Artist Date: Festival Day in Marion, IL

In her book, The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron reminds us that we need to refill our creative wells by taking ourselves on Artist Dates. An Artist Date can be anything that feeds your creativity, feeds your soul. My soul likes to see and hear things. I love live music. I love to people-watch. I love to troll through other people’s things, imagining their lives. (Legally, I promise–you won’t find me in your kitchen. Probably.)

My son and I go to a lot of museums and galleries, but in those places, so many of the beautiful, strange, valuable, story-laden objects are behind glass or electronic ropes. Museums have their place, but it’s a very different experience from life in the (semi-) wild.

This weekend I took myself out to Marion, Illinois, which is a short drive from where I live. A friend, Andrew Staff, was playing with his band, The Swamp Tigers, at something called “Hubfest.” I’m not sure what hub was being celebrated, but along with the music there were a few food caravans, local business displays, some bouncy houses, and a car show. It was brutally hot, and the crowd was small, lending a surreal aspect to the whole afternoon. The town square had been cleared of cars, making it seem vast and empty, and people wandered from one shady spot to another. Without the music, it would have been a strange, lusterless event. Things turned a lot more energetic when the vintage cars started arriving. But as a whole, it rather worked, and everyone seemed to be having a good time.

Along with The Swamp Tigers (you really should hear them, they’re terrific!), the other highlight of my afternoon was an hour at an antiques and collectibles shop called Pickers Paradise, on Jefferson Street. I was mesmerized. At first I thought I would probably just take pictures, but I ended up buying a few things that caught my eye. (There are too many pictures for one post. I’ll do one just for the shop next time.)


Calling all cars!


The once-upon-a-time city hall. And bank?


The Swamp Tigers


Love this. 


Ramblers weren’t exactly muscle cars. But these women look like they’re having a great time.



GTO. Nuff said.



Pretty sure this is a Barracuda. Not sure what year. 



Dreamy Corvette.



My friend, Andrew.


The Daiquiri/Corn Dog mashup freaks me out.




Crazy lady in a hat taking pictures.


Bell tower with chimes.




Officer Stearns.





More Mustang.



Gratuitous Mustang.



It was lonesome before the car show folks arrived.


Gratuitous Barracuda. Can’t get enough, obviously. 


It was way too hot to bounce. Unless you’re only five.


Cakes by Ally. They were melty, but delicious.


No way I could resist this.


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