Sunday, 11 January 2009

the artists way

At the beginning of this month I joined up with Marie - and Judy - - in agreeing to work our way through Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way, a book I bought two years ago, intending to work my way through it. I did work through a few chapters and found it useful despite my initial reservations about its manner and philosophy (summed up in its subtitle - A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity) - I'm basically a down-to-earth practical person so I tend to miss a lot in veering away from the high-flown stuff. Maybe it's time to put that right.

So far I've been going for one week and so far I've learnt that it's not the end of the world if I don't do everything 100% all the time. Last time I worked through Chapter One, a whole lot of rather surprising feelings from the past surfaced, which I worked my way through. This week has been an odd week - difficult to concentrate on much else but keeping warm - and I don't think I've been as thorough as the last time. One of the features of the course is the morning pages - free writing for about half an hour at the beginning of the day. This week I managed this for only five out of seven days, though on one of those - today - I foud myself writing for more than an hour, working my way through something I hadn't resolved last time - the whole idea of people wanting you to be different from the way you are and so on (I'm sure most people will be familiar with this so I won't say more - anyway I don't really feel like spouting my innermost thoughts and feelings in public). This bit I really did find useful and today has been a useful reminder of the value of doing the morning pages consistently - any yes I do find it useful to do them near the beginning of the day.

One of the other features is the Artists Date - the idea of taking a piece of time out of your week to do something different to foster your creativity. This is something I'm not very good at so it will become a priority in the next week. This week the nearest I got was going into town to spend my Christmas tokens - token-givers were very generous this year and I got:

Reef - a book and DVD of inspirational photographs by Scubazoo;

RSPB Visual Guide to the Wildlife of Britain

The Drawing Book by Sarah Simblett -more than just a how-to guide, it has a wonderfully varied selection of interesting drawings by a vast range of artists

ArtEffects by Jean Drysdale Gree - an amazing collection of different techniques using conventional and unconventional materials

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher by Kate Summerscale - an account of a real-life murder mystery in nineteenth century England - I really enjoyed this one and found the accounts of the methods of early police detection fascinating

When Will There Be Good News, the latest book by Kate Atkinson, one of my favourite authors

A pretty good haul I think!

Overall the effect of the first week has left more willing to commit more time and energy to the overall process - though this week art college starts again - including the printing course I am starting this term and I really do have to turn some of my thoughts and energies towards getting the house ready to sell later in the year (stage one decluttering)

And just so you have pictures - a collage of "likes" to put me in a positive mood for this coming week. This fits with my word for the year which is STEPS - enjoying walking, reminding myself to do things a step at a time, keeping going and enjoying and relishing every step of the way!
And finally, a further comment on the weather at the moment:


The Idaho Beauty said...

I too am guilty of sticking my nose in the Artist Way and not completing it. But it at least got me going on the morning pages, which I do every day but Sunday. I'm even pretty good about doing them when traveling. They have been a tremendous help.

I really questioned her wisdom of writing in the morning. I thought it made more sense to write before bed, to purge oneself of all the frustrations of the day so one would get a good night's rest and start fresh in the morning. I was afraid that by starting the day off with the writing, it would only make me dwell on any bad stuff the entire day - wreck any positive oomph I might have. But nothing could be farther from the truth. I was very pleased to discover that.

Good luck with your journey. You may inspire me to pick up where I left off.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the loevely tree photos. I enjoy reading your blog and hope you can update it a little more often. I know life can get in the way sometimes.
thanks again.
Brenda in the Boro

MixPix said...

You GO girl! I did The Artists Way in 1999/2000, and then her next book The Vein of Gold a couple of years later, and finally read through The Right to Write in 2004. Even though you may miss a day here and there it's OK because the amazing amount of good it does you when you do the 1/2 hour each morning far outweighs anything else. Your post inspires me to start Morning Pages again. I think I stopped because I found myself making lists of things to do instead of doing them, so I started to do the things instead - so now I spend about 2 hours each morning (now that I'm retired) on embroidery or stitching or beading or something like that, but I do miss the writing. And here's something else to ponder - just think how creative it is to make up excuses NOT to do Morning Pages - I couldn't BELIEVE how many outlandish excuses I made up to avoid doing some of the exercises, but I wrote them down anyway and that helped me to resign myself to the practice. Good luck on your voyage of discovery - you will come through the other end totally amazed at yourself.

zquilts said...

You go girl! Sounds like you are "in the groove" and I am so pleased that you are on the "AW train" with me !