To be honest, I have TWO white surfaces to deal with. One stretched and primed canvas and a sheet of primed Masonite/hardboard. I’ve read that some people are intimidated by the blankness of a new painting surface, like writers facing an empty page, struggling for ideas, not knowing how to start.
Sometimes I start a painting with a particular artist in mind. Would I be able to approximate their style and technique? While the result looks nothing like the work I had in mind, it gives me a starting point that evolves as I add and scrape away layers of paint.
My problem with the blank canvas isn’t a lack of ideas. I have too many things I’d like to try, but as soon as I start putting marks on the white surface, I ‘ve committed myself to NOT trying so many of the other things I’d like to do. The hard decision is choosing what I want to do first, something that won’t have me wondering what I could have been doing, if only I’d started with one of the other ideas.
However, since most of the time I end up doing three or four paintings on top of each other before I find something I like, it doesn’t matter what I start with because it’s likely to be buried under several layers of paint anyway. Those paintings I consider to be my successes usually come about through trying to hide the mistakes I’ve made during the preliminary stages of the painting.