A blank canvas can be a terrifying thing. All those possibilities. All those ideas waiting to be translated from your thoughts into something physical and publicly visual.
And all the things that can go wrong in the process.
Or a half-finished piece, one you’re quite pleased with. It’s progressing well. You leave it for a while, till you next find the time and inspiration to pick up where you left off. That’s when THE FEAR can kick in. What if I muck it up?
Part of the process of becoming a mature artist is learning how to overcome that fear. Or is it? Do great artists also wrestle with pangs of insecurity?
“Every creator painfully experiences the chasm between his inner vision and its ultimate expression.” Isaac Bashevis Singer
I recently finished a painting that I’d been ‘working on’ for about 7 years. It had sat there, taunting me from the corner of my atelier. There was something not right about it, but I couldn’t put my finger on what that something was.
With just a day to go before the end of the year, I gathered my resolve, gave myself a mental kick up the backside and just got started. So what if it goes wrong? It’s better to have tried and failed than to leave it unfinished, surely. I’ll just chalk that up to experience.
As with anything, there’s no way to become better at something if you don’t actually practice. Not everything needs to be perfect from the outset. Each imperfect result is an experience to learn from. Or in other words, imperfection seeds improvement. (My new mantra?)
It also can create intrigue. How many times have you stood in a gallery or museum, gazing at a masterpiece, only to realise when you look really close up that there are supposed errors, gaps, corrections and imperfections. Who cares! Sure, technique is important, but the end result is king. What does the piece DO to you?
So dust off the cobwebs, banish the fear and put a new dollop of paint on your brush…