The other key tool of "The Artist's Way" is the Artist Date. The idea here is that once a week you should do something to feed your muse. You're not supposed to do this with anyone else because that tends to be distracting. It's just you and your muse filling the well of creativity.
While Morning Pages are pretty easy to do once you get in the habit, the Artist Date tends to fall by the wayside. We have jobs, we have errands, we have writing to do. Taking one day a week or even just a few hours is hard, so fitting this in becomes more of a chore than a delight. But it really is an important tool of "The Artist's Way". When several of us in the Guppies Goals Group were complaining about being in the doldrums with our writing, one of our members suggested that we all try to do one Artist Date this month and report back to the group. I decided it was time for a trip to the museum.
I've lived in Tucson for five years and had never been to the Tucson Museum of Art. I'd never noticed any ads for an exhibit I wanted to see, nothing like the Monet exhibit that came to Phoenix a few years back, and the thought of negotiating downtown intimidated me. Although smaller than most, downtown Tucson has the same challenges. Many of the streets are one-way, there are twists and turns, and side streets tend to dead end unexpectedly. Throw in the usual ongoing construction, and it often seems like the trouble is more than it's worth. But making this an assignment, if you will, gave me the motivation to try it.
The one that made me stop and give these serigraphs a closer look was one of a cowgirl leaning on the grill of a Rolls Royce, cigarette dangling from her mouth and a champagne glass in her hand. This was a cowgirl with attitude.
The building impressed me as much as the art itself. The Fish House was built in 1878 and has the traditional foot-thick adobe walls used in that time period. The walls keep out the hot summer sun, while fireplaces built into the corners of many rooms in the house warmed it in winter. You could still see spots on the floor where hot embers had burned the wood. Overhead you could see the rough-hewn timbers holding up the roof. There were places where the walls bulged at the bottom, weighted down by the years. If I closed my eyes, I could almost hear the voices of the people who had lived in this house so many years ago.
I did a quick pass through the main building, but I've seen Chinese artifacts before, visited the Philebaum Gallery, and am not terribly into Mexican masks. The collections from Central and South America were more interesting. I discovered something I hadn't known before. Most museum exhibits of this culture show stone balls while talking about the ball courts that are almost universal in the Americas. I'd often wondered how they played games with stone balls. The answer, of course, was they didn't. The stone balls are funerary objects, buried with the dead so they can continue to play in the afterlife. The actual balls were made of latex rubber and didn't survive the years. Obvious when you know about it. Early explorers brought the latex rubber balls back to Europe, giving rise to a whole new series of games.
I'm not sure if my well was filled or not. I'll have to see if these images inform my writing this week. I do know that it was a very pleasant day at the museum.