Adventure Week Fourteen

open studios

I decided to forego the Sunday afternoon nap for an Artist Date with Ms Christina.

You know about the artist date?

I learned of it years ago when first trying Julia Cameron’s thirteen week course, THE ARTIST’S WAY. Imagine my surprise when I googled Cameron and found that for a fee, you can now experience the course through videos with the author herself. So, bookstores be damned, I suppose; Julia continues to find her way into varied markets.

In this free video clip she describes the once weekly assigned play that students are instructed to maintain. I had little trouble keeping up with this portion of homework when I did this with a little book club I found by way of  Kirkland Smith during my first year in Columbia, SC.

An artist date is wooing your own consciousness…people are reluctant to play…we will go work on our creativity, but we won’t go play…(yet) play is refilling. – Julia Cameron

I can play.

A trip to the gardens, a window shopping spree, a special homemade journal treat.

Not a problem.

The prescribed date is supposed to be solitary, but Ms Christina and I are rebels. We went together this time. We played. And we were refilled.

We were refilled by other artists.

Local artists.

In their own studios.

Imagine my delight when I got into Ms Christina’s car and she asked if I wanted to go to the OPEN STUDIOS in West Columbia first. Yes, two artists were basically in my own neighborhood.

Michael Cassidy and his great dane greeted us and I talked a lot about the neighborhood elementary school our children both attend. Note to self: bumper stickers can be useful. I found him to be the regular person he claims artists often are until I entered his studio barn. After that, I was a bit mesmerized.

cassidy knife

Mr. Andy will likely return to purchase a knife painting. I texted him while there. Just saying.

But it was Cassidy’s collection of small things like dandelions that intrigued me most.

cassidy dandelion

What delicate attention. What detail. What specific moment in time captured.

And yes, I asked about the cotton hanging at his work table. You can see it in the top left of this photo, taken from his facebook page – like the others I’ve posted.

cassidy work table

Oh, go back. Look again. I know you mostly saw that smiling girl.

It’s ok. I’ll wait.

The cotton. See the cotton?

Cassidy has yet to paint the cotton, that he no doubt will take down from the wall and position under that lamp that is sitting on that desk. When he does, he will, I am sure capture its very likeness after he has studied it from various microscopic perspectives.

But he will capture more than its likeness. He will capture its story.

Cassidy and I spoke of the story of cotton that is not his story. I confessed that it is not mine either, though I am a native South Carolinian. I pondered this idea that Cassidy would want to understand more before attempting to paint.

Such a small thing.

So much at stake.

To one who creates with integrity.

I’ve since discovered Michael Cassidy’s logo that contains the word integrity and my creative heart is filled – refilled – with a yearning to see in more complete ways. Certainly Michael Cassidy’s works are ones of quality. But my mind is rolling over and over again with that word – integrity – and all it may mean.

So many things caught up within a painting.

Our second stop in West Columbia proved that multitude of things that can be shown in just one painting. Christopher Lane‘s subjects were massive in comparison to Cassidy’s studies, but held similar depth of thought.

While Cassidy studied the story of a simple object, Lane studied the simplest truths of life, showing the goodness sometimes muddied by man. He carefully pointed out images in a bank scene and what they meant to him and we talked of a life of thought, a socio-economic analysis of our time. With the same passion, he went on to explain his Circle of Life that measures 72.5″ by 55″ and I felt myself smiling.

Look closer. There’s so much there.

Look deeper. You’ll see more.

I walked out of Lane’s home, got back into Ms Christina’s car, and was refilled.

Christy, people are doing it. They’re out there doing it. Creative things.

I wish I had time. There were other stops at OPEN STUDIOS.

And each was inspiring.

But for now, I think I’m going to do my own creative thing.

Thanks, artists! All of you. You make us proud.