“Personally, I experience the greatest degree of pleasure in having contact with works of art. They furnish me with happy feelings of an intensity such as I cannot derive from other realms.” ~ Albert Einstein

“The excellency of every art is its intensity, capable of making all disagreeable evaporate.” ~ John Keats

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by intense feelings, unsure how to describe them or what do to with them? Or do you feel the need for an emotional kick start to your day or life to remind you of how good it is to feel?

For anyone who strives to create, taking the time to be in the presence of art of any kind is part of our emotional education. What matters is not so much that we write an essay or blog post about a trip to an art museum or can explicate poetry or describe the history of an art movement, but that we allow ourselves to feel the intensity inherent in creativity. Sometimes that intensity mirrors and validates our own. Other times it inspires us to make room for more emotional depth and creativity within ourselves.

Let’s take a page from Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way and many other books about creativity, and give ourselves an Artist Date this week—an hour or two when we immerse ourselves in some kind of art experience to recharge our creative energy and restock our emotions. Cameron suggests we do this alone, but we can do it with family or friends, too, as long as we don’t get caught up in evaluating our experience or talking about it too much. The goal is simply to feel:

“The Artist Date is a once-weekly, festive, solo expedition to explore something that interests you. The Artist Date need not be overtly ‘artistic’– think mischief more than mastery. Artist Dates fire up the imagination. They spark whimsy. They encourage play. Since art is about the play of ideas, they feed our creative work by replenishing our inner well of images and inspiration.” ~ Julia Cameron

My Artist Date this weekend is to catch the Impressionism: Masterworks on Paper exhibit at the Milwaukee Art Museum before it leaves. How about you?