In her book, The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron suggested making dates to go out and experience art. Even though the time is not spent at the easel, computer, piano, or dance floor, seeing what else is out there is developmentally important. Plus, it’s a great excuse to go have lunch somewhere.
My Wednesday morning plein air painting group decided that it is too hot and humid to work outdoors during the summer months. We concluded that a visit to some galleries on Julia Street in the New Orleans Arts District would be fun. Call it a “field trip” and it becomes an educational experience.
Let me tell you, driving in New Orleans is not my idea of fun. I don’t know where anything is, there is always some kind of road construction/destruction, and I am very uncomfortable driving a Chevy Tahoe on some of those one way streets where there is very little parking. (We have had it nearly a year and I have yet to try parallel parking in it—not that any parking places would be large enough!) Anyway, I volunteered to drive, and with Ms. GPS we made it there and actually found parking on the street.
For the first week of July, the weather was not unbearable. We spent several hours wandering through the galleries and met several of the owners. We knew some of the artists exhibiting at one gallery, so it was like being home. There were venues with contemporary work, some with work in different (for us, anyhow) media, and others with more traditional work similar to what we create. The group ended the tour in a craft gallery and spent a little money on jewelry, which is an extremely important souvenir. We went on to lunch at a lovely restaurant and headed home. That was when the weather did become unbearable and we drove most of the way in a thunderstorm.
Taking time out for an Art Day (or morning/afternoon) can give one a new perspective on creating and marketing art. I am glad we arranged the trip and look forward to several more, at least until the temperature in south Louisiana returns to the not-so-uncomfortable range and we can get back to painting plein air.