The Artist’s Way Adventure: Week 1 The Shadow Artist

If you haven’t already read The Artist’s Way Adventure – Prologue, then you might want to read through that and come back here later.

Ready?

Awesome.

I greeted my first week of The Artist’s Way with a mixture of optimism and skepticism. I was optimistic because the Morning Pages I had been doing for a month now had been yielding little to no results and skeptical because after reading the prologue of The Artist’s Way, I felt maybe it was a bit too preachy for my standards.

Due to the fact that I started my Artist’s Way journey on May 7th, I’m actually going to rely heavily on my Morning Pages from that week and the tweets that I tweeted to give you guys the most accurate retelling of my first week.Since I started on a Sunday, I spent the first half of the day reading through the prologue and then the first week. It was a lot of material, some I didn’t agree with and some others I did.

Since I started on a Sunday, I spent the first half of the day reading through the prologue and then the first week. It was a lot of material, some I didn’t agree with and some others I did. I highlighted several parts of both chapters and reread several parts to make sure that I was properly digesting the information.

The Shadow Artist

The concept of The Shadow Artist was interesting to me. While I felt it didn’t necessarily apply to me 100%, I could see how this applied to several of my friends who now work jobs outside of the creative field. I even spoke to my significant other about it who agreed with several of the points the book brought up about the Shadow Artist and it was nice knowing that from the start I wasn’t skeptical of everything I read.

For those who are in the dark about what I’m talking about, or more like being in the ‘shadow’, let me explain. The Shadow Artist – and I’m paraphrasing- is an individual who is an artist, but due to circumstances keeps that artist tucked within themselves and do not let that inner artist out. If this sounds familiar, it’s because most people are Shadow Artists who instead of pursuing their creative dreams instead become ‘patrons’ of what are considered ‘real artists’ instead of believing in themselves and their creative self.

The reason why I don’t consider myself truly a Shadow Artist is because I am an artist. I may not be the best artist, but I am an artist.

The Tasks

In order to get the inner artist out, Week 1 is all about encouraging that artist to come out of the shadows and into the light. I had to write several phrases over and over again to increase my self-esteem and reassure myself that I am a good artist. Along with the phrases, I needed to write whatever ‘blurts’ my inner critic would spit out along with a positive statement afterward.

I did this writing exercise in my Morning Pages and also in my bullet journal. In my Morning Pages, I kept it stream of consciousness and changed up the phrases from time to time. In my bullet journal I wrote out any blurts in red pen to have a visual of how many times my inner critic would spit out venom. What I found interesting was once I said an affirmation to counter the critic, the inner critic would back off for a bit before coming up with a new insult.

Another task was to write a list of ‘heroes’ and ‘monsters’ in my life. Heroes would be people who encouraged me to follow my creative dreams and fed my artistic side while Monsters would be people who discouraged me. Honestly, it was hard for me to write up a monster’s list because I feel as if I’m my worst critic. Though the book says otherwise. It claims that the reason our inner critics are so loud is because it is a hybrid of all the ‘monsters’ in our lives balled into one being.

Personally, the most satisfying task was to write a letter to one ‘hero’ and mail it to them. I picked an art teacher that taught me during my high school years and expressed my thanks to her. While I sent her the letter a week later, I did write it during Week 1. The best part of this assignment was being able to make her feel good by letting her know about my gratitude. It’s nice to hear that what you are doing is affecting others in a positive way. She even sent me a message on Facebook with the picture of her card expressing her thanks.

Another highlight of Week 1 was my twenty-minute walk. I now work in the city and thanks to this, there are plenty of wonderful places to walk. Instead of taking a subway I walked approximately 15 blocks and was able to witness a street performance along with lots of tourists and locals. The show was excellent with the performers and their witty banter amongst themselves and with the audience.

My Artist Date

Due to my eagerness to do everything I could for Week 1, I decided to do my Artist Day immediately. Initially I was going to go to a museum like the book suggested, but instead, I participated in an acrylic painting class. The last time I painted anything was years ago and I knew I had a love-hate relationship with acrylics.

Luckily for me, there was a class on that very Sunday and I was able to sign up for it on the same day. The picture was a beach scene and we were encouraged to add our own personal ‘flares’ to our work as we followed along with the instructor.

I enjoyed painting the sky while I loathed painting the dunes for the bottom half of my painting. My inner critic was especially loud as I struggled with mixing the paint and satisfying the perfectionist who wanted the picture to be ‘perfect’. I found myself repeating the fact that this was an Artist Date and not some kind of exam as I painted. My anxiety and fear of failure constantly got in the way of my experience, but it was something I expected since this was not my first time painting.

All in all, I had a good time. With my constant reminders to relax and try to enjoy the experience, I managed to step away from the painting and have something beautiful to hang in my office.

Conclusion

Week 1 was interesting. I was definitely eager to do all the tasks given to me and it certainly made my Morning Pages much easier to write. While I wasn’t the ‘perfect’ student and was a bit tardy with some tasks (i.e. mailing the card I wrote) I did overall feel confident about my progress.

2 thoughts on “The Artist’s Way Adventure: Week 1 The Shadow Artist

  1. Pingback: The Artist’s Way Adventure: Week 2 Recovering a Sense of Identity | 15 Minutes of Creativity

  2. Pingback: Site Spotlight: The Creative Gym NYC | 15 Minutes of Creativity

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