Get out and gain inspiration

Get out of there. Really. GET OUT! Get out of your home, your studio, your comfort zone.

I’ve been a hermit. I’ve been working overtime trying to get the audio, video, and content ready for the smARTist Telesummit and Blast Off class. And I’ve been making all kinds of excuses (I know!) for staying in my home office.

IMG_0737 It’s not healthy. It’s not healthy to see only the same three cats and husband day in and day out–no matter how cute the four of them are. And it’s rotten for mental and creative stimulation. (Incidentally, that's cute kitty #3, our newest addition that we adopted last month: Dharma. Dharma doesn't realize that the basket is too small for her. Or maybe she's just drunk on catnip.)

This morning I had a long-planned breakfast with tactile artist Ann Cunningham. It was great! Not only do I love Ann’s company, but during our brief time together, I came up with three newsletter or blog topics. I also have an idea for a contest that I’m going to be posting very soon.

These ideas never would have come to me at home or by being glued to this computer screen.

New intention

I know all of the above already. In fact, I teach it in my classes and mention it in my book. But I haven’t been practicing it. Or I’ve  been practicing it only when the timing is perfect. The truth is, timing is never perfect. You just have to do it.

My new intention for getting out, as I create my vision for 2009 with the Blast Off class, is to schedule (schedule is the key word) at least one appointment out of the office per week.

A related intention is to have a dinner party once a month. Just four guests, but people we don’t see all of the time–people who can enrich our lives with their ideas and from whom we can be inspired. This will also allow me to be a hostess and cook, which are two things I truly enjoy.

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23 comments to Get out and gain inspiration

  • Aw, cute kitty! I have a friend whose dog has a similar basket choice. I laughed and she said they went to the pet store and he picked it! He does look ridiculous. ;) (big dog too, a golden lab) I agree about getting out – fortunately my work forces me to get out regularly, for the coast rides at least. Otherwise I’m a good hermit. My housemate and I laugh about our differences. I start to go a bit crazy and need to leave the house on a proper “outing” about once a month, whereas he starts to go a bit crazy and needs to stay in. I do leave the house daily now – 5 min walk to photograph the river. I started a 365 (daily photo) project for just that reason. Part of my ‘structure’ for 2009.

  • Yes – getting out is really good. I’ve got it on my list of habits for 2009 also. So lets do lunch sometime soon. And I’m not convinced the basket is too small. Could be the cat is too big?

  • Boy, can I identify (except in my case its one husband and five dogs)! My studio is at home (separate building but still here) and our frame business is here also. We live in a very rural place, so not a lot of places to go. But, being a landscape painter I do walk every day-which is where the inspiration for my work comes from. BUT, I do miss the outings to galleries and dinner etc that were a regular part of our life in New Mexico. Twitter is great but it doesn’t measure up tor real life!

  • Tina: As long as your outings involve face-to-face time with people and others interested in art. Lisa: Deal. And, not, the cat is actually very small. She’s about half the size of Tofu, who is much her junior. Deborah: Yes, that’s a quandary. And it’s one reason that I won’t move further into the foothills. I’d go stark raving mad. My husband would, too, but he wouldn’t know it until I pointed it out to him.

  • I hear you Alyson. For the new year I vowed this has to be the year that I show up creatively every day and socially with 1 or more outings a week. This will create much more balance in my life and harmony in my soul. It’s already working! PS Dharma looks so much like our old Ollie.

  • Amen to that!! It’s cold and snowy here, and I don’t get out as much as I should when I get busy. I just went skiing for a few hours, and it’s amazing what good friends, beautiful scenery, and good snow did for my mood. I’m all set to tackle my studio work now!

  • Alyson, As I’ve been spending more time working in an office/studio situation, I’m ending up feeling like you. Not only do I not get out into the real world often enough, but I’ve replaced my real, face to face friendships with virtual ones. So true… just not healthy. Thanks for the reminder.

  • So Alyson…the artists that live close to you get the opportunity to lunch with you + get a blurb on your blog. How about really getting out and visit with me in Costa Rica?!

  • I’ll certainly vouch for getting out and meeting other artists, photographers, designers. Went to my first Fashion Industry Insiders meetup last night (got stuck in the Gators/Sooners traffic as I drove from Miami to Ft. Lauderdale- not very sports aware or I’d have left much earlier). Since starting a line of bags that feature my art, I’ve discovered this entire new world of fashion. This was my 3rd fashion event and every time, I’m so energized, inspired. 2 previous events were fashion shows and my bags were featured in both. Lots of great new photos on my website (shameless plug)…The south Florida fashion industry seems to be a focused, positive, forward looking group of people. Getting out of the studio is very beneficial to accomplishing great things while you’re working in the studio! Created a new design for men’s laptop bags to be featured in February “Resort Fashions” show ;-)

  • Thanks for the reminder that there’s a world out there. It’s sooo easy to stay in when it’s cold and grey. Excellent ideas, Alyson, to prod ourselves out of our comfort zones. Where are we meeting for lunch?

  • That paragraph about it not being healthy, was so darling, it made me laugh. Thank you! I have been out, went to lunch and then a gallery with my dad, I found just the inspiration that I needed.

  • Guilty in 2008. I made resolutions to adjust my habits and acted on them. I don’t especially like to drive on busy highways, and I live in Orlando Florida! I was hindered (notice past tense)in seeing friends who live 2 – 5 hours away, going to scout out of town galleries on my own, you get the picture. So with no more excuses I have had a very productive new year both in and out of the home office and studio! Today I was invited to a salon at a prominent artist’s home and I am so excited!

  • Here is where those of us with day jobs have to stop and count it as a blessing. The challenge may be to connect with other artists.

  • becky

    I thought I’d have a little time in January to explore – just live 90 minutes out of NYC, but find myself tied up getting show applications and state sales taxes and stuff done – yuck! Get out to babysit grandchildren, and that is wonderful, but not quite what I need. Glad for the prod to get back to my original intentions – even if it is just to some local galleries.

  • My “discovery list” (as opposed to “todo” list) includes names of artists and organizations I’m out to check in with this year. I have been whining about putting together an art drive for too long (waiting for *someone* who gets paid to do this stuff to take it on) and so I am doing it myself and giving myself the whole year to get the info together. Already had 2 great meetings … have forgotten how easy it is to learn art news just by going out and asking!

  • Well from all the comments posted, I see you hit a big chord here Alyson. You are most definitely on to something and probably everyone of us who do art which is a sort of sedentary matter, need the kick in the pants! Thanks!

  • Good advice! It certainly helps to get out and about especially to have different input and stimulation to keep things fresh. As an artist who also has an illness which means I am mainly housebound it can be quite an isolating existance. It’s very difficult for me to get out or even to have people come to me. The internet is a life line to me. So I’m going to try and “get out there” in the best way I can in my own situation. Seek out different input and stimulation and contact online, plus keep a good balance with my offline activities too.

  • You have the same intention for 2009 as I have, to be more OUTGOING which is my word for the new year. I’m not going to sit around and wait, I’m going to act. I thin a dinner party a month sounds very ambitious… at least to me. If you feel you don’t have the time one month I think snacks, tea or drinks is SO lovely to be invited to too! :-) Happy New year!

  • Anne: That’s a good goal! And Dharma also looks like my old Andie, which is why I took a shining to her. Jan: Costa Rica?! Wouldn’t that be AWESOME? Gay: Yes! That is a tremendous benefit of day jobs.

  • OMG. I am so sequestered at the moment. I choose to think of this as retreat time. When else will I be in a remote village in the south of France with nothing to do but work, create and eat? I do try to get out and have several outings planned with friends in upcoming weeks. And I plan to spend time out out out in Paris and London. But you’re so right. I feel a little buggy spending so much time alone. With Coco the cat, of course. Your photo of Dharma in the basket made me laugh. How do they do it – be so goofy and dignified at the same time?!

  • Alright, at the risk of revealing myself for the airhead that I am, I confess I visited this site the last four days in a row just to get another glimpse of the cat in the basket.

  • [...] groups or telephone bridge lines. Instead, I encourage real-life, face-to-face talking with others. Get out of the studio, get away from the computer, and get inspired. No amount of online networking can replace this [...]

  • [...] Talk about art and ideas. Make appointments for coffees, lunches, and gallery or museum visits. Talk to people! Being in the studio is lonely. [...]