Are You Afraid Of The Blank Canvas?

I stare at a blank page, either in writing or art, and it invokes a terror that makes any household chore appealing. What do I do? I use one medium to feed the other. I make sure to NOT start out with a blank canvas or a blank page. 

Why scare myself on purpose?

Over the weekend I read one of my favorite art magazines, Somerset Studio. It’s a magazine about paper crafting and mixed media arts. It’s a hobby I’ve enjoyed the past few years. I loved art classes as a kid and still enjoy museums and art fairs. Yet, for years I didn’t think much about creating my own art. Then one winter a good friend of mine asked if I would attend an art class with her and so started my love affair with mixed media and art journaling. 

One tip from the instructor stuck with me. If your empty page feels intimidating, glaze it with a paint color, glue some scrap paper down, or draw some squiggle lines. You can always go back and gesso over it if you don’t like it.

The point was to make the page contain something. When there is something there (color or words) I can keep adding and layering and eventually have a Creation.

When I found art journaling (painting, drawing, glueing, and writing all mixed together) it opened my inner mind to a different visual perspective. Every time I associated words to my art those visual stimulations created an overdrive in my brain of writing possibilities. And it didn’t just happen with writing. I would get other eureka moments and even have dreams that inspired my writing, my work, my household projects. 

The writer I am loves to create worlds in my mind and what the people are doing in those worlds. Novels are only visual in the mind which makes them so good. Our minds are limitless and boundless in our ability to imagine. My art (which is only for me) enhances this process.

I take a scene I’ve been pondering and worrying about incessantly and break it down to a color. This color goes on the white canvas in any media I want or have around. It could be a representation of what I’m feeling or just something that strikes my eye and appeals to me. Or, if not the actual scene itself, I work on the canvas as a way to get out my pent up frustrations about how the writing is going or something happening in my life that I want to let out but don’t have the words to do it. The art making in turn helps me imagine a new world, a new character, and keep my motivation high.

After I finished reading my magazine and had all those wonderful images from it floating around in my head, I realized I had not made the time to art journal or do any type of art in months. No wonder my writing life had seemed so dull and lifeless. I needed the colors to inspire me and get my motivation revved up. 

I’m going to create a art journal page this week which I’ll post next week and I’ll let you know how it inspired my writing.  

Is there a visual medium that gets your creativity flowing in a natural and easy way? Perhaps you are more audio. Let me know.