My Artist's Way Adventure: Week 1 - The Shadow Artist

This is Week 1 of Carprincess’s Artist Way Adventure

If you haven't already read The Artist’s Way Adventure – Prologue, then you might want to read through that and come back here later.



Optimism and skepticism dominated my emotions for my first week of The Artist's Way. I was optimistic because the Morning Pages I had been doing for a month had been yielding little results. I felt skeptical because after reading the prologue of The Artist's was a bit too preachy for my standards.

My Artist's Way journey began on May 7th. I spent the first half of the day reading through the prologue and then the first week. It was a lot of material, some I didn't agree with and some others I did. I highlighted several parts of both chapters and reread parts to make sure that I was properly digesting the information.

Artist Way Lesson: The Shadow Artist

The concept of The Shadow Artist was interesting. While I felt it didn't necessarily apply to me 100%, I could see how this applied to several of my friends. These are people I know who work jobs outside of the creative field. I even spoke to my significant other who agreed with several points the book brought up about the Shadow Artist. The Shadow Artist was a concept that I was not skeptical of when I read it.

For those who are in the dark about what I'm talking about, or who are in the 'shadow', let me explain.

The Shadow Artist - and I'm paraphrasing - is an individual who is an artist, but due to circumstances keeps that artist tucked within themselves and do not let it out. If this sounds familiar, it's because Shadow Artists become 'patrons' of what are considered 'real artists' instead of believing in themselves and their creative self. They admire artists because they believe they are not "true" artists.

The reason why I don't consider myself a Shadow Artist is because I am an artist. I may not be the best artist, but I am an artist.

The Artist Way Tasks of the Week

To get the inner artist out, Week 1 is about encouraging the artist to come out of the shadows and into the light. I wrote several phrases over and over again to increase my self-esteem. This, in turn, would reassure myself that I am a good artist. Along with the affirmations, I needed to write whatever 'blurts' my inner critic would spit out along with a positive statement afterward. Blurts are sudden negative thoughts that follow positive ones.

I did this writing exercise in my Morning Pages and also in my bullet journal. In my Morning Pages, I kept it stream of consciousness and altered the phrases from time to time. In my bullet journal I wrote out any blurts in red pen to have a visual of how many times my inner critic would spit out venom.

What I found interesting was once I said an affirmation to counter the critic, the inner critic would back off for a bit before coming up with a new insult.

Another task was to write a list of 'heroes' and 'monsters' in my life. Heroes are people who encourage me to follow my creative dreams and feed my artistic side. Monsters are people who discourage me. Honestly, it was difficult to write a monster's list because I am my worst critic. The book says otherwise. It claims that the reason our inner critics are so loud is that it is a combination of all the 'monsters' in our lives.

The most satisfying assignment was to write a letter to one 'hero' and mail it to them. I picked my art teacher that taught me during my high school years and expressed my thanks to her. While I sent her the letter a week later, I did write it during Week 1. The best part of this assignment was being able to make her feel good with my gratitude. It's nice to hear that what you are doing is affecting others in a positive way. She even sent me a message on Facebook with the picture of her card expressing her thanks.

Another highlight of Week 1 was my twenty-minute walk. I work in the city and thanks to this, there are plenty of wonderful places to walk. Instead of taking a subway, I walked approximately 15 blocks and witnessed a street performance along with lots of tourists and locals. The show was excellent with the performers and their witty banter.

My Artist Date

I did my Artist Day immediately. Initially I planned to go to a museum, but instead, I participated in an acrylic painting class. The last time I painted anything was years ago. I have a love-hate relationship with acrylics.

Luckily for me, there was a class on that Sunday and I was able to sign up on the same day. The picture was a beach scene and we were encouraged to add our own personal 'flare' to our work as we followed along with the instructor.

I enjoyed painting the sky while I loathed painting the dunes for the bottom half of my painting. My inner critic was loud as I struggled with mixing the paint and satisfying the perfectionist who wanted the picture to be 'perfect'. I found myself repeating the fact that this was an Artist Date and not an exam. My anxiety and fear of failure constantly got in the way of my experience, but it was something I expected since this was not my first time painting.

All in all, I had a good time. With my constant reminders to relax and to try to enjoy the experience, I managed to step away from the painting and have something beautiful to hang in my office.

Conclusion of the Artist Way Week 1

Week 1 was interesting. I was eager to do all the tasks given to me and it made my Morning Pages easier to write. While I wasn't the 'perfect' student and was a bit tardy with some tasks (i.e. mailing the card I wrote) I did overall feel confident about my progress.

Did you start your Artist Way Adventure? Feel free to comment or tweet your responses to Twitter, I would love to hear from you!