Monday, 20 June 2011

My First Date with an Artist nearly fell at the first hurdle last Friday, but my husband saved the day.

I had my first date all planned. The artist and I were supposed to be visiting the local Buddhist centre to spend a serene hour meditating followed by another pleasurable hour sitting in the retreat's beautiful garden sipping at a free cup of coffee and getting to know each other. When my husband checked the times for me though, we found out that the Buddhist centre was going to be closed that day for a private function. I was really disappointed and had resigned myself to staying in when my husband suggested I take the artist somewhere else.

So leaving my husband at home with the kids, the artist and I set off for the local town in search of spending quality time together. It felt a little weird and self-indulgent at first, but eventually we had a wonderful time. We did a bit of retail therapy, we did some people watching in the library, explored why the artist had become a recluse in the past and ended the afternoon by touring a fabulous collection of paintings by local artists, which my artist positively drooled over.

By now, you may be wondering why my husband would let me go off on a date with someone else? Perhaps I ought to explain who the artist is and how we met...

Recently, I came across a book called, The Artists Way. Well, actually ‘came across’ it is not strictly true - it feels as if the universe practically forced it upon me! So, let me start again... I first came across the book mentioned in one of my emails. I subscribe to Julia McCutchen's e-newsletter and that week she was featuring a teleseminar about both the book and the author, Julia Cameron. While the book sounded interesting at the time, my thoughts were, 'I’m not an artist' and so I ignored it. Then I came across a reference to the book when I was looking through some trance research notes I’d printed off from Wiki and I remember thinking, ‘I wonder what’s so special about this book, maybe I should take a look at it’, but I didn’t. Then a couple of weeks ago I was flicking through a book about trance when I saw The Artist’s Way mentioned again. ‘There's that damn title again. Why is everyone quoting it and what has it got to do with trance?’ I questioned.

Well, three times a charm they say and so I took the hint and decided to look it up on Amazon, but even then I still thought, ‘It’s really for artists (which I’m not), so why should I get it?’ Anyway, I duly put it on my wish list, as you do, thinking I’ll get it when I have some spare cash or if need to make up an order to qualify for Amazon’s free-delivery. The universe though obviously had other plans and two weekends ago literally dumped the book in my path.

That fateful weekend a local home-education group that we used to belong to was holding a craft fair and we decided to take an impromptu trip to it to support them. While I was standing chatting, catching up with old friends, a small second-hand bookstall caught my eye - and there it was, The Artist’s Way, sitting on top of a pile of tatty old books, just waiting to be found. (Even now, after all this time I still find I get a tingle when I experience moments of sychronicity like that.)

It cost 50p. So I picked it up and paid for it there and then, and started to read it as soon as we got in the car. I’ll no doubt share more about what’s inside over the next few weeks, but I just wanted to let you know about the artist… One of the tasks listed in the book is to find two totally self-indulgent hours in a week to go on a date with your own inner creative artist. By artist, Julia Cameron doesn’t just mean people who paint, but everyone. We are all creative, and all have an inner artist, but many of us have buried that aspect of ourselves and the goal is to bring that side of us back out into the open.

At first my thought was, ‘Yeah right! Where am I going to find two hours spare?’ But once I committed to the programme, I found it. After much creeping to my husband, he agreed to let me go off on my dates alone with my inner artist while he looks after the kids. I’m not sure what will happen each week, or where the tasks laid out in the book will ultimately take us - me and my artist - but after last Friday's experience, I’m already looking forward to my second date this Friday. All being well, the Buddhist centre will be open and we’ll get our meditation followed by a free cup of coffee sitting in the sunshine and I’ll hopefully get to know my artist a little bit more. I’ll keep you posted as to how we get on…

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