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  • Writer's pictureAnna

DIY At-Home Quarantine-Style Artist Dates

A year ago we began the Coffee and Creatives Podcast and read through The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. It was our first glimpse at the world of Morning Pages and Artist Dates which we are now very well acquainted with. Ahhh January 2020, what a time!

My first Artist Date was to the Hirshhorn Museum in D.C. I of course brought my friend with me, and Lily (my daughter) was also along for the ride in-utero. Artist Dates to me meant trips to the craft store for cool supplies, visiting the ‘hole in the wall’ nooks and crannies of D.C., drinking coffee from a new coffee spot while dodging electric scooters on the sidewalk, and maybe even going to a play!

Enter Covid-19. The uninvited, unfashionably late guest of 2020. With it came the crushing of many dreams, the total upheaval of everyone’s schedules and “daily grind” everywhere, and of all things lost, my dreams for the enchanting wonderful exploratory Artist Dates--completely dashed.

As we begin Cameron’s newest book, The Listening Path, I am once again faced with the task of coming up with Artist Dates. Minus the trips to museums, the city, and all things OUTSIDE of my house.

So dear friends, here is how I will be coping with the daunting DIY At-Home Quarantine-Style Artist Date task,

People Watching From My Couch: This is exactly what it sounds like, turning on the TV. You must be thinking, “Wow, Anna is taking the Artist Dates completely out of context,” but just hear me out! I am an extroverted person and I thrive on getting out and about and seeing people. Watching TV helps me feel connected to the world I used to know. For this Artist Date, watch an old favorite movie that inspires you, watch a Netflix cooking show (Cooked is my personal fave), watch a murder mystery documentary, watch the Making of Schitt’s Creek since you’ve already binged all six seasons, watch The Crown!

  • A movie: We learn so much from movies. My personal favorite movie, 500 Days of Summer, always leaves me with an interesting idea, whether it’s how they filmed mini films and scattered them throughout the plot, Summer’s wardrobe being all blue, or Tom’s character wiping away the chalk drawings on his wall and finally feeling empowered to go after the architect jobs he always wanted. Movies inspire us more than we know!

  • Cooking Shows: You learn so much! You’ll be finding inspiration in the food descriptions, the cooking gadgets, the ingredients and some fun food history and facts!

  • Documentaries: They get me thinking about how they have decided to take all the information on one topic and arrange it in the order they did. I think about how I would have arranged it and what I would make a documentary on. I’ve learned a lot about the microbiome of soil from Kiss the Ground, Lady Gaga’s creative approach to the Super Bowl in Gaga: Five Foot Two, and the rise and fall of The Doors in When You’re Strange. They’ve all shown me how to tell stories well, how to hook the audience in and how to captivate them.

  • Behind the Scenes Docs: These are so fun! It gets you in the headspace of the writer, director, and producer, and you’re thinking about wardrobe and accents and the power of words more than you ever did before! (Also great research for my theater creatives!)

  • The Crown (or any period/fantasy/heavily costumed show *cough* Bridgerton): I am an extremely visual person, being stuck home for almost a year I YEARN to see new styles and clothes and people! Watching The Crown was a burst of fresh air for me: the costumes, the styles, the period drama, and of course PRINCESS DIANA! It got me following five more actor instagram accounts, and I’m not mad about it.

Inspiration Boards (*Cough* Pinterest): I have a confession to make: I am bringing back the 2010’s and by that I mean I’m back on Pinterest and loving it as much as I did as a Sophomore in High School, and it’s GIVING ME LIFE! From the comfort of my tiny screen (phone) to my large screen (laptop), I am finding dinner inspiration and fashion inspiration like this quarantine shutdown never even happened. Need some tips on what to search for? What to pin, here’s a hint *closes eyes, presses fingers to head* “Find your box!” Guess who that was? Twyla! (-- aka *Twyla Tharp the author of The Creative Habit, the art book we chose for season 2). Create a Board for your project! Create several boards for several projects! Or start *small* and create an inspiration board for dinner, and by small I mean try to tag only the first 100 inspo dinners you see (wink).

*Side Note: I created a whole Pinterest inspiration board for bang inspiration before I cut my bangs and I would like to thank Twyla Tharp for that.

  • Food Inspo. These two words are the cornerstone of every successful Pinterest board so you MUST have a food board for all things food and recipes and coffee aesthetic. But also you will use this board in another Artist Date below so trust me on this one! (*and follow Half Baked Harvest for the best dinner inspo I ever had.)

  • Fashion Boards. The shut down has changed fashion as we know it, and you bet I have pinned almost every photo I can find of Hailey Bieber from a Vogue shoot channeling Princess Diana vibes, and it’s *kisses fingers looks up* FANTASTIC! Figure out what bike shorts, athleisure, matching sweatsuit outfit you need to feel like the best boss of your quarantine life!

  • Projects. My husband has taken his quarantine and decided to go full steam ahead on his own project, building a website. When the site was finished he looked at me and was like, “How do I find a design for this? What colors will show this off?” (okay, okay he said something like that), and I was like “Say no more!” and led him dutifully to my Pinterest account and created a board for him, and together we scrolled and clicked and awed at all the cool designs!

  • House projects. I am that mom that made a Pinterest board for my daughter’s nursery because at 33 weeks the nesting vibes hit hard and I had an existential crisis about not having even thought of a theme! I can honestly say pinning inspiration and idea pics helped me chill out and not murder my husband. Also living room and kitchen pins… Sorry, not sorry for leading you down this path.

  • Art. Sometimes, actually no--all the time, I get in a creative over-thinking rut. Scrolling through and seeing other artist’s designs and paintings inspires me so much to get my dang paints out and start paintin’!

Get Cookin’ (*aka make dinner!): Yes this is a two birds one stone situation and TBH it works! I used to DREAD dinner and meal planning but thanks to my dinner inspo Pinterest board (*appropriately titled “Food, Glorious Good”) I am now a cookin maniac! My dinners have done a complete one-eighty since I started trying out new recipes for Artist Dates last year. And it’s amazing! You too can also save money and eat well with a cooking dinner Artist Date! And *turns head flips hair dramatically over shoulder* “You’re Welcome!”

  • If you’re feeling uninspired and intimidated I suggest finding a recipe that makes you say “WOW” and proceed to buy all the ingredients, convince whoever it is that will be eating the food with you to watch any babies that need watchin, put on a great podcast or playlist and get cookin’!

  • If you’re in a rut with cooking find a recipe with super fresh ingredients, fresh herbs, and a twist! If you’ve never cooked with fresh ginger DO IT! If you’ve never chopped fresh rosemary DO IT! If you don’t own a specific cooking gadget NOW IS THE TIME!

  • For my bakers and sweet-tooths, this is for you too! I made Chai Chocolate Chip Cookies three times in a row. My life was changed! Trying something new really pays off!

  • Also, if you’re like “What will I make!?!?” remember that instagram post you scrolled past with the amazing food? Scroll back and find the recipe! I get inspired from other people all the time, I love following influencers that tell me what they’re eating because I am always down to try it too!

Art Time. Think back to elementary school art. Remember the excitement? The playfulness? The joy? Bring it back!

  • Comfort Art It Out. As in crayons and coloring books, paint by numbers, glue and pom-poms, good-old magazine collaging. Hit that vibe again. You can do it!

  • Bring Back the Jams. Listen to an old album that inspires you or a playlist with old favorites. Jam and draw or paint or design or think! Let the good times roll!

  • Computer Art. Download an app that brings you back to the old school Microsoft Paint days and play around!

Live the Artist Date. Basically let the Artist Date and your daily tasks merge in the beauty of the Living Artist Date. By that I mean take cleaning the kitchen and turn it into an Artist Date by listening to a new podcast or audiobook! Turn your shower game up with a candle, body scrub, a face mask and some great jams blasting in the background!

  • Art Date Podcasts. I recently fell back in love with podcasts and started listening to “Mind Body Green” podcasts. It made me think about the world and how I take care of myself and my body in a whole new way! There’s nothing like an interesting podcast while cleaning the kitchen to inspire you to eat healthier and get moving!

  • Art Self Care. Turn your morning routine/shower routine up a notch. Add a candle, music, a new product! It changes the experience drastically! I personally love to blast “Folklore” by Taylor Swift while using a eucalyptus shower balm with a candle burning on the sink to create a completely zen space for me to get inspired! (*Yes, I like most people, get my best ideas in the shower.)

  • Art Date Workout. Turn your space into a workout zone! Put on a YouTube workout, whether it’s Yoga, a dance class, Pilates, Barre, a 15-min at-home gym, etc. Move your body and notice how your thoughts connect so much easier after! Seriously, even if it means learning that new Tik-Tok Dance, do it!

  • Art Date Shopping. Retail therapy is real! I never realized how much shopping inspired me until now. So I’ve been going online and browsing a bunch of stores to see what’s in! And it’s so fun: it’s like window-shopping for the soul. I get some cool ideas about how to style what I already own or maybe I make that purchase and get to bring something new into my quarantine world.

Quarantine and Covid have changed the Artist Dates for me, and I hope one day I can return to the museums and coffee shops and bask in the artsy date glory of it all! But until the world is safely re-opened I’ll be out here (aka in my house) practicing yoga, listening to my podcasts, making ANOTHER home-made drool-worthy pizza, and cheersing Julia Cameron for inspiring me to love the little things in my life and turning these mundane moments into lovely moments of art.


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