12
Dec
12

White Canvas of Doom


I’m back at that place where I have an empty white canvas to deal with. I’ve finished the paintings I was working on and I need to start something new.blank canvas

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.

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2 Responses to “White Canvas of Doom”


  1. December 12, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    Same for me with a blank page in writing , sometimes the spark can be anything and running with a first thought is great fun

  2. December 13, 2012 at 8:08 am

    Thanks for your comment clawfish.
    Whether writing or painting, I find that ideas are more likely to flow after I’ve written those first words or made those first marks. The ideas come during the process of creation and not before.
    My biggest breakthrough was in realising that I didn’t have to keep the things I started with – I can delete or paint over those opening paragraphs or early brush strokes.


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