Brain Food #548

Artist dates

Thoughts of the day

Continuing with the theme of setting good habits, there is abundant advice to be found in the writings and routines of others. Julia Cameron is mostly known for her morning pages ritual, but she also recommends another habitual practice that can aid one’s creative spirit.

The Artist Date is a once-weekly, festive, solo expedition to explore something that interests you. The Artist Date need not be overtly “artistic”– think mischief more than mastery. Artist Dates fire up the imagination. They spark whimsy. They encourage play. Since art is about the play of ideas, they feed our creative work”

— Julia Cameron

As Jenny Holzer wrote, ‘Everything is delicately interconnected’ - and this cannot be more true than the occurrence of what happens at the interplay of enjoying and making something.

For the more fortunate of you who can still have Artist Dates in the form of visiting galleries or enjoying a show, please go ahead and schedule them. For those who can’t, you can still set up artist dates with a little more imagination. Reading Brain Food is, after all, a form of Artist Date. So is spending some time in nature, the source of inspiration for countless painters, writers, poets, even scientists.


Thomas Cole was America’s most prominent landscape painter in the 19th century, often embracing the wilderness of nature instead of attempting to tame it through the way he represented it. His work often incorporated a form of narrative, in this case, “a union of the picturesque, the sublime, and the magnificent.” The artist himself is barely seen in the middle of the painting as he is capturing the scenery, a part of a larger whole that is partly posing for him, partly indifferent.


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