Nurturing the Artist Child Within

This weekend, my inner child was horribly disappointed. We’d planned our first party for our eight-month-old baby — a ‘bush welcoming’ under the enormous fig trees on our new property for over forty people. I’d planned a time capsule, face painting, bubbles, rope swings in the trees, a barbecue, play equipment, icy poles and more. My sister had baked cupcakes with wee frog pictures on top and made lanterns for the trees. I’d ordered a helium balloon in the shape of a frog prince.

Children at 'work'
Children at ‘work’

And then it rained. And rained, and rained and rained. Large parts of Queensland are flooded right now. Our new property (still a virtual construction site while we’re renovating) was running rivers of water and mud. We had to cancel. And I was somewhat heartbroken. Wondering why I was teary, it suddenly struck me that my inner child was heartbroken.

If you follow my writing, you’ll know how much I adore Julia Cameron’s wise words from her internationally bestselling book, The Artist’s Way. And you’ll know that her sage observation of we creative types is that our inner artist is a child, and to get the most out of our inner artist child we need to let her play. ‘Our artist child can best be enticed to work by treating work at play,’ she says (The Artist’s Way). Turning up to ‘work’ has ‘more to do with a child’s love of secret adventure than with ironclad discipline’.

So my inner artist was very sad to not have my face painted like a fairy, or to swing from the trees, or blow bubbles through the air.

But the only compensation for an injured heart is to offer more love and fun. So hubby and I packed up our lovely bubba man and drove to an even tinier town than ours (Moore) to visit an art show in the local hall with entry by gold donation. We wandered the many aisles marvelling at people’s creativity (the way someone could get so much expression into a tiger’s face, or the many uses of teabag tags), allowing our brains to stretch and grow while bubba man crawled and shuffled on the timber floor and tried to pull down the temporary display stands. Then we had ice cream. All while the rain drummed and drummed on the roof.

My inner artist was mollified. I’d had fun. I’d had a small adventure. I’d seen totally new things and thought of totally new ideas.

It’s what we must do as artists, to always seek a new adventure.