The Artist's Date: Summer Edition
There's a real change in the air when summertime arrives. The days seem to stretch on forever. The air shimmers with heat above the hot pavement, and the cool nights bring flashes of fireflies and the smell of smoky campfires...
It's not just the natural world that changes in summertime. The whole vibe of my city relaxes and becomes festive. School's out! Ice cream trucks patrol the suburbs, and people happily spend every evening eating dinner from barbecues or food trucks. Summer where I live is like one long Casual Friday. I love it.
Its around this point in the summer that my inspiration starts to come from different places. My ideas take on the sunhine-y glow of the season, too. If you read my post on courting your Muse, then you already know about the the Artist's Date. It's basically an inspiration-gathering mission. You set aside time to do or see something with the intent of allowing the experience to feed your creative tank and spark new ideas.
With this change in season, I thought it'd be fun to do another round of Artist's Date Ideas: Summer Edition
The most obvious thing to do on your inspiration-gathering mission is to get outside. Let yourself enjoy the weather and be out in the summer sun (For maximum enjoyment, be sure to wear your sun protection and insect repellent). Notice how the natural world is different in the summer than in spring. Are the types of flowers different? Are the songs of the birds different? Are the trees or bushes bearing fruit? Can you eat it? (always check first)
#1 Attend a Summer Festival
In the town where I grew up, summertime meant church festivals. All the Catholic churches in the neighborhood (and there were many) had their summer fundraisers, complete with carnival rides, funnel cakes, and raffle tickets.
In the city where I live now, summertime means outdoor concerts and food trucks. These summertime events-whatever guise they take where you live- are prefect outings for you and your creative Muse. Always great people-watching opportunities, summer fairs and festivals get your neighbors in a celebratory mood. Let this happy vibe inspire you!
If fairs and festivals aren't your thing, summer sports events are in a league all their own (haha! sorry). The energy of a crowd of sports fans, the pageantry of the baseball game, the sports field accouterments- and the snacks. There's a reason people get nostalgic at summer sports games.
And speaking of nostalgia...
#2 Indulge your Inner Child
Personally, I try to schedule regular playdates with my inner child, but summertime with its no-school-for-three-months freedom, presents all new-possibilities. How did you spend your summer months as a kid? What summertime memories make you smile? Were you a summer camp kid? Did you spend long afternoons at the swimming pool? Maybe you roamed the neighborhood on your bicycle until the streetlights came on at night. Maybe you practically lived in your treehouse, or took daily trips to the corner store to buy popsicles.
Ask your inner child to plan your Artist's Date! Make s'mores. Have a squirt gun fight. Get out the jump rope and see if you can remember how to double-dutch. In the summer, my inner child loves to graffiti the parking lot with sidewalk chalk. She loves to send postcards, eat junk-food breakfast cereal, and hunt fairies in the woods. When you let the kid plan your Artist's date, there's no telling where you'll end up.
#3 Take a Road Trip... or camping trip, or a stay-cation
The entire essence of the Artist's Date is to approach the world with new eyes- artist's eyes. There's no better way to see the world anew than to actually see the world.
Maybe you can't afford to travel far, but planning a weekend road trip can really take you places (literally and creatively.) Seeing new stuff, meeting new people, being a tourist is a classic inspiration-gathering activity.
Alternatively, maybe your Muse prefers to hide away. Plan a weekend camping trip and retreat to the woods, soaking in the sights and sounds of the forest/beach/mountain path. This can be the perfect setting for some introspection... or similar to the No-Brainer Artist's Date mentioned above.
And if you can't find the time or cash to take a trip, there's always the trusty stay-cation. Do touristy things right where you live. Allow the gimmicky stuff that visitors to your town might do help you see your city with fresh eyes. Tour City Hall. Shop for keychains and postcards. Yes, you need that overpriced saltwater taffy. Yes, you want your snocone in the limited edition tiki cup.
How does your creative practice change in the summer? Do you find your inspiration comes from new places? Do spend more time creating en plien air? I'd love to hear any summertime Artist's Date ideas you have!