How do you bring your boldest self to your greatest creative challenges?
This is the question The Grove recently explored on the opening evening of our Cultivated Artist Experience four-day getaway. Bob Murphy and I challenged all of the artists in our Journey 2 & 3 groups to bring their boldest self to their creative challenges. We then began to unpack that key question over the next four days...
If you and I are not bringing our best and boldest self to our artwork, then why even attempt to be an artist? Bringing your boldest self will push you to be the best artist you can be.
To help the visual artists, writers, filmmakers, poets, and singers in our group step up to this challenge, we first provided the amazing setting of Jerome Gastadi's art center/home in Fallbrook, California. Imagine four acres filled with beautiful Italian villa grounds, a large visual art studio and library, a gallery filled with modern art, gardens filled with sculptures, ceramic studio, a small chapel and benches tucked here and there to hide away.
Over the course of the next few days, the artists presented updates on their creative goals for the year. They presented their artwork, discussed their progress, setbacks and the challenges they were facing. A very accomplished visual artist was exploring how to become looser with her paintings and not so technical. Several artists were working on getting their art into the marketplace. Others struggled with finding time to stay focused and bring their projects to completion. More books. More paintings. More episodic television. More poetry. More art.
Creating more art requires you bringing your boldest self. There's simply no other way.
If it wasn't creative challenges, other artists were dealing with "Season of Life" challenges. Some were adjusting to unexpected career transitions. Moving. Starting new businesses. Another artist was dealing with a devastating family loss. Still another, cancer treatment.
In this Cultivated Artist community, we've found a few simple, yet vital practices that are essential to help artists thrive. Wherever you live and work, make it a top priority this week to include at least one of these practices in your life.
1. Find or Create a Creative Community
For many artists, isolation is a way of life. For myself, as a writer, I spend most of my hours alone in front of a computer. Just me and all those pixels, pecking away one word at a time.
I know very few writers, but I do know a lot of creative people who stimulate my thinking, ask me questions about my work, and challenge me to keep pushing forward. I get to encourage and push them along as well.
What I love about The Grove's community of artists is that the artist's genuinely care about one another. For some of you, community may be a stretch. If you don't have an artist community, find one. Create one. Online if necessary. In person, even better.
2. Share a Meal
Not only is breaking bread an incredible way to create community, sharing a meal is about the best way to get to know another person.
At The Grove, setting a sumptuous table of great food and wine for artists has always been a core practice of who we are. There's simply no substitute for the gift of The Table. Breaking bread breaks down walls, helps people laugh and relax, tell stories, and develop friendships. Who can you share a meal with this week to develop greater friendship and creative support?
3. Extended Periods of Solitude, Rest, and Recreation
I have to admit, between making pizzas in a wood-fired stone oven or painting several large murals, it's a coin toss. I simply can't say which was more fun. Play is not over-rated.
We live in a frenetic, fast-paced culture where busy is almost a badge for bragging. When someone says, "Hey, I know you're super-busy, but could you help me with..." I don't take the busy word as a compliment. Like you, I have priorities and the same 24 hours in a day, but I hope I'm not projecting "busy" onto others.
How about we all scratch "busy" and replace it with a more grace-filled pace of life? More intimate solitude time alone with God, more rest and more recreation?
How can more solitude, rest or recreation best renew you today and this coming week?
Pick one or all three.
You'll bring a better, bolder self to your relationships and the creative challenges before you.
Question: How do you bring your boldest self to your creative challenges?
I'd love your ideas and comments...