How to get over a blank canvas?

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Product of a few hours of work unfinished seascape, day 1 in acrylic

How do you begin? That is the hardest part.

Twyla Tharp talks about walking into an empty dance studio to create a dance piece in her book The Creative Habit:

To some people, this empty room symbolises something profound, mysterious and terrifying; the task of starting with nothing and working your way toward creating something whole and beautiful and satisfying

(P5 The Creative Habit, Tharp Twyla, Simon and Schuster edn 2006)

It can be the most terrifying, paralysing feeling and I am if anything a PhD level procrastinator. Staying at home, left to your own devices the first surprising thing you learn is independence. I was dependent on routine, on work being provided on a place of work being provided. Friends, lunch time, end of day were all decided for me in some ways. The astounding thing was my whole life revolved around that schedule. The dilemma was how to take charge of this life and start creating something useful (forget about beautiful and satisfying for the moment) on the metaphorical canvas of life and the real one as an artist.

So I referred it to Google. And Google referred me to Twyla Tharp. That is also the first lesson in independence. If you want to find something do it yourself don’t wait for some miracle or an answer from the heavens. I know some will call it initiative but I like calling it independence because its not just one skill, its an approach to life.

Anyway back to Twyla Tharp she talks about establishing a routine, a ritual to start your day. I really had to think of that one. Yoga first thing sounds lovely, but I’m not that developed a human being. Turning the music on, making coffee all sounds good but for me would lead to distractions and digressions. The dishwasher would need emptying and you can’t really have one cup of coffee, you need another. After a lot of you guessed it procrastination I decided I needed to begin without a preamble. My ritual was not to have a ritual at all. It was to return home (from the school run) and go straight to my work space to begin. I might then work for only a couple of hours but making a start itself was a direct call to the muses.

 

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