Evergreens Wore Thick Coats

 In Weekly Forum Discussion

I checked for this week’s prompt as my husband and I took a quick trip up to Edmonton. I marvelled at the beauty of the freshly fallen snow. The evergreens wore thick coats of white over their dark green branches. The next day we journeyed south before cutting back across the prairies to Saskatoon. It felt like driving in a different season as the Chinook wind blew and ate the snow. Yet for part of the drive hoar frost still clung to wires, branches and signs giving another glimpse of nature’s beauty all around us. But this was not a time I had by myself nor did we stop to take photos since we wanted to get home before bad weather made the roads a nightmare to travel. I filed the pictures in my memory and knew something else would take its place.

It should have been a fun and easy adventure to do and then write a post about to share with my fellow travellers. The challenge to go on an Artist’s Date, a time for me to do something fun, unexpected or that I had never done before. Julia Cameron wrote about this practise in her book The Artist’s Way. She encouraged readers to plan time by yourself to get the creative juices flowing, to spend time contemplating and or a time to play and enjoy the unexpected. What fun waited for me this week and yet I stumbled into an unexpected roadblock. What did I want to do? What could I plan that did not involve spending time in the chilling winds that had blown in? I continued with my obligations and pushed aside what I might be able to do for fun and play to help me feel refreshed, to feel more creative and to do something fun for myself.

I read posts from others before I planned what I wanted to do, hoping to be inspired. I loved the dates others had taken. It inspired me but still I dragged my heels. Finally, I told myself to quit procrastinating and just go play with my art journal, something I seldom do.

One of my granddaughters started me on the journey of art journaling but I seldom venture down that road. Her pep talks come to mind and the memories of time discussing the concept, looking at her journals and remembering the time we worked together, collaging a page in a coffee shop while sipping milkshakes. I pulled out the neglected book, grabbed an old book to pull apart for collage, some glitter nail polish (a trick I learned from the granddaughter as well) to add some sparkle to the page and my variety of fun pencil crayons and markers. I rooted through a catchall drawer in my desk for bits of saved paper, sticky notes or other unexpected treasures I might add to a page. The search for what might spark a thought to play with proved to be part of the fun. (This first page was a page from the old magazine of swimsuits in the 1930’s)

Then I pushed aside my computer and made space for play. I put on music that spoke to my heart and I simply stayed home and gave myself permission to do something fun that I rarely do. I created a few pages adding images to my thoughts.

This page has cut outs from an old book, glittery nail polish and some washi tape and a couple rough drawings I did. I kept remembering my granddaughter’s words about there not being a right or wrong way to do it and the figures reminded me of stepping out into possibilities.

More pieces from the old book, one of my scrapbook embellishments, and thoughts about how ideas seem to hide from sight – locked away in a pretty box or bag. Sometimes it feels like everything is just out of reach – over the rainbow and yet I simply need to reach out, step out of my comfort zone, open the bag and find the treasures.

I listened to songs that meant a lot to me and helped me shut myself in to a beautiful, relaxed frame of mind. Almost two hours elapsed before I realized how fast the time had disappeared. More ideas for future artist’s dates filled my mind and I jotted them down so next time I choose or we are challenged to go on one, I won’t spend time wondering what I might want to do.

The time spent playing with paper and glue, glittery nail polish, a bit of washi tape and pretty coloured pens while listening to my favourite music, helped unleash a creative flow and now I want to make time to play on a more regular basis. Maybe next time my pretty pieces of scrapbook paper need to come out of hiding.

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