It's tough being creative when you have a bunch of negative emotions pounding in your head, it can feel like a futile task.
Sometimes the only way to get those creative gears spinning, is by dropping everything and just run away from your life for a day.
As most photographers know, running your own business is stressful, and if you're alone it can feel like a crushing weight on your shoulders. You have to be the talent, the marketer, the business manager, the vendor relations person, the event planner, the retoucher, the everything; when the only thing you really want to be is the photographer, the artist.
That's how I felt last month (and pretty much all the time), that is until I took a trip to visit Monet's Gardens in Giverny.
It saved me from losing my mind.
Giverny is a short train ride out of Paris, when I got there I discovered a beautiful quiet little town. It had everything that I needed.
- No people
- Quaint restaurants
It wasn't just my business I needed to get away from, it was society and people in general. The town was almost deserted as the high tourist season was over, a grey day with gentle rain waiting to fall at a moments notice. Put simply; it was perfect.
I started out visiting an exhibit that talked about impressionist art and photography. The photo's of past photographers were moving. I couldn't wait to see the gardens and see what Monet and these photographers saw and to feel what they felt.
I was pretty disappointed when I got the Monet's house. There was a school group visiting, intruding on my people free trip. The house was small, not very interesting, and you couldn't take pictures inside! My annoyance meter was rising quickly.
But then I found a sign pointing to an underground passage, "Water Garden." My excitement returned as I took the steps down, being careful not to slip on the rain drenched stairs.
When I emerged I felt like Alice, in Alice in Wonderland or like I opened a magical wardrobe and was transported to Narnia, from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe or any one of my favorite childhood books that promised adventure in a new and far away land.
I stayed for hours forgetting about the light drizzle that had started and let myself get lost in time, in history and in art.
I photographed the rain trickled flowers, the reflections in the the water, the spider resting on the tip of a fern, the bridges, the water lilies, the mushrooms; hell, I even tried photographing the rain at one point (didn't work).
4 hours and 2 memory cards later by body reminded me that I need to feed my stomach as much as my creativity, so I reluctantly left for a late lunch. I found a restaurant, enjoyed a nice meal, walked around the town a bit more and then it was time to catch the bus back to the train.
When I left, I felt like a new person, I felt connected to all the creative juices and inspiration I could ask for.
Monet really did have the right idea. It made me realize that I need to give myself a day each month where I can runaway from everything and reconnect, with not just my art, but with myself.
I highly recommend this for all creatives, step away and find something that reminds you why you do what you do and why all the stress is worth it. Maybe even find a way to walk with those who inspire you, they have lessons that will be taught throughout time.
Like the photographers who's work I saw in the exhibit, walk in the footsteps of giants and find a way to leave your own path behind.