Category Archives: The Artist’s Way

THE ARTIST’S WAY – Recovering a Sense of Identity

I am working through the book, The Artist’s Way, A Spiritual Path to Creativity  with a group of women around the globe, from Burma on to Australia, to Canada the US, over to Iceland, the UK and on to France. Because we are doing this together, it gives me a sense of accountability. We are doing a chapter a month, and this month is “Recovering a Sense of Identity”.

Every month there is a list of tasks to complete.  I stopped when I saw the “Life Pie”exercise.  It consists of drawing a circle and dividing it into six pieces. Label one spirituality, another exercise, and on to play,  friends, romance/adventure and work.  I really hestitated to do this because January and February have been unbelievable at work.  Below is my “Life Pie” as it  is today.

LIFE  PIE 2/2013

LIFE PIE 2/2013

You can see my life is NOT BALANCED at all right now.  This was a call to make some changes to take care of myself more. I vow to exercise more, to play more, to spend more time with friends and famly.  I started by exercising, giving myself a facial and taking a hot bath.

Another exercise is to list 10 changes you would make in your life – and then do two of them this week.  Well, I can’t lose 10 pounds this week, but I can start with exercising.  The other eight changes are:

  1. get enough sleep
  2. meditate
  3. get rid of the clutter
  4. paint more
  5. organize
  6. learn to relax
  7. practice yoga
  8. journal daily

Another is list your affirmations, so I took a minute to write several that mean something to me.

I am the queen of my life

I will do my best, and that is good enough

I am unique and wonderful

I am on an adventure with my life

I welcome the opportunities each day brings

I am open to new possibilities

I am thankful, grateful and appreciative

It is easy to let go of any an all stress with every breath I take

Another fun thing to do is come up with imaginary lives, things you want to do in your fantasy world.  This week they are: (outside of being an artist, because that is an affirmation to add, I am an artist!)

A musician (I play the piano)

A yoga master

A tour guide (I have given historical tours of Atlanta)

A professor

A film director

There is something in me that chose all of those lives, and I vow to recognize that in me.

Sitting down and putting all of this in writing was cathartic to me.  I realize I have to treat myself better.  I am going to change my mindset away from getting stressed out because of what I need to do, and celebrate what I have accomplished, each and every day.

What affirmations would you add?  What imaginary life would you choose?


What is an artist date you ask?  It is one of the two non-negotiable parts of working through the book The Artist Way by Julia Cameron.  This is a twelve week  program that is designed to recover your creativity.  I am working through the book with over 60 women across the globe online, and we are working through a chapter a month instead of a chapter a week.  There are two ongoing activities throughout the book, the morning pages, and the artist date.  It is:

  • A commitment of time spent on yourself
  • A date with your inner artist

This week I took me and my little inner artist to an art workshop on The Art of Zentangle.  What is it?  It is an easy to learn, meditative way to draw what appears to be intricate repetitve patterns called Tangles.  Their tagline is “anything is possible, one stroke at a time.”

workshop Tangle

workshop Tangle

I find this very very meditative and deliberate.  After the workshop I took myself to lunch at my favorite Mexican restaurant and read the paper.

There was an article devoted to the new exhibit at the High Museum in Atlanta, Frida and Diego.  This will definitely be an upcoming artist date for me! In fact, this is the ONLY American stop of this particular exhibit.  I don’t think I have ever seen a painting by either of them in person!!!!

What would you do on an artist date?



MY ARTIST DATE – with myself and Little Vickie

I have embarked on a year long journey with over 60 women from around the world committed to working through the transformative book The Artist’s Way.  One of the basic principles of the book is to take yourself on an artist date.  This is done alone spending time with your little artist nurturing and having fun.  So –  I took Little Vickie with me to the High Museum of Art, Atlanta.

Boy, Little Vickie does look excited and I think she and her doll have  on the same dress.

So, off we went to see the exhibit Fast Forward, Modern Moments 1913 – 2013.  I am a regular museum goer, but it had been A LONG time since I have gone with just Little Vickie.

Exterior of the High Museum

Just a note, the name The High Museum does not refer to “high” art, but for the High Family that donated the land for the museum.

This exhibit is organized by six pivotal years in the world of art and this blog will be about the first two, the years of 1913 and 1929.

  • 1913 – New Art for a New World
  • 1929 – New Visions
  • 1950 – Action and Abstraction
  • 1961 Art and Life
  • 1988 Constructing Identities
  • 2013 The Near Present


Probably the biggest change during this time was new technologies in travel, most remarkably the airplane. Flight became a widespread symbol in paintings, drawing, music and literature. This was also the year Charlie Chaplin signed with Keystone pictures, the first Armory Show in New York was held, the Panama Canal was opened and the Model T was introduced.  Take a look at some of the paintings from this year.

Matisse, The Blue Window

“An artist must possess Nature. He must identify himself with her rhythm, by efforts that will prepare the mastery which will later enable him to express himself in his own language.” Matisse

Mondrian Composition in Brown and Gray

“Every true artist has been inspired more by the beauty of lines and color and the relationships between them than by the concrete subject of the picture.” Mondrian

I can’t look at a Mondrian painting and not think about music and rhythm. Did you realize he was quite an accomplished dancer?   Click HERE for a short video of art historial Kermit Swiller Champa talking about Mondrian’s  interest in dancing and the boogie woogie.  The above painting is consider analytic cubism.

Picasso, Glass, Guitar and Bottle

This painting is synthetic cubism, which grew out of analytic cubism. Developed by Picasso and Braque, they discovered through the repetition of analytic signs their work became flatter. This was the beginning of collage, when real pieces of paper and music began replacing depictions that were painted.

Umberto Boccioni, Unique Forms in Continuity in Space

This is considered a Futurist sculpture.  Don’t you love the movement of this apparent human form in motion that suggests speed and power? An interesting fact about this piece, the lack of arms is an homage to Rodin’s Walking Man

Juan Gris – Grapes

Juan Gris studied mechanical drawing.  He also designed ballet sets for Diaghilev and his famous Ballets Russes. “You are lost the moment you know what the result will be”.  Juan Gris (originally known as Jose Gonzalez-Perez.


Not only did the stock market crash in 1929, but it was also the year of both the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre and the year Stalin took power.  The Vatican became a sovereign state and Hemingway published A Farewell to Arms.

Salvador Dali had his first solo exhibition in Paris. Andre Breton, considered the founder of surrealism,  said of the show “It is perhaps with Dali that for the first time the windows of the mind are opened fully wide”.

Salvador Dali Illumined Pleasures

The title “Illumined Pleasures” is thought to refer to the “luminous” objects projected into the theaterlike boxes.  Dali’s painting are extremely detailed, but many of them are very small. (this painting is a mere 9 3/8 x 10 3/4).  “Have not fear of perfection, you will never reach it.” Dali.

Magritte The Palace of Curtains III

Magritte shows us two images in this painting, one of the sky and the other with the word Ciel, which is the French word for sky.  The word and the image are the same in their meaning.   “An object never serves the same function as its image – or its name.” Magritte.

Max Ernst The Birds Above the Forest

I loved this painting. Forests and birds are subjects Max Ernst returned to over and over again. In fact, Ernst had an alter-ego Loplop, who is a birdlike character that reappears in many of his works.

Georgia O’Keeffe Farmhouse Window

Georgia O’Keeffe is one of the few women represented in this show. I liked the lines and the simplicity of this painting.  “I know now that most people are so closely concerned with themselves that they are not aware of their own individuality… and it has helped me to say what I want to say… in paint.” Georgia O’Keeffe

Gerald Murphy Wasp and Pear

Gerald Murphy probably painted less than 20 paintings in his lifestime. This painting is one of his last, and is considered a mix of the styles of Cubism and Art Deco.  Murphy and his wife Sara were ex-patriots living in both Paris and the French Riviera.  They are remembered for their salons, attended by Picasso, Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald.  In fact, he and his wife are the models for Nicole and Dick Diver in Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night.  I plan on learning more about this artist and his life.

Alfred Stieglitz Equivalent Series

This is part of Equivalents, which is a series of over 200 photographs primarily of the sky without a horizon, and mostly without hills, trees, buildings, making them among the first abstract photographs.  He said of this series “I know exactly what I have photographed. I know I have done something that has never been done…I also know that there is more of the really abstract in some ‘representation’ than in most of the dead representations of the so-called abstract so fashionable now.”

I think this enough for now!  I will write about the years of 1950, 1961, 1988 at a later date.

So, what did I and Little Vickie learn?  I learned by going alone to the museum I could take the time to really look, read and listen to the audio.

What in an exhibit gets your attention?



“Men do not quit playing because they grow old, they grow old because they quit playing.”  Oliver Wendell Holmes

As you know – I am working through the book The Artist’s Way with over 60 women from around the world.  One thing we are to do on a regular basis is go on an artist date.  What is that?  Basically, it is a scheduled block of time where I will take my inner artist, or I like to think, my creative child,  out for a date.   By doing this, I feel I will be opening myself up for more inspiration.

Since I believe my inner artist to be a creative child, this child needs to be nurtured and listened to.  The time I spend with the child is the most important element.

Julia Cameron, the author of the book, refers to the artist date as assigned play.  You can hear her speak about it here.  We live in a society that worships productivity, so having a planned playdate is something I am really looking forward to.

“In every real man, a child is hidden that wants to play.”  Nietzche

One very important part of this date  – it is  between me and my creative child, Little Vickie. No one else can come along.  I’ve been asking myself “what sounds like fun to do around Atlanta?”  According to Julia, this feeds us “by replenishing our inner well of images and inspiration”.

What are some of the things I’ve come up to do over the years? Below is a list.

  • Visit ethnic neighborhoods and restaurants
  • Go to outdoor farmer’s markets, find fresh food and explore new recipes
  • Go to art festivals (there is an overabundance of these in Atlanta)
  • Take a walk with a camera
  • Go to the library and explore
  • Explore a new neighborhood
  • Go to the museum,  including art museums, history museum and science museums
  • Go on a bike ride
  • Bake
  • Go to an antique store
  • Go to garage sales
  • Go to estate sales
  • Go to a bookstore
  • Go to art stores
  • Garden
  • Sit on the deck and watch the clouds, photograph those that look like something else
  • Go to a coffee shop with a journal and watch people
  • Find some live music
  • Go to a flea market
  • Go to a toy store
  • Go to a music store that sells instruments
  • Go to the aquarium
  • Go to the planetarium
  • Go to the dollar store and spend $5 on toys
  • Go to a type of store you usually don’t go to, like a bike store, a furniture store, etc
  • Make up new words – like Lewis Carroll did in Alice in Wonderland

Do you have any ideas for artist’s dates?

“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than you can in a year of conversation” Plate

So – go out an play!