“What Did You Fall In Love With?”

Every once in a while, I nourish my Self by taking what  Julia Cameron calls “Art Dates” in her book, The Artist’s Way.  Typically, these are special dates with one’s self to seek inspiration and nurture the artist within.

I explored this in my post Art Date with Myself.  Funny, I broke the rules in that post, too!

I take plenty of Art Dates by myself but this time, I chose to spend it with my boyfriend.  It was a lovely February day so we decided to explore the newly renovated National Gallery of Art East Wing  in Washington DC.

At the end of our artsy adventure, he asks me a provocative question that I love for its directness and the ease with which I can answer it.  “What did you fall in love with today?”  While I deeply adore viewing all of the pieces in general, there are three works that I am, indeed, in love with.

Henri Matisse – Decorative Composition with Masks (1953)

Large Decorative Cutout with Masks

Henri Matisse, Large Composition with Masks (1953)

I’ve been in love with this piece for decades and every time I see it, these feelings grow stronger.  Every single time without exception, my heart swells and tears fill my eyes the moment I come around the corner and view this enormous cutout in all its colorful, simplistic glory.  It is, by far, my favorite work of all time.  Those of you who have fallen in love with art know what I mean and how impossible it is to explain why a piece captures your heart, soul, and imagination.

Pierre Bonnard – Nude in an Interior (1935)


I’m also in love with Pierre Bonnard’s Nude in an Interior (1935).  His use of bold blocks of color and pattern, patches of sunlight, his color palette, and contrast of the straight lines of the interior against the feminine curves of the nude captivate me.

Lately, my color palette has been rather dark and often subdued.  The joyful, sunny colors of this painting inspire me to play with similar colors.

Francesca Woodman – Caryatid, New York (1980)


Francesca Woodman – Caryatid, New York (1980)

This mysterious, otherworldly image by Francesca Woodman captivates me and leaves me with many unanswered questions.  Who is this?  Where is she?  What is she thinking?  The tragic and divinely talented Woodhouse died at age 22, leaving behind a great many self-portraits and other beautiful and unsettling images.  I love how this piques my curiousity.  I want to know more about her art and the creative yet tortured woman who created it.

What art are you in love with?

Please share.


A Date with Andrew Wyeth

It was the perfect autumn day for an art date– sleepy trees tired of being green were changing to gold & scarlet.  We drove to Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, the home of Andrew Wyeth, an influential 20th century American artist.  Art dates, according to Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, are supposed to be solitary events; however, like any good artist, I know rules are made to be broken 🙂    I shared this art date with my boyfriend, who made the day even more special.

Part of our day was spent at the Kuerner’s Farm, where we literally walked in Andrew Wyeth’s footsteps.  Our tour guide showed us a print of his egg tempera piece titled “Evening at Kuerners”, which depicts the very place where we stood.  Amazing!!!   Just for a moment, we saw the world through his eyes– what he thought was important enough to include in the piece & what he edited out, 3 of the windows in the house that detracted from the overall composition, for example.  I’m reminded that as artists, we don’t have to “capture” our subject; we can “interpret” it… personalize it.  That’s part of the fun of creating art.

While Andrew Wyeth’s art made this date inspirational; it was also made special by the autumn landscape, the mouthwatering mushroom strudel we ate for lunch, & our side trip to the Chadds Ford Winery that fed me– body & soul.  Keep in mind, your art date is meant to nourish you.  Be kind to yourself until our paths meet again.   Take an art date.  Get inspired!!

Evening at Kuerners by Andrew Wyeth

Art Date with Myself

Has anyone read Julia Cameron’s Artists’ Way?   It’s a wonderful guide for anyone who needs the pot of their creative juices stirred.  She offers activities and suggestions for liberating the artist inside each of us.  One of her suggestions is to make a date with yourself.  She calls it an Artist Date.  You treat yourself to a new adventure, an experience outside of your comfort zone.  An experience meant to inspire or at least get you thinking.  I highly recommend it for any blocked artist, writer, or performer.

I went on an Artist’s Date yesterday.  Now, like any good artist, I broke the rules.  I brought my boyfriend.  He is in a creative line of work so we went somewhere that would inspire both of us… the Mt. Gretna Tour of Homes.  Google it for details.  What a great place to see Victorian and Arts & Crafts architecture!   I was inspired by the covered porches full of welcoming wicker furniture, the rustic setting among the pine trees, and the cozy decor in each unique cottage.  Sometimes, to be productive, I have to stop producing and simply replenish my imagination.  This summer, I’ve created less finished art but took in more ideas.  What do you do to refill your well?