, to a museum. It does not need to be “high art.” In fact, if we think of our creative self as being an inner youngster, we will be on the right track. – Julia Cameron 

This gorgeous 2 minute vid from Julia Cameron explains it more.

I love this idea of regular, self-directed, indulgent PLAY! When I’m feeling creatively flat I have some go-to outings that perk me up.  Some of my favourite artist dates are:

  • me plus sketchbook at a wine bar or cafe,
  • a walk through the park on a sunny day to sit and look at the duck pond,
  • a solo visit to the cinema to see a film with a choc top,
  • go to a second hand shop and look at the plastic jewellery and sparkly brooches,
  • looking at children’s books or graphic novels in a book store,
  • a trip to a bead shop with all those delicious lolly looking globes of glass,
  • a bubble bath with my favourite book,
  • listen to new music,
  • draw a mandala,
  • plant some vegetable seedlings,
  • laying on the grass in the sun reading my book at the park,
  • writing cards and postcards including to friends far away,
  • a trip to an antique shop, and
  • definitely a trip to the local flower store or walk around my neighbourhood to look at /buy/ photograph flowers.

A key feature is that they are not FOR anything. There is no earnest, important, celebrated outcome. These dates ideally are not planned to help complete a project. We don’t do them because we ‘have to’. We let go of the goals in our life and instead let our senses and whimsy dictate our enjoyment for the afternoon.

This in turn helps top up the inner well ready for creative outputs.

Sound good?

What are your go to activities for an infusion of childlike play and wonder?