It’s so fun to be in “create” mode. Some of us create stories, some create scarves. My husband goes into “create” mode on his guitar in the evenings, and my daughter has canvases in the garage where she stands for hours and paints. My friends create gorgeous scrapbooks, cards, wreaths, topiaries, paintings and ceramics. Some knit scarves or cross-stitch bibs. I love to see how everyone “creates.”
But sometimes, I think, you need to be on the receiving end. You need to see or read or absorb art in some way to “fill up” your reserve and feel inspiration.
The first time I read this concept was in Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way (which was a gift from my friend Grace, by the way, and was one of the nicest gifts I’ve ever received. Tip: If you know a writer or artist of any kind, this is a fabulous Christmas or birthday gift!) Anyway, Cameron mentioned setting “artist dates” for yourself to go out an enjoy art — to basically “fill up your cup” with things that inspire you. It could be browsing through a bookstore, sitting in a park and watching the trees sway, going to an art museum, listening to classical music — whatever inspires you and makes you think “wow, this artist is amazing!” or “wow, this is beauty.” Cameron suggests doing this at least once a week.
Once a week might sound a little intense for those of us with kids, jobs, playdates, kids’ football practice, dinners to be prepared, laundry to be done, etc., but it’s at least a cool goal. Personally, when I was first a stay-at-home mom, once a week sounded impossible — especially to go to an art museum or any crazy thing like that. But Superman used to encourage me to walk up to the bookstore every Thursday night. (By then, I probably looked like I had electricity running through my veins from tension home with three small children.) So I would walk up there along this path in the early evening and just … browse. God, it was nice. Just listening to the soothing bookstore music, and standing in the aisles and looking. Sometimes I’d spend the entire time in the “home decor” section, or sometimes look for an entire hour at “gardening” books. Sometimes I’d look at travel books. Something about the combination of the music and the books and the photos always left me relaxed and feeling inspired.
Now that my kids are older, finding places to get an “art fill” is much easier. Since we now have built-in babysitting, Superman and I have been able to visit a couple of museum exhibits in the last few years (one was called “The History of Cool” about midcentury architecture and furniture — fun!). And now that my daughter is older and loves art even more than I do, she’s become a GREAT browsing companion.
Last weekend, we went to the art shows in Laguna right before they were closing for next year. We went to the Sawdust Festival one day (which is like a craft fair, too — lots of glass jewelry, vases, notebooks, cool stuff). The whole family went. We ate ice cream and wandered along the sawdust. Then the next day, we went to see the Festival of Arts, which is the fine-art area. They have live music playing, and lots of food and snacks, and lots of chairs for resting. (Plus, even though it’s literally 100 degrees in Orange County right now, it’s about 15 degrees less in the seaside towns, including Laguna, so it’s just more pleasant to be outside!)
Anyway, it was an amazing weekend — with my kids, and my husband, and the ocean breezes, and the summertime jazz, and lots of wonderful “filling up.”
How do you “fill up your cup” with inspiration? Do you listen to music? Watch Woody Allen movies? Read others’ books? Look at art? Is there something specific that inspires you every time, or do you switch things up?