Where to begin…. Again…….
I’ll let you into a secret.. Blank canvas syndrome is an actual thing. Stalling at the moment of creative freedom is the hurdle of almost anyone who ever picks up a brush or a pencil. We imagine ourselves unable to do this massively hard thing which encompasses our genius in one monumental piece of art. Over and over again.
We stand enraged at ourselves for being rubbish before we we even start
And then more often than not we don’t bother at all, because the fear of the creating bit is too big and too scary.
There are too many choices
I have noticed this human tendency in many situations, presented with a wobbly, new or challenging step in our lives, we revert to our most vulnerable, smallest sense of self. Some people can overcome this through having had positive childhood or life experiences, conditioning from supportive friends and especially from family . But let’s face it, for most of us, there have been enormous gaps in our well-being feedback, in relation to most aspects of anything we put out there, on show to the world…
If we can hide we often do
We can lose confidence and momentum as easily as we gain it, because humans want to believe their flaws out weigh their fantastic qualities.
Standing on the precipice of a chapter can be mind-blowing.
I know this to be true. You can fool yourself into believing there will be nothing there to fill the void.. you know nothing about his new thing yet, so how can you trust it? you will never reach the level of comfort you had before.. so best maybe to do what you always did.. and stay where you were ..oh so comfortable….
and the magic and experiences waiting for you can never be.
Life isn’t a straight line though, like a bus chugging through the things we do, forgettable and then starting over again tomorrow. Your skills and wisdom back-back gets fuller as you go, and you will only ever ripen in yer old age.. It doesn’t matter what your fears are. Moving out of a loveless home, leaving a job, starting a new group or an activity you dreamed of doing when you were a kid.. If you need to do it from the bottom of your boots.. then the layers you have grown over your heart will turn slowly into your new jet pack.. and give you wings..
Each day, and situation isn’t a blank canvas .
We are an accumulation of all that we have ever done so far.
A million moments we either choose to remember, celebrate or let pass by..
Each one slowly feeds us and our mind absorbs the important bits , inspiring future ideas; the big, important, or small, perfectly formed thoughts..the trick is to find your connection with what makes your hear sing;
When we look for inspiration, or start a new artwork or project, we can be overwhelmed with self doubt .And we do the same with our own self image. We look at what we see in the mirror as less than perfect, swamping the whole picture , to reinvent ourselves once more and catch something new, which perfectly represents our ultimate ‘self.’
Only , that particular fairy has wings. You’ll not catch her. She is a million fractured images at once, absorbed from past memories, experiences, joys and pain and can only ever be fleeting.. All you can do is be grateful for a good photograph occasionally, and smile as much as possible.. because it is the least aging facial contortion!
As some-one who has been recently forced to look at pictures of themselves less able than they were, and not even know how lucky I was at the time, please take it from me that focusing on the perfections of what you look like NOW is so so so not important. It is about getting to know who you are this minute and to like them, trust your own brand of creativity without judgement, both in the mirror and on your canvas.
Sometimes the more perfect we are the less we know ourselves..The more layers we apply to our guarded hesitant approach , the further away from freedom we have.
Enjoy your face but it’s what you do with it next that counts…
Last week my daughter and I went to see Mama Mia at the Maltings in Berwick. We sat in the disabled bay with a man in a wheelchair. On paper tell me how fun that sounds?
Well stop. Let me tell you, that between us, the lovely stewards (a very sweet couple) and a bag of jelly babies .. we probably had more fun than anyone in the cinema. Nobody cared we were singing and laughing out loud and we watched the film directly from the heart instead of from the perception of how it would look to others if we made a fool of ourselves. It was magical, memorable and we made three new friends.
It is possible to enjoy yourself..
A surface of many types is just the beginning. Step one. The beginning of a chapter or an adventure. It is meant by its nature to be weathered and roughed up a bit, textured and aged until it’s true nature appears. If we know this we can see past the fear of the blank, because the joy of the process of seeking it out is part of the fun.
Let the magic happen.
And if it is your canvas giving you blank stares.. do one of the following;
How to Texture Your Painting surface
1 Cover the surface with pa and water, then tissue paper and then more p.v.a, flattening gently as you go with more gluey gloop and a big brush .
2 Scrape a layer of texture onto your canvas, using acrylic paints in either a rough approximation of your finished colour scheme or an opposite one ( complimentary colours can peep through your final work and look very effective.
3 Scrape on paint or an acrylic medium, or paint with a texture by adding sand .. then scratch into it with a card edge, tooth pick or press into your surface with bubble wrap or lace.
4 Fill your surface with pattern and image from magazine cuttings, in the same way as Idea 1, make sure they are nice and flat to work on. To make this slightly easier when you paint on top you can always glaze over with a very watery white acrylic wash 50% water/50% acrylic.
5 After priming with a basic colour, draw on your canvas without looking directly at it. Do it with a really loose paint mix with a long brush or a stick with an oil pastel attached to the end. keep you marks really fluid and loose , enjoying the flow and rhythm of your idea without the constraints of your four canvas sides.
6 And when you start painting or applying your actual layers, don’t tighten up too much initially.. Try adding your detail with more tissue, or add torn -up older cast off artwork as an under-layer..
The recipe for good things takes time. Often we look at a person and their creations and think they appeared fully formed and gorgeous out of nowhere.. as if by magic. My guess is that they too have stood in new shoes..
Get your foundation right and the rest will follow..
You wouldn’t plonk on beautiful make up without prepping your skin first .. to make it last, attach itself and shine out. And the best faces, rooms, stories, canvases and relationships are built upon over time and with experience and wisdom . Trust what you know no matter what or who anyone else imagines you are.
Artwork works when there is a depth, texture and a hint of what has brought you to its creation. Just please don’t confuse your surfaces.
Its quite hard to eat your tea if your face is covered in magazine cuttings.
Fill in the the blanks with your fabulous selves..
Love Liz xxx