I have been doing art for well over 20 years and the initial feeling when starting a piece is still the same. I have a love/hate relationship with a white canvas. Love; being it provides a space for me to exclusively express my feelings, record my thoughts, and play with creating something out of nothing. Hate; being its whiteness tends to exude an intimidating authority over me, harshly judging all of my first marks. Oh, wait…or is that my own harsh judgement being reflected on its surface? So, the hate actually would be my insecurities being reflected back at me.
There is something to say about us artists pushing through our weak beginnings; defeating the perfectionism that can so easily paralyze, particularly at the inception of a piece of art. I find I have to push through ‘the ugly stage’ of my art in hopes of seeing beauty birthed at some point.
I had a college drawing professor who forbade his students the use of erasers. He did this to force us to deal with our mistakes and to learn from the recorded path of trial and error. I see so clearly now the valuable life lesson in that practice.
I can’t help but to dumb it down further for myself…that it is a ‘get to’ not a ‘got to’. I have to change my attitude when faced with a blank canvas. I ‘get to’ take the opportunity to generously fill this white space with my own marks, however imperfect they may be VS. I have ‘got to’ fill this canvas with absolute perfection, an immediate masterpiece…right here, right now. The latter of course takes the true art experience completely out of the process. It is about seeing the blank canvas or paper, etc. as a platform gifted to me. I ‘get to’ receive it, which pushes me into a place of gratitude and not intimidated obligation. Working out of a place of thanks for the tools, the skills, the ability and the inspiration is much more preferable to working against any fear, frustration, intimidation or inadequacy. Such contentment and gratitude can only further feed the work and its originality.