May 31, 2012

artist date: french market

One of my favorite books on creativity is The Artist's Way, by Julia Cameron. The book is designed as a twelve-week course, intended to help you "discover and recover your creative self." Ms. Cameron recommends a couple of creative practices to encourage creative thinking and living day-to-day.  One of these concepts was really new to me: the "artist date." Here is a bit of the author's description of the practice from the book:
"An artist date is a block of time, perhaps two hours weekly, especially set aside and committed to nurturing your creative consciousness, your inner artist. In its most primary form, the artist date is an excursion, a play date that you preplan and defend against all interlopers." 
I try to make a plan for an artist date each week! This practice has been such a huge help in my creative process, even though it can be harder than you'd think to actually make it happen. I tend to be really social, and it takes discipline to commit to spending time out doing something fun alone. And the other thing that's sometimes tough is letting go of my comfort zone of 'structured' time and plans, in order to really embrace the chance to let my mind wander and my creative instincts amble aimlessly.  The time I spend on my 'dates' are a source of SO much inspiration, and it almost always turns out that what I thought was 'aimless' ambling turns into really specific and concrete ideas later!

So I would love to share bits and pieces from some of these 'dates' with you as I go! Perhaps they will give you inspiration for your own artist dates, or perhaps remind you of some of your own encounters with these different adventures.

artist date: french market 

Farmer's Markets and French Markets are one of my favorite ways to spend a weekend morning! The flowers, the baked goods, the herbs and fruits and vegetables and all of the goodies in between - I love the chance to stimulate my senses. I just recently began to learn to cook and so these weekend markets have taken on a new importance as I am learning to work with different vegetables, herbs, and spices. 

Recently, I took a trip to the Wheaton French Market on an 'artist date.' It was a rainy Saturday morning, so I tossed an umbrella into my tote bag just in case, and headed out. It was SO inspiring to walk down the aisles of the market and allow myself to explore the wares of each new table and vendor. I picked out a couple of potted herbs to add to my balcony garden, and I found a lovely mixed bunch of flowers to adorn my dining table.

To add to my sensory experience, I decided to indulge in some French Market breakfast: yummy crepes! It was hard to choose which kind, especially since I absolutely adore Nutella-anything. But in keeping with the adventurous nature of my date, I decided on the "Lemon Curd and Forest Berries." It was the perfect choice for a rainy morning. One of my secret favorite moments was watching the gentleman who made the crepe as he tossed out his first attempt at the crepe itself - it wasn't good enough for me, he had decided, without saying a word. I love that he held himself to his own best-crepe-expectations! (Also, a little bit of rain fell into my crepe, which I think made it even more delicious...)

I sat on a little stone wall at the edge of the market in the drizzly rain as I ate every last bit of my lemon curd and forest berries. My crepe-breakfast was so lovely that I decided to plan a French-market lunch as well for later that day! I picked out my favorite sandwich from the Suzette's stall: Brie, sun-dried tomatoes and basil pesto on a raisin-pecan ficelle loaf. Once I got back home, I made my 'date' last even longer by enjoying this scrumptious sandwich with an accompaniment of salad made from veggies I also picked up at the market.

An 'artist date' should probably not always be food-related, hehe, but I feel like any activity that engages your senses will also truly ignite and inspire your creative brain, too!

Does anyone else participate in regular 'artist dates'? I would love to hear your ideas!!


  1. glad you are taking your artist's dates seriously~! keep the posts up!

  2. Thanks, Ev, what kind encouragement! :) And thank you for reading! xo