I have taken an inventory of art I produced and enjoyed in 2013, a sort of artist’s résumé. Never mind publishing or selling most of these. There are as many things simply enjoyed as created, anyway. This is art for art’s sake, in the spirit of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. Behold my “artist’s dates.”
- 2 acrylic paintings on canvas at Wine and Canvas.
- 1 acrylic painting on paper, created in the shade of our back deck gazebo one warm, sunny summer afternoon.
- 1 confidence decoy painting of a wooden killdeer.
- 3 still-life nature sketches. 1 bunch of crab apples with stems and leaves, 1 canine skull, and 1 set of seed pods in a glass jar.
- numerous colored mandalas and other pictures using crayons, colored pencils, and markers.
- created 2 zentangle designs using an extremely fine-tipped black pen.
- 4 or 5 journal-entry essays.
- attended 2 plays and a ballet — Richard III, Wicked, and The Nutcracker, respectively.
- participated in an hour of dance at Dance Dance Party Party-Akron several times.
- explored several new parks and trails in the Summit County MetroParks.
- witnessed wildlife including great blue herons, a Cooper’s hawk, tufted titmice, black-capped chickadees, eastern towhees, northern cardinals, cerulean warblers, an eastern meadowlark, tree swallows, American woodcock (at dusk, a lopsided-looking fellow), common nighthawk (same twilight outing), raccoons, red-spotted salamander, deer bucks and does, hummingbirds, rabbits, swallowtail butterflies, a praying mantis, ants in my house, and a hummingbird moth on my butterfly bush.
- learned about 30 some species of warbler in a five-part nature class.
- a few poems, one revised and polished (nature themed, of course).
- visited the Akron Art Museum for 3 exhibits: “Real/Surreal,” “Line, Color, Illusion,” featuring artist Julian Stanczak’s work, and a photography exhibit on the theme of capturing people’s absences, called “With a Trace.”
- attended the Irish Fest in late summer on the river front in Cuyahoga Falls, watching kids play in the fountain and listening to an Irish band in the amphitheater with friends.
- tutored students to create satirical cartoons, interpret historical art, and analyze poems, non-fiction, short stories, and novels.
- read books for classics book club and my own edification.
- watched many new and recent films and TV shows, as well as old favorites, including Black Swan and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.
- sang in my car, at home, and at a Christmas service.
- made a collage as one of The Artist’s Way chapter tasks.
- danced around the house.
- helped make Halloween cookies and decorate for a dual-purpose Dad’s surprise birthday and Halloween party (he was surprised).
- browsed and bought handmade jewelry and holiday rubber stamps, and viewed other local artists’ work, at the Cuyahoga Valley Art Center.
- made several Halloween greeting cards using my mother’s scrapbooking and card making supplies from Archiver’s; sent them to friends and family.
- met weekly with my Morning Pagers group for brunch at Caffe Gelato in North Canton for mutual encouragement, commiseration, and inspiration.
- attended off-season NaNoWriMo meet-ups with our Canton regional Municipal Liaison, in addition to writing a novel in November.
- took photographs at home and out and about; refined and printed some, giving a few as gifts.
- my first complete novel draft.
- and much more!
I also completed oodles of morning pages throughout the year.
It’s amazing how much and how well my way has become an artist’s way over the past year. 2014, here I come! I plan to try painting pottery for the first time soon, to continue nature drawing, try other new activities, and develop my skills in some art forms already explored.
My advice to blocked or otherwise yearning artists? Get out there and play the artist’s way. Note: It helps tremendously to read and follow the program of the book. I especially recommend doing this with a friend or a group of fellow creatives to help motivate you and hold you accountable. Play on.