Waking Up Your Creativity

by Julie Claire on October 5, 2016

There are so many ways to spend our time. If we want to create the environment for our own emergence, sometimes we have to “do” something a little different.

julie taking picture sand dunes

Sometimes we need to literally schedule our time for playing outside the box, reigniting the wild and experimental within us.

One of my favorite treasures from the book The Artist’s Way (1992) by Julia Cameron is her idea of artist’s dates. Remember those?

Recently I re-read Julia’s description of them:

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…… they feed our creative work by replenishing our inner well of images and inspiration. When choosing an Artist Date, it is good to ask yourself, “what sounds fun?” — and then allow yourself to try it.

(Julia Cameron, Juliacameronlive. com)

Still a revolutionary idea!

It’s not always obvious that meandering through galleries or taking pictures of street signs is going to feed our art life, but somehow in the spirit of play and “mischief” it does!


Another way to get things moving….Recently there was an art exhibition at the Denver Art Museum titled:  Women in Abstract Expressionism and quite a few of the women who paint with me went to see it.

Each woman who saw it came back beaming and re-inspired to paint and to go for it!  Woman after woman shared with me the great impact seeing really big,  beautiful, bold and expressive paintings had on them.

What art shows, art spaces are there where you live that might intice you to pick up the brush or pen? What artist date might you schedule in for yourself?  

No one I have every worked with regrets the time they have taken  to court their inner artist in one way or another:  We all want to get out of the box.

Why not start today? Let’s live a little, shall we?

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june 10ish 2016 Julie painting Colorplay copy

Finding your energy, where it is versus where you think it should be, is crucial for unlocking your joy and experiencing moments of creative freedom.

It can be so subtle and yet so easy to mistake frustration or discouragement for an indicator of what is actually going on with your creative life.

Recently I felt a sense of futility when in my studio. Futility, the energy stopper. “Why bother–it all looks the same….”  You know this one?

But I was lucky and I happened to have a warm body come through the studio that morning (my husband who is a ceramic artist).  And after giving him the 2 minute version of what was happening, he happened to notice something.

“Seems like those two drawing over there you like right now, you’re interested in what’s going on there.  Is that right?

“Yep” I say.  I just really liked their energy, simple, and pure.

And he said, ”  They’re both small.  Everything else you’ve mentioned is big.  Maybe you just want to paint small?”


How simple.  And how true. I checked in with myself and could feel I was only interested in making smaller marks that day.  And I happened to have this pile of canvas boards and some new pastels to mix with the paints.

Synchronicity began to show up between me and my ready and waiting materials.

I realized I just wanted to do some simpler, quicker “immediate paintings”  (my made up phrase) not the more involved pieces.

My creative light turned to green and  I dove into a series of little paintings of no significance but great freedom.  That’s simply all I was up for.

This is what I mean when I say “find your energy”.  Sometimes it does help having someone else notice the obvious.  Sometimes it just takes  asking yourself before you jump into a half hearted effort what it is you would do if you were going to enjoy yourself.  Smaller?  Bigger?  Pencils versus paint?  Or perhaps even a time limit on a painting process?

Whatever it is, do it!

  • Bottom line:  Go for what is present for you NOW versus the good idea you had a day ago.
  • Big and bold is not always better.  Sometimes subtle and small might want your attention.
  • What feels good? What has a spark of joy?  Or irreverence perhaps?

I always find a gold mine of energy waiting for me when I go off the list of reasonable ideas.  It never lets me down.  

In this summer of hot long days, what a gift it is to rekindle your wild spirit and your lighthearted creative self.

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close-up of center   close-up of center     I will never forget this one painting experience: early on, perhaps my 4th or 5th painting ever, painting with a small women’s group in my studio; I reached a point in my painting where I felt ALMOST done. But there was something still to do. I […]

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