The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron -
When I teach an art class or mentor any other artists, I always advocate that they read this book. I usually also ask my art students to do the artists pages at the beginning of class if we have enough time as it helps to clear the mind and focus on being creative. Obviously the whole concept is much more complex than that which is why I am recommending it as a must read for artists, especially if suffering from an artistic block as it can help you refocus.
The basic principle is that creative expression is the natural direction of life, Julia Cameron takes you through a comprehensive twelve-week program to recover your creativity from a variety of blocks, including any limiting beliefs, fears, self-sabotage, jealousy, guilt, addictions, and other inhibiting forces, replacing them with artistic confidence and productivity.
What I got most from this course was the morning pages and artist's dates. Morning pages are three pages of writing, which sounds scary but it all depends on how big the pages are, these need to be written daily, and are about absolutely anything at all. Its not a novel or something to share with your friends, it’s a mind clearing technique that gets rid of all the stuff going on in your head, like for me, it may be what the day holds for me, exhibitions to curate, fears about how something is or isn’t working, shopping I need to get done and things I need to do with my family etc. This exercise helps overcomes your internal censor.
The artist's date is a weekly block of two hours spent observing, experiencing, and sensing what is going on around you. It’s about taking time for yourself by yourself and seeing things without the distraction of other people etc. For instance try visiting your local park or a beach both with and then without friends, you will be surprised how much more you will ‘see’ when you are on your own.
If you are struggling to focus or need that extra boost of artistic confidence then reading this book will help you along the way. Julia has a whole range of other books as well but this particular one is my must read for all artists.
The collection of Julia Cameron books can be brought at amazon.com
Posted: Friday 8 January 2010