Creative Living with Jamie Episode 287:
The Path of Artistic Deotion
There is an undiscovered country that exists in the arts, a world between play and professional – and there is magic there. If it speaks to your heart, you just might be called to the path of artistic devotion.
Resources & Mentions
Welcome to Creative Living with Jamie. I’m your guide Jamie Ridler and on this podcast you and I are going to go on a great many adventures together. We’ll explore all aspects of what it means to live a creative life and we’ll embrace ourselves as artists. We’ll get curious, we’ll wonder and we’ll follow inspiration. We’ll wrestle with tough questions and we’ll brave challenges and sometimes will ask our friends for help. Along the way we will discover our courage, our confidence, ourselves and one another. We’ll come to know our artistic hearts and from there we will create. And that’s when the magic happens.
Episode 287: The Path of Artistic Devotion
I hope that your summer is unfurling beautifully, that the plans you made when we journaled together for the Summer Solstice are starting to come to fruition. Maybe listening today is a good little nudge to check in on those plans and see if it’s time for some course correction or adjustments based on, well, you know, life and the new things you are discovering each day. I really believe in the magic of setting our direction and making plans and I believe that ultimately, they are meant to be nourishing supports that shift and grow as we do and as life progresses. So when you refer to your plans, let them be a reminder of what matters to you not a tool for pushing or beating yourself up.
The point isn’t to follow the plan.
The point is to live a life you want to be living.
Speaking of which, if you are here, I know that one of the things that matters deeply to you, one of the things that is a central part to the life you want to be living is your creativity. You are an artist at heart and that may show up in a million different ways from writing songs to planting seeds, to teaching workshops to designing your home, to doing improv to documenting life.
Because I know this about you, I want to share with you one of the most meaningful concepts I’ve ever shared, one I’ve been working with intimately for the past two years – the concept of a middle path in the arts, a path between play and profession, a deep and meaningful third way that I call the Path of Artistic Devotion. I’ve actually created an amazing immersive artist-in-residence program based on this idea and I’ll be offering it again this fall. I will tell you more about that in Studio News but first I want to share with you one of the first times I shared this concept. It was in a Behind the Scenes episode over on YouTube. I’ll link to it in the show notes too but I’ve lifted the audio for you here today. I hope this introduction to the concept of Devotion speaks to your creative heart. Here we go.
The Creative Magic of the In Between (Behind the Scenes)
Hey, everybody. Welcome behind the scenes here at Jamie Ridler Studios. I am Jamie and I’ve got two of the studio kittens with me here today. So, we have Escher at the window there, intently looking at something and Shibumi. Hello, Shibumi. She doesn’t like noise, so she’ll probably be out of here soon.
I have been thinking about something, something that has been so present in my work as a creative coach, something that has been so present in my life as a creative being and something that goes so unnamed in the world and I hope I can name it today.
I’ll be very curious to hear your response to this, to hear your experience with this. It seems to me that most often the arts and creativity are kind of pushed into two ends of a very opposite spectrum. On the one hand we have the arts over here, where they are playful and fun, where getting to do some creative stuff feels like recess. It feels like being a kid again, feels like play and it’s a hobby. It’s for fun. It’s an extra. It is a light and lovely part of your life. Maybe you recognize that as a way that you relate to the arts and creativity.
On the other end of the spectrum is the professional world, the world of excellence, the world of achievement, the world of fame maybe or at least acknowledgement within a certain community. We have the professional ballet dancers. We have artists who show their work in galleries. We have writers who are published.
Those are the two ways that we relate to the arts.
One of the things I want you to know. Is there is this whole secret world in between.
I noticed that with my clients, with people who have a creative spirit, who are called to a creative life who want to devote and dedicate their time, their energy, their resources to bringing art to life, any kind of art, they want to, with great passion, develop a skill of painting, of playing the piano, of singing, of writing poetry, of writing memoir, of watercolor, of oil painting, whatever it is.
You can see how this doesn’t fit necessarily easily in either category.
It is different than play because there’s this passionate intensity and a desire to improve, a desire to create (not just practice) and desire to move into projects, maybe even to share it with the world.
And there’s a way that the concept of professionalism is a barrier (we talked about this a bit last week) where somebody else has to let you in let you into the school, let you into the facility, lets you into the program, lets you into the publishing world, the performing world. That is open to such a small percentage of the creative population, even the people who have dedicated themselves to that pursuit.
And then again, there is this magical world in between.
What I’ve seen in my clients as I have done creative coaching for many years now. I see in my clients this frustration that their passion, their devotion, doesn’t have a road because it’s not play and maybe it has been for years and their family understands that it’s, you know, it’s cool that once a month you get together with your girlfriends and you do art journaling or it’s cool that once a week you focus on your knitting circle or whatever it is, but you know this is a hobby. It’s something that it shouldn’t take up too much of your life or your days. It shouldn’t be so present or take away from the rest of life. It certainly shouldn’t take you away from your family or your work or your responsibilities because it’s just for fun, right?
So there’s that.
And then there’s people who come there like, I really love doing this thing, and I want to do this thing all the time so I need to make money off of it. I need to step into that professional realm because when I make money at it, then I’m allowed to spend time on it. Then I’m allowed to spend resources on it. Then it makes sense that it can take up so many hours of my week because I’m making money. I’m a professional. This is what I have to do.
So, Limited scope, play, only limited time or resources.
Paid professional, all your time and resources, open to very few.
What about all this in between?
What about the people who wake up every morning to work on their memoirs for 30 years?
What about the people who are quilting, that learned it from master quilters, who learned it from master quilters and who will pass on their skills to people who will become master quilters?
What about artists who dedicate themselves to learning the medium of watercolor, who have stacks and stacks and stacks of work, who feel most alive when they are sitting down to paint?
This is a valid road.
This is a road that is unrecognized, a land that is not acknowledged in the world of the arts, the land of the passionate devotee, the person who is an acolyte of art. A person who. Is committed to art or many arts. It’s about themselves in a very personal, in a very sacred way, but also about the art in a way that is about honoring it, about mastery, about engaging, about understanding ourselves in the world better through the arts. This is a valid real pursuit, worthy of respect, honour, time. It is your soul. It is your spirit.
It may encompass the other ends of this spectrum. You may have days where you play and delight and laugh and mess around on the page with no intention other than to have fun. And you may, out of all the work you do in a lifetime, you may perform. You may publish. You may show your work. There may be that piece too. You may get paid for what you’ve created.
All of these things can be encompassed and rarely get left out, but this piece in the middle, this piece about pursuing your art out of the passion and truth of your heart, out of honouring the work and honouring your soul, I’m here to tell you today it is a valid, noble and worthwhile path.
And if you are on it, I support you. I cheer you on. I recognize and share with you that this is a place that so many people who have come to me live.
You are not alone. Your arts belong to you.
Please tell me if you relate to this, if you recognize that distinction between “we’re allowed to have art as play,” and “we’re allowed to have art as profession.” But this Gray area in between, we don’t even know how to name it. And yet, it’s truthfully where our artistic heart thrives and creates.
So, do you recognize this third way? Does it call to your artistic heart? I hope that listening today has opened up some possibilities for your creative path. One of those possibilities might be joining me for Devotion this fall. Let me tell you a bit about it in, Studio News!
Imagine three months immersed n your creative work, fully embracing yourself as an artist. Imagine being a part of a supportive artistic community and having me as your creative coach. Imagining creating a body of work and making tangible progress on your artistic path. Imagine deepening your creative roots and unfurling your artistic wings.
That is what you will do in a season of Devotion.
I designed this program to help you forge an unshakeable relationship with your art, whatever your medium. When you step into Devotion, it is your time to stop struggling to believe in yourself as an artist, to stop pushing and proving and striving. In Devotion, you learn to trust yourself, to show up for the work and to create what only you can create in this world.
I created Devotion because I want you to know what it means to simply be the artist you were always meant to be.
Here’s something Sam Tucker had to say after a season of Devotion…
I couldn’t even envision the specifics of how this book would unfold. I had been writing it, putting it down, knowing that my story was still being lived, right? Within one week of Devotion, I had a full table of contents. I had everything listed out. A few of the stories are still unnamed but I had a structure that works. I had clarity immediately. So I’d say the very first thing, because it was foundational and to where I got to and where I am now is about 60% done with the book. That was in 3 months!
Without Devotion, there’s no way I would be where I am today. Absolutely. Yes, I did the work, but it extracted it out of me. It magnetized myself to my work and that magnetized me to living more fully, more authentically, looking at the places where I had been trying to please other people and not myself. It was 100% on “this is my dream” and no one questioned that.
Artists have done amazing things in their season of Devotion. They have worked on memoirs, novels and music. They have created sculptures, illustrations, sketchbooks and surface pattern designs. They have worked in oil, watercolour, pastel, paper-cutting, collage, textiles and much more. They’ve also broken free of perfectionism, ruts and creative blocks. They have learned to say yes to themselves and their art (even when it meant saying no to others). They have exponentially grown their creative confidence and they have come home to who they are – an artist through and through.
Early bird registration for the fall season is currently open for the wait list and open registration opens August 7th. This is an intimate program. I want to be sure that every artist is seen and heard. And yes, that means this isn’t a place you can come and hide. It’s a place to be seen and recognized, finally, as the artist you were always meant to be. If that calls to you, come on by openthedoor.ca and check out Devotion. I’ll have a direct link in the show notes.
Maybe you and I will be spending a season creating together. I can hardly wait.