When I first began painting I really had no idea what I was doing. Sometimes I stood in my guest room to paint, sometimes I sat on the floor with a canvas leaning against a chair. Sometimes the canvas was on a chair. I frankly didn't know the difference between acrylics and oils when I first started and well, that first painting took quite a while to dry. But, determination is a funny thing. In a short time I had five paintings or so to my name and I was quite happy. Enter my Dad - and he suggested I put them in an art show - this is where you add the" laughing till you're crying" emoji! And so, I did, and you can read about that here.
It was at that show and the subsequent art show at the same place where total strangers shared encouragement and invited me to learn more about my craft - specifically, more about the process. At the second show I was introduced to Julia Cameron's book The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity. Julia Cameron is an author, playwright, poet, composer and musician. Her book has sold millions of copies and she also teaches workshops to encourage the practices found in her book.
The Artist's Way is not a Christian book. It is a "How to" book about creativity. When she describes a "spiritual path" she is acknowledging that there is something beyond ourselves that can aid us in the pursuit of creativity. I personally may not agree with all of her conclusions but the tools she shares and the ideas about creativity have been invaluable to me, both as an artist and frankly, as a Christian. In the same way that Alcoholics Anonymous asks it's participants to call on a "Higher Power," Julia Cameron believes that you should do the same with your craft. For me, as a Christian, it was obvious who I would call on - The God of the Bible. As in all books, you should filter with the Truth of what you believe.
Over the next few days I will be sharing some of the tools I have learned from Julia Cameron and also some tools that I have acquired on my own and out of necessity.
The need for "other tools" beside the tools of your craft is to enhance and expand your craft, especially during those times when you don't feel so artsy or crafty.
Some of the tools we will discuss are these:
Play, or "Artist Dates"
Whether or not you are into art, or into a craft, many of these tools can be employed to enhance your current work or educational situation. Most of these items are a part of my every day life as a wife and homeschool mom. Having tools in your life that enhance your ability to be productive in any area is always a win-win.
And by the way, having the right "tools" will not "fix everything." That is not what I am purporting to do. As Paul David Tripp reminds me in his February 18 entry of the devotional, NEW MORNING MERCIES (which is my current go-to favorite!!!):
"We are created by God to be meaning makers. We never leave our lives alone. We pick through them all the time, trying to make sense out of the civilization that they comprise."
So, adding these tools to your life will not make sense out of everything, but it will make sense out of some things. It won't fix every pothole in your craft, work or education, but it can pave the way to some new ideas and understanding.
Finding Joy in the Journey,
P.S. Any readers that would be interested in a small group class on The Artist's Way - I would be interested, too!