July 13, 2012

artist date: water tower

My artist date this week was more spontaneous than usual - I was in the city having lunch with my lovely friend Mary Claire, and after lunch I decided to see where the afternoon would lead me. I began to drive south on Lake Shore Drive and the afternoon sunshine relaxed me and filled my heart up with joy. As I passed the lakefront beaches, I marveled again at all that life, congregated together. I realized that I was craving a crowd. 
I have spent a lot of time alone lately - more than ever before in my whole life. It has been really helpful in devoting more of myself to my creativity: when I am with others, I have a hard time pulling away from a focus on the human connection and interaction in order to listen to my own creative voice. But I am finding that when I have spent a certain amount of time alone, I really begin to crave time in a crowd. I adore the hustle and bustle of people. I am so challenged and stimulated by the dynamic of so many lives pulled together in one place. I am comforted, even in the midst of hundreds or thousands of complete strangers, by the idea that our shared humanity creates the potential for a million different connections and combinations, right there if we are willing to accept and pursue them.
I exited Lake Shore Drive at Michigan Avenue, pulled into the first parking spot I found, and began to walk. The first street I walked along was not so busy, and as my mind wandered, I caught myself glancing down a lot at the ground. I started to notice all of the patterns beneath my feet and was really inspired by this aspect of the nature of traveling: all of the ground we cover as we get from place to place. After walking a few blocks, I found myself entering the little park area on Michigan Avenue by the Water Tower monument. I have walked through this park more times than I can count, and rarely stopped to take notice or to linger here. But it is a space that is always full of people: sitting, walking, taking pictures, gathering, dispersing. I found a spot to sit and watch.
My mind remained fixed on the movement of the crowds, all of the comings and goings, representing so many lives crossing paths. I was really inspired as I took these random shots of people's legs and feet as they passed by. When I went back to look at what had been captured, I was amazed at all of the diverse movement and personality represented in one space, in such a short period of time. So many different ages, races, socioeconomic classes; so many postures and choices; so many journeys with so many destinations. I especially love how the children stand out, because they can be completely represented in half the space of the adults.
After sitting and observing for awhile, I decided to walk around more and see what caught my eye and spoke to my creative brain. I really loved these patterns and textures:

I was also so inspired by these reflections in shop windows that I passed; it makes me want to spend a whole day sometime just catching what is reflected...

And yes, of course, I did have to stop and pick up some Sprinkles cupcakes... they are my absolutely favorite!! Their featured cupcake flavor right now is Salted Caramel, which is at the top of my cupcake-list, and may have helped inspire the location I chose for my crowd-watching, hehe. It was a wonderful way to end my artist date and I brought some home for our family, too, including a doggie-cupcake for little Wilco, which he loved. 

This artist date was such a wonderful experience, so inspiring and stimulating for me creatively, that I am already craving another date in a crowd. How about you? Do you feel inspired and motivated in crowds or does that seem like a crazy way to spend an artist date? What dates have you taken that filled you with awe and delight and got your creative juices flowing??


  1. First of all these pictures are phenomenal. They make me want to go outside, start my car and drive to my nearest Lake Shore Drive. Also, I've been going through something similar. I recently started dating this guy and of course in a new relationship all you want to do is spend every waking moment together.. but that doesn't leave much time for my writing. I realized this fact last night while watching Midnight in Paris. It was the scene when Gil first meets Hemingway, and if you haven't seen this movie I am recommending it now, you'll love it! Anyway, Hemingway says to Scott Fitzgerald, "You're a writer. You need time to write, not all of this nonsense." Meaning Zelda. I don't think love is nonsense but balancing what you love to do and who you love is harder than what I had anticipated.

  2. So happy you liked these pics!! Means a lot since they are an example of how I followed an uncertain path and ended up very inspired! :) I really enjoyed "Midnight in Paris" and love hearing your inspiration! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and learnings... xo