Monday, July 2, 2012

Artist Date: Manayunk

If you've ever read anything by Julia Cameron (The Artist's Way, The Vein of Gold, The Right to Write, etc.), then you are familiar with the concept of the Artist Date.

Cameron recommends that we get out of the house for an hour a week--on our own--to someplace that is fascinating, enjoyable, and fun.  She says, "You are romancing, wooing, courting your creative consciousness" (from The Right to Write).  It is time alone and away for us and our inner artist.  It helps to restock our reservoir of images from which we create our art, whether visual or written. 

"If we lead a rich and varied life, we will have a rich and varied stock of ingredients from which to draw on," Cameron explains. 

So today, thanks to a fabulous babysitter looking after my girls, I took my Inner Artist on a date to Manayunk, a community inside of Philadelphia, just under half an hour from where I live. 
For an hour-and-a-half, I walked up and down Main Street, soaking in the summer heat, peering in windows, stopping in consignment shops (three on one street!), and taking photos of anything that caught my eye. 
These stone steps drew me down a side-street.  Can you see the pretzel sculpture at the top?  I had to see what that was all about, and here is what I found:
At the base of the pretzel sculpture, this man was working on a painting of a nearby stone church.  I asked permission to take his photo, saying that I like taking pictures of people creating art in public.  He kind of laughed, but complied.  This church was the subject of his art:
This tattoo shop drew my eye down another side street:
And in addition to some lovely murals, there is a delightful mosaic wall showing the birds local to  Fairmount Park (located nearby):
I don't know the story behind these small visual vignettes, but there were a large number of them to be seen up and down Main Street:
 In addition to public art, Manayunk is rife with aged architecture and shabby alleys:
I finished up my time with a cup of La Colombe coffee (the best!) at the Volo Coffeehouse.  I've never taken one of those cheesy "in the mirror" self-portraits, so I today I thought, "What the heck!"  So here I am at the coffeehouse (yes, yes, in the restroom...tacky, I know.  At least I blocked the toilet and the toilet paper dispenser from view!).  So now you know what I look like when I'm on a date with my inner artist!
For me, an excursion like this is as much about having a moment to myself, away from the chatter and questions of my girls, with whom I spend twelve non-stop hours each day.  But I think it's clear that I "refilled my reservoir of images" at the same time; don't you agree?

Where do you like to go to add some richness and variety to life, to woo your inner artist, and restock your creative ingredients?


uncustomary said...

You're right. This did make me feel better. Such beautiful art outside, I love it. My favorite is the bird mosaic. And I love that you were drawn to that spot and not only saw an example of street art but someone creating art.

laurie said...

sounds like a great "date"! i want to plan one of those for myself. the photo you took of yourself is beautiful - your smile is genuine and sparkles all the way up into your eyes. said...

What a fantastic "art-date"... good for you! :]
Thank you for sharing your photos, thoughts, and your inspiration with us all.
Love the photo of you, you are beautiful! ((hugs))

scrapwordsmom said...

Oh how I loved taking your journey, Andria!! You live in a wonderful, artsy part of the US. It isn't that way here...there are just a handful of us and not a lot of places to go. When I do crave some kind of artsy get away I head to our local thrift store and see what objects I can find to turn into art. That is FUN!

Have a Happy Fourth!!!

Leslie said...

What a wonderful outing! I agree about taking a day away from being a mom -- my secret get-away has been Chinatown here in SF since my son was a baby. The buildings, alleys, joss paper shops, food...all interesting to explore and photograph. My son is now 21 so I have been exploring Chinatown for many years. I always felt like I took a little vacation when I went there...
Love the photo of you and those wonderful leaves in the wall you photographed too...
Did you write any postcards in the cafe?

VivJM said...

Andria - I can see you really made the most of your artist date. What fabulous photos! The photo of you is beautiful, restroom or not!!

Dianne said...

I love to visit junk shops and antique malls--sometimes find great stuff for mixed media art. Great post about your artist's date...we should all do that more often!