I managed to successfully destroy all feelings of preciousness that had developed for this first new canvas by making an utter mess of it.
Today’s mission was to paint over areas that were feeling “right,” to choose colors that felt wrong, to grab a larger brush than instinct dictated, move the paint in the opposite direction of what felt right — to work away from the comfort to create the opportunity for a journey back that would be more fulfilling and more earned.
The first half has been accomplished. There is no enthusiasm for this canvas right now and it is in dire need of rescue.
It’s easy to attach meaning and weight to each mark, to feel the results matter even at this early stage. Finding a way back into creating again after such a long break is challenging. It’s going to take time to remember what it feels like to have a brush in hand, to dab paint from bristles to canvas — and even longer to feel comfortable again.
Let go of the process, free the hand, loosen up. Don’t get fussy or precious yet.
It’s too early.
Besides a few fleeting moments, I have not put brush to canvas in sixteen years. Yesterday, after a long period of deliberation, I purchased an easel.
I’ve been making excuses for why I haven’t been able to paint for a long time now: no space, no time, supplies are expensive, no inspiration. These are all reasons that work against why I fell in love with painting to begin with.
Art should be about a boundless need to create, no matter what the boundaries or barriers. Whatever space you have, whatever supplies and gear you can cobble together, whatever moments you can find should all be enough. The act of creation is what matters, not the excuses for why creation can’t happen.
So, here sits a 20″ by 20″ blank canvas, ready to receive some paint.
This is scary.
© 2014 Joshua David Thayer