At the beginning of this month I joined up with Marie - http://zquilts.blogspot.com/ and Judy - http://tiedyejudy.blogspot.com/ - 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: