Close your eyes. Dream deep. Relax, and visualize a busy city street. As you walk along, window-shopping, you find yourself drawn to a little café with a few small round tables on the sidewalk. You've never seen this place before, and you're intrigued by the place. It seems to be a sort of haven for artistic types.
As you approach, you see a young man with dark hair scribbling away at a poem in his feverish notebook, hunched over a cup of coffee. At another table, a red-headed beauty is sketching with colored pencils on thick, delicious paper. The tantalizing aromas of coffee and chocolate, fresh bread and cinnamon, lure you inside. You step up to the counter to order, but the menu's like nothing you've ever seen before. It is scribbled on a giant chalk board, above the counter.
Nourishing the Artist Within
Serving Fresh Inspiration Daily!
Coffee (Bottomless Cup) $2
Inspiration No Charge
Pastries, Bread, and Other Goodies Prices Vary
Blank Journals and Art Supplies Available Upon Request
Strapped for Cash? Ask About Our
Starving Artists' Discount Program!
"May I help you?" A young woman dressed in a flowing dress asks politely.
"Coffee with a side of inspiration, please," you say, half-joking.
"Coming right up," she said with a smile. "Find a table, I'll bring it out."
You move through the busy café, settling on a table outside. Gazing around, you notice an elderly man sculpting something from blue modeling clay. He has a blissful expression on his face. He gives you a beatific smile.
"First time here?" he asks, and you just nod. "I've been coming here for years since I was just a kid, about your age. Of course, the name was different back then everything was different. But the coffee tasted just the same. Best coffee in the city."
At that perfect moment, your coffee is served. The barista brings it on a small tray, with cream and sugar, and a blue rose in a little bud vase. There's also a thick sketchbook, a package of oil pastels, a box of colored pencils, and some watercolors too.
"Thank you." You take a sip, savoring the rich dark brew. "It's delicious." She turns away with a smile. You look around for a likely subject, eventually settling on the old man and his blue sculpture, with the little blue rose in the foreground. You sketch in bliss, sipping the excellent coffee and enjoying the day. It's a perfect place to people-watch, and soon you find yourself sketching a street scene. Before you know it, you've made five new sketches and drunk three cups of coffee. When the barista brings your check, you reach into your pocket and find you've left your wallet at home.
Embarrassed, you say, "I've forgotten my wallet I'm so sorry. I'll run right home and get it, I promise"
Laughing, she shrugs it off. "Why not pay with one of your sketches instead?" she asks, glancing at your work. "I like this one the best," she says, pointing to a close-up view of the little blue rose's indigo blossom.
"Really? I could do that?"
"Of course. I'll hang it up inside, and you can drink coffee for free for the next month. Pastries are on the house, too." She holds out a hand, and you shake it to seal the deal. With ceremony, she tears up your bill and hands you a small silver token imprinted with a rose. "Here show this when you come in, and everyone will know you're taken care of."
Examining the token, you smile. On one side is the image of a paintbrush and a fork. The other bore the legend, "Let no artist hunger for food, nor inspiration." You look up to thank her, but the mysterious woman is gone. Pocketing the token, you leave the café behind and wander the streets, returning gradually to the mundane world. When you are ready, open your eyes. You may return here any time you have need of fresh, hot coffee and inspiration.
©2011 Molly Anderson-Childers and Chris Dunmire. All rights reserved.
To take this guided imagery journey a bit further, take your Inner Artist out to lunch. Order your favorite dishes and sketch the afternoon away, scribble in your journal, or just people-watch.
When you're ready, sketch a few scenes from the café to help commemorate your creative journey thus far. Design a new menu for Café Nur-Tur, listing all the things your Inner Artist most needs to taste, touch, and experience in order to stay juicy and inspired. Keep the menu in your journal, or hang it in your studio as a reminder for you to seek creative nourishment whenever you have need of some juicy inspiration.