Why are most artists fascinated with the topic of creativity? Perhaps the answer is that we fear its loss. We examine how we come by our own ideas and how others do so, panic when we have dry spells, and attempt to furnish our physical space in ways that are conducive to the creation process. We seek inspiration anywhere we can by taking workshops, reading books and blog posts, collecting pictures and quotes, journaling, listening to music, or taking a walk in the hope that we can jump start the creative engine. Above all, we’re in a hurry to “get it right” because time is a-wasting, and we don’t want a great idea like Diane Clancy‘s Poetic Mountain to get away from us.

If we listen to the advice of American painter Georgia O’Keefe, however, we need to give ourselves the gift of time to develop our ideas. “Nobody sees a flower—really—” says O’Keefe, “it is so small it takes time—and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.” Great advice! While creative thinking tools that I have written about in previous posts (such as SCAMPER or Attribute Listing) can be very helpful in generating ideas when nothing else seems to work, these methods depend more on an organized approach than on the clock-free zone of our subconscious. In a perfect world, we can take all the time we need to let our senses absorb impressions. We see and hear and feel and smell, wrapping ourselves in a cocoon from which ideas emerge—organically—when the time is right.

According to Julia Cameron, one of my favorite authors who has written numerous books about creativity, we need to set “artist dates” for ourselves to give our Muse the time it needs to percolate. An artist date is a period of time you set aside at least once a week for just a few hours, in which you use your senses to explore the world. This is not a time to take along a friend, a spouse or your grandchild. You may choose to attend a concert, visit a museum, bird watch, stroll through a butterfly garden or a field of flowers, curl up with a book in a secluded library corner, bake a rich dessert for yourself, or even meditate.

This is your time. Open your eyes, listen, taste, smell, touch—and dream, as the BBEST artists below obviously have done. In my next post, we’ll explore Boomer blogs whose posts are an artist date in themselves.

© 2009 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved. Please note that the images in this post are owned by the artists and may not be used without permission. Simultaneously published at http://boomersandbeyond.blogspot.com.

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