“It’s so fine and yet so terrible to stand in front of a blank canvas.” – Paul Cezanne
I wandered the aisles looking for inspiration, hoping to catch a hint of that feeling – you know the one: that little leap of the heart and hitch of the breath – that whispers possibility. I haven’t felt that way in a while and my world had become numbed with the distractions of everyday life.
Neither the bright papers, colorful yarn nor glittering beads spoke to me, but when I reached the row filled with canvases and brushes I felt it. I started hyperventilating ever so slightly. Instead of ignoring that feeling, I listened.
Then, on impulse, I reached out and gathered up armfuls of canvases of all sizes: tiny squares, giant rectangles, and medium-sized glowing white planes wrapped in plastic and smelling of infinite potential.
And I hugged them.
I stood in the store and hugged an armful of blank canvases, eyes closed, breath held, caught in that tingling moment when infinite creations might spring into existence.
Across the aisle, the brushes – with their springy nylon crowns, gentle sable points, and coarse boar-hair tips, rough like tiny brooms — all stood expectantly in their displays, inviting me to gather a bouquet of them as a child gathers wildflowers. The colored pencils in neat rows, the brand-new erasers in crinkly packages, and spiral-bound sketch pads with textures ranging from smooth Bristol to rough deckle all called to me.
And I listened. Then I walked out empty-handed, because I have all of these things at home.
It wasn’t supplies I needed, but reminding.
I needed what Julia Cameron calls an “Artist Date” – time to remember what makes my heart sing. In this case, I simply needed to be reminded that I am an artist as well as a worker, freelancer, and planner-of-birthday parties. I need to create as much as I need to breathe, but I had forgotten. But then I remembered, and it made me smile.
Dear Reader, do you sometimes forget who you really are, and what makes your heart sing? Have you taken yourself on an Artist Date lately? What do you do that helps you remember?