When was the last time you set aside time to take your creative self on an artist date? If your answer is never or more than a week or so ago, it’s time to set aside a block of time and take your favorite artist on a play date.
What is An Artist’s Date?
Julia Cameron’s book “The Artist’s Way” floated the concept of artist dates to enhance the creative juices. Weekly artist dates boost creative consciousness and are a great way to spend quality time with your inner child.
An artist date can be as simple as taking a couple of hours of alone time and listening to your favorite music or going on a bike ride.
Benefits of an Artist Date
As artists, we spend a whole bunch of time alone, overcoming creative blocks or forcing the creative process to make new work. So, one of the biggest benefits of an art date is taking us out of the studio and our comfort zone!
Trying new things gives us creative energy, which ultimately benefits our imagination and art.
And an artist date does not have to be expensive! In fact, many of the best artist date ideas are absolutely free.
Venues and Rules for an Artist Date
I’m not a huge rule follower, so the idea that artist date should be a solo experience doesn’t float my boat. If you can plan a short creative getaway with a spouse or friend or significant other, then do it.
Or maybe you have a group of artist friends you can take turns learning a new skill from? Or challenge a different person to be responsible for setting up a weekly date.
Whichever way you decide to dedicate time each week to feed your muse is absolutely fine by me.
Venue is another thing I want to mention. Sometimes, it just isn’t convenient to go somewhere and find inspiration. So maybe you can commit to an art mastermind group that meets over Zoom weekly. Or you might take an on-line class with another artist to challenge your skills.
The key here is to just do it. Take a couple of hours each week and consciously make it your artist date.
111 Artist Date Ideas
Here is a list of artist date ideas that I hope you’ll find inspiring and more than a little bit fun!
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- Visit a Botanical Garden: Find a bench and sketch or paint the plants or just some interesting flower petals.
- Attend a Life Drawing Class: Improve your drawing skills by drawing the human form.
- Take a Street Photography Walk: Grab your phone or camera and do a photo shoot of the city.
- Go on a Gallery Hop: Spend an afternoon checking out local galleries and enjoy meeting the gallery owners and artists.
- Explore a Museum Alone: Take a solo trip to absorb and reflect on the artwork that inspires you.
- Write Poetry in Nature: Put your creative writing skills to work by finding a quiet spot and letting nature inspire your words.
- Attend a Pottery Workshop: Take your best friend with you and have fun getting your hands dirty with clay.
- Go Stargazing: Explore space and sketch the night sky or take photos of stars. If you truly want to be inspired, grab a telescope like this one for under $100 and explore the galaxy!
- Try Collage Making: Collect ephemera or materials and create a collage. Try making your own collage materials using a Gel press, acrylic paints, and some deli paper!
- Attend a Local Theater Performance: Enjoy storytelling in a different form and support your local artists!
- Take a Cooking Class. Cooking is like edible art, and it allows you to experiment with colors and textures.
- Visit a Flea Market: Find unique items for mixed media art at bargain prices.
- Explore Graffiti and Mural Art: Check out some of the street art in your city! Some cities even give mural tours, and you will be amazed at how talented these artists are. My hometown of Sacramento has an incredible mural tour sponsored by Wide Open Walls. Also, check out the Mural Festival in Macon, Georgia for more ideas!
- Try a New Medium: Experiment with a medium you haven’t tried before. Or try a new tool or practice on a new substrate.
- Attend a Poetry Reading: Listen to the spoken word for artistic inspiration.
- Create a Soundtrack for Your Art: If your art could talk, what would it sound like? Compile music that resonates with your work and make a soundtrack you can listen to in the studio.
- Visit an Aquarium: Get inspired by sketching sea creatures and underwater scenes. Bonus points for sketching the expressions of the kids at the shark tank!
- Attend a Dance Performance: Attend the ballet and capture the dancer’s movement in your art.
- Create a Miniature World: Create a diorama by using small objects to create a tiny scene. You can buy diorama kits or make your own using a small wooden box, found objects, glue, and your imagination!
- Experiment with Light Painting: Play with long-exposure photography and create incredible images.
- Take a Calligraphy Class: Explore the art of beautiful writing and incorporate some of your efforts in your art. You can teach yourself too – Just grab a fountain pen or calligraphy kit, a calligraphy pad, and start practicing! You can also check out a free youtube tutorial to learn!
- Explore Abandoned Places: Go on a road trip to see abandoned buildings, barns, or structures and capture their beauty in decay through photography or sketches.
- Try a DIY Craft: Make something from scratch using craft kits or exploring youtube videos.
- Attend a Cultural Festival: A lot of people get inspired by immersing themselves in a different culture. A cultural festival is the perfect place to enjoy exotic food, art, and even learn a new type of dance!
- Create Art Outdoors: Set up your easel in a local park or the beach at low tides, and paint en plein air.
- Design Your Own Tarot Cards: Personalize a deck with your art and treat your inner artist to a tarot reading!
- Create a Mandala: Make up your own design, focusing on patterns and symmetry – or grab some stencils and have fun coloring them yourself!
- Explore Macro Photography: Go out in nature and capture intricate details up close.
- Create a Comic Strip: Tell a story through sequential art. You can purchase a blank comic strip panel book for less than a fancy cup of coffee!!
- Visit a Vintage Bookstore: Old books are perfect for altered art projects or collages.
- Attend a Craft Fair: Get inspired by local artists selling their handmade crafts.
- Try Ink Blot Painting: Make your own blot paintings and let your imagination interpret the shapes.
- Create Art from Found Objects: Use everyday items to make art. For example, find rusty nails, washers, etc. on the street and make funny people or animal sculptures by gluing them to old cans and spice containers.
- Join an Art Supply Swap: Exchange art materials and craft supplies with other artists.
- Take a Hike and Sketch Landscapes: Capture scenic views in sketches or get an artist’s field kit and paint outdoors!
- Try Glassblowing: Find a hot glass shop or a local hot glass artist and experiment with molten glass.
- Visit a Sculpture Garden: Take a guided walk to observe and sketch sculptures.
- Create a Zine: Make and self-publish a small booklet of your art. Not sure how to make a zine? Here’s a link that shows you how!
- Take a Boat Ride and Sketch: Enjoy a ride on the water and capture scenes from the waves and shore.
- Attend a DIY Electronics Workshop: Combine art and technology and learn a new skill.
- Explore Your Neighborhood: Find hidden gems for inspiration.
- Create Art with Coffee or Tea Stains: Use these beverages as a base for your art. You can also use the tea bags for painting or for use in a collage!
- Go to the Movies: Analyze the storytelling techniques or learn about another artist’s life by watching on the big screen.
- Try Cyanotype Printing: Experiment with this photographic process and make beautiful prints using the sun!
- Go on an Art Retreat: Book a stay at an Air BnB or quiet place somewhere and spend time making art in a creative environment.
- Create a Dream Journal: Draw or write about your dreams in a journal you buy or use one you make yourself.
- Take a Sailing Trip: Get the sails up and enjoy the wind in your hair so you can later draw seascapes and boats.
- Try Shibori Dyeing: Experiment with fabric dyeing techniques to make pillows, towels, napkins, shirts, and more.
- Create a Travel Journal: Draw and document your travel adventures artistically.
- Attend a Nature Conservation Event: Get inspired by environmental activism.
- Experiment with Digital Art: Try your hand at digital painting or graphic design.
- Create a Playlist to Listen to While Making Art: Make up different playlists to match the music to the mood of your work.
- Attend a Aromatherapy Workshop: Learn the power of scents to inspire your art and use a diffuser to transmit the various fragrances into your studio to enhance your mood!
- Host an Art Picnic: Make a pitcher of your favorite beverage and host a pot luck with your favorite artistic friends. You can even use a canvas dropcloth and invite your friends to paint all over it. Afterward, cut it apart to make placemats, napkins, or even curtains!
- Create a Time Capsule: Make a small piece of art representing this moment in time and write a note about it. Place the piece in a small box or roll it up inside a bottle, toss it in the ocean, or bury it somewhere.
- Try Reverse Glass Painting: Paint on the backside of glass with acrylic glass paints.
- Attend a Stand-Up Comedy Show: Laughter helps you find humor in your art and enhances creativity!
- Create Art from Recycled Materials: Upcycle and create eco-friendly art. Try reusing canvases or old wood panels, or go to the dump and find old items to make found object sculptures from.
- Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride: Bring a small sketchbook and draw the landscape from above.
- Try 3D Printing: Bring your dimensional ideas to life with a 3D printer. These printers have become much more affordable and allow you to create your own sculptures or models.
- Attend a Color Theory Workshop: Learn about color relationships and try them out in your art. You can find classes through your local college, other artists, or even on youtube.
- Visit a Local Farmers’ Market: Fresh produce and flowers make beautiful photos and can inspire your drawings!
- Try Batik Painting: Get some fabric wax and experiment with wax-resist dyeing.
- Create Art from Maps: Use old maps as inspiration or part of your art. Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
- Attend a Meditation Class or Retreat: Meditation helps clear your mind, which opens your imagination for new creative ideas.
- Try Augmented Reality Art: Experiment with AR apps like Da Vinci Eye for art.
- Create a Vision Board: Manifest your own destiny by incorporating your thoughts and dreams with artistic elements. Here’s a game that can get you started!
- Visit a Historical Site: Find a historical site and learn about its impact. Try to capture the essence of the past in your art.
- Commit to an Art Challenge: Art challenges are a great way to meet other like-minded artists. And your challenge can be as simple as doing an art date each week to making something daily or weekly. Flex your imagination and enjoy the creative process!
- Attend a Comedy Improv Class: You can find these at your local comedy club or theatre group. Forcing yourself to perform in front of others can spur spontaneity in your art and you might just have a few laughs too.
- Try Mosaic Art: Explore the history of this incredible ancient art form and learn how to do it yourself using small pieces of pottery or broken dishes to create a larger image.
- Create Art from Shadow and Light: Here are 30 examples of shadow art to inspire you to experiment with shadows as an art form.
- Host a Collaborative Art Project: Work with other artists on a single piece – and record the process so you can see the changes from start to finish.
- Try Fluid Art: Experiment with pouring and blending colors. Here’s a kit under $20 that has everything you need to get started!
- Visit a Vineyard or Winery: Go wine tasting at a nearby vineyard and bring your sketchbook to draw the beautiful vineyards.
- Make a Textile Collage From Scraps or Old Clothes: Collect your old clothes or fabric scraps to sew or hand-stitch into a fabric collage. Here are some free tutorials to inspire you.
- Attend a Synchronized Swimming or Ice Skating Show: Like ballet, enjoy the movement and grace, then attempt to capture it in your art.
- Try Wood Burning: Learn the basics here, then experiment with your own affordable pyrography kit.
- Attend a Paint and Sip Workshop: Find a local workshop, then join other artists to paint while enjoying an adult beverage. If you can’t find a workshop locally, here’s an online group you can attend!
- Create Art from Found Poetry: Use existing text to create new art. For example, circle words on a page to create a new poem and paint over the surrounding space with gesso or paint. You can also cut out words or phrases to arrange into new poetry!
- Attend a Body Painting or Henna Workshop: Explore the ancient art of body decor and discover a unique canvas.
- Try Ice Sculpting: Experiment with a block of ice as a new sculpting medium.
- Create Art from Music Lyrics: Turn up your favorite song and Interpret the lyrics visually.
- Visit a Geology Museum: Study the patterns and textures of rocks and minerals for inspiration.
- Attend a Sound Bath Meditation: Sound baths are more popular now than ever – simply allow the tonal sound vibrations from the sound bowls to inspire your art while relaxing your body, mind, and soul!
- Try Encaustic Painting: Consider using hot wax mixed with resin as a new medium – it’s fun!
- Storytelling with Shadow Puppets: Find a dark space, add some light, and use your hands to tell a story using shadows.
- Host a Nature Art Workshop: Pick up interesting rocks, shells, seed pods, and more to create fabulous art out of all-natural materials.
- Attend Photography Workshop: Capture nature’s beauty and learn unique composition tricks while brushing up on your photography skills.
- Try Bonsai Tree Making: Explore the ancient art of bonsai and sculpt miniature trees.
- Plant an Herb Garden: Get your hands in the dirt and plant an edible garden of herbs. Find creative ways to incorporate them into your cooking.
- Visit a Lighthouse: These structures are magical and provide excellent opportunities to sketch coastal landscapes and architecture.
- Attend a Mindfulness Retreat: Calm your mind so you can practice being present for your art.
- Try Whittling or Wood Carving: Learn how to sculpt wood into intricate designs using a wood carving kit.
- Attend a local yoga or Pilates class: Stretching your muscles and moving your body feels amazing, plus it inspires the creative mind.
- Visit an Art Supply Store: Explore all the mediums and colors and find new supplies in your chosen art field.
- Play With Mud: Find a local pottery class and learn how to throw a pot or hand-build a vase!
- Create Art from Fabric Scraps: Make a textile collage or start a quilt.
- Visit an Antique Store: Find vintage items or examine old paintings for inspiration.
- Grab an Instrument: Have you always wanted to learn to play the harp or strum a guitar? Head to a local music shop and sign up for weekly lessons to learn how to play your favorite tunes.
- Try Balloon Art: Make funny hats or colorful animals with a balloon twisting kit for under $10!
- Head to a Nursery: Check out your local nursery or garden center, then make a succulent wreath or a terrarium.
- Host a Mini Art Exhibition: Get together with a couple of artist friends and host a mini art exhibition. Invite your family and friends, in addition to your collectors.
- Attend a Glass Fusing Workshop: Learn how to cut glass and make ornaments or garden art with warm glass.
- Try Printmaking: Experiment with linocut or etching techniques.
- People Watch: Take your sketchbook and find a quiet cafe or bar where you can draw interesting expressions, outfits or scenes.
- Attend a Fireworks Show: Take lots of photos, then head to the studio to recreate the bursts of light in sketches or photos.
- Try Spray Paint Art: Channel your inner graffiti artist and learn how to make a mural or scene using spray paint! Find a section of fence in your garden or the side of a shed and dedicate the space for learning your new art form.
- Create Art from Calligrams: Find a quiet spot and make up a poem or a graphic by using words formed into artistic shapes.
- Take a Perfume Making Class: Discover the art of perfume making, then create your own personal scent. Or buy a DIY perfume kit and make it yourself!
- Try Reverse Engineering Art: Recreate your favorite famous artist’s painting using your preferred medium and signature style.
Final Words About Artist Dates
The artist date does not always have to be somewhere you take yourself. For instance – try spending two hours journaling alone or teaching yourself how to paint with oil paints.
If you want an artist date with your spouse or child or another artist friend – then DO IT!
The key is to get away from the studio and do something creative. In other words, challenge yourself to do something other than what you normally do.
When you get outside of your artistic mind and away from your work, you’ll start seeing things in a different light.
So mix, match, and adapt these ideas to tailor your own unique artist date, and above all – have fun!
And if you need yet another artist date idea, consider joining an art challenge today!