My first artist’s date for 2013: Let’s go to France!

Entrance to dejeuner (lunch) at the Cheese Importers shop. The sign above the door, Bistro des Artistes compelled us to enter!

Entrance to dejeuner (lunch) at the Cheese Importers shop. The sign above the door, Bistro des Artistes compelled us to enter!

Have you heard of The Artist’s Way book by Julia Cameron? My favorite exercise from the book was “the artist’s date.” It basically suggests you give yourself a time in your schedule to take yourself out into the world and do something fun and inspiring. Could be going to an art museum or gallery, going shopping where you see creative products that charge your ideas. Check out a local open studios event, visit a wonderful art supply store, you name it.

Karen's sisters pose at the front door of the Cheese Importers shop. Aren't they cute?

Karen’s sisters pose at the front door of the Cheese Importers shop. Aren’t they cute? Deb, left, just retired from her job as editor at Colorado State, and Leslie Clark is a children’s book illustrator/author. (Peepsqueak titles, Harper Collins)

So I met my 2 sisters for an inspiring time to talk about goals, check in with our family lives and visit a the Cheese Importers shop/restaurant/retail store in Longmont, Colorado. This shop takes the visitor to another world of food and travel fantasy. The theme is France and Italy with all their sunshiny colors. You have plenty of chances to taste the cheeses, tapenades and other delights before having a bite of lunch at their deli restaurant.

Lovely display of glassware a la francaise (in the French manor, or so we completely believed!)

Lovely display of glassware a la francaise (in the French manor, or so we completely believed!)

After soaking up the ambiance and tasting delicious cheeses in the “cold room”, (coats offered for customer use) sister Deb suddenly asked me, concerning my college trip to Europe, “Karen, when you went to France, did you and Terry simply eat cheese, wine and bread the whole time?”

“No, we just ate the bread.” Students on a budget… enough said!

The lunch deli offered Quiche Lorraine and French Onion Soup (my favorite) and an array of salads and desserts.

The lunch deli offerings included items you might enjoy (made with imported Gruyere) like Quiche Lorraine and French Onion Soup (my favorite) and an array of salads and desserts. My girlfriend Terry and I visited the Swiss town of Gruyere and the cheese factory back then. I could have curled up in a youth hostel and stayed the rest of the trip just for the cheese.

Time for sister chat with Leslie and Debby

Time for sister chat with Leslie and Debby

eb and Karen, left and right

Deb and Karen, left and right

I love the french posters from the era of artist Toulouse Lautrec

I love the french posters from the era of artist Toulouse Lautrec

Wares with the french flair

Wares with the french flair

Chandelier catches my eye, I'm suddenly loving the color pink

Chandelier catches my eye, I’m suddenly loving the color pink

By now my “artist’s date” was firing my imagination into dreamy associations of the art (and food) world of Europe. I enjoy remembering and using colors and ideas as the spirit moves. Below is an abstract painting that jumped out one day from some play in Photoshop. I don’t know how the iconic Eiffel tower emerged from the shapes, seemed like a fluke at the time. So I ran with it.

The point for artists and designers is to treat oneself to a day of creative fun, knowing that a person is fueling the stores of imagination to draw upon later. Soak up all the images, colors and ideas presented at the fingertips. Store it away in the amazing human mind, it will come up later if you find ways to keep such memories close to your heart. Photographs are the excellent tool of choice for me. The second would be drawings if you have the time.

What is the take-away idea and question for you on this blog?

Do you collect ideas for your art works? In what form? Cutting out photos from magazines? (I do that all the time.) Taking your own photos? Saving postcards?

Please share. I’d love to hear back from you!

-Karen

Tricolor, acrylic, 24 x 30", Karen Gillis Taylor

Tricolor, acrylic, 24 x 30″, Karen Gillis Taylor

In the end, Deb, Les and I decided we should have our sister date more often than annually. Do you have a friend with whom you can share a day of visual treats?

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2 Responses to “My first artist’s date for 2013: Let’s go to France!”

  1. Kimberly Says:

    Your blog gives me ideas of things I want to try with mixing color. I’m a total beginner and am really interested in making colorful abstract paintings when I finally get some free time.
    I like to print out some of your paletes to try to learn to mix paint to achieve an exact color match as a learning tool.

    Like

    • karen Says:

      Kimberly, you are so welcome to print out the palettes to work with. I’m hoping they will inspire others to try mixing and experimenting. You are right, it’s a good learning experience!

      Like

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