As I was preparing myself for the Pancakes & Booze art show I participated in last month, I realized something upon beginning a new piece. I was facing “blank canvas” syndrome. Yes, another term for yet another common artist ‘dilemma’.
“Blank Canvas” syndrome is the fear of starting a new painting, which results in procrastination. This fear is caused by feelings of self-doubt and the artist’s personal expectations for his/her work. Negative thoughts begin to surface, such as “what if it isn’t as good as the last one” or “this idea may not work”. Upon experiencing this period of doubt, I found an eye opening article on Red Dot Blog. I’ve provided the link to the blog post here .
Here is an excerpt from one of my favorite points in the article:
Focus on the process rather than the product
Stay in the moment for as long as possible, and focus on the satisfying process of creating rather than on how the finished artwork will look and what will happen with it next. Worrying about all the what-ifs can be paralyzing. Enjoy the feeling of inspiration and the excitement of a piece coming into existence. Remember your passion for art and why you are doing this. When you are in the creative moment and doing what you love, you have no room to worry about failure, success, or anything else.
After reading this article, I have established a new standard for my art… If the process was enjoyable, I am happy with it. Focusing on the process is much more fulfilling. The pleasure of mixing colors, the smell of fresh paint, the act of gliding paint across a new canvas, the meditative nature of painting, and the courageous act of being okay with the unknown are all worth it.
I titled this piece “The Process” before I began painting it. I enjoyed every minute of creating this piece. I drank my favorite tea, listened to one of my favorite YouTube artists, and painted intuitively.
Have you ever experienced a similar feeling? How do you overcome your fears?