The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron is more than 30 years old and I remember being given a copy of it when I graduated from art school at 23 years old. I flipped through it and put it on my shelf, never to be read until almost as much time passed again. Thank God He is merciful and patient!
When I did finally read it, I thought it was a bit new-agey and dated but something told me that even old people sometimes have something valuable to tell us, if we will only listen. Many people have read it, making their way through this 12 step process of creative recovery. I introduced it to my book club in Sweden some years ago when we were all a bit stressed from work and reading the Steve Jobs biography of 666 pages which pretty much killed off our book club but our Artist Way club was born.
I recommend this book to those who are searching for answers to their creative blocks and insecurities knowing that most people will not make it through the book, at least not the first time. A dear friend of mine and I go through the book together every fall. We gained a vocabulary and language to discuss our process, our blocks and how to keep moving and growing and innovating.
My fascination over the past 7 years has been to find my artistic heritage and thus the motivation for my art. My mo’olelo and where my service may lie. I am fascinated by archaeology and the ancient art being found all over the world. Art made in practicing the spiritual life, in particular for followers of Christ in the past two thousand years since Christʻs life on earth and even before that helps me recognize my fellow clansmen in these ancient paintings. Observation of nature, storytelling, fascination with materials, they are all there whether from 7000BC Argentinians or 64,000 year old Indonesians. A recent trip to Red Rock Nevada was exciting to hike out to see the petroglyphs on these rock outcroppings. It could have been made 50 or 500 or 5000 years ago, but it didn’t really matter because what I saw and felt was the mark of human hands before me, and the connection to my artistic ancestors. God told Moses to find Bezalel to help him create all the things he needed to build His tabernacle and Bezalel, didn’t do it all by himself. Even though he was gifted with skill in all materials, discernment (design and problem solving), and teaching, he had the help of many willing and skilled Israelites. When it is important, God uses willing people and abundantly equips them for success. This is the way.