With Sabine and a few vocals students of the Conservatory we have started „The Artists Way“ workshop by Julia Cameron. It is a 12-week program that was transformed into a book and includes texts and instructions as well as a list of tasks for each week.
It’s definitely easier to keep on track when there are regular check ins with a group of people where you can interact and share a few of your experiences.
I have dealt with Cameron’s principle of morning pages before. At that time they were very helpful for me in a difficult personal phase. Every morning I wrote 3 DIN A4 pages full of thoughts without them having to lead in a meaningful direction. I felt really productive already after getting up and had the feeling to carry a little less ballast around with me throughout the day.
Now I’m starting the workshop again, but I’m noticing that my rather irregular schedule makes it difficult for me to write the morning pages. I often get to bed late, so I’m too pressed for time in the morning. I’m commuting a lot, which makes routines difficult, and sometimes I forget my papers I’m writing on. (Sounds like a lame excuse – I know.)
It’s another aspect of this workshop that I’m taking a lot from this time. The so-called artist dates. The task is to take a time unit of max. 2 hours every week and fill it with an activity that is good for me and my inner artist child. I have made a list of activities that I have already tried and further possibilities.
Artist date list:
- painting just with fingers
- Learning a new instrument (Duduk/Kalimba/Okarina…)
- Start embroidery
- Going for a walk (choose a place you’ve never been before)
- Go to a bookstore and buy the first book that inspires you
- Doing Marie Kondo stuff and getting rid of things that don’t make you happy
- Cook a new recipe
- Paint fingernails in different colors
- Rearrange room, hang new pictures
- Listen to one new artist
- Listen to all your „guilty pleasure“-songs
- Drawing while listening to music
- Doing yoga
- Learn about nonviolent communication
- Upcycle one thing from your inventory
- Participate in a randomly selected cultural event
Providing the brain with new stimuli was an important creative impulse for me. I bought an ocarina and the instrument was surprisingly easy to learn. It gave me a great push and I set out to sample some ocarina sounds for upcoming recordings.
It was simply activities like painting with finger paints or making an embroidery that got me in a really meditative mood and rather gave my brain time to rest. Keeping myself busy with supposedly useless things or hobbies that have little or no artistic output has proven to be exceedingly beneficial as far as my artistic capacities are concerned.
For the things I had tackled anew, I was able to create a nonjudgmental space, detached from demands, in which I stayed, at least for a short time, as well when composing.
I recognize a consistent pattern here that has also led me to take my research in the direction I have taken now: Dealing with other forms of art or creative activities, inspires me for my own art. It has a refreshing effect on my mind and gives new impetus to creative processes.