Artist’s Dates

Back in the days of running workshops based on Julia Cameron’s book ‘The Artist’s Way’, I used to ask people to report back each week as to whether they had completed their ‘Artist’s Dates’. These are fun/nurturing excursions that participants were told to take themselves on. The rule was they had to be alone and the dates had to be planned – in other words, they couldn’t look back at the week and claim something was an Artist’s Date if they hadn’t been concious of it at the time!

Artist’s Dates – I guess because they were so intimate and seemingly ‘selfish’ – were the most resisted part of the course, so, by making my participants write them up each week,  I found they were more inclined to do them! The thing is that, over the years, I found that there was a direct correlation between doing the dates and creative/personal transformation. The dates made each person feel that they were finally listening to their own needs and expressing their individuality in ways they thought they’d lost forever. Powerful stuff.

Today I asked my daughter Julia, (it’s just a co-incidence I assure you!), to start typing these dates up. I have hundreds of them! This way she gets some extra pocket money and I get to keep these gems for posterity.

Here’s what she’s typed up so far. I love how exuberant they all are! As you read them, have a think for yourself – what can you do, for, and by yourself this week that is festive, nurturing and a treat? I dare you to make it a weekly practice!


Went to Woodruff’s Cafe instead of doing chores. Wrote in my morning pages and finally did my brainstorming/mind map. Ate a nice lunch.


 Sorted through my drawer full of old photos. Brought a big smile to my face!



Went to Jive class again (after several weeks!) Love it!

I went to see The Tempest here at Hawkwood. Everything flung into the air and redistributed around the island, and re-assessed…


Watched the seals off Bardsey Island… Had a massage.
Cancelled going to the supermarket and went to Woodruffs. Had a nice lunch followed by tea and cake whilst reading my sailing revision! Flushed with the astonishment of having actually paid £545 to go on an Arvon Foundation Course (“Life writing”), and full of various “top-ups”,

(Failed to take myself on a proper Artist Date!)

Weekend walkabout around the upper part of River Avon – slept in the woods and did lots of swimming – very rejuvenating. Made fairy cakes for our summer party. A rather snobby friend called them “faux naïve” !
Went and sat by the lake, took my morning pages – and wrote and just sat for a whole hour. No-one else there! Went up to London on the train. Had a fast food lunch and then spent two stimulating hours browsing around the National Portrait Gallery. Then went to Leicester Square and a movie with a big box of popcorn.  All by myself. Bliss!
I got into my jeans and painted an old cupboard dark green. It looked very grand but took rather a long time… I went to a stone sculpture exhibition in Oxfordshire – a lovely motorbike journey on a beautiful day.
Short walk up the hill behind the house in the evening to observe the start of the fruiting process in different trees and bushes. First time for a long time! “Last minute Lilly”: went to bed with peppermint tea and chocolate and watched the season finale of Glee. This morning woke at 5am and went outside to hug our big tree.
Day trip to Easton Swimming hole – spent all afternoon lying in the sun and dipping in and out of the water. I took an afternoon off in the week and sat in the sitting room and read.
“Playing with words” – creative writing workshop. Went to Vintage Clothing Fair in Stroud Sub rooms.
I looked through old crafts magazines (again!) and cut out pictures that I liked – music and incense and privacy … lovely Went to 2 ‘Site10’ exhibitions in Stroud – particularly loved The Ice Book and the animated pin-board. Then had coffee and cake outside Mills Café in the sunshine.  Perfect !
Last Friday I dropped everything and went to an extra Pilates class with no money beyond the class’s fee, so I couldn’t do any errands on the way… it felt like a sunny day… Heard an interview with Vanessa Redgrave on radio – as a result booked and saw “Letters to Juliet” on a weekday afternoon… had the car valeted during the film!
Got up early – 5:30! – to potter about in my room, “sorting my stuff” – very productive… Dartmoor walk and pub meal.  Bluebells… views… stones… brief friendly chat in car park…
I lit a candle and jostik and sat on my bed listening to music and cutting out inspiring pictures from craft magazines. Bought a great scrapbook from WH SMITH and started a new ‘Treasure Book’ with clippings of things  that I love from various magazines.
I went to bed in the afternoon and ate chocolates and read Watched a TV programme by myself in a very ‘choiceful ‘ way…!
Walked on the beach at Cromer listening to the waves, taking photos and reliving my childhood by searching for shells and perfectly round rocks. (Forgot to book my Date in the diary so a last-minuter this week!) Did a Tarot Reading  on myself and had all my aspirations confirmed. Cool!
 Not ONE date but a series of Magical Encounters and events!

  1. To a turf-roofed eco-house in a wood…
  2. To a Christian Community talk on communion
  3. Finishing planting my garden in the evening with the birds singing…
  I spent an hour and a couple of ‘mini’ chunks of time later, putting photos into an album – I love doing it, it feels like it’s putting life into story form – but find it hard usually to allow myself time to do it.
I went to the GYM!! Started reading ‘ Ask and it is Given’ which has been on my bookshelf for a rather long time.  

9 Responses to Artist’s Dates

  1. Wow is it ever great to see a whole bunch of artist date posts at once.
    I was thinking today, that the last really good artist date, was a trip to see Karen in the fall. I am tired, and forgetting things all week, I am going to plan a walk around the pond, something I haven’t done in months.

    • Thanks T, the thing that stuck about what you said about artist dates, is that they remind you of ways to self-determine, something you have a say over.
      While I have goals at work, and driven to support my kids, often my inner purpose gets shelved. And something in me is ok with that, because it’s not sure it trusts this “Self determination” business. So, just acknowledging both, knowing that the soul part, as you call it, still needs nourishment, in amidst all these other obligations and needs of my time.

    • OK…very exciting, the directive that you have to PLAn the artist date is key…so, today I looked up a custom fram place, and took the metallic print of my painting “amazing” in to a wonderful woman, who helped me tremendously. It was a great connection, she’s an artist as well, and it’s interesting to me when people have a positive reaction to my painting. After THREE YEARS I finally am getting this framed, and will be able to use it as a fundraiser for the Ride for the Cure for Cancer, here in Canada! YAY! Thanks for the inspiration boost T, it was a great great day. Very much needed a soul infusion, and this MORE than did the trick, Kelly

  2. How nice to read your artist’s dates and just having had one involving the national portrait gallery myself. Went to see the Photographic Competition – Taylor Wessing? and it was ‘late shift’ at the NPG – dj and music, bar and drinks, high tables with people of all ages – they seem good at adapting to 21st century needs and it was as feeding for the soul to see all the buzz and hum as to absorb the pictures. Lovely.

    ps loved throwing an egg in the bath as did lesley who has now subscribed too!!!

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