Growing up, my teachers encouraged me to draw as an act of exploration. To let my eyes trace a line, not looking down at my drawing, but instead looking at what I was attempting to represent. I’d let my drawing unfold outside my frame of vision. When I draw a thing — a body, a piece of fruit, a face, a flower — my relationship to that thing changes. What I know about it changes, and therefore, what I know about the world around me expands.
This is the first in a series of posts about The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, a book and a self-study program developed by Julia Cameron in the 1990s. I completed the 12-week program a few months ago. By doing the reading and working through the course exercises, I experienced a significant change in my own creative process. The course helped me reclaim my identity as an artist and return to my passions with new energy and confidence. I’ve decided to start this year by revisiting the book and sharing some of my insights.
As this year kicks off, I’m experimenting with methods to weave new habits and creative behaviours into my daily routine. I recently announced my new project, 52 Ways to be Creative. During each week of this year, I plan to spend a few hours developing an existing creative skill, refreshing a forgotten ability, or learning something entirely new — all in the spirit of exploration, community and growth. I'm inspired by the calm energy of kaizen, an approach that requires making small, continuous changes over time.
This year, I spend Christmas week on the Island of Fuerteventura. Walking the streets of the surf town I was staying in filled me with a sense of wabi-sabi, the Japanese concept of transience and imperfection. In the pale architecture, the wind-beaten murals, the plants filled with blooms and broken branches, the rugged black beaches, there was a sense of nature’s perfect imperfection.