What's an Art Play-Date?
Updated: Jun 27, 2019
An "Art Play-Date" is a time for you to feel free to play with art supplies in a fun, supportive gathering of like-minded others.
For many years I held Girls' ARTisan Camps for my daughter and her friends. When the moms came to pick up the girls after camp, they'd all say "I wanna do art camp!" No kidding! The girls would play with paint and spray inks, dribble liquid acrylic, sponge through stencils, and journal about what makes them amazing humans!
Creative play, and art journaling in particular, has become a self-care practice for me. It is a time I take for me, to connect to my creative self, and embrace a childlike attitude of exploring, trying, and experimenting. I am present in the moment and in flow when I create something, and this contributes to my well-being.
People have said to me: “I wish I was creative like you!” I tell them, "you ARE creative!" I only recently became comfortable even referring to myself as an artist! We tell ourselves we are not "artists" or that we cannot create "art", but that is because we hold onto an assumption about what we think "art" is.
We are so engrained in our adulthood that we may be uncomfortable just letting ourselves be playful, waste paint, scribble like a kid. If we adopt an attitude of playfulness (it may take some effort!), we free ourselves from the adult in our head who tells us we are "too old for this". Play is a way to let go of the assumptions and limiting thoughts (inner critic) that prevent us from accessing our creativity.
The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron, has been called the seminal book on creativity. In her book, she lays out the spiritual practice of creativity. She proposes, and I believe, that creativity is our true nature. We align ourselves with our own potential and truest essence when we intentionally engage ourselves in the practice of creating…anything…even something bad.
Willingness, intention, and mindfulness are all that is needed for a creative practice that contributes to our well-being. I want you to know, really know, that it doesn't have to be "art," and it doesn't even have to be good! In fact, I think you'll discover that your mistakes turn out to be the best part, sometimes.
Mindfulness is being attentive to what’s happening now. Our assumptions (about ourselves, our ability, what’s good or bad), and our limiting thoughts are all part of our history—they are grounded in the past. Our worry and fear of not being good enough, or failing is about the unknown, what hasn’t happened yet—the future. What’s left is something in between — the present moment. This is where we are when we engage ourselves in a playful process of creating something. We have all read/heard how mindfulness is beneficial to our overall health. Creativity is mindfulness in action.
Intention is about where our head is at during this process—our mindset. Are we on autopilot, or are we making conscious, mindful choices for ourselves? Being on autopilot is a sign we are not present in the moment. Making conscious choices for ourselves requires attention to what is happening right now. It's asking, "What if?" or "What happens when I paint with my fingers?" It's engaging in each step of a process, each mark, and not thinking about the result. By practicing this in art play, we become better able to practice it in our day-to-day lives.
One aspect of Julia Cameron’s Artist's Way is the “artist date." This is a block of time you set aside for yourself to play, revive, refresh. It could be making art, or writing, but it can also be going for a long walk or hike…whatever nourishes and refuels you. It’s a time for self-care, i.e., caring for or nurturing ourselves to raise our energy to a higher level. For me, it's been really fun and personally rewarding to get creative with my friends (you know who you are ;)
This is how I decided on the name 'Art Play-Date' for what I want to share with others, and all of this is what I hope participants will experience and take away from an Art Play-Date. Let's have a play-date, get messy with some art supplies, and connect to our creative selves together.
An Art Play-Date is a fun and supportive gathering that can start us out on our creative practice. Practicing creativity will connect us to our true selves and to the creative energy we came from. This uplifts us, makes things light, supports us, and gives us more vitality…energy. It’s like we are traveling a highway instead of a rut-filled road. I know that this happens for me when I create something, and this energy stays with me and sustains me in other aspects of my life. It's easier to practice mindfulness and be intentional, and even easier to try new things. Everything else, from getting out of bed in the morning, to my day job, or doing laundry, is easier when I have this energy. I hope I'll get to play with you soon!
Juicy*S aka Sarah Gardner