Artist Dates

Julia Cameron describes the Artist Dates as “assigned fun”.

“It is a once-a-week, solo expedition on which you explore something that interests or entrances you. Expect to meet resistance when you propose to yourself doing something fun.  Artist Dates… are assigned play. And even though we give lip service to the phrase “the play of ideas,” we don’t always truly understand how fun can help us.”

She gives examples of Artist Dates in her book and on her video.  For all of that, it can be a little daunting to come up with ideas of what to do and where to go. I’m hoping that if we share ideas, we might spark something creative in someone else.  Please add your comments, ideas, and thoughts below, and keep coming back to this page over and over again to leave inspiration and acquire new ideas.

We did a simple Artist Date over the weekend.  We drove into The City (Portland) to a book store.  We split up and looked at different things.  Cee found some books to inspire her art work and writing.

I came upon a book that simply took my breath away, “All Over the Map: A Cartographic Odyssey”.  (Did I mention I’m a bit of a nerd?  I love maps.)  It’s a National Geographic book, so you know the art work is stunning.  I didn’t feel good about the $50 price tag.  Oh, it was worth it, but I had a little twinge of poverty thinking going on.  I found it on Amazon for $31.  Happy non-birthday to me!  How will it inspire me?  It lifted my spirits, so that’s a good start.  Other than that, I’ll wait to see what happens next.

Artist Dates don’t have to be big, bold adventures.  Sometimes the ordinary can do just as well, if you go into it with a fresh intention to be inspired.


  1. I used to do Artist Dates. I went to book shops, antique stores, art exhibits, fabric stores, etc. I’m still trying to determine how to do the Artist Dates now that I am the caregiver for my husband. He can’t be left alone, and I have no one to stay with him. Everywhere I go he goes, even if he just sits in the car while I do my grocery shopping or whatever. I know it’s not the same, but can I do virtual Artist Dates? At night, after my husband is in bed can I visit a museum website, or browse an auction house catalog or the Bas Bleu book catalog, or watch an appropriate video? It’s not the same as going somewhere I know, but maybe it would be a passable substitute.


        1. I still don’t get out of the house much, my legs are too weak to do a lot of walk. So my biggest artist dates is my blog. I get to see lots of other photographers (including you my friend) and see the world through their eyes. You might even give me some ideas for artists dates.

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          1. Wow! I hadn’t thought of reading other blogs as artist dates, but I do get inspired by reading posts and seeing the work of various photographers and other artists. Thank you! (I love your photos and have enjoyed participating in your photo challenges, even though I’m sporadic with some of them.)


            1. I am an extremely visual person. So I learn through watching things, photos, videos, etc. My hearing abilities are pretty good. I have a comprehension problem (and always) have with comprehension. I know the words, but they are garbled in my head unless I can connect it to something visual. So books and I are not very friendly. Blogging teaches me so much about people, geography and the world in general.

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              1. I know what you mean. I follow bloggers from throughout the U.S. and from South Africa, Cameroon, Kenya, Australia, India, the Philippines, South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, the U.K., France, Poland, Switzerland, Turkey, Brazil, and more. I’ve learned so much about the world, customs, culture, and what we all have in common!

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  2. Tomorrow I plan to visit a library that I’ve never been inside of. I heard they have a fabulous photo gallery. If I heard wrong, I’ll simply find a good book and get inspired! And thanks to Donna…I think I know what I want to do next week – take a yoga class. It’s been a while since I had a good stretch!


  3. Cee and I have been doing a virtual Artist Date this winter. It’s kind of pricey, but we enrolled in a year of Master Classes ( ) and we’ve been taking classes with Annie Leibovitz, Aaron Sorkin, Alice Waters and Chris Hadfield. It’s fascinating to have a front row seat with all these experts talking about their crafts.

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