Because of my health issues most of my Artist’s Dates actually take place at home. This might seem a bit drab compared to the joy of going out to play, but needs must and it does make my occasional outings even more of a treat. My home Artist’s Dates include:
Visiting a museum or gallery online – I can go anywhere in the world from my bed. I also enjoy exploring the websites of individual artists or photographers and sometimes I just do a search on Google Images or Pinterest for an artist, place or random thing (e.g. icicles, grotto, onion painting, bonfire) and see what turns up.
Getting a lovely art or photography book from the library and setting aside a time to relax and enjoy looking at the pictures. I also have a small collection of art books from sales, charity shops etc which I enjoy revisiting.
Perusing one of my “inspirations folders” . I have several ring binders full of plastic pockets crammed with printed media that has appealed to me at some time in the past. They include magazine pages, collages, greetings and post cards, exhibition leaflets, newspaper cuttings, bits of wrapping paper, some of my own work, photos, photocopies of book pages, printed internet images and old book illustrations. Creating pages for my folders is another kind of Artist’s Date.
Shuffling though my boxes of old postcards and photographs. No matter how many times I look through them I always find images I’ve forgotten about. I used to be pained by memories of more active times, but nowadays I find I can remember the past with nostalgic pleasure and only small twinges of loss.
Finding an old favourite song on Youtube and following associated links. I have to be a bit careful with this one though as I find it very hard to stop once I get going on this particular “date”. Listening to music from my youth always energies me (sometimes I even dance!) and it’s all too easy to overdo it.
Pottering round the garden looking for things to arrange on my “nature table” which stands by the back door. Berries, leaves, flowers, pebbles, bits of slate and bark, seed heads, shells and other found objects all find a place. My nature table is an extension of an idea I found on the Quince Tree blog – it’s amazing how relaxing and meditative it can be (and how much you notice!) just ambling round the garden looking for things to arrange in a matchbox, small dish or wherever you choose. If I’m very very weary I might just squat on the back step tidying up and rearranging things.
Flicking through my stash of vintage magazines. I have collected a wide variety of magazines going back many decades including the first two volumes of Picture Post, a selection of issues of The Countryman from the 1940s-70s and various lifestyle publications such as Homes and Gardens, Nova, Good Housekeeping and Cosmopolitan. I also treat myself to one or two new magazine subscriptions each year. Subscriptions are much cheaper than single copies especially if you buy using Tesco Clubcard vouchers or wait until special offers come along.
Thinking up ways to get round a limitation is a creative exercise in itself. When I’m using a book or website for inspiration I try to find ways of interpreting suggestions that are compatible with my capabilities and resources.