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The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity

Week 1...

“Art is a spiritual transaction.” After reading the first sentence, this book can be intimidating. When I read it a few years ago, it was the scariest thing I could have come across and I’m not even sure how I did. It came into my hands when I was desperate for an outlet, when my office job that I had been so passionate about wasn’t enough anymore, and I felt there was a huge, gaping hole in my heart…even with a loving family and a partner who was everything. I still needed to be creative to feel whole.

When you haven’t opened that part of yourself up for years, it can be painful. Every peek out into the open hurts. Guilt that you’ve wasted years of potentially honing your craft comes to the surface. Every attempt at creating something worthwhile is a failure and confirmation that what you can make is crap and you have no skill or talent and why even try? But I would keep trying every few months and as painful as it was to pick up a paintbrush or pen, I still had nothing else to turn to to start chipping away at this block on my life. I knew I was holding myself back but didn’t know how to get through it. As soon as I started working through my thoughts using the book, the wall started to crumble and creating started to become like breathing. When I finished the book, I was creating regularly and it felt great.

Later, life changed and I became a mother. I quit my job and pursued art on the side as I could. I had two art shows and worked through creative ideas…then it stopped. As my son grew and became more active, he needed me more in different ways. We were signed up for daily classes and playdates. His naps (aka my time to work) were inconsistent and unpredictable. I didn’t know how to navigate a flexible schedule that was totally out of my control. I stopped planning artwork or anything for the future beyond groceries and activities. When I found out I was pregnant again, I turned my art studio into the baby’s room and didn't even miss the space that had become more like an art graveyard for all of the projects I would never finish. Through the course of purging old paintings and supplies, I realized I didn’t need a dream studio or anything else to start creating again. I made a small space at the dining table with watercolors and a sketchbook and called it good.

I decided to read The Artist’s Way for a second time and come back to a regular practice. Even with a baby on the way, and maybe especially with a baby on the way, making space for myself and my work became even more important for me to be the kind of person and mom I wanted to be. A week into the book and several days into morning pages, I found myself with “nothing” to do while my son napped (except all of the housework and everything else I usually put first). This time though, I didn't care how messy the house was and grabbed my sketchbook and watercolors instead. After drawing, I started to paint and my son woke up. I avoided feelings of disappointment in immediately putting my things away and instead, let him crawl up on my lap and cuddle while I finished painting.


I had made a small goal of completing 100 drawings a while back, jokingly giving myself two years to complete but it’s looking like that timeline is actually what I needed. I hadn’t done even this small practice since January, and it felt good to come back to something simple. It was like a dream to have my son around while I made something and felt like the best of both worlds, or that I was able to merge them together somehow. To my surprise, he didn't start pouring water onto everything or need anything else from me at the moment. He watched with interest as I asked him about the colors he saw and which ones to choose on my palette. At the end he said, “you ‘got pink, mama! pink on the very very top!” I laughed and said, "You're right! I did, how do we make pink..."

It feels so different now to create, more fun and more free. There's no pressure or restrictions on where I want my art to go. I can't wait to see what the summer brings! On to week 2...