February 16, 2015

The Artist's Date - Loretta Bouillon

The Artist’s Date -  by Loretta Bouillon

It is an interesting concept; the “Artist’s Date”. I have been reading Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way and she suggests a weekly date, about two hours a week, to stimulate our senses and feed the artist in us. My initial thought was this….how can I do this in a town of 1000 people, without a theatre, coffee shop, or in a nutshell, anything that I could possible use for an artist’s date? It is good in theory but not very easy to do in this town. This, combined with the fact that it is winter and we live in the north, has been my excuse.

I have come up with more excuses than possibilities for “dates”. Besides having nowhere to go, I have no time. What busy mom has two hours of time a week to spend on something so unnecessary? Or is it necessary?

As I write this, I have taken an unexpected trip to Vancouver. I am happily overloading on hours of artist dates for a week. Can it work that way? Artistic gluttony! I am artistically and culturally starving and it feels fabulous to fuel up. Walking around Vancouver alone is feeding my muse. I am typing on my laptop as I write in a lovely coffee shop, sipping an Americano. Beside me is another writer furiously typing away on her laptop. The two men beside me are discussing a theatre production they are directing.

So far this week, I have wandered through small art galleries, handcrafted jewelry shops, a specialty handmade broom store, a glass blowing shop, a pottery shop, and the Vancouver Art Gallery. I have taken walks with my laptop in tow and sat writing on the seawall, on a ferry, and at a couple of markets listening to buskers. It’s so easy here. I love it and thrive on this energy. But, I don’t live in it. Maybe I should l look at this as an artistic retreat?

 As challenging as it is, after brainstorming, I have made a list of creative artist’s dates that I could have in my little town.

o   Attending any plays or musical nights that come through our town (once in awhile this happens)
o   Visit our little museum (for the twentieth time but take my time and go through it slowly)
o   Take a winter walk and look at the nature around me through artist eyes and appreciate God’s creation
o   Plan my garden with a drawing (even though I don’t draw)
o   Plant something exotic in my greenhouse/garden this Spring
o   Paint something abstract with watercolours (I say abstract because I don’t draw!)
o   Paint something abstract with acrylic
o   Draw something from my kids’ beginner drawing books (I seriously don’t draw!)
o   Watch those artist’s videos that I made my kids watch for our art course years ago
o   Watch some Jane Austen movies
o   Read a Shakespeare play
o   Read a biography about a writer or poet

So as I write this, I realize that the possibilities are endless. I just need to be creative about being creative! Here I go! 


  1. Artistic gluttony! ha ha. I live in a small town too so I know what you mean - whenever I go away I feel stuffed to the gills with artistic inspiration. You did well though to find some artistic retreats in your little town - I especially love your gardening ideas.
    Pam Mytroen

  2. What a wonderful reminder to refill that creative well! And I love your ideas for how to do it, too! Have fun on your dates!

  3. Your artistic retreat sounds wonderful - just the kind of thing I love as well. those of us in small towns really have to get creative don;t we?

  4. It's too easy to consider retreats an interruption in writing time isn't it. Lot's of excuses.
    You've shown us how shallow our excuses are!

  5. Great ideas for artist dates both in cities and small towns. I'm adding some of these to my list. Thanks!

  6. I don't go to the city on my own very often, so this is a rare treat. I like living in a small town and I like spending time with my husband also, but occasionally I go to visit my sister and her family on my own. Then I take some time to shop on my own. I gawk around and love to go for a latte with my journal, of course.
    That is my mini retreat.

    I enjoyed your take on this, Loretta, and I could identify.

  7. Your content was great, Loretta, but I have to say your writing style this month was an Artist's Date for me. Laughing out loud, visualizing your planned drawing dates, and what the exotic plant in your garden might be...

    God's creative possibilities are, indeed, endless, and quite hilarious, too!

    Thanks for the morning smiles!

  8. I love your long list of Artist Dates. Even in a small town you have come up with more than you expected.


  9. "I have come up with more excuses than possibilities for “dates”. " I hear you!
    I lived on Whyte Ave in Edmonton where ALL the artistic action is, yet still managed to come up with excuses not to join in the action. May we all live with intention and soak in our artistic dates, whether it be a book or an art gallery!
    Great list of suggestions!

  10. Thanks for all your wonderful ideas! Artist's Dates can be found wherever you are. I also enjoyed your concept of the Artist's Retreat--to have an extended period of creative infilling!

  11. Thank-you, your blog resonates with creativity!

  12. "Being creative about being creative." I love that line. And agree that there are so many ways to get inspiration. I like your list. I'm going to have to try one or two of those (even in the city of Edmonton, that is a good list). Thanks for sharing.

  13. Such a funny case of the grass being greener...or needing a balance? At the end of this month I am going on a writing retreat of sorts in a small town to get away from all the hurrying and noise and crowds, to a place of simplicity where I won't be distracted. (Okay, I admit, it's a small California town on the ocean!)


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