I often go out on Artist’s Dates, especially with my camera.
Essentially, I go somewhere I know there’s going to be scenery of interest to focus on (hills, woods, lakes and churchyards are the most common it seems), somewhere different to my day to day indoor surroundings.
Somewhere I can escape to, and immerse myself in.
I’ll wander and roam and stop and photograph, letting my focus come fully to each shot and the environment I’m exploring.
It’s good not only for my development as a photographer, it’s simply good for my soul and wellbeing to practise being this lost in nature.
At some point on these dates though, I’ll hear a thought in my head that says something like – “Ok, you’ve got some great shots, let’s wrap this up and head home…”
Sometimes, I’ve realised that although I have indeed captured some great shots and enjoyed the date, as I begin to head home physically, I’m already home mentally.
I’m already thinking about what I’m going to do when I’m home, what I’m having for dinner that evening, what my plans for the weekend are, how the latest discussion threads are unravelling in our creative community, the details of the next blog post I’m working on, the regrets of a past relationship, why my left hand aches so much, and dozens of other thoughts.
I’m only allowing myself to have half a date.
Once I’ve got to the middle, I’m giving up on that focus and immersion, switching off and already home.
The times I’ve noticed this happening, I’ve decided to continue to head home, but try to remain present in the surroundings on the way.
I’ve continued to try to observe and appreciate all that’s around me. I’ve continued to squeeze the shutter-release button and make permanent the beautiful pictures I discover.
I’ve remained immersed, deep in the water, instead of coming up for air and swimming home as fast as my body will take me.
The bonus is, as well as enjoying the full period of the Artist’s Date, not just half of it, I’ve actually taken some of my favourite photographs on the way home.
Shots I’ve stumbled across that were completely different to the majority I’ve taken that session, but in the end stand out as the one or two I’m most pleased with.
Shots I’ve only been able to take because I’ve stayed in that creative, curious, exploratory, beauty-hungry mode for as as much of the date as possible.
When you’re creating, do you remain immersed for the full duration?
Or, for each hour of creating, do you spend maybe the first 20 minutes getting ready to focus and immerse yourself in the work, 20 minutes actually lost in the work, and 20 minutes coming out, already distracted and your head back in the day to day concerns?
To summarise why I’m giving up Artist Half-Dates, what works for me and helps me progress and enjoy my creativity greatly is –
1. Go on Artist’s Dates. Get lost in the places I love, in nature.
2. Make them full dates. Immerse myself in them as fully as possible for as much of the date as possible.
What’s your experience of Artist’s Dates, and staying immersed (or not) in your creativity?
Pop over and let us know.
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